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Top 15 Symbols of the 1990s With Meanings

Top 15 Symbols of the 1990s With Meanings

The 1990s was a weird yet wild time. If you were a teenager growing up in the ’90s, you probably wore oversized jeans and flannel shirts, chained wallets, probably had a personal computer or a Discman and other cool toys.

The ’90s is known for eccentric devices such as see-through phones or designer yo-yos. This was when technology and pop culture merged, creating delightful distractions for kids. So, if you wanted to be the cool kid in school, you would probably need some of these things. The ’90s was also the decade that birthed the technology revolution. 

Below are the Top 15 Symbols of the 1990s that marked the entire era.

1. The Spice Girls

Spice Girls During Concert.
Spice Girls During Concert
Kura.kun, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Spice Girls were a legendary icon of the ’90s. Formed in 1994, the Spice Girls were one of the biggest best-selling groups. After releasing 10 singles and 3 albums, they have sold over 90 million records worldwide. The Spice Girls were Britain’s biggest pop success after the Beatles.

This girl group became an international phenomenon and created catchy songs about loyal friendship and women empowerment. The Spice girls also made it to the box office with their debut movie “Spice World,” releasing 1997. This movie made over 10 million dollars in its debut weekend. [1]

2. Goosebumps

Goosebumps Characters and Jack Black.
Goosebumps Characters and Jack Black
vagueonthehow, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Goosebumps book series was very popular in the ’90s. Goosebumps was a children’s book series by American author R.L. Stine. The stories had children characters and were about their encounters with monsters and the scary situations they found themselves in.

A total of sixty-two books were published, the umbrella title of Goosebumps between 1992 and 1997. A television series was also produced over the book series, and related merchandise also became hugely popular. 

3. Pokémon

Pokemon Center.
Pokemon Center
Choi2451, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Pokemon was a popular phenomenon of the ’90s. Pokemon was a Japanese gaming franchise that rose to fame in the ’90s. The name Pokemon originally stood for pocket monsters. The Pokemon franchise became the second-largest gaming franchise. [2]

If you were growing up in the ’90s, you were probably affected by ‘Pokemania’ too. With Pokemon Us, pop culture connected to Japanese pop culture. Also, with Pokemon, toys were connected to media franchises such as TV series and video games. [3]

4. Stuffed Crust Pizza

Stuffed Crust Pizza Slice.
Stuffed Crust Pizza Slice
jeffreyw, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The stuffed crust pizza was created by Pizza Hut in 1995. The pizza crust is stuffed with Mozzarella cheese to elevate the entire pizza experience. Soon the stuffed crust pizza became a 90’s trend. Even Donald Trump was featured on one of the stuffed crust pizza commercials. [4]

Today stuffed crust pizza is a norm and can be found in any pizzeria. But in the ’90s, when the fad took off, it was huge. The pizza experience was not complete without the stuffed crust pizza.

5. Plaid Clothing

Plaid Clothes.
Plaid Clothes
Image Courtesy:

Plaid clothing became hugely popular in the ’90s. If you were a kid growing up in the ’90s, chances were you had at least a few plaid items in your wardrobe. This was the height of fashion in the ’90s. The plaid flannel shirt also officially represented the grunge movement of the 1990s.

Popular music sensations like Nirvana and Pearl Jam also incorporated the plaid in the grunge-inspired fashion. At the time, Marc Jacobs was a newly established fashion house. They also incorporated grunge-inspired collections and have loved the plain ever since. [5]

6. Oversized Denim

Oversized Denim Jacket.
Oversized Denim Jacket
Frankie Fouganthin, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Oversized denim was the ultimate look of the ’90s. It was worn by 90’s teenagers, grunge rockers, and rappers alike. Flared jeans were the ultimate jean style everyone wore. They were paired crop tops and oversized jackets.

7. The Simpsons

The Simpsons Poster.
The Simpsons Poster
Image Courtesy: flickr

The Simpsons was an animated TV show that rose to fame in the ’90s. The series revolved around the Simpsons family and satirically displayed American life. It parodied the human condition as well as American life and culture.

Producer James L. Brooks created the show. Brooks wanted to create a dysfunctional family and named the characters after his family members. Homer Simpson’s son’s name “Bart” was his nickname. The Simpsons became a huge hit and were one of the longest-running American series.

It has the highest number of seasons and episodes. A feature film called the “Simpsons Movie” was also released after the TV show. Merchandise, video games, and comic books were also created based on the TV show characters.

8. Discmans

Sony Discman D-145.
Sony Discman D-145
MiNe, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The portable Sony CD Discman became all the rage in the ’90s. In some parts of the world, such as Japan, it was known as the CD Walkman. The goal behind creating the Discman was to develop a CD player that was similar to the size of a disc and was easily portable.

Sony produced many different versions of CD players during the ’90s. [6] This player was popular amongst teens, and music enthusiasts, and everyone wanted one. 

9. Chain Wallets and Ripped Jeans

If you were a fashion-conscious kid in the 90s, you had to own a chain wallet. It was a stylish addition to one’s outfit and sure did look tough. [7]

Even though today, the chain wallet has completely phased out of fashion, these wallets were a staple accessory in the ’90s. Chain wallets were usually worn with ripped jeans. Ripped baggy jeans were a dominating fashion and were worn by men and women alike.

10. Friends

Friends TV Show Logo.
Friends TV Show Logo
National Broadcasting Company (NBC), Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

“Friends” was a hugely popular television series released in 1994 and ended in 2004. It lasted for a total of 10 seasons. Friends has a famous cast involving Jennifer Aniston, Lisa Kudrow, Courtney Cox, Matthew Perry, David Schwimmer, and Matt LeBlanc.

The show was about the life of 6 friends who were in their 20s and 30s, living in Manhattan, New York City. “Friends” became one of the most popular television shows of all time. It was nominated for Outstanding Comedy Series and the Primetime Emmy Awards.

TV Guide’s 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time ranked Friends No.21. The show was so popular that HBO Max created a special reunion of the Friend’s cast members and aired it in 2021. 

11. Sony PlayStation 

Sony PlayStation.
Sony PlayStation (PSone)
Evan-Amos, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Sony PlayStation was first released in 1995 and changed how young kids spent their afternoons. Other gaming devices such as Ataris and Nintendo were there earlier, but none were as addictive as the PlayStation.

The OG PlayStation, also known as the PS1, was a gaming console created by Sony Computer Entertainment. The PS1 became highly popular due to its large gaming library and low retail prices. Sony also carried out aggressive youth marketing, making the PlayStation very popular amongst adolescents and adults. 

12. Beepers

Thiemo Schuff, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Before teenagers started getting cell phones, they used beepers. Beepers were similar to cellphones but could only send some numbers or letters. They could not send emoticons. Even though it does not sound impressive right now, in the ’90s, it was a cool way for kids to keep in touch. [9]

13. See-through Phones

Vintage Clear Phone.
Vintage Clear Phone
Image Courtesy: flickr

Transparent objects were quite popular in the ’90s. Whether it was telephones or backpacks, you had them if you were a teenager. Transparent telephones were called clear phones and had visible interior and colorful wiring. These phones were considered cool and were designed for teenagers.

14. iMac G3 Computer

If you were cool in the ’90s, you used the IMac G3. This personal computer was released in 1998 and looked fabulous at the time. They came in different colors, with a transparent back, and were bubble-shaped.

The colors were called different ‘flavors,’ You could choose flavors like Apple, tangerine, grape, blueberry, or strawberry. The iMac computer was a status symbol at the time. It cost a whopping $1,299. If you had one, chances were you were rich or maybe a little spoiled.

15. Monica Lewinsky

Monica Lewinsky at TED Talk.
Monica Lewinsky at TED Talk, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Monica Lewinsky scandal broke out in the ’90s between President Bill Clinton and a White House intern, Monica Lewinsky. Lewinsky was in her early 20’s and interning at the White House. The affair with the president began in 1995 and continued until 1997.

Lewinsky was stationed at the Pentagon when she confided about the experience to a coworker Linda Tripp. Tripp recorded some of the conversations with Lewinsky, and the news was public in 1998. Initially, Clinton denied the relationship but then admitted intimate physical contact with Lewinsky later.

Bill Clinton was impeached for obstruction of justice and perjury, but later on, the Senate acquitted him. [9]


The ’90s was an exciting time for adults and adolescents alike. It was the time of new technological innovations, pop culture merging with technological trends, exciting TV shows, musical innovation, and expressive fashion trends. 

Which of these Top 15 Symbols of the 1990s were you already aware of? Let us know in the comments below!




Friday 29th of July 2022

All of them but still Lewinksky affair is still the best and funniest! Everyone blew it so far out of proportion!