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100 Photos That Kids Born After 2000 Will Never Understand

Paging today's teens: You have no idea what "paging" even is.

With their AI, Instagram fame, and ability to order anything on a whim at the push of a button, kids today might argue that they're living in a world that adults could once only dream of. But those of us who grew up in the 20th century beg to differ.

Sure, the 21st century might offer luxuries that kids in the past only ever saw on The Jetsons, but there's something special about earlier decades that Gen Z will just never quite understand. And quite frankly, today's youth can keep their fancy gizmos and gadgets. No matter the day, we'd choose Snake over Fortnite, Elvis over Ed Sheeran, and the local drive-in over the 19-screen AMC.

If you grew up in an era that kids today might refer to as "like, forever ago," then you'll appreciate these 100 photos that will instantly transport you back to a better, simpler time. And if you're looking for a different kind of throwback, don't miss the 150 Slang Terms From the 20th Century No One Uses Anymore.

Owning Everything Lisa Frank (1990s)

Lisa Frank via YouTube

This photo belongs in a museum commemorating the gloriousness of the 1990s. Everything—from the neon sweatshirt on the left, to that denim bucket hat, to the animal-printed lunchboxes—is a shrine to the era. And for more glory of the 1990s, here are 20 Things You Won't Believe Happened in 1999.

Having to Choose Between the Phone and the Internet (1990s)


You want to chat with your friends online, but your mom is having an endless conversation with Susan about the designer pocketbook she recently fished out of Century 21. The struggle was oh-so-real.

Playing Snake for Hours at a Time (1990s)

Nokia phone with Snake video game, 20th century nostalgia

Outside of counting rain drops and telephone poles, this was the only form of amusement on long road trips.

Frosting Your Tips (1990s)

n'sync with frosted tips in the 1990s

For a brief moment in a deliriously innocent pre-9/11 period in American history—when *NSYNC (above) reigned supreme and Jim Carrey was a serious film actor, thanks to The Truman Show—it was the norm for men to put the styling equivalent of cupcake icing in their hair. What a time to be alive! And for more on the go-go '90s, don't miss these 24 Celeb Red Carpet Photos From 1990 You Have to See to Believe.

Remembering to Rewind Your Blockbuster Tapes Before Returning Them (1990s)

blockbuster tape vhs, 20th century nostalgia

Nothing was worse than snagging a copy of a sweet Nicolas Cage action film at the rental store and getting home to discover that the last person who watched the VHS tape didn't bother to "be kind and rewind." To quote Stephanie Tanner, "How rude!"

Doodling This "S" Over and Over Again (1990s)

LGB Photo Productions

No one really knows why we all did it, but we all did it.

Parting Your Bowl Cut Down the Middle (1990s)

Rider Strong from Boy Meets World

Rider Strong from Boy Meets World (above). Shane McDermott from Airborne. JTT from Home Improvement. Yes, the '90s were the undisputed golden age of really, really bad bowl cuts with a center part. But if you were going to a No Doubt concert, nothing made you look cooler.

Dying of Dysentery on the Oregon Trail (1990s)


Thanks to this wildly popular game, everyone in fifth grade learned dysentery used to be a very serious illness. For what it's worth, the computer game now lives on via, if you want to finally make it to the promised land of Oregon. And for more '90s aesthetic, check out the 20 Photos of 1990s Home Décor to Overwhelm You With Nostalgia

Struggling to Find the Right CD (1990s)


Everyone had one of these giant cases and, inevitably, the DVD or CD you were actually looking for would be mysteriously missing.

Having Entirely Too Much Fun with Your Calculator (1990s)


Everyone in elementary school knew what "58008" spelled out upside-down. And yes, it was the funniest thing ever. And for more memories for those who raised 1990s kids, here are 25 Things Only Parents in the 1990s Will Remember.

Wrapping Up Your Nintendo Controllers So They Wouldn't Get Tangled (1990s)

LGB Photo Productions

You couldn't allow those precious wires to get tangled and prevent you from playing Super Mario World, now could you?

Pretending to Know How to Play Minesweeper (1990s)


Literally no one knew how to play this game that came pre-loaded onto computers, but that didn't stop literally everyone from trying.

Watching Your Tamagotchi Die (1990s)


It was one of the weirdest crazes of the '90s, a "digital pet" you could watch grow—and, yes, die. When your Tamagotchi signaled its departure from existence, it did so with a passive-aggressive, "Bye." Kids today have no idea how good they have it.

Wearing Clothes Two-Sizes Too Big (1990s)

Paramount Pictures/Alamy

Nothing screamed "I grew up in the era of Reality Bites and Singles" quite like being a skinny teen boy and wearing a XXXL flannel shirt.

Making Your Own Ankle Socks (1990s)

DIY ankle socks 90s

Years ago, teenage athletes across America had the ingenuity to pull off the sock-less look well before ankle socks became one of the greatest fashion inventions of all time. (We'll give you that one, Gen Z.)

Passing Handwritten Notes in Class (1990s)


Before text messages, this was the only way to let your crush know you were madly in love with them.

Doing the Macarena at Every School Dance (1990s)

couple doing the macarena dance, 20th century nostalgia

To this day, the simple synth intro of this classic hit submerges millennials into memories of their first school dance. Chances are, you've still got the moves down pat.

Trying to Fix a Broken Tape (1990s)

broken tape, 20th century nostalgia

Try to imagine your Spotify account breaking. Now, take that feeling of despondency and multiply it by a thousand. Then you'll know what it truly feels like to literally hold the remains of your broken Alanis Morrisette cassette in your hands.

Wearing BFF Necklaces (1990s)

best friend bff necklace, 20th century nostalgia

Etsy may have loads of BFF necklaces, but none will compare with the originals from Claire's, which were composed of a heart ripped in two, united only when two BFFs conjoined them.

Carpooling in a Minivan (1990s)


Long before crossovers ruled the highways of America, soccer moms of the 1990s delighted in ferrying the neighborhood kids to school in one of these then-futuristic-looking minivans. If you were a truly lucky kid, they came equipped with a TV and VCR in the back for catching up on Power Rangers episodes.

Seeing "Just Say No" Signs Wherever You Went (1980s)

"Nancy Reagan with children taking part in a 'Just Say No' walk at the Washington Monument. 5/11/88." Photo caption is from a Nancy Reagan page on the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library website.
White House Photographic Office

You probably already knew drugs were illegal from your school's D.A.R.E. program, but Nancy Reagan's omnipresent campaign—where "Just Say No" posters were plastered on nearly every public school—really drove the point home.

Wearing Leotards Everywhere (1980s)

Mike Goldwater/Alamy Stock Photo

With the popularity of aerobics at an all-time high, leotards were to the '80s what yoga pants are to today, meaning they were worn anywhere and everywhere, regardless of whether or not you actually planned to exercise. And you always felt like a member of Jane Fonda's entourage when you wore one.

Thinking Acid-washed Jeans Looked Cool (1980s)

acid wash jeans, 20th century nostalgia

The '80s had us all clamoring for acid-washed jeans. Whether in a dark wash or bright color, acid-wash adherents genuinely saw these strangely-patterned pants as the perfect complement to the crimped hair, crop tops, and Day-Glo accessories also popular at the time.

Proudly Wearing Your "Choose Life" Shirt (1980s)

George Michael Choose Life

Your love for Wham! extended well past dancing every time you heard "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go." In fact, your "Choose Life" T-shirt happened to be one of your most prized possessions—and something you proudly wore everywhere, from school picture day to more formal occasions.

Listening to Your Favorite Music on a Boombox (1980s)

Radio Raheem holds boombox in Do the Right Thing, 1989
Universal Pictures via YouTube

With records rapidly being replaced by cassettes, music became instantly more portable in the 1980s. And the advent of the boombox meant you could bring your favorite music anywhere you went—preferably sharing it with everyone around you while perching the machine between your neck and shoulder.

Teasing Your Bangs (1980s)

Columbia Pictures Television/Alamy Stock Photo

They say the higher the hair, the closer to God—and that was certainly true when it came to your bangs in the '80s. Even if you had to use a whole can of Aqua Net to achieve your desired look, it was well worth it.

Being Totally Terrified of Chucky from Child's Play (1980s)


There were plenty of real-life villains in the '80s to be afraid of, but none of them made you quite so frightened as the redheaded menace known as Chucky. In fact, the doll's evil deeds made you so scared, you actually started to suspect your own playthings of murder, as well.

Begging Your Parents for a Cabbage Patch Kid (1980s)

cabbage patch doll kids, 1980s nostalgia

Cabbage Patch Kids weren't just a thing in the '80s—they were the thing. And you were proud to own one, knowing your parents likely risked life and limb at your local mall to make sure you had one in time for the holidays.

Feeling Like the Coolest Kid in School When You Got a Pager (1980s)

obsolete beeper, pager, vintage

While pagers may seem antiquated by today's standards, back in the '80s, if you had one, you couldn't have been cooler. Sure, you had to learn a million codes to understand what people were trying to communicate with you and you still had to have access to a landline to get in touch with anyone else, but there was no denying that a pager was the ultimate in high-tech accessories at the time.

Envying Your Friends Who Had Waterbeds (1980s)

Analog Indulgence/YouTube

There was nothing more enviable in the 1980s than your friends' waterbeds. They may have made you a little seasick to lay on—and there was, of course, the ever-present worry about accidentally flooding the room—but they were still just about the coolest piece of furniture you'd ever seen.

Seeing Mullets Everywhere (1980s)

mullet in the 1980s

While they may be an object of derision today, in the '80s, mullets were just another standard hairstyle. In addition to stars like Billy Ray Cyrus and John Stamos sporting this regrettable haircut, your family members and your teachers had them, too.

Playing Mall Madness (1980s)


The only thing more fun than shopping at an actual mall? Pretending to shop with your friends during a game of Mall Madness.

Weeping When a Tape Got Stuck in Your VCR (1980s)


In the 1980s, you had two choices when you wanted to watch a movie at home: head to your local video store or tap into your private stash of tapes. Of course, no matter the provenance of your VHSes, playing or rewinding one always put you at risk for this mangled mess—and the heartbreaking realization you'd have to shell out another month's worth of allowance for a new one.

Being Devastated by the Challenger Explosion (1980s)

Science History Images / Alamy Stock Photo

While not every political scandal or international crisis made it past your radar as a kid, you totally remember exactly where you were when you heard about the Challenger disaster in 1986. You could barely walk past a newsstand without seeing the ship breaking apart on the front pages of newspapers and covers of magazines for months after.

Getting Ecto-Cooler in Your Lunch Box (1980s)

Ecto Cooler
Coca-Cola via YouTube

The color of toxic slime, loaded with sugar, and generally the greatest thing you'd ever tasted in your life, getting one of these at lunch had you pitying the kids who got sent to school with water or juice.

Rocking a Pair of Baggy Pants with a Fanny Pack (1980s)

Man wearing a sweatshirt and fanny pack

In the 1980s, rocking a pair of Zubaz or Skidz with a fanny pack cinching the waistline was the move. Basically, if the brand of your pants didn't have a Z in it (hello, Z. Cavariccis), you were probably not one of the cool kids.

Covering Your Arm in Slap Bracelets (1980s)

closeup of black slap bracelet with red hearts and purple slap bracelet with silver stars on wrists

Your teachers hated them. They left marks on your arms for days. They hurt when you slapped them on your wrist. But nothing in the world was going to keep your collection of brightly-patterned slap bracelets from growing until they reached your elbows on both arms.

Trying to Emulate Madonna's Early Look (1980s)

The Hollywood Archive / Alamy

From the tutu skirts to the black rubber bracelets to the fingerless lace gloves to the beauty mark, every girl growing up in the 1980s was a head-to-toe Madonna-be.

Getting Your First Computer (1980s)

Robert Clay/Alamy

IBM introduced its first personal computer, the IBM PC, in 1981. While it would be at least a decade before everyone had a computer, if you had a Commodore 64 in the early '80s, you were a real gamer.

Treating Your Members Only Jacket Like it Was Made of Gold (1980s)


In the '80s, there was nothing that topped the appeal of a polyester Members Only jacket. No matter what the weather, no outfit was complete without that label on your lapel.

Spending Hours Trying to Conquer Pac-Man on Your Atari (1980s)


Today, we have games so realistic it feels like you're actually in them. In the 1980s, decades before the advent of Fortnite, we had the thrill of outrunning those pesky ghosts in Pac-Man.

Thinking Pong Was the Coolest Video Game Ever (1970s)

Vintage videogame system "Pong" from Atari on display during a exhibition about the history of video games in Paris, France

Of course, Pac-Man wasn't the only video game that occupied hours of your time after school as a Gen Xer. In the '70s, you were addicted to Pong, which felt awesomely modern at the time.

Loving Your Parents' Wood-Paneled Station Wagon (1970s)

1970s family road trip in car, 1970s nostalgia

While a sleek SUV or sports car may be a more eye-catching option by today's standards, in the '70s, there was nothing cooler than hitting the road in your parents' wood-paneled station wagon. And when you were being especially good, you got to ride in the way, way back and look out the rear window.

Bonding with Your Pet Rock (1970s)

Rock Bottom Productions

Dogs are messy and expensive, cats leave fur everywhere, and parrots (at least in the '70s) only repeat phrases their owners learned from MAD magazine. So, instead, your parents got you a pet rock. And while it may never have licked your face or kept your feet warm at night, you loved it nonetheless.

Creating Amazing Art on Your Magna Doodle (1970s)

Magna Doodle

Picasso had paint. Rodin had marble. And you had your Magna Doodle, on which you created your own masterpieces before swiping them away for good. It was basically '80s kids' SnapChat.

Practicing Your Styling Skills on Your Barbie Beauty Center (1970s)

Close-up of a barbie doll head
Ekaterina_Minaeva / Shutterstock

In the 1970s, budding hairdressers had to practice those banana curls and teased bangs somehow. And without YouTube tutorials to guide them, Barbie Beauty Centers tended to bear the brunt of amateur styling attempts—and all the curling iron singes that went along with them.

Copying Newspaper Comics with Silly Putty (1970s)

Guilty Griffin/YouTube

Long before scanners were a fixture in every home and office, you copied things the old-fashioned way: with Silly Putty. And, of course, you relished the opportunity to ball it up after copying a Family Circus panel and starting again.

Having Shag Carpeting Throughout Your House (1970s)

1970s Black Family in Living Room with Shag Carpet at Christmas
ClassicStock / Alamy Stock Photo

Covering your floors wasn't as simple as popping into Pottery Barn and picking up a rug in the 1970s. Your house—apart from the patterned linoleum in your kitchen—was covered in shag carpeting in a variety of earthy tones, from moss to pumpkin.

Teasing Your Hair to Get Farrah Fawcett Waves (1970s)

Aero Archive/Alamy

Big hair was the name of the game in the '70s, and nobody had a more iconic mane than Farrah Fawcett. And though you may have lost a good portion of your hair trying to emulate her classic 'do, you still teased and curled and sprayed until your waves were just right.

Rocking Short Shorts with High Socks (1970s)

1970s woman on a bicycle. A young woman on her bicycle is wearing the years fashion. A red sleeveless jumper, white shorts, knee high socks and white clogs. Sweden 1972
Classic Picture Library / Alamy Stock Photo

If you grew up in the 1970s, male or female, there's a good chance you wore high socks and precariously short shorts to the mall.

Worshipping the Hairy God That Was Burt Reynolds (1970s)

AF archive/Alamy

Behold: the measure of masculinity in 1975.

Begging Your Parents to Take You to Walt Disney World (1970s)

LIFE Magazine

While kids today have been going to Disney theme parks for decades, children of the '70s were the first to see Walt Disney World in all of its glory when the park opened its doors on October 1, 1971. Of course, you begged your parents every summer to ditch your trip to your grandparents' house to take you there instead. And if they said no, we hope you've made it since.

Having Every Dish Served Out of Patterned Pyrex (1970s)

blue and red patterned pyrex dishes
Shutterstock / Jennie Barclay

Fancy china has its place, but as a '70s kid, you know that the true height of sophistication is enjoying your mom's tuna noodle casserole straight from the Pilgrim-patterned Pyrex it was baked in.

Taking Your Fashion Cues From ABBA (1970s)

Classic Picture Library/Alamy

Understated fashion rarely made the cut in the 1970s, and if you grew up in that decade, there's a good chance you happily followed the fashion stylings of ABBA. Breaking out your feather boa and finest pajamas, you'd twirl around your living room to "Dancing Queen," imagining you were the fifth member of the Swedish pop quartet.

Collecting Pez Dispensers (1970s)

Greg Goebel/CC BY-SA 2.0

The candy may have been chalky, but you weren't going to rest until you had every Pez dispenser in the market lining the shelves in your bedroom.

Learning about the World with ViewMaster Reels (1970s)


While an annual international vacation may not have been in your parents' budget, '70s kids got to explore the world anyway with your ViewMaster reels. With a single click of the lever, you traveled to the Eiffel Tower, Machu Picchu, and got an up-close-and-personal look at the pyramids, too.

Singing Along to the Bee Gees (1970s)

Bee Gees
AF archive/Alamy

With their tight jumpsuits, long hair, and high voices, the Bee Gees were about as cool as bands got in the 1970s. And even today, any kid who grew up with them will still tear up a little when their version of "How Can You Mend a Broken Heart" plays somewhere.

Taking Pride in Your Cumbersome 8-track Collection (1970s)

Marc Tielemans/Alamy

While you loved the bands of the time, you also knew that listening to them on-the-go was quite the endeavor. Nonetheless, you brought your bulky 8-track collection with you on every car trip, often sacrificing precious suitcase space to do so.

Getting Frustrated When You Couldn't Follow the Instructions for Simon (1970s)

Chris Willson/Alamy

You may have mastered the basics of Simon Says as an elementary schooler, but years later, you still struggled to follow directions when passed a Simon. Any '70s kid could play for hours at a time trying to get the pattern right.

Practicing Your Design Skills with Your Fashion Plates Set (1970s)

Fashion Plates Toy

If you fancied yourself a fashion designer in the 1970s, odds are you begged your parents for a set of Fashion Plates for your birthday. Once you got them, your after-school hours were spent tracing their designs, imagining yourself becoming the next Gloria Vanderbilt with every pencil stroke.

Scandalizing Your Parents By Wearing a Mini Skirt (1960s)

Trinity Mirror/Mirrorpix/Alamy

In the 1960s, shorter hemlines became all the rage among young women on London's trendy Oxford Street, and it wasn't long before they made their way across the pond. Soon, miniskirts became not just a fashion staple, but a symbol of the women's liberation movement—and by the end of the decade, an even shorter version called the "micro-skirt" emerged.

Wanting to Look Exactly Like Twiggy (1960s)


With her short hair, androgynous look, big eyes, and long eyelashes, Twiggy was the definitive "It" Girl of the 1960s. Women spent hours in front of the mirror applying layers of fake eyelashes and coating them in mascara to get her signature look.

Riding a Banana Bike (1960s)

ClassicStock / Alamy Stock Photo

The banana bike—also known as a wheelie bike, high-riser, or spyder bike—consisted of ape hanger handlebars, a banana seat with sissy bar, and small wheels. They were designed to resemble a chopper motorcycle, and if you were a kid, nothing was cooler than racing down the street in one of these babies.

Secretly Thinking Hippie Style Was Cool (1960s)

The Hippie Look
Image via Flickr/Paul Townsend

With their fondness for free love, nudity, rock music, and illicit substances, raising a hippie was every '60s parent's worst nightmare. But even if you weren't down with their psychedelic lifestyle, you couldn't help but think all of those earth colors, loose dresses, and unkempt hair were kind of cool.

The Comfort of Perfectly Broken-in Bell Bottoms (1960s)

Three teenagers wearing bell bottoms

Bell bottoms became all the rage for both men and women in the 1960s. They made you look like you had calves the size of an elephant's, but boy, were they comfy after a few washes.

Wearing a Pair of Go-go Boots for a Night Out (1960s)

nancy sinatra these boots were made for walking album cover.

In 1964, the French fashion designer André Courrèges created the first go-go boots, which were white, low-heeled, and mid-calf in height. They were an overnight sensation, and paired perfectly with a miniskirt, allowing them to easily dominate the footwear market in the 1960s.

Hanging a Beatles Poster on Your Bedroom Wall (1960s)

Kevin Wheal/Alamy

You collected their vinyl records and hung up their pinup posters from magazines, because Beatlemania was at fever pitch in the '60s.

Getting One of the First Barbie Dolls to Hit the Market (1960s)

retro barbie
John Arehart / Shutterstock


Barbie first launched in March 1959, after the iconic doll's creator, Ruth Handler, noticed that her daughter, Barbara, liked to give adult roles to her paper dolls. The very first Barbie wore a zebra-print bathing suit and was available in both blond and brunette. By 1960, Mattel had sold 300,000 of them.

Going Through Cans of Hairspray to Get the Perfect Bouffant (1960s)

Pictorial Press Ltd./Alamy

The style was popularized by Jacqueline Kennedy in the beginning of the '60s, and soon every woman was backcombing for hours and blinding themselves with hairspray to achieve this coveted look.

Eating Various Foods Made in Gelatin Molds (1960s)


As gross as encasing meat in Jell-O may be, it was also a relatively inexpensive way of making meals out of canned products and seemed to have an infinite expiration date if properly refrigerated. Pretty crafty, moms of the '60s.

Loving Low-Maintenance Sea Monkeys Instead of Real Pets (1960s)

Transcience Corporation

"Sea monkeys"—a brand name for brine shrimp—were sold as novelty aquarium pets in the 1960s. Thanks to a genius marketing strategy that involved placing ads in comic books in which they bore very little resemblance to the real-life crustaceans, every comic book lover wanted one of these as a pet.

Getting Your First Tie-dye T-shirt (1960s)

Tie Dye stand
Wikimedia Commons/Djembayz

According to legend, the first modern tie-dye shirt was created by a group of hippies who took a white T-shirt, dipped it into a pond, and poured enamel-based model airplane paint all over it to make some pretty colors. It soon became the unofficial wardrobe at rock concerts, and Woodstock even had a tie-dye booth for those who needed to create their outfit on the go.

Thinking Everything Looked Cooler Under a Black Light (1960s)

Blacklight poster
Bill Gracey/Flickr

Though blacklight posters were invented in the 1930s, they didn't become mainstream until the late 1960s. Venues like the Fillmore in San Francisco began using them to promote concerts, and musicians released funkadelic blacklight artwork for teens to adorn their walls with. A few decades ago, your shaggy carpeted bedroom wasn't worth a thing without a few of these babies hanging on the wall.

The Turtleneck Trend (1960s)


Iconic women of the '60s—like Gloria Steinem and Audrey Hepburn—were often pictured sporting turtlenecks with retro skirts and black jeans, creating the ultimate sleek-but-sexy get-ups for the era.

Playing with Troll Dolls (1960s)

60s Troll Doll

Why these creepy dolls picked up in popularity is unclear—but for better or for worse, Troll Dolls will always be a part of 1960s nostalgia.

Getting Your Hair Pin-Straight with an Actual Iron (1960s)

Tracy getting hair ironed in Hairspray movie, set in 1960s
New Line Cinema via Amazon Prime

Before there were hair straighteners, there were actual irons and women on a mission. Every girl growing up in the '60s remembers getting ready for prom, their mom holding their hair over the ironing board as they struggled to straighten those pesky waves. Straighteners may have made our lives easier, but in the 1960s, the struggle made the final product that much sweeter.

Turning Your Basement into a Fallout Shelter (1960s)

Life magazine Fallout Shelter
LIFE Magazine

In the 1960s, fallout shelters were so popular that the government even offered financial assistance for civilians who wanted to build them under the Community Fallout Shelter Program. And what '60s baby could ever forget President Kennedy's famous letter in Life magazine, advising everyone to educate themselves about how to survive a nuclear attack, as "nuclear weapons and the possibility of nuclear war are facts of life we cannot ignore today."

Watching the Moon Landing (1960s)

moon landing

For kids today, the iconic moon landing of Apollo 11 on July 20, 1969, is little more than a part of history class. But for people growing up during this time, it was the event of the decade, where everyone gathered around the biggest television in the neighborhood to watch Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin take one small step for man, and one giant leap for mankind.

Plugging in Your First Lava Lamp (1960s)

Lave Lites

Back in the '60s, nothing accessorized a room quite like a lava lamp. Not only was it funky, but it was also fun to watch as the wax mixture inside moved around. Groovy, baby!

Posing For Photos on the Hood of Your Car (1960s)

Clive Thompson USA collection/Alamy

Before there were selfies, there were confident young women making sitting on the hood of a car look oh-so-glamorous.

And Thinking Chrome-Accented Cars Were Unbelievably Cool (1950s)

1950s car

To date, there are few cars on the road that look as cool as the ones released in the 1950s. From fins to chrome accents to their candy-colored paint jobs, you couldn't—and likely still can't—help from oohing and aahing when you see one on the road.

Dressing Up in a Poodle Skirt (1950s)


Created in 1947 by singer and fashion designer Juli Lynne Charlot as part of a last-minute Christmas outfit, the poodle skirt quickly caught on as a conversation-starting item of clothing, making the rounds at dances and dinner parties alike.

Getting Your First Color TV (1950s)

old school TV
John Atherton/Flickr

In the 1950s, all it took to be the popular kid in school was having a color TV that everyone from your class could come over to watch Bonanza on. Even though most shows were still only offered in black and white, it was enough just to be able to brag about having that brand-spanking-new color television set.

Primping in Your Pastel Bathroom (1950s)

pastel 1950s bathroom

Kids who grew up in the 1950s (and people who live in homes that haven't been renovated in decades) can look at photos of pastel-colored bathrooms with fondness rather than disgust.

Calling Your Friends on a Rotary Phone (1950s)


While calling a friend today is as easy as instructing Siri to do your bidding, in the 1950s, it was a lengthy process. Every time you wanted to dial a number, you had to wait for the rotary dial to go all the way back to its original position before entering the next one.

Struggling With Your First Hula Hoop (1950s)

Grandma Hula Hooping Old Photos of Grandparents

While it was no easy feat to master the rhythm necessary to get the Hula Hoop to stay up, you spent hours wiggling your hips and watching it fall before finally figuring out how to get a few rotations out of it.

Your Mom's Fat-Melting Jiggle Machine (1950s)

antique fat jiggler machine weird old household items

Long before ellipticals were invented, moms of the '50s hoping to shed their baby weight wrapped themselves in a belt that promised to jiggle their fat right off and hoped for the best. Obviously, this is not a workout; actually, it resembles some sort of medieval torture device. Luckily, we've evolved since then.

Going to McDonald's for the First Time (1950s)

Everett Collection Historical/Alamy

Home-cooked meals were the name of the game in the 1950s—until McDonald's changed everything. As the newly-franchised company expanded throughout the 1950s, kids across America began to clamor for their hamburgers, begging mom and dad to ditch the dinner cooking in the Crock-Pot and head to the Golden Arches instead.

Wearing a Coonskin Cap to Look Like Davy Crockett (1950s)


While you may not have been the King of the Wild Frontier, you were the next best thing: a '50s kid in a coonskin cap with a penchant for adventure.

Worshipping All Things Elvis (1950s)

elvis presley in jailhouse rock

Sure, kids these days might appreciate Elvis' music, but they'll never know what it was like to grow up while the King of Rock 'n' Roll was still alive and making hit records. (And they'll certainly never know the pleasure of decking out their rooms with posters, photographs, and other paraphernalia of the sultry singer.)

Helping Your Parents Pick Out Laminate Flooring for Their Kitchen (1950s)

World History Archive/Alamy

Before hardwood floors came back into fashion, patterned laminates were the pinnacle of home décor in the '50s. Inexpensive, easy to install, and impervious to even the messiest spills, virtually everyone you knew had these plasticky floors in their kitchen.

Proudly Wearing a Letterman Jacket (1950s)

PictureLux / The Hollywood Archive/Alamy

If you wanted to show your school pride in the '50s, there was no better way to do so than by wearing your letterman jacket around town. And if you didn't have one, maybe your boyfriend would lend you his.

Thinking Marilyn Monroe Was the Epitome of Glamour (1950s)

MARILYN MONROE (1926-1962) American film actress about 1954
Pictorial Press Ltd./Alamy Stock Photo

Even before she went platinum and breathily extolled the virtues of diamonds as female confidants, everyone in the '50s thought Marilyn Monroe was the most glamorous woman they'd ever seen. From her auburn waves to her curvy shape, she was peak '50s perfection.

Hanging Out in Your Parents' Sunken Living Room (1950s)

A Sunken Living Room From the 1980s Home Decor

Whether you were inviting friends over for cocktails or having a massive holiday celebration, fashionable 1950s homes were meticulously maintained for entertaining purposes. Of course, no room was better suited for gathering guests than your sunken living room, where you could relax far from (or at least a few inches below) the hustle and bustle in the kitchen.

Spending Friday Night at Your Local Soda Fountain (1950s)

A Group of Kids on a Date Eating Food in the 1950s Cost of a Date

While formal restaurants had their time and place in the 1950s, the only acceptable place to hang out with your friends or take a date on a Friday night was your local soda fountain.

And Spending Saturdays at Your Local Drive-In (1950s)

Drive-In movie theater
Orange County Archives

Prior to the advent of the multiplex, drive-in movies were the best way to see a film in the '50s. You'd park your car, tune in on the radio, and enjoy hours of entertainment every weekend during the summer.

Covering Your Christmas Tree in Tinsel (1950s)

worst holiday trends

There's a reason every TV station plays White Christmas on repeat during the holiday season: There's something about the tinseled tree, the old train car toys, and the wooden sleds that still warms your heart like hot cocoa.

Putting the Ants in Your First Ant Farm (1950s)

Red ants

While your furry pets were, of course, sources of joy as well, '50s kids found few things more fascinating than watching the ants move through their ant farms. And while the box may have read "escape proof, " you'd occasionally catch a straggler who hadn't made its way in.

Polishing Your Saddle Shoes (1950s)

Saddle shoes
Tony Alter/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

Though, by today's standards, having an entire family wear matching shoes might seem noteworthy, in the 1950s, you, your mom, dad, and siblings all had matching saddle shoes. And, of course, you kept them so well-shined you could practically see your reflection in them.

And Picking the Perfect Pair of Bobby Socks (1950s)

Four young children run free in 1950s from school, shows how different parenting was in the 1950s
ClassicStock / Alamy Stock Photo

While no-show socks may be essential by modern standards, in the 1950s, people proudly wore their bobby socks cuffed above the ankle with everything from shorts to formal dresses. For what it's worth, Prince George and Princess Charlotte still rock that look. And for more nostalgia, here are 50 Facts About the 20th Century That Will Make You Feel So Old Today.

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