These 55 Pictures From The 1990s Perfectly Capture The End Of The 20th Century

Published November 30, 2018
Updated May 22, 2020

Feast your eyes on these 90s pictures, relics of a simpler time, when people genuinely thought that a Y2K bug would end the world.

Black Nin Basement
Bugle Boy
Kids On Early Apple Computers
Kandi Kids
These 55 Pictures From The 1990s Perfectly Capture The End Of The 20th Century
View Gallery

Some would say that the 90s were the last hurrah of the century. Indeed, the decade had a lot going for it — as you'll see in these 90s pictures.

The Hubble telescope launched in April 1990, and the internet grew by leaps and bounds every day. Friends debuted, and HBO upped their game from stale movies and boxing to original programming like The Sopranos. Fashion, as you'll see in these 90s pictures, gave birth to one of the most enduring casual statements. As it turned out, we liked our clothes like we liked our music — grungy.


You can't bring up the 90s without tipping your hat to grunge rock. The genre of Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Alice in Chains bled into everything — including fashion; giving a name to dressing like you couldn't be bothered. As you'll see in these 90s pictures, ripped jeans, graphic tees, flannel shirts, and Doc Martens were the staples of the anti-fashion grunge trend.

However, this was far from the only genre creating groundbreaking music. Acts like Jodeci, Boys II Men, En Vogue, and Bell Biv DeVoe made waves in the R&B department — a genre that continued to grow and was still going strong by the end of the decade, with TLC's "No Scrubs" release in 1999.

Movies from Reservoir Dogs to Home Alone, and Pulp Fiction to Toy Story captured audiences. Must-see TV included The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, The X-Files, Beverly Hills 90210, and My So-Called Life.

The 90s is also known for the birth of supermodels, boy bands, and some of the first reality shows; like MTV's The Real World and Cops.

Fashion In 90s Pictures

Outside of grunge, there were some definite must-have looks you'll see in these 90s pictures. For women, this included babydoll dresses, tartan skirts, satin slipdresses, and tees under spaghetti-strapped sundresses. For men, must-haves were patterned or color-blocked rayon shirts, overalls with one strap hanging down and windbreakers.

Hairstyles came in all shapes and sizes, but for a point in time, a girl's hair wasn't on point unless they were fresh out of the salon with a "Rachel" cut. If your hair wasn't the right consistency for the Rachel, all was not lost. You could twist most of the top half up in faux-cornrows and put a ton of tiny butterfly clips in to hold it. Guys actually rocked this look, too — as you'll see in these 90s pictures. Also popular with dudes were flat tops like Kid n' Play, Caesar cuts, and pseudo-bobs with curtain bangs.


The First Gulf War and the Cold War both officially ended in 1991, but the world continued to experience isolated tragedies, like the genocide in Bosnia and Rwanda, the terrorist attack in Oklahoma City, and the Columbine school shooting. The riots in Los Angeles after the Rodney King verdict also saw their share of news coverage.

President Bill Clinton was impeached in 1998 but escaped conviction. He is known for generally improving the economy, playing the saxophone, and a few sexual indescretions that he'll never live down. Politically speaking, America was due for a big shake-up, and it was soon to be forthcoming.

Author Steve Kornacki says, "The 1990s were the decade that made 'red and blue America' a thing, and it's the same thing that made our politics what it is today. I think a lot of people's memories of the '90s are nostalgic. The economy was pretty strong, there was good TV and movies, yet our politics were changing quickly and dramatically. If you had said 'red America and blue America' at the start of the decade, those terms would have had no meaning".

Indeed, things are very different today, just 30 short years later. These 90s pictures tell the story of — in some ways — a simpler decade.

After this look through 90s pictures, check out these photos of vintage Hollywood. Then, revel in the decadence that was the vibe of Studio 54.

Erin Kelly
An All That's Interesting writer since 2013, Erin Kelly focuses on historic places, natural wonders, environmental issues, and the world of science. Her work has also been featured in Smithsonian and she's designed several book covers in her career as a graphic artist.
Leah Silverman
A former associate editor for All That's Interesting, Leah Silverman holds a Master's in Fine Arts from Columbia University's Creative Writing Program and her work has appeared in Catapult, Town & Country, Women's Health, and Publishers Weekly.
Citation copied
Cite This Article
Kelly, Erin. "These 55 Pictures From The 1990s Perfectly Capture The End Of The 20th Century.", November 30, 2018, Accessed June 15, 2024.