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16 reasons everyone was mad for 1990s girl magazines

Because they were amazing, obviously. From Mizz right up to More.

LAVA LAMPS, GLOW in the dark stars, chokers, hair mascara, oh my!

Being a girl in the 90s was brilliant. Girl Power was riding high in the charts, everyone was wearing rip-away tracksuit bottoms, and all the boys were rocking Sun-In tips. Not to mention the amazing magazines on offer.

We’re talking about magazines like Mizz, Bliss, Sugar, Shout, My Guy, Just Seventeen (later J17), Smash Hits, Top of the Pops and the scandalous More. Here’s our love letter to the art form that was the girly mag.

1. Lyrics books

Young ones these days don’t know they’re born. Google the lyrics to your favourite song? It was either hovering over your family stereo frantically rewinding the tape – or buying a Top of Pops magazine and getting a lyrics book. Magical.

Source: eBay

Source: eBay

2. Posters

Either purpose-designed posters from Smash Hits or carefully cut out pages from magazine interviews with your flavour of the month. Worth every painstaking effort to cut a straight line with the kitchen scissors.

Source: eBay

Source: eBay

3. Problem pages

Oh, sweet nectar. The horrifying problems of others, laid bare, to make you feel oh-so-much better about your own teenage anxieties and worries. All your fears, assuaged by the kindly voice of an agony aunt.

Source: eBay

4. The weird slang

Because teen magazines were an import from the UK, they contained all sorts of weird and wonderful slang that we didn’t have in Ireland. Things like “snog” and “lush”. Or even “fit”. And what about “boyf” or “preggers”? We definitely got them from Just Seventeen/J17.

Source: anlimara

5. Serialised books

In the later 90s, some magazines started serialising fiction – ensuring you just HAD to buy the mag every time it came out. A cunning plan. Diary of a Crush from J17 was one we remember particularly well.

Source: sheknownasjess.blogspot,com

6. Cringe confessions

Teen magazines obviously realised at a certain point that people were only reading the problem pages to feel better about themselves – so they took it one stage further, giving you weekly “cringe confessions”. Embarrassing incidents were relayed in stomach-churning detail, then given a cringe rating. Glorious.

Source: eBay

7. True life

Not to mention true life essays – bringing you “The Issues” in a digestible story format. So obviously made up, but so compelling.

Source: Pinterest

8. Stickers

Smash Hits were always good for the cheeky sticker sheets. Anyone remember the “The Truth Is Out There” set? One DailyEdge.ie member had that affixed to their bunkbed for quite a long time.

Source: eBid

9. Make-up and fashion tutorials

Mizz and Sugar were the business. They showed you how to perfectly apply the pointless (but utterly 90s) cosmetic that was Natural Collection clear mascara. They had you at “10 ways to wear glitter”.

Source: Painted Pouts

And what about the dodgy 90s fashion pages? Replete with brands you had never heard of, but pined after whole-heartedly anyway. Tammy, anyone?

Source: TruffleShuffle

10. Free stuff

Glittery nail varnish! Weird hair swirls! A free CD? Oh Bliss, oh Mizz – you are truly spoiling us.

The sort of free tat you might get with your Sugar or Mizz Source: eBay

Source: Pinterest

11. Interviews

Interviews were just more compelling in 90s magazines, not least because they were one of the only sources of information on your idols. It really felt like you were getting some sort of juicy info, not to mention the style was a lot more casual and irreverent. Also, who can forget that Smash Hits actually NAMED the Spice Girls?

Source: eBay

12. Poring over them with mates

One of the best parts of magazines was reading them with friends, waiting til everyone was finished til you could turn the page, swapping around different issues during lunchbreak.

Source: Who's Dated Who?

13. Collecting

And you HAD to keep them. Who were you, really, if you didn’t have a few well-thumbed copies of Sugar, Mizz and one contraband More in your collection?

Source: Pinterest

14. Graduating through the titles

You went from Mizz, to Sugar, to Bliss, to Just Seventeen. From Top of the Pops to Smash Hits – everyone had a rite of passage during puberty when they “graduated” on to the magazine for the slightly older kids. And OF COURSE you always wanted to be one step ahead, reading More magazine when you were really more in line for Shout.

Source: Nigel May

Source: Nigel May

15. Scandalous information

Speaking of More magazine – Position of the Fortnight? May as well have been a blue film for the palpitations it induced. Just IMAGINE if your mam had seen? Doesn’t bear thinking about.

Source: pi-young.com

16. How the other half live

And, of course, fellas. We haven’t forgotten about you. We’re well aware that girls’ magazines weren’t just read by the girls – but frequently snaffled, devoured and enjoyed just as much by the boys too. Just call it morbid curiosity.

Source: eBay

What were your favourite magazines in the 90s? Did you sneak More or were you more of a Mizz? Let us know in the comments. 

Read: 19 things that made 1990s pop magazines life-changing>

Read: 9 reaons why teen magazines for girls ruled>

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About the author:

Fiona Hyde

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