All The 90s Shops That Made Our Childhood’s Lit

Does sauntering around your local high street ever get you down? Does it make you jaded, fatigued, and uninspired? Does it leave you feeling like the soggy, lopsided bowls of porridge your dinner lady dolloped out at your school canteen? 
Why, who can blame you? Nowadays the high street with its myriads of Prets, Superdrugs and JD Sports is losing authenticity faster than an army of White Walkers tumbling down The Wall. But this world was not always such a vanilla place; once the high street had more personality than all 5 Spice Girls marinated together. If we just cast our minds down memory lane, we arrive at the high street’s golden era: the 90s. (As a millennial, call me biased – because I’d have to agree.) 
T’was the time when Woolworth’s concoction of pick’n’mix, toys and video games made us luminous with glee, and you could address serious, first-world pin-up problems in Athena – like would you rather have The Fresh Prince of Bel Air or Hanson mount your bedroom wall?
T’was the time when you could stroll into The Gadget Shop and get the jellyfish aquarium, lava lamp and inflatable chair you always wanted and never needed – because Dexter’s Laboratory was your jam. The era when you stepped through The Natural World’s doors and became David Attenborough in Borneo, unearthing fossils to a toucan’s mating call.
Finally, it was a time, when you could wrap up your day in Tammy Girl and confirm to Milton with euphoric tween tears, paradise had truly been regained.  
If anything, it seems we’ve got to look towards the past, to fuel hopes of our clinically generic high streets having a more soulful future. So without further ado, here is the definitive list of shops which made the 90s bliss and have dented a hole into our hearts which yearns for them now (albeit some more than others…).



The sassy seventh heaven where you could purchase Sk8er Boi trousers, spiked dog collars,  acid yellow mesh tees, badges for ‘Babes with attitude’, and your first G-string  which said ‘Snap!’  – all under one roof. Quite simply, a wondrous place.



Dream Phone; Mr Frosty; Fashion Plates; Tamagotchi; Polly Pockets; Guess Who?; Furby; Baby Born; Talkboy; Hungry Hippos; My Little Pony; Cabbage Patch Dolls; Mr Potato Head – walking into Gamleys was like walking right into Santa Claus’ satchel and our parents would have to bribe us with a gift, if they ever wanted us to leave…



Whether you wanted your fix of Black Jacks or Candy Sticks, Bop It Or Bratz, Britney or Christina’s latest single, or the new Dawson’s Creek video – you’d get it here, ‘cus Woolworths was the 90s.



The tres chic french boutique which its brought a certain je ne sais quoi over here. Basically a suave Jane Norman, albeit one which also had a penchant for plastering its logo across the entire surface area of your school bag.

The Natural World:

natural world

The days when healing crystals, volcanic rocks and rainforest soundtracks, tried to go mainstream…and failed – sob. Natural world, we need you more now than ever!



The shop which made manufactured all the kitten heels which crushed our date’s heart in one second flat (because they were so goddam awful).


Athena  Chris / Flickr Plymouth, Devon, England

The fine art print shop we’d stride into, pretending to act all cultured and bouji – only to spend the entire time salivating over posters of a young Leo and Ryan Phillipe.



Strictly for nostalgia – NOT for practicality. Fuzzy videos and £10 late fees can carry on chilling in their crypts. 


Vinyl, plastic, PVC: gloss galore. Our recent appetite for sumptuously shiny clothing has been insatiable. After an explosive revival on the AW17 catwalks, the high-shine trend isn’t showing any signs of shying away. Just cast your eyes over the SS18 shows – from Fenty x Puma’s vinyl utilitarian jumpsuits, to Kenzo’s lacquered trench coats; Calvin Klein’s asymmetric wet-look rubber dresses, to Gareth Pugh’s sculptural and surreal collection – all as polished as a shellac manicure.

Bella Hadid, Daisy Lowe and Alexa Chung have all been bossing vinyl off duty, while Kim Kardashian opted for a skin-tight, strapless black PVC dress to debt her fresh platinum blond tresses at NYFW. For the VMAs Nicki Minaj clad herself head-to-toe in pink latex, for a plastic fantastic ensemble that would have made Barbie light up with glee. All the while, high streets heroes ASOS, TOPSHOP & Urban Outfitters have heard our hearts mewing for the shiny stuff and have just kept on reeling out the gloss.

Assimilating high-shine into our everyday attire has never been easier. Now we can slink into our PVC trousers or drape on our vinyl coat, with a knitted jumper underneath and an air of nonchalance. Gone are the days where this meant you were either an extra in The Matrix or on tour with The Corrs. See, life was not always this way – back in the 90s and 00s the high-shine looks were….shall we say…sometimes a little bit…extra? More was more, or so it seemed. So let us pause and give thanks, to the good, the bad and the most iconic PVC outfits from the 90s and 00s. Where zero f*cks being given was the sweet elixir of life.


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Geri & Posh: you said you’d give us everything – bring us all the joy you could bring – yes, you swore. What joyful tidings you delivered, in the form of these vinyl delights. Say You’ll Be There sees our five fave spices channeling their ninja alter egos and strutting their stuff in the Mojave Desert. It’s an irresistible poppy mishmash of Pulp Fiction, Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! and a ton of PVC – guaranteed to keep magpies blissfully chirping for days.


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Kiss ass feminist, 90s cult royalty and seasoned jawbreaker – Rose McGowan – was working millennial pink before it was even a thing. This pink plastic two-piece is so Tammy Girl we could shed a shiny tear.




Destiny’s Child’s coord outfits are always max. squad goals and the glossylicious Say My Name is no exception. High-shine was made for blasting away shady men.


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Oops! She did it again…obviously no PVC list would be complete without this bad boy in it. (Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah…)


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OK…so maybe not all of these are iconic for quite the right reason. But it’s all part of the fun, no? The studded choker, painfully laboured highlights and the eye shadow overload – it’s the 90s gift which keeps on giving. Polish this look off with two awkward jazz hands positioned on your squeaky PVC, as your glassy eyes dream of distant horizons – a new stylist perhaps?…We love you Cam.




When grunge, combat and hip-hop influences collide its 90s girl band magic: TLC sure know how to scrub up well.


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“3LW, I almost forgot about them!” You squeak. Me too, I must confess. But lest we never forget Adrienne’s pink PVC playsuit and her diamanté encrusted initialed belt – it screams Party Rings, Mizz Magazine and silly string. Surround yourself by equally funky chicks donning feather boas and navel gems, as you roll deep into the school disco.


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3LW really know how to light up our lives. This picture speaks 1,000 words, but if we could only condense it down to one: poetic.


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Work, just a little bit. Hot, just a little bit. Yes, its Liberty X and while our insides are cringing (just a little bit), none of us millennials can deny what a sucker we were for this banger and these catsuits. The Mission Impossible style music video left us all desperately searching for a diamond encrusted pole, so we could wind our bodies around it and emulate the feisty dance routine – or if beggars can’t be choosers – your dad’s gardening pole. Soz dad. (Just a little bit.)


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What happened when Maleficient met The Power Rangers? They styled Blaque at the 1999 Billboard Music Boards. Consider them your knights in shining armour 2.0.


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Finally, please put your paws together for the high-shine OG…the vixen who initially got our mitts itching for a little bit of PVC. Give it up for catwoman and see how her outfit roars.