The Gem of the 90’s

I was born in 1982 which means that probably at no time in the 1980’s was I thoughtfully considering fashion choices. This means I was never fully responsible for wearing neon. So really, I’m more like a child of the 90’s. The glorious 90’s. The renaissance of nail polish. Over-the-knee stockings with pleated skirts from Contempo. Melrose Place. Clueless. Ferngully: The Last Rainforest.
Recently, I noticed something weirdly familiar in my rare sporadic shopping escapades: The 90’s are back! While not all of it is wearable for a second go-round (i.e. anything I ever owned from Contempo)…

Dark floral prints...

The dark floral prints…

The nails…Vamp? Very Vamp? Totally doable!
Teva’s also had a 90’s moment.

Here, Baby, unprompted, treads the waters of socks and sandals very carefully.

Here, Baby, unprompted, treads the waters of socks and sandals very carefully.

Fashion is generally an extracurricular pursuit in the land of Spy Garden.
I rarely pick out Baby’s outfits as she is quite capable of dressing herself. And at Forest School there’s little room for fashion. They get really, really dirty. And have to stay really, really warm in the winter months.

Not Fashion. Warmth.

Not Fashion. Warmth.

(and really waterproof, bugproof, etc. in other seasons). They wear a green uniform t-shirt everyday too. So there’s not really much fashion going on there, its mostly all about utility. But they do learn to sew, make costumes for performances and so forth. And they dress up for picture day. And the dress code allows for NO characters of any sort. Which actually is a great victory for fashion when you think about it. So amid the framework of utility there is fashion, right?

And there's always church!

And there’s always church!

Hair clips are so 90's

Hair clips are so 90’s

But enough about Baby…

I am a nurse and believe nurses should look like this:

Doesn't this just make you want to get a vaccination like right now?!

Doesn’t this just make you want to get a vaccination like right now?!

What ever happened to those hats? And white pencil skirts, how did those go by the wayside? I mean how on earth did we go from…

To scrubs? Is there anything less fashionable than scrubs? I think not.



I think the scrub infiltration might have actually started in the 90’s now that I think about it. Fortunately I don’t have to wear scrubs in my nursing position. But I digress.
Fashion before function is great in theory. But what is great for feet are Birkenstocks. It is so hard to wear shoes other than Birkenstocks once you know how glorious they are.
In order to fully express my affection for these shoes and the excitement of rediscovering them via my consideration of 90’s fashion I have written a Shakespearean sonnet.

Ode’ to Birkenstocks*

In sumptuous suede or gold burnished leather
At your stamped bronze buckle a few may baulk
But on cloud-like cork I’m light’s a feather
Dearest beloved, easy, Birkenstock
If Choo, Weitzman, Blahnik or Louboutin
Are height, narrow toes; lithe ballet for feet
Chic and hip, happiness to see, to don
But is comfort luxe? Or modest, discreet?
Bunions, blisters, heels stuck in sidewalk cracks
Are sometimes worth the pain. But must one trade
Pretty shoes for pretty feet? With socks*, slacks,
Birkenstocks, in your favor I’ll crusade.
Plush pedal succor; if a bit ugly
Down with fashion; I shall wear them smugly!

So there you have it; Birkenstocks, the Gem of the 90’s ( I do realize they’ve been around a lot longer than that, but that’s when I discovered them). What’s your pick for Gem of the 90’s (fashion or otherwise)? Leave it in the comments!

*Yes, the clogs, with socks. So sue me.
**My Birkenstocks were unable to be visually represented in this post because they are too ugly.


6 thoughts on “The Gem of the 90’s

  1. Mara Eastern

    I’m of a similar age and this post scared me to death – I used to wear the bloody Birckenstock sandals at school and I hated those… :-o A nice trip down the memory lane though!

  2. narf77

    You were born the very same year as my first child. I now feel positively ancient BUT I am less ancient than birkenstocks which have been around since before Adam wore fig leaves so I can stop hyperventilating in my paper bag now…maybe a few more puffs…

  3. Eliza Waters

    Well, this is certainly an unusual post from you! Very hilarious, which IS your style, and most entertaining. It is interesting to look at how fashion has changed – in America, it is often about comfort. Does Birkenstock make nursing shoes? For me, the 90s went by in a blur of childrearing. Clinton was president through most of it (all his scandals), the stock market was going gangbusters and we had a federal surplus. That’s about all I remember! It does seem like the good ol’ days in so many ways. I’d gladly take Monicagate over what we are dealing with politically today. Sigh, but let’s go back to Baby’s fashion tastes, which are way more fun to contemplate! ;-)

    1. Spy Garden Post author

      Nice to switch things up every once in awhile with the posts, right?! No, Birkenstock doesn’t make nursing shoes but I do wear them to work (the closed-toe ones anyways). ;) Thanks for the comments!


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