So what was it like to be a teen in the 1990s?

1990

On holiday in France, 1990

I feel like 1989 to 1990 was a significant time of change for me- exploring different looks and interests. I think my fashion and style was quite influenced by the ’50s and ’60s. I used to listen to a lot of ’60s songs in the late ’80s and early ’90s as well as watch films set in these eras, such as, Dirty Dancing, My American Cousin, and The Outsiders. I thought they were really cool films and loved the sound tracks but moreover, I recall having strong emotional responses as I watched them at this very impressionable time of my life.

Easy Jeanswear Advert in Just 17 Magazine, April 1990

Now this was the 1990 vibe! I had this advert cut out from Just 17 magazine and pinned on my board before double denim was even a thing. For me, the early 1990s was all about black and white photography and I think it started here. And magazines, particularly the legendary, J17, was the first place to look to find them. I had black and white postcards, posters and magazine adverts plastered across every nook and cranny of my bedroom wall. Here’s a taster…

My Bedroom Pin Board, 1990

Just 17 Was a Legendary Magazine for me in the 1990s

I bought Just 17 magazine like it was a religion in my early teens. I can’t remember when I stopped or if I even did. I don’t know when it went out of print. I only have this one precious copy but I can’t believe how good the quality of the content was compared to some of the other magazines out there at that time! This article is so refreshing and current for 2020. I know trends come and go but the images and advice could be fresh from today. Love a bit of J17 in my life! 💜💙💛

Just 17 New Age Get Natural Article, page 1 ~ 18 April 1990, from my own memorabilia collection

These black and white outfits seems so fresh and modern. I love the stripes and baggy look. I didn’t dress like this at the time, but I love this style.

1991

Bedroom with black and white posters, 1991-Yes I did scratch my eyes out because I didn’t like the way they looked!😅

1992

1991 was another year of extreme change for me! The black and white photography was still very much in but my world began to open to so many new people and places. It was a very exciting time but not without its ups and downs as every teen experiences.

Me in a faded red t-shirt with home made friendship bracelet, 1991

In 1991, I was all about the homemade friendship bracelet life. We couldn’t spend hours locked into our mobile phones BECAUSE WE DIDN’T HAVE ANY MOBILE PHONES! So we found other things to do during the holidays and weekends. I don’t recall who taught me how to make the basic style bracelet but once I knew the technique, I spent hours teaching myself different patterns using thread I bought on the market. I would give them as presents to friends and boyfriends as well as family members. I still have several of the bands I made in my memorabilia collection…OMG I’m such a hoarder!🙄😅

Homemade Friendship Bracelets, 1991
Me in paisley shirt from the market, when we dropped my sister at uni, 1991

This photo was taken at my sister’s new digs when we went to drop her off on her first day at Uni. An exciting and nerve-racking day for us all. She obviously brought her beloved plant with her to keep her company during those all-nighter early study hours. That Paisley shirt was silky, quite baggy and was usually accompanied with a pair of vintage men’s Levi 501s, also from the market, possibly with some Dr Martens or a pair of Converse hi-tops. But that orange hair! Thanks Sun-In! 😅

1992

Crustie/Goth /ndie Me 1992

I guess my appearance changed quite lot through the ‘80s and ‘90s! This was quite a Crustie/Goth/Indie phase. Around this time, I enjoyed listening to the likes of The Cure (massively), The Smiths, Morrissey, The Levellers, James (early few albums only!), Neds Atomic Dustbin and The Stone Roses, to name a few of my favourite bands. The Beautiful South managed to maintain a long presence in my musical journey before and after this time as well. My music was mostly played on cassette players AKA ‘tape recorders’, and ‘albums’ were mostly home-made compilation cassette tapes, of course! My bedroom wall was covered in posters wall to wall and across the ceiling-mostly Robert Smith ❤.

We hung out with our mates and chilled in parks and playing fields, chatting, mucking about and probably getting up to a few things we shouldn’t have been 😬. I feel like this was a time of rapid change on the social scene-meeting new friends of friends at gatherings, particularly on weekends and out of term time. It was an exciting time but not without its peaks and troughs of social awkwardness, the emotional roller-coaster of teen life and the exploration of boundaries. Being before the mobile phone era, we told our parents our plan for the day/evening and worked on how to explain the changes later when we didn’t turn up at the right time!

1993

1993 Me, in my Levellers tie-dye t-shirt and wall-to-ceiling Athena and Cure posters

1993 – At this time of my life I was painting and drawing a lot as I was studying art. I also loved photography-well that never changed!-I’ve been snapping away since I was in double digits. I always wanted to capture the experiences I had and be able to revisit and reminisce about them. And now I am so grateful that I did as I enjoy looking at my photos and memorabilia more than ever! I still have that t-shirt somewhere.

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