Nostalgic Items That Will Take You Back to the “Good Old Days”

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By: Lindsey Charleston | Published: Feb 06, 2023

There’s nothing that discloses your age, like feeling nostalgia for items that no longer exist, like a phone line with a cord or Mcdonald’s pizza. It’s mind-blowing when you think of all the technological advancements we’ve lived through and the changes in fashion and style we’ve witnessed throughout the years. 

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So stay tuned for a trip down memory lane, where hopefully, we can spark some fond reminders of times past.

A Round Of Atari, Anyone?

We’re confident that if any kid nowadays is asked what this is, they won’t know. But to us, this was the portal to a great time. This, friends, is the TV game switch, an item you would plug into the TV to connect games that are now vintage and almost extinct, like the original Atari and Tetris. 

 

 

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Having one of these around meant squatting in the living room TV for hours and playing the same five games over and over again. Oh, how things have changed! These plugs would probably still work on today’s televisions, but we’ve grown out of them for a good reason. 

M*A*S*H

The moment you heard the catchy first notes of the theme song, you knew it was time to leave the TV and head off to bed. M*A*S*H hits differently, considering how far television shows have evolved since then.  

 

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The show was a comedy-drama that followed a team of doctors from the mobile army hospital stationed in Korea and the adventures and cases they had to tackle. It was a hit and ran for eleven seasons. The show’s tone varies greatly because of the different writers involved, but it was a great series!

The Coolest Car In Town

These bring back some good road trip memories for those of us who were around at the time! Although compared to nowadays standards, they would only change the temperature from hot to warm/cold-ish. Still, it was awesome owning one of these cool aircon. 

 

 

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Everyone can remember giving it a bang or two if it stopped working, and the truth is, that usually did the trick. Technology was built differently back in the day, and we can’t imagine punching modern-day appliances to fix them like we so often did.

Getting The Fancy Plates Out

If you saw these at the dinner table, you knew that you were about to have a nice meal because these were the charger plates used to make your dinner look extra-fancy. They were also common for holding Hawaiian rolls and buns.   

 

 

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Suppose you needed somewhere to put the chips and snack mixes at parties—no problem. These woven baskets always did the trick. Nowadays, people use them as wall decoration, and they’re available in all sorts of colors and sizes but aren’t intended for their original use.

Time Flies!

This is an archeological item we last saw a long time ago! Legend says people had to have a particular device like this to wake them up. Can you believe it? We much preferred the one with radio because there would be some great morning shows back in the day.  

 

 

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The garish sound will forever be imprinted in our memory as the most frightening thing you could ever wake up to, but to be honest, it did the trick way faster than the soothing alarms smartphones offer now. Bring back the alarm clock!

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Toilet Roll Popsicle

This isn’t your average toilet roll. This one contained ice cream inside. And it was terrific. One of these on a hot summer day was the perfect way to cool down and sweeten up. You didn’t have a million flavors to choose from. Actually, there was just the pink-green-orange flavor, but it was delicious! 

 

 

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To be able to eat the ice cream, you would have to push the plastic straw little by little and lick the top. Very high-tech, if you ask us. They aren’t officially discontinued in the U.S., but they’re tricky to find at your local grocery store. 

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Your Grandma’s Tomato

To be fair, many home sewers still use these iconic tomatoes nowadays, but they used to be so common it has become part of the imagination of things of the past. Now we know they’re called pin cushions, but back in the day, they were mom’s prickly plush tomato toy. 

 

 

 

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Because home sewing isn’t as popular now, finding this item has become more of a vintage memorabilia item. But the tomato has been around since the 15th century, so it will likely never disappear. Also, not many people know that the strawberry hanging from the stem is filled with emery powder and is used as a pin and needle sharpener.

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No Breakfast Is Complete Without Quik

Although this brand of chocolate milk mix is still readily available, before the rebrand to Nesquik, it used to be simply called Quik. It only came in chocolate flavor, unlike nowadays, where there is vanilla, strawberry, and even banana, but chocolate remains a classic.  

 

 

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The worst part was having to open the tin. You’d either destroy your fingers or need to use a fork to pull the lid out. Luckily now the company has found better packaging for the acclaimed milk flavoring. 

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The Definition Of Summer

These iconic chairs meant summer and backaches, they were awfully uncomfortable to sit on, but the upside was that you’d need to go for a swim for a longer period of time just to avoid them. On the other hand, they weren’t sturdy enough to carry too much weight, so they would break easily.   

 

 

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But the worst part was standing up because not only would you look like a tiger with stripes marked all over your body, but your skin would stick on the plastic with the heat and cause mild peeling. With all of the vintage furniture on trend right now, we hope these don’t make a comeback.

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One Phone To Rule Them All

Remember when we had to share a phone line with our entire family? Geez! Everyone had to be conscious about spending less time on a call because it was expensive and in case another phone call came through. 

 

 

 

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Every caller was a mystery; caller IDs came way later. The massive cords were really fun to tangle and untangle when on a boring phone call, and they were so long you could walk to another room with them. But, oh, the memories these old telephones bring! 

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No Jingle, No Problem!

Back in the day, toys weren’t always battery-powered; they were good old mechanical elements that, once broken, couldn’t be replaced. But this parking was something different, hours of ensured fun making the cars go up the ramp and down the elevator, over and over again! 

 

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If you didn’t have one of these as a kid, your friend had one. They were one of the most beloved toys of the time. Nowadays, car ramp toys have sounds, cars that move by themselves and have automated elevators. 

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The Fisher-Price Activity Center 

Every baby deserves the fisher price activity center. No batteries were needed! Everything was good old analogous sound-making, twisting, and moving. It was as interactive as it could possibly get. This piece of vintage memorabilia is fondly remembered by many generations, especially those that were born between the 70s and 80s. 

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These types of toys help babies boost their motor skills and curiosity. No wonder there are newer versions of activity centers following the same principle. We wonder if the new ones still have the old phone dial.  

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Showing Off 

It wasn’t enough to own CDs; you had to make sure everyone knew what you owned. It was the equivalent of sharing your Spotify playlists, except way heavier and difficult to access. The CD portfolio is one of those items we forget ever existed because it seems a bit inconvenient.   

 

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The nice thing was these portfolios came in a great variety of colors, patterns, and shapes that would be adequate to your style, and if yours was glittery unicorns or dinosaurs, you were sure to find one. Of course, more serious designs came in solid colors. 

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Juice In A Can

We still drink soft drinks from a can nowadays, but you have to flick the top to open the allocated drinking gap. Hawaiian fruit punch was a whole other ball game—it was a literal can that you could only open with a can opener. So why did anyone come up with this?

 

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The seven fruit juice flavors are apple, guava, apricot, pineapple, orange, papaya, and passion fruit. The brand is still available and has the same nostalgic taste, but it doesn’t require carrying your can opener anymore, and for that, we’re grateful. 

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Spin Away

This was the real deal when it was time to play in the park. Everyone wanted to be on the wheel, never the one spinning it, but this probably taught us more about democracy than school because if you were voted to be the spinner, you had to do it. 

 

 

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It was entertaining until it gained so much speed, and you weren’t holding on tight enough; tears were to be shed. We’re guessing these aren’t as popular nowadays because they were so dangerous. Many kids probably have less-than-happy memories as a result of falling off this thing.

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This Salad Bowl

This was THE salad bowl, back when salad meant iceberg lettuce with ranch dressing on top. They were allocated only for salads because they couldn’t stand much heat and couldn’t properly retain liquids, but our moms knew they were the most fashionable salad bowls available.

 

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We’re happy that designers have turned things more practical throughout the years, and a bowl that can only be used for salad and nothing else wouldn’t be feasible to make. But the memory of these wooden bowls will be imprinted with us forever.

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The Good Stuff

If one of these was in the fridge, you knew the good stuff was there. These were grandma’s lending Pyrex that you would have to return once you finished eating whatever delicious meal it contained originally. Finding these for sale at vintage and thrift shops is still possible. 

 

 

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This oven-safe dish is perfect for stews and bakes. They’re super sturdy and last a lifetime. They always had a lovely flower design in blue. That was their trademark. We wonder why they went out of fashion if they were so practical and pretty!

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TV Dinner

If your mom had a late shift at work or wasn’t feeling like cooking, this was the go-to meal to ensure everyone was very happy. The hamburger helper is a baked macaroni pasta dish with ground meat, cheese, and seasoning. You can make it in one pot, and it takes around thirty minutes.

 

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The fantastic recipe is foolproof. You have to be bad at timing or mixing ingredients if you want to ruin this meal. Although it’s easily replicable nowadays, there’s something about this nostalgic dish that isn’t the same as it used to be.

 

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Lite Brite

We were all artists with Lite Brite—no need for technique or talent, just pure messing around with the order of the plastic pieces to come up with a bright composition. It seems like it was only yesterday when this toy gave us hope to become the best artist in the world. 

 

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Toys like this really helped boost kids’ creative side. Unfortunately, you can’t replicate that feeling with an iPad. The only downside was the pieces were very easy to lose, and there was a choking hazard for small kids that thought the plastic bits were just colorful candy. That could be the reason they were discontinued.

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The Epitome Of Design

This was THE tapestry design that everyone wanted back in the day. The most fashionable living rooms had all matching floral sofas. And questionable color palettes. Although floral tapestry is making a comeback, it will never equal the tackiness of the originals.

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They were usually paired with matching cushions, throw rugs, and sometimes even curtains. The fact that most of these houses had colorful rugs doesn’t favor this either. These sofas are probably extinct by now, as they should be. No trace should be left of the horror of this design. Reupholster them all! 

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This Carpet!

If you were around in the 70s or in a house built around that time, you very likely had a rug like this in your house. It was an extremely common style that was considered very trendy, and to be honest, we’re still wondering why. 

 

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The color was a very strange hue of yellowish green, and it wasn’t very good to walk barefoot in. Forget about taking stains off this carpet; if you spilled anything, it was going to be dyed forever. If you think we’re being harsh, it’s probably because you never had to vacuum this carpet.

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Car Doors

This picture doesn’t even show the whole car and we can already picture the exterior. These doors were so heavy there was no need for a childproof lock. If you opened one too fast, someone could get knocked over, and the door wouldn’t even shift.  

 

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These car doors bring back memories of just going out for a drive with no set destination. This was a legitimate pastime, especially on the weekend. Some of them also had a feature many people nowadays wouldn’t believe us they did: Ashtrays!

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Obsolete School Desks

These desks were excruciating, especially if you had to sit through an awfully dull class. Not only have the desks evolved, but also teaching methods have become more modern and interactive. Back then, students had to memorize their lessons through rote learning and writing down their lessons repeatedly.

 

 

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They were freezing cold, so the winters weren’t great. And these desks were sturdy; stubbing your foot against one of these meant an ache for the rest of the day. Whoever came up with this design was more concerned about durability than comfort. They still have a nostalgic element of days long past in school.

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Retro Tiles

If you remember these floor tiles, you had a good childhood. These were the absolute best for floor sock skating and sliding. They don’t make them like they used to. They gave any kitchen a lot of personality, even if cleaning wasn’t as easy as modern floor tiles. 

 

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It might be possible to find this floor style in older houses built in the 60s because these tiles were built to last one, or many, lifetimes. This is one of the trends we might see making a comeback with the latest vintage trends in interior design. 

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Accented Walls

If these walls could speak, honestly, we don’t know what they would say about their owner’s design choices. Even though wooden panel walls like these are purely decorative and are still used today, it isn’t common to find them in natural wood color. Now they’re painted over and have a more elegant twist. 

 

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The wooden accent walls were everywhere in the 70s and gave a cozy ambiance to any room. They were easy to clean and didn’t hold dust, unlike paint. These walls were “a choice,” and it would take someone with an excellent eye to make them look fashionable. Back in the day, aesthetics had a different meaning. 

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The Poo-Chi Robot Dog

The Poo-Chi Robot Dog was what dreams were made of—it was listed in every child’s letter to Santa Claus. It was also the embodiment of technological advancement. The dog’s eyes were very expressive, and it made weird sounds when you talked to it. 

 

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It also moved and had a bone it munched on. It was a really cute toy. Do kids even care for robot dogs now? We don’t know if there’s a modern equivalent, but surely, it doesn’t have half the demand this canine had. 

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Projectors Back In The Day

If the teacher came into the classroom pushing one of these overhead projectors, you knew it would be a good class. Before Powerpoint presentations, these bad boys were the equivalent of showing your exposition skills in front of the class. 

 

 

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They used light to reflect transparencies (slides) on a mirror that would then project the image on a wall or screen. They were so interactive you could literally draw on the transparent sheets. Eventually, the VCR replaced the analog projector, and that was replaced by the modern-day HDMI to laptop projector.

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VHS Galore

Before Netflix, Prime, HBO Max, and all of the thousands of streaming services we have nowadays are only a few clicks away. We had to buy the movies we wanted to watch at home. Not only that, but they were extremely bulky. 

 

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Having a shelf with a great collection of VHS tapes was a source of great pride. Plus, it didn’t take ages to pick what film you wanted to watch. The only part that could have been better was that you had to rewind your movie after watching it because the next time someone wanted to watch the tape, they would have to rewind the entire film to watch it. 

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Attendance Registry 

Teachers had it tough in the past! This is an example of an archaic attendance book, it was super easy to mess up, and teachers had to carry them around to each class. This seemed very normal back then, but nowadays, teachers can just take attendance through their laptops or iPads, and the apps will do the math for them. 

 

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Teachers now don’t know how good they have it when it comes to small tasks like taking attendance. However, it was a good way to remember your students’ names since it was an arduous task. But having to make any changes could lead to massive mistakes with so many squares and columns to follow. 

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Minesweeper

It was either this or Solitaire. These were the computer games we would have access to in the 90s-early 00s, and they were the bomb! This game was a logic puzzle. You had to click through to avoid the “mines,” The point was to clear the whole board without detonating them.     

 

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Most of us believed it was a game of pure luck, and only a few knew how to play it since it was more challenging to look up the instructions for a video game. There were no decent online search engines like today. However, it turns out this game is about strategy, and legend says that some people are good at it and had fun playing it.

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Origami Messages

Kids nowadays will never know the excitement of having a physical paper note message sent to them in the middle of a class. It was an adrenaline-loaded group effort that could be easily sabotaged by any of the students in between the sender and the recipient. 

 

 

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How did we learn how to fold the paper so intricately? It was probably a skill that developed out of necessity, and the necessity was telling your friend that class was boring or your crush that they looked nice that day. Students can now text each other whatever thoughts they have in their minds. 

 

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Detachable Stereo

If you lived in a shady part of town, you probably had one of these. Having a car stereo was expensive, and you didn’t want anyone getting their hands on it. The “face” was the most valuable part of the console and couldn’t function without it, hence why there were even special pouches made to carry them. 

 

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Luckily now we don’t need to bring a part of our car in our handbags and pockets to avoid losing our tunes. Cars have become so technologically advanced that you don’t even need to insert your key to make them function. Just wave it, and your car is unlocked!

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Etch-A-Sketch

Some kids were really talented with this toy, it was one of the best-selling toys in the 1960s, and the hype remained well into the 90s. There have been many versions, but the original remains the best, with its red frame, gray screen, and white knobs, an ultimate classic.

 

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To draw, you had to move the knobs. One would go horizontally and the other vertically, and it took lots of skill to move the line to create the desired design. The fun part was that after drawing something, you could erase it by shaking it. No batteries were needed as it worked entirely through a mechanical system and aluminum powder.  

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One In Two

Longer movies weren’t popular in the past because they meant extra expenses for production and distribution companies. VHSs could only hold so many minutes of a film, so sometimes it was necessary to put the movie in two cassettes. Titanic is one of those that is remembered most fondly. 

 

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When The Titanic was released, it turned into one of those films that everyone wanted to own.  This was good because you could sell it for the price of two instead of only one movie. Other movies that came in double cassettes were The Godfather, Gone with the Wind, and The Sound of Music.

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The Tallest Stilt Walker 

This was such a fun outdoor activity, although eventually, it was possible to find store-bought versions made of plastic and with nice designs, the original meant to craft them yourself. Two cans and two pieces of rope would suffice to train your legs for walking on “stilts.” 

 

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Nothing like begging your mother to save the tin cans she used to cook dinner with, hoping they were the same size. The best ones were the coffee tins because they were big and sturdy. This classic childhood activity is easy to replicate nowadays, and it’s still a great way to practice motor skills and balance.

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Laser Pointers

Laser pointers are still easily available, but they’re mostly in the pet section since they’re a great cat entertainer. Back in the day, they were used as toys, which they shouldn’t have been, but caution wasn’t the norm. 

 

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If you stare into a laser beam for too long, it can cause severe eye damage—so it’s not advisable to use them for play. But we didn’t know that back in the day. They are banned in many places—and for good reason. 

 

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Tether Tennis

Hours and hours of fun would go past, especially on those hot summer days. There were many rules that could be bent depending on who you were playing with. But the goal was basically to wrap the rope around the pole by hitting the ball past your opponent.

 

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Tether Tennis is still around nowadays, and the poles and rackets are probably more fashionable than the ones we used—and probably made out of plastic instead of wood. But the nostalgia remains. Now you can even find versions to keep your dog entertained.

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The Reason We Love Chips

If you were a kid in the 90s, you probably bought a pack of chips just for the Tazo. They were small plastic circular chips that every schoolyard craved. There were various types of games that kids came up with in order to swap their collectible toys. 

 

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The first Tazos were the Looney Tunes in 1994, and the most memorable featured The Simpsons, Dragon Ball Z, Digimon, and Pokemon.  They eventually evolved from plastic to metal, octagonal, and the legendary Megatazo

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Cool Kids Only

The Snap Wrap was a fashion statement reserved for only the coolest kids on the block. Slapping one of these on your wrist was super fun, although if you hit hard enough, they could also cause some bruises—that’s the price of beauty!  

 

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They’ve been discontinued since the early 00s, and they’re not likely to make a comeback anytime soon, but they hold good memories of fashion trends long past. It seems tricky trying to style these into a modern outfit, no wonder they were targeted at young teenagers. 

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Sky Dancers

More like a helicopter ballerina! The Sky Dancer was the most fabulous doll to own in the 90s because it could reach far heights. Although the landing was unpredictable, Sky Dancers were very fun to operate. You just had to pull the string, and off she would go!

 

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It was a completely mechanical toy, so no batteries were necessary. Unfortunately, many injuries were reported, and they had to recall them in June 2000, but even though it was a short-lived phenomenon, it will live in our memories forever! 

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