18 Nostalgic Buys That Made 2020 Less Meh & More Kewl

Cortne Bonilla
·5 min read

Once upon a time — before smartphones and COVID-19 — we'd hop off the school bus in our Limited Too babydoll tees, plop down on floral applique blankets, and Dear Diary within the confidential spines of wide-ruled Lisa Frank journals. (The hot gossip? Connor checked yes on my "Do you like me?" note.) Now, in the throes of one hectic year and counting, we're looking back on those childhood relics that once kept our worlds turning with wistful respect. Suddenly something as small as keeping a Tamagotchi alive or popping in a butterfly clip for our Zoom call is giving us the surge of nostalgic warmth we so desperately needed.

To keep that fun-and-fancy-free energy rolling on into 2021, we rounded up all the best throwback-inspired buys we could find that are currently a lot cooler (or, should we say, kewler) than they ever were back in 2000-something. Scroll ahead to shop yourself a small slice of simpler times in the form of everything from crazy colorful journals to just-as-sticky-as-you-remember lip glosses, pastel roller skates, puzzles, inflatable pools, and more magic. Go on and put that childlike spark back into your post-2020 body.

At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. All product details reflect the price and availability at the time of publication. If you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission.

<h2>Erin Condren Layers LifePlanner</h2><br>Maybe it's the playful colors that remind us of our pre-teen bedrooms but Erin Condren's 2021 planner sets out to organize your entire year. <br><br><strong>Erin Condren</strong> Layers LifePlanner 2021, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.erincondren.com%2Flayers-colorful-softbound-lifeplanner-vertical-8x10" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Erin Condren" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Erin Condren</a>

Erin Condren Layers LifePlanner


Maybe it's the playful colors that remind us of our pre-teen bedrooms but Erin Condren's 2021 planner sets out to organize your entire year.

Erin Condren Layers LifePlanner 2021, $, available at Erin Condren
<h2>Urban Renewal Vintage Iridescent Butterfly Clip Set</h2><br>Butterfly clips are back and better than ever — bringing us right back to popping bubblegum during recess with the gal group. <br><br><strong>Urban Renewal</strong> Urban Renewal Vintage Iridescent Butterfly Clip Set, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.urbanoutfitters.com%2Fshop%2Furban-renewal-vintage-iridescent-butterfly-clip-set" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Urban Outfitters" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Urban Outfitters</a>

Urban Renewal Vintage Iridescent Butterfly Clip Set


Butterfly clips are back and better than ever — bringing us right back to popping bubblegum during recess with the gal group.

Urban Renewal Urban Renewal Vintage Iridescent Butterfly Clip Set, $, available at Urban Outfitters
<h2>Hot Topic Bratz Crew Sweatshirt</h2><br>Clap your hands if you still have the "passion for fashion." <em>Gotta plan your dream, take a chance, and believe, make it real.</em><br><br><strong>Hot Topic</strong> Bratz Crew Sweatshirt, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.hottopic.com%2Fproduct%2Fbratz-the-originals-crew-sweatshirt%2F14649110.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Hot Topic" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Hot Topic</a>

Hot Topic Bratz Crew Sweatshirt


Clap your hands if you still have the "passion for fashion." Gotta plan your dream, take a chance, and believe, make it real.

Hot Topic Bratz Crew Sweatshirt, $, available at Hot Topic
<h2>Nintendo Switch Lite Console</h2><br>If you're anything like us, you spent lunch playing your Nintendo DS under the table. Enter: the adult-appropriate version. Have we mentioned how fun it is to play <a href="https://www.amazon.com/Animal-Crossings-New-Horizons-Standard/dp/B07SR1BRN5" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Animal Crossing" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Animal Crossing</a> on these? <br><br><strong>Nintendo</strong> Switch Lite, $, available at <a href="https://amzn.to/2TNMXoi" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Amazon" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Amazon</a>

Nintendo Switch Lite Console


If you're anything like us, you spent lunch playing your Nintendo DS under the table. Enter: the adult-appropriate version. Have we mentioned how fun it is to play Animal Crossing on these?

Nintendo Switch Lite, $, available at Amazon
<h2>Pool Candy Lemon Sunning Pool</h2><br>Bed Bath & Beyond's now-infamous Lemon Sunning Pool was purchased nearly 700 times last year, and we're still seeing the numbers piling up in preparation for warmer days. <br><br><strong>Pool Candy</strong> Lemon Sunning Pool, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.bedbathandbeyond.com%2Fstore%2Fproduct%2Fpoolcandy-lemon-sunning-pool%2F5384853%3FskuId%3D68589882" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Bed Bath & Beyond" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Bed Bath & Beyond</a>

Pool Candy Lemon Sunning Pool


Bed Bath & Beyond's now-infamous Lemon Sunning Pool was purchased nearly 700 times last year, and we're still seeing the numbers piling up in preparation for warmer days.

Pool Candy Lemon Sunning Pool, $, available at Bed Bath & Beyond
<h2>Lipsmacker Friendship Liquid Lip Gloss Party Pack</h2><br>These taste like summertime memories and <a href="https://www.amazon.com/Bath-Body-Works-Sweet-Fragrance/dp/B0071HPZJ6" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Sweet Pea fragrance mist" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Sweet Pea fragrance mist</a>. <br><br><strong>Lip Smacker</strong> Friendship Liquid Lip Gloss Party Pack, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.lipsmacker.com%2Ffriendship-liquid-lip-gloss-party-pack.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Lip Smacker" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Lip Smacker</a>

Lipsmacker Friendship Liquid Lip Gloss Party Pack


These taste like summertime memories and Sweet Pea fragrance mist.

Lip Smacker Friendship Liquid Lip Gloss Party Pack, $, available at Lip Smacker
<h2>BornBrilliant Hair Bobble Set</h2><br>Doesn't this just make you yearn for your mother's strong hands and tight ponytails? <br><br><strong>BornBrilliant</strong> Hair Bobble Set, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.etsy.com%2Flisting%2F884676262%2Fhair-bobble-set-ponytail-set-hair-tie" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Etsy" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Etsy</a>

BornBrilliant Hair Bobble Set


Doesn't this just make you yearn for your mother's strong hands and tight ponytails?

BornBrilliant Hair Bobble Set, $, available at Etsy
<h2>Nintendo Super Mario Advent Calendar</h2><br>Although the holidays are over, we're still siked about this Super Mario calendar; complete with daily surprises. <br><br><strong>Nintendo</strong> Super Mario Advent Calendar, $, available at <a href="https://amzn.to/3n4ErxT" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Amazon" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Amazon</a>

Nintendo Super Mario Advent Calendar


Although the holidays are over, we're still siked about this Super Mario calendar; complete with daily surprises.

Nintendo Super Mario Advent Calendar, $, available at Amazon
<h2>Jiggy Portrait Design Jigsaw Puzzle</h2><br>Just like the pre-texting days, we're getting right back into puzzles and their endless supply of much-needed distractions. <br><br><strong>Jiggy</strong> Portrait Design 091, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fjiggypuzzles.com%2Fcollections%2Fsummer%2Fproducts%2Fportrait-091" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Jiggy" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Jiggy</a>

Jiggy Portrait Design Jigsaw Puzzle


Just like the pre-texting days, we're getting right back into puzzles and their endless supply of much-needed distractions.

Jiggy Portrait Design 091, $, available at Jiggy
<h2>Urban Outfitters Roller Derby Candi Grl Quad Roller Skate</h2><br>The <a href="https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/where-to-buy-roller-skates-online" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:roller-skating boom" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">roller-skating boom</a> of 2019 is still going strong, with most of us looking for outdoor activities to pass the time. What better way to spend a boring Saturday than rolling around Brooklyn? <br><br><strong>Urban Outfitters</strong> Roller Derby Candi Grl Quad Roller Skate, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.urbanoutfitters.com%2Fshop%2Froller-derby-candi-grl-quad-roller-skate" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Urban Outffiters" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Urban Outffiters</a>

Urban Outfitters Roller Derby Candi Grl Quad Roller Skate


The roller-skating boom of 2019 is still going strong, with most of us looking for outdoor activities to pass the time. What better way to spend a boring Saturday than rolling around Brooklyn?

Urban Outfitters Roller Derby Candi Grl Quad Roller Skate, $, available at Urban Outffiters
<h2>Original Tamagotchi</h2><br>Honestly, my Tamagotchi taught me more about adulting than any course in college. <br><br><strong>Tamagotchi</strong> Original Tamagotchi, $, available at <a href="https://www.amazon.com/Tamagotchi-42869-Original-Neon/dp/B085W96BD2" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Amazon" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Amazon</a>

Original Tamagotchi


Honestly, my Tamagotchi taught me more about adulting than any course in college.

Tamagotchi Original Tamagotchi, $, available at Amazon
<h2>ban.do Write On Gel Pen Set</h2><br>Who says gel pens are for children? We like to use them to color-code our thoughts, plans, and schedules. For aesthetics. <br><br><strong>ban.do</strong> Write On Gel Pen Set, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.bando.com%2Fcollections%2Fdesk%2Fproducts%2Fwrite-on-gel-pen-set-rainbow" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:ban.do" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">ban.do</a>

ban.do Write On Gel Pen Set


Who says gel pens are for children? We like to use them to color-code our thoughts, plans, and schedules. For aesthetics.

ban.do Write On Gel Pen Set, $, available at ban.do
<h2>Ugg Mini Bailey Boot</h2><br>Ah, yes. Wearing these with cozy sweats and a <a href="https://www.hollisterco.com/shop/us/p/applique-logo-hoodie-40640320" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Hollister hoodie" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Hollister hoodie</a> was the epitome of middle school, and we miss it. <br><br><strong>Ugg</strong> Ugg Mini Bailey Boot, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ugg.com%2Fclassics%2Fmini-bailey-bow-ii-boot%2F1016501.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Ugg" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Ugg</a>

Ugg Mini Bailey Boot


Ah, yes. Wearing these with cozy sweats and a Hollister hoodie was the epitome of middle school, and we miss it.

Ugg Ugg Mini Bailey Boot, $, available at Ugg
<h2>Juicy Couture Anniversary Velour Track Pants</h2><br>The coziness, the glam-factor, the images of early 00's celebs carrying Starbucks; it's all there, stored in our brains for life. But let's be real — Juicy sweats were peak comfort. <br><br><strong>Juicy Couture</strong> Anniversary Velour Track Pants, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.nordstrom.com%2Fs%2Fjuicy-couture-anniversary-velour-track-pants%2F5823566" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Nordstrom" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Nordstrom</a>

Juicy Couture Anniversary Velour Track Pants


The coziness, the glam-factor, the images of early 00's celebs carrying Starbucks; it's all there, stored in our brains for life. But let's be real — Juicy sweats were peak comfort.

Juicy Couture Anniversary Velour Track Pants, $, available at Nordstrom
<h2>BaubleBar Hope Friendship Necklace Set</h2><br>Raise your hand if you would still wear a BFF necklace beneath your very-adult cashmere sweater. *Raises hand* <br><br><strong>BaubleBar</strong> Hope Friendship Necklace Set, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.baublebar.com%2Fproduct%2F44395-hope-friendship-necklace-set" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:BaubleBar" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">BaubleBar</a>

BaubleBar Hope Friendship Necklace Set


Raise your hand if you would still wear a BFF necklace beneath your very-adult cashmere sweater. *Raises hand*

BaubleBar Hope Friendship Necklace Set, $, available at BaubleBar
<h2>ban.do Sticker Book </h2><br>We loved stickers then and we love stickers now, especially when they're adorning our laptops and phone cases. <br><br><strong>ban.do</strong> Sticker Book - Issue Five, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.bando.com%2Fcollections%2Fdesk%2Fproducts%2Fsticker-book-issue-five" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:ban.do" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">ban.do</a>

ban.do Sticker Book


We loved stickers then and we love stickers now, especially when they're adorning our laptops and phone cases.

ban.do Sticker Book - Issue Five, $, available at ban.do
<h2>AWAYTR Organza Oversized Hair Scrunchies (6-Pack)</h2><br>There's nothing that brings us right back to gym class than a pack of scrunchies. These organza iterations are a more grown-up version. <br><br><strong>AWAYTR</strong> Organza Oversized Hair Scrunchies (6-Pack), $, available at <a href="https://amzn.to/37p445N" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Amazon" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Amazon</a>

AWAYTR Organza Oversized Hair Scrunchies (6-Pack)


There's nothing that brings us right back to gym class than a pack of scrunchies. These organza iterations are a more grown-up version.

AWAYTR Organza Oversized Hair Scrunchies (6-Pack), $, available at Amazon
<h2>Fujifilm Mini 8+ Instant Film Camera</h2><br>For hard copies of your favorite memories that you'd rather frame than post on Instagram. <br><br><strong>Fujifilm</strong> Mini 8+, $, available at <a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B014CGONWS" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Amazon" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Amazon</a>

Fujifilm Mini 8+ Instant Film Camera


For hard copies of your favorite memories that you'd rather frame than post on Instagram.

Fujifilm Mini 8+, $, available at Amazon

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