Image: Unsplash
Image: Unsplash

Fashion rewind: looking back at the trends of the last decade

If you ask me what year it is, I’ll often respond with 2016. The fact that Frozen came out in 2013 and not last year blows my mind. At the beginning of this glorious decade, I was ten. Between now and then, I have taken my GCSEs, completed my A-Levels, and reached my last year of university. I’ve seen a decade of trends come in and out of fashion. I’ve witnessed the re-birth of the Star Wars franchise, watched America elect their first black president and seen the impeachment of the current one.

For anyone struggling to remember what has happened in the past decade, Haiti suffered a wipeout tsunami, the Higgs Boson particle was discovered, and the first image of a supermassive black hole was taken. How could I also forget that the Twilight films, using the iconic Muse song of the same name, hit our screens? iPhones became the most notable tech piece in our lives and superhero films triumphed at the box office. If these moments of nostalgia aren’t enough, then prepare for a whistle-stop tour through the fashion and beauty trends of the past decade.

Fashion trends throughout the past decade have looked back at previous decades for inspiration

We began the decade in the era of the leggings. But Primark leggings were not our friends, and we were plagued by pants on show. Discovering that they were slightly too informal to wear on a daily basis, we moved onto the jegging. More comfortable than skinny jeans but slightly more put-together than leggings, jeggings became the perfect compromise. They were classy, but comfy.

The 90s made a huge comeback, with brands like ‘American Apparel’ and the revival of vintage helping us to reach our dream Rachel Green style. Whereas generations before had avoided their dad’s fashion sense like the plague, in the past decade, vintage clothing became popular like it hadn’t been since the 1980s.

This all coincided with the emergence of intersectional feminist movements worldwide

Street style became the fashion of the masses as many young people craved the latest brands created by celebrities, like Kanye West’s ‘Yeezy’ shoes. This trend also brought in the start of ‘athleisure’ as many of us craved the fresh-out-of-the-gym-and-straight-onto-the-catwalk style. Influencers, celebrities and young people all over the world wore a pair of Adidas three-stripe tracksuit bottoms and called it fashion.

Accessories were more unpredictable. Boho chic was a real hit in the early part of the decade. Lana Del Rey graced us all with the flower crown. Soon, celebrities and festival-goers everywhere were donning their most beautiful blooms. Vanessa Hudgens was another major player in this beautiful trend. Boho chic was a real hit in the early parts of the decade. If the softness of this festival trend didn’t do it for you, hang about for a few more years and you’ll reach the rugged trends seen at Coachella.

Seen on the Instagram pages of celebrities attending the popular Coachella festival in California, heavy leather boots, chunky belts and chokers weaved their way into wardrobes. Anyone who wanted to be cool mid-way through the decade rocked a septum piercing (despite parental objection) and embraced the punk undertones of the latest trends. This all coincided with the emergence of intersectional feminist movements worldwide which embraced the diversity of the female and nonbinary experience.

Subcultures are always evident among young people, with the beginning of the decade seeing ‘emo’ and ‘hipster’ trends

In the later years of the decade, accessory trends started to get somewhat ridiculous. Social media influencers worked their way into our daily lives and suddenly we were sporting tiny pairs of sunglasses, kitten heels that were barely worth wearing and micro bags.

From the rise of the YouTuber this decade, we found a new type of internet dweller- the ‘influencer.’ This group of stars impacted heavily on the street style of the decade, with internet culture seeing the rise of new subcultures characterized by key fashion identities. We saw the growth of the ‘VSCO girl’, ‘E boys and girls’ and the ‘soft girl.’ Subcultures are always evident among young people, with the beginning of the decade seeing ‘emo’ and ‘hipster’ trends.

If we weren’t looking at Instagram, then we were gawking at the Royal Family. Kate and Megan oozed class and style in every outfit, and their influence was immediate. Kate’s iconic blue engagement dress was adored and replicated around the world, and Meghan’s stunning wedding dress neckline attracted widespread awe and admiration.

I am sure we can all say a fond farewell to the fashion and beauty mistakes we made over the last decade

When it comes to hair trends, we began the decade worshipping the trend of ombré. Whether it was YouTuber Zoella’s luscious locks or inventive pastel shades, ombré captured the imagination of people of all ages as we all dyed only the bottom half of our hair. Side fringes were also a big hit because if Justin Bieber rocked it, we wanted it. Hair feathers defined anyone who considered themselves a hipster, and if you came back from holiday with a cotton thread hair wrap- you knew you’d made it.

Later on, with celebrities like Cara Delevingne taking centre stage, the bolder and darker our eyebrows were, the better. Heading into 2018, we all toned it down a little. Beauty icons like Lily Collins encouraged a naturally bushy eyebrow and Emilia Clarke, star of the Game of Thrones series, encouraged people of all ages and genders to adopt silver, grey and white majestic hairstyles. I am sure we can all say a fond farewell to the fashion and beauty mistakes we made over the last decade and look forward to what the 2020s have in store.


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