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12 Pieces of Clothing You Definitely Wore If You Were a Sports Fan in the '90s

January 3, 2017 8.0k views12 items

The licensed sports apparel industry is a multi-billion dollar behemoth that really exploded in the 1990s. Nike and Michael Jordan formed a partnership that changed the sports world and became a significant contributor to '90s sports fan fashion. Hip-hop pioneers N.W.A wore the Raiders' silver-and-black logo to show love for their hometown of Los Angeles, but it also became a cultural touchstone in the fashion world.

Smart, upstart clothing companies saw a lucrative sales opportunity and flooded the market with team apparel in the 1990s. Some of them were great; many more were not. Here are some sports fan clothes from the '90s that made an indelible mark on your childhood, for better or worse.

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  • Chalk Line Jacket

    Photo: Chalk Line / Greater Goods & Co.

    Chalk Line smartly married the '90s obsessions of Michael Jordan and things that are airbrushed. The jacket itself is actually very comfortable, but if you wore it in the rain, it got heavy and gross. The back was screen-printed with a few fuzzy pictures of Jordan in odd poses, but it was still almost as cool as a pair of Reebok Pumps. They still make jackets in 2016, mostly for the WWE Legends brand. Ahem.

  • Oakley Sunglasses

    Photo: Numerius / flickr / CC-BY-ND 2.0

    Ray Bans were yuppie bait in the 1980s, but Oakleys quickly booted them out of the way in the 1990s when everything went "extreme." Whatever that means. If you didn't have a pair of Frogskins or the new Straightjackets, you were a chump. Or you didn't have a spare $200 burning a hole in your pocket. Oakleys are still worn today, but they sure don't carry the same label cache they did two decades ago.

  • Nike Cross Trainers

    Photo: Nike / Sports Illustrated

    Nike saw the immense marketing potential of Bo Jackson, the legendary multi-sport professional athlete, and developed an entire industry around him: cross-training. It was really just a clever way to cash in on the exploding gym obsession happening at the time, but they gave it a name. And we all bought the shoes.

  • Baggy Shorts

    Photo: Metaweb / CC-BY

    Basketball shorts used to be really, really short. While the NBA continued pushing that 1950s aesthetic deep into the 1980s, five young freshmen at the University of Michigan changed the shorts game for everyone in 1991. Only herbs wore short shorts after that, so you better find some baggy ones or bust that sag, son.