This Is What Advertisements Looked Like 20 Years Ago

Throwback ads can offer us a glimpse into the entire aesthetic of an era, revealing not just what shoes teens might have been clamoring for at the time, but how they wanted said shoes pitched to them.

In the pages ahead — taken from teen magazines of the '90s and early 2000s — you'll find the ads that covered your binders and D.I.Y. style mood boards back in the day. They showcase the hottest celebrities and coolest trends of the time, with models wearing overalls with pride and pieces of technology that'll make you incredibly grateful for your smartphone. And while you may not totally want to go back to a period of watching Blossom and playing games on your Texas Instruments calculator, it certainly is fun to reminisce.

Click through to be transported to way back when — and who knows: Some of the items here might just make their way back into your closet next year.
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Photo: Courtesy of L.E.I.
The only way to properly show off your new platform sandals was with capris.
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Photo: Courtesy of Claire's.
The little jewels on springs did make your updo pop — if you could actually get them to stay.
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Photo: Courtesy of Roxy.
Pastel-colored relics of a pre-smart phone age.
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Photo: Courtesy of Candies.
The kind of chunky lace-ups that were somehow even more badass than Dr. Martens.
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Photo: Courtesy of Buckle.
The early 2000s was definitely the age of the head-scratching ad.
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Photo: Courtesy of Steve Madden.
Remember these Bratz doll-inspired pics?
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Photo: Courtesy of Vans.
Before Daniel had his white Vans, kids were rocking a color-changing version.
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Photo: Courtesy of Claire's.
Back when you crossed your fingers that maybe your mother wouldn't notice your latest Claire's purchase was a belly chain.
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Photo: Courtesy of Motorola.
Ah, the joy of old-school texting.
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Photo: Courtesy of Journeys.
Nothing screams early-2000s quite like the confidence exuded by someone wearing double buns.
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Photo: Courtesy of Spencer's Gifts.
You'd be living the dream, and totally accessorized.
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Photo: Courtesy of Versus.
Only the busiest, boldest, biggest blouses for high-fashion '90s girls.
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Photo: Courtesy of Payless.
A poor young woman sadly overloaded with the sheer number of sensible shoes within her price range.
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Photo: Courtesy of Nike.
Something no one asked for.
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Photo: Courtesy of Versus.
How could anyone wearing that much neon possibly be so sad?
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Pattern-clashing: Just do it.
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Phot: Courtesy of BMG.
Remember when the hardest decision you had to make was what to cut from your 12-CD list?
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Photo: Courtesy of ColorPoint.
D.I.Y. style, before Etsy existed.
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Photo: Courtesy of Squeeze.
Only the finest stores carried overall shorts.
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Photo: Courtesy of Esprit.
Preppy teens, this one's for you.
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Photo: Courtesy of Airwalk.
Footwear that was really invested in you having a good time.
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Photo: Courtesy of Post.
Intriguing, but not entirely appetizing.
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Photo: Courtesy of Candies.
Alyssa Milano rocking the eclectic style she perfected on Charmed.
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Photo: Courtesy of Urban Gypsy.
When layering was an art form.
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Photo: Courtesy of Steel Jeans.
A friendship bound in plaid is forever.
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Photo: Courtesy of Sears.
Tweens couldn't do much, but they could wear bold prints.
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Photo: Courtesy of Sharp.
Remember when the height of technology looked a lot like your calculator?
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Photo: Courtesy of L.E.I.
Peasant tops and embellished jeans were a true love story.
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Photo: Courtesy of Bongo.
B is for the ubiquitous bucket hats of the early 2000s.
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Photo: Courtesy of Scoop.
The Big Bang star does slouchy '90s style.
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Photo: Courtesy of GAP.
You know this GAP ad is aimed at teens because of all the evident angst.
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Photo: Courtesy of Picway.
Peak grunge meant raiding your father's stash of flannel.
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