Cookie banner

This site uses cookies. Select "Block all non-essential cookies" to only allow cookies necessary to display content and enable core site features. Select "Accept all cookies" to also personalize your experience on the site with ads and partner content tailored to your interests, and to allow us to measure the effectiveness of our service.

To learn more, review our Cookie Policy, Privacy Notice and Terms of Use.

clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Pop Fashion Flashback: It's All About Summer Camp Circa 1991

Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.

Let's get personal for one quick moment: Every season, we pick a sartorial m.o. and build our shopping lists around it. Why? We're not totally sure, but in this day of anything-goes fast-fashion, short-term thematic dressing keeps us focused and makes shopping that much more fun.

For fall-winter 2009? The look was nun. (Yes, nun.) Spring 2010 was English garden party. And this summer? We got all nostalgic and picked Summer Camp Circa 1991—the most specific theme to date!

While visions of oversized sweatshirts, cut-offs, friendship bracelets, matte red lipstick, and scuffed Keds danced in our heads, we wanted to make sure our new-old look was at least semi-accurate. Luckily, YouTube exists and we've also kept/hoarded our junior high school yearbooks from 1990-1991. My, how different things were 19 years ago—or not.

Looks like the more things change, the more things, you know.

During the school year of 1989-1990, Mel Gibson was in the news, along with Donald Trump, Tom Cruise, Batman, and a George Bush. So was The Joker, the British Royal Family, Save the Rainforest, and the state of freedom in China. Any of these still ring a bell?

Best dressed men of 1991? Tom Cruise, John Stamos, and Bobby Brown—as voted by a bunch of 13-year olds. Best dressed women? Julia Roberts, Lisa Bonet, and Paula Abdul.

Then, in 1990-1991, it was all about Madonna, Poison (and frontman Bret Michaels), Paula Abdul, Jon Bon Jovi, Janet, and Michael Jackson. Yeah.

How about that In-Out list (up top)? In: suede fringe boots, the Gap, high-tops for boys, Oprah, crystals (hello Speidi), and Keds. Nintendo's still in too.

We didn't go to Camp Mishawaka, but this is good visual reference:

What does this mean for our summer look? It's sweatshirts, cut-off shorts, friendship bracelets, red lipstick, and scuffed Keds all the way. Our summer haul includes:

· Boy fit bermuda shorts, $39.50 at American Eagle
· Bembroke leather sandals, $79 at Jack Wills
· Torrisholme hoodie, $89 at Jack Wills
· Hunter's tote bag, $24 at L.L. Bean
· Glamazon friendship bracelets, $13.53 at ASOS
· Zoe Tees T-shirt, $28.50 at The Outnet

Okay then. Random post of the day is now over.