Everywhere you look, it seems like everyone’s getting all nostalgic about the 90s. Walk down the street, and you’ll see teenagers clad in anything that could have been in one of those covetable, old Delia*s catalogs—absurdly wide legged JNCO jeans, rainbow striped cropped belly baby tees, chunky platform heels. Did I just see someone walk by in a shrug?

Well, we’re all caught up on Hulu’s PEN15 and anxiously waiting to deep dive into Season 2. Something about indulging in torturous memories of our greasy, bracefaced youth feels about as satisfying and cringeworthy as popping a pimple.

September is nipping at our heels. Summer feels like it’s slipping away and memories of back to school anxiety are buzzing frenetically in the air. So, for this week’s GETAWAY feature we take a trip down memory lane with a look through our designer Laura’s awkward, yet immensely gratifying 90s middle school sketchbooks.


PEN15 1.jpg

December 8, 1998! I didn’t know how to start my third sketchbook, which apparently needed to supersede the success of my previous two… 


PEN15 2.jpg

So naturally, I launched in with Baby Spice, pixie fairy magic, and blue mega flare jeans on a palm tree and rainbow backdrop. More is more.


PEN15 3.jpg

A smattering of essential celebrities of the moment: Mark McGrath (what a hottie with those frosted tips), Tyra (before ANTM), Gwen Stefani (with her bindi and bantu knots), and [not] Mini Driver…I guess my portrait didn’t do enough justice for it to actually be her. Oh, let’s not ignore the angel skater dude in JNCOs on the left (also such a hottie). 


PEN15 4.jpg

A self declaration of my destiny into the world of fashion. 3 ¼ sleeve tees, platform heels, boyshort swim bottoms, etc, etc, etc.


PEN15 5.jpg

“Solar creatures" How embarrassing. Well, more bathing suit drawings…I guess it was destiny. Lots and lots of tankinis in there.


PEN15 6.jpg

Pre-Instagram era self love anecdotes lifted from a 90s Nike Ad in Seventeen magazine. What can I say? It MOVED me. It really did. The caption up top was in reference to a self loathing self portrait of myself with a giant zit on page 156.


PEN15 12.jpg

 A fashion drawing page framed around an Adonis head shot of Nick Carter in his prime Backstreet Boyz hunkiness.


PEN15 7.jpg

Drawing on bottom right corner of me and my 9th grade crush gazing knowingly into each other’s eyes. Also, very embarrassing, but what can I say? I was and still am a hopeless romantic. For a follow up on this one, you’re going to have to scroll all the way to the end of this. Also, please note cat eye sunglasses, bandana, and another shrug.


PEN15 8.jpg

Vitamin C (the artist) and Austin Powers. Enough said. 


PEN15 9.jpg

Apparently, this was a crap page, but I did have a dream of having a hoodie with a giant smiley face on it, and that makes me kind of happy.


Back on track with an assortment of must have shoes. Platforms, combat boots, Mary Janes, slip on slide sandals, and rainbow white chunky heels.


PEN15 11.jpg

A full accounting of an epic sleep over party—notably Spice World, Biggie, prank calls, Macaroni and Cheese, Getting Giggy with it, lava lamps, farts, and burping. Remind me to follow this recipe with friends when this pandemic is over.


PEN15 13.jpg

Serena and Venus in their teenage beaded mega cuteness.


PEN15 14.jpg

Samantha from Sex and the City. Ah, brings back memories of low waisted everything. 


And, finally, as a follow up, that ninth grade crush, turned 12 grade prom date, turned college boyfriend, turned husband. See…happily ever after high school stories do exist.