Watching the pilot episode for Buffy the Vampire Slayer in 2018 is like stepping into a time capsule. 21 years ago, when we were first introduced to high school vampire vigilante Buffy Summers, it was 1997. The most popular catchphrase was "I'm king of the world!," LeAnn Rimes became the youngest person to win a Grammy for Best New Artist, and the Notorious B.I.G. had literally just been killed (he died on 10th March, the same day as the Buffy premiere).
But while the story lines of Buffy The Vampire Slayer seem more relevant than ever, there's one thing that doesn't stand the test of time. Surprisingly enough, that thing isn't the charming references to a hot James Spader. It's the clothes. The '90s might be back in style, but let's be honest: There's '90s fashion and then there's '90s fashion. Buffy is less cute chokers and more ill-fitting colourful leather jacket paired with jewel-toned, bootcut pants. And don't even get me started on Xander's themed Hawaiian shirts.
Brave soul Rebecca Pahle has dedicated an entire Twitter feed to documenting these distressing outfits. In January, she launched @BadBuffyOutfits, and in less than three months, she's gained almost 8,000 followers dedicated to tracking the Slayer's sartorial nightmare. "I've been living in a world of button-downs with terrible patterns and bucket hats ever since," Pahle joked over email. "The fact that it's been 20 years since Buffy premiered is weird and makes me feel old as fuck."
As for why the looks are so bad, Pahle has a theory: "The Scoobies always had this misfit quality about them, which is part of why they resonated so much," she explained. "That's specifically true of Xander and Willow in the high school seasons. Oftentimes you get the sense that their clothes are supposed to be, if not bad, then at least unusual. Which I really like, as it reflects how high school really is. Not everyone wears clothes plucked straight from Fashion Week. Willow's early season fashion, in particular, is very relatable to me: I had a fuzzy brown bucket hat that I wore so much it literally fell apart, and sweaters that today would make me cringe were probably my No. 1 wardrobe staple. We all have sartorial skeletons in our closets."
To celebrate the ghosts of '90s wardrobes past, I've grabbed some of the best images from Bad Buffy Outfits, and completed the list with some of my own personal favourites. So, grab your glitter barrettes and brownish lipstick, and let's walk down that Hellmouth catwalk.