Admit It: You Would Wear The Sh*t Out Of A dELiA*s Catalog Right Now

by Elizabeth Broadbent
Originally Published: 

1998: Bill Clinton “did not have sexual relations with that woman,” AKA Monica Lewinsky. Linda Tripp released tapes detailing the scandal. The Big Lebowski told us that “This aggression will not stand, man.” Every Wednesday, someone killed Kenny (those bastards!). There was something about Mary and MTV still aired Singled Out. Eve 6 wanted to put their tender heart in a blender. The Barenaked Ladies were watching X-Files with no lights on. And you were drooling over the latest Delia’s (or more accurately, dELiA*s) catalog.

Face the truth. You miss Alternative Nation; you can still sing every word of Garbage’s “I Think I’m Paranoid”; and you would wear the shit out of a 1998 Delia’s catalog.

Don’t You Even Lie About Skinny Jeans

Back in the day, skinny jeans were mom jeans, ’80s throwbacks good only for retro parties. In 1998, we wore real pants. Remember baggy straight-leg jeans? Remember how fucking comfortable they were? Thigh gap? WTF was a thigh gap? Delia’s showed us we should drown in our jeans, like we were ready, at any moment, to drop our lives and:

  1. skateboard
  2. snowboard
  3. watch boys snowboard or skateboard

And if we weren’t wearing baggy straight-leg jeans, we were rocking something we called “bootcut” that was really “slightly bell-bottomed,” but if we called them that, we’d be stupid retro hippies (not the cool Dave Matthews Band/Phish kind of hippie).

Then came baggy corduroy. You remember corduroy: before yoga pants, it stood in as the most comfortable pants in existence, especially if the cords were big and fat and fuzzy. Along with the cords, Delia’s told us we should rock baggy khakis. You would die for baggy khakis and fat-ass skate shoes today. Preferably Airwalks. Maybe Vans.

Delia’s Pushed The Maxi Skirt

It was denim. It looked like you’d sewn two pairs of jeans to create a skirt that hit your ankles. It was kinda tight, tight enough that you didn’t take big steps, and it had pockets. Skirts with pockets. Cool pockets. Those skirts could take stains and serve as dress-up denim. I wore mine until it ripped during a college make-out session (dear ex-boyfriend, you know who you are and I miss that skirt more than you).

Maxi skirts matched with all the things. Baby tee? Cool. Spaghetti-strap top? Awesome. Skate shoes, sandals, flip-flops: the maxi skirt did it all. You can buy one on Amazon, if you’re seriously jonesing. Honestly this seems like the best sorta-dress-up mom skirt ever, and it looked killer.

Remember The Awesome Winter Wear?

Delia’s always assumed we were about to engage in some extreme sport, usually skateboarding. Remember the super-baggy sweaters? Usually with a stripe across the boobular area? We all looked like we were drowning in clothes we stole from our boyfriend with bleach-tipped hair, ready to whip out a hacky sack at a moment’s notice.

Our boobs also looked fairly decent. No matter what size they were.

Then there were hats. There were beanies. There were those amazing earflap winter hats. But they weren’t ugly and stupid like the ones we find now. They were cool and had awesome patterns. There were also puffy vests, which always looked cool and which you could sometimes wear in a seasonally inappropriate manner with a T-shirt.

Paul Frank Everything

Delia’s sold a butt ton of Paul Frank. You remember that cute little sock monkey. He covered purses. He covered backpacks. He covered all the things and we loved him. I still have a stuffed Paul Frank sock monkey. Why do we miss him? He was so freaking cute, that’s why. Tell me you wouldn’t carry a Paul Frank wallet. Search your feelings. You know it to be true.

Then there was Hello Kitty everything. Fuck, there may have been Hello Kitty dildos. And Hello Kitty had like, a band of friends. Mariah freaking Carey carried Hello Kitty shit. I always liked her penguin buddy, Batz Maru. One of my college BFFs loved Chococat. I want a goddamn Batz Maru shirt. I also want to dress my kids in Paul Frank and Hello, Kitty.

Delia’s Sold Platform Flip-Flops

Platform. Shoes. Platform sneakers. Platform boots. Platform flip-flops. We had all the platform shoes, and we only wanted more. They made us taller; they made our legs look longer; and they could be preppy or punk. I had a pair of strappy black platform boots that reached my freaking knees. And they were the shiznit.

Pretend that they would not hurt your back now.

Wild Makeup

Makeup came in every fucking color and every fucking glitter. We wore it all. Remember the brown lipstick trend? Admit it looked good. You know it did. Remember body glitter?! Our lotions contained actual sparkles so we could sparkle like Twilight vampires (though there was no Twilight, which made body glitter stupid).

Shudder to think what this did to the environment. Then admit you really miss glitter blush.

Then there was the rocking ’90s hair Delia’s told us we should be sporting. Bobs and bangs. Fat bleached highlights. Little baby clips and barrettes.

Delia’s Sold Skater Dresses

They hit somewhere around your mid-knee. They were generally kind of tight, or maybe with a little teeny bit of flare. They had spaghetti straps. They had stripes. They always, always had stripes, usually the aforementioned boob stripes. But my favorite had stripes all the way down, so there were exceptions. You wore these with your platform flip-flops. The skater dresses (why did we call them that? It’s not like we skateboarded in them) with a little flare looked good on everyone.

I want a Delia’s skater dress so bad, boob stripe and all. And don’t pretend you don’t, because you could toss that sucker on and look good in about two seconds, maybe ten if you took time to use your brown lipstick.

We Just Want Our ’90s Fashion Back

Jena Ardell/Getty

Getty Images

Fuck it. We just want to dress like 1998. We were cute, we could glitter it up, and straight-leg jeans are hella awesome. They’re actually coming back in style now, because we’re retro (as in, the equivalent of wearing ’70s peasant blouses — remember those?! — in 1998). I bought a pair of stovepipe jeans on clearance at Target last week, so all is not lost.

Now someone find me some chunky-ass Airwalks and platform flip-flops. Maybe we’re now like, old or something. Whatever. Bring on the brown lipstick, bitches.

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