Love them or hate them, there are certain trends that are so bizarrely brilliant they become almost impossible to ignore. They grip you. Then, suddenly, there you are - parting ways with £195 on a mini bag that doesn’t even have enough room to hold your Monzo bank card (more on that below). As we prepare to consciously uncouple from the 2010s, we thought it would be fun to do a brief fashion history lesson of the decade, charting the era-defining moments and movements (however fleeting) that held our attention for a time. Sit back, relax and take a little trip down memory lane with us.
The middle part of the decade saw the birth of, um, people dressing normally. True story. The term ‘normcore’ was originally attributed to New York trend forecasting agency K-Hole, in 2013 - birthing an explosion of Steve Jobs and Jerry Seinfeld memes in the process. This was the Times New Roman of wardrobes: dependable, yes, but not as jazzy as Helvetica. As K-Hole explains, “normcore moves away from a coolness that relies on difference to a post-authenticity coolness that opts into sameness.” The ‘anti-fashion' essentials, according to the internet? Think New Balance trainers, black turtlenecks, Levis 501 Original Fit Jeans and a Patagonia fleece for good measure. Not everyone was impressed, though. Alexa Chung said the term was the “most offensive” thing. “I didn't recognise it as a category of dressing,” she said. “It's just how people dress.” Thoughts?
No self-respecting 90s action hero would be seen without them. The Insta-girls of 2017 loved them. You likely own three pairs and have worn (read: been pictured in) them a total of three times. We are, of course, talking about slim shades. In one episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians, Kim K told her friend Jonathan Cheban, “(Kanye) sent me a whole email like, ‘You cannot wear big sunglasses anymore. It’s all about tiny little glasses. He sent me, like, millions of 90s photos with tiny little glasses.”
Before padded velvet headbands and artfully-placed pearl slides, flower crowns were the mane attraction. The festival accessory du jour - which yields over 30 million searches on Google - really came into their own in the middle part of the decade. Although its ‘cool’ status has been up for debate over the years, there was a second wave of high-fashion fandom in the late 2010s, when Beyoncé went full Bey-chella (adorning a peony-filled creation on her head courtesy of London-based florist Rebel Rebel) on the cover of US Vogue in 2018 and bloom-loving designers such as Moschino and Rodarte resurrected the look.
Statement earrings, XL suits, big personalities – fashion has long embraced all things #extra. The obvious exception here: Toy-sized bags that can barely contain your lipstick, let alone your iPhone. Micro arm (or rather, hand) candy has been making the runway rounds for the past few seasons, but the one that went viral was Jacquemus’ Le Sac Chiquito mini bag in 2018, which graduated to an even more microscopic version for AW19, which could just about contain your AirPods. Impractical? Hell, yes. Meme-bate? Most definitely. Though on the plus side - a great excuse if you want to get out of paying for dinner.
The most polarising foot dressing trend of the 2010s? Balenciaga’s Triple S style, which pioneered the ‘dad sneakers’ movement in 2017. ICYMI: the vibe was essentially a combination of offbeat 80s-style colour combos and extreme chunkiness. The daddy cool aesthetic has been enjoying a slow climb. Case study: In the previous decade, Obama defended his ‘dad jeans’. “I’ve been unfairly maligned about my jeans,” the former POTUS said. “The truth is, generally, I look very sharp in jeans.” Mic drop.
Nineties fashion at a glance: the good (Berets a la Lisa Bonet, Kate Moss’ slip dresses, Clueless-style co-ords); the bad (chunky belts); the ugly (combat trousers with tassels. Why, oh why, was this even a thing?) Despite hit and misses on the style barometer, it is most certainly the decade that will not die. From grunge 2.0 to the return of Britpop-era accessories (scrunchies, fanny packs, Buffalos, chokers, bucket hats - we’re looking at you). These troublesome comeback kids hold a special place in our nostalgic hearts.
Remember when you couldn’t look at your ‘gram without seeing flashes of 50 shades of pink? TBH, the colour is one of the most enduring so this is still A Thing, but millennial pink (or ‘Tumblr pink’ as it has been called previously) reached craze levels of fame on the AW17 runways, with just about every major fashion house from Gucci to Balenciaga getting in on the Pepto-Bismal palette party. So, where did it come from? Some say it started when Pantone crowned rose quartz the colour of the year in 2016, followed by pale dogwood a year later. In case you’re wondering what on earth pale dogwood is, it is “a quiet and peaceful pink shade that engenders an aura of innocence and purity”. Sweet.
Athleisure is like normcore’s worldly-wise cousin - who meets all your friends, charms the pants off of them and suddenly you seem a lot less cool. It started simply when we noticed our bosses were non-ironically wearing their (box fresh) trainers to the office. Suddenly buzzwords like ‘sports-luxe’, ‘activewear’ and ‘sport leisure’ were inescapable: The CEO of Nike declared "leggings are the new denim," the OG of haute athleisure, Alexander Wang, teamed up with H&M and Beyoncé launched IVY PARK. The most recent iteration of this trend? Cycling shorts. Oh, how we long to master thee.
After years in the fashion wasteland, logos were suddenly everywhere. On T-shirts, bags, dresses, sweatshirts - you name it. The first hyper-branding boom was noticeable in the mid 2010s, with Alexander Wang, Dior and Louis Vuitton advocating look-at-me logos like nobody’s business. Today, the trend is showing no signs of waning. Why be subtle when you can show off your Gucci ‘GG’ ring?
Once upon a time, in fashion days gone by, women wouldn’t be allowed to dine in ‘good’ restaurants if they were wearing trousers. In the late 1960s, the supremely stylish New York socialite Nan Kempner was turned away from Le Côte Basque in Manhattan, when she showed up in Yves Saint Laurent’s Le Smoking (the first tuxedo created for women). Hard to believe this now, in our two-piece obsessed times. Power shoulders, colour-blocking, oversized, prints-on-prints, pastel – the suit is back. And it’s here to stay.
Slides are the Deliveroo’s of the fashion world. Convenient, yes (it makes our lazy-hearts beam on a Sunday morning to pick up the papers in our PJs). Though, historically speaking, not the most high-end of footwear. Often these slipper-incarnations have been quarantined to either the pool or the shower. Then it finally had its season of fame. According to Lyst, the slide was the most-searched summer sandal in 2017 - with designers such as Dior, Miu Miu, Tory Burch and Hugo Boss getting in on the action. A quick BURO. poll shows we’re 50/50 on this trend – what about you?
A hangover from our deep-rooted obsession with all things 90s saw the return of the bum bag. Or, should we say fanny pack? Honestly, we’re still not sure. The trend itself had as equally baffled. Should we? Could we? While the 2010s saw the revival of the throwback item as a status symbol - via catwalk approval from the likes of Gucci and Prada to Alexander Wang - growing up, this accessory was more far more function than fun. Though, if you’ve been on street style watch for the last few years, you’ll be well aware bumbag 2.0 is worn across the front of the body. Et viola, très chic.
Slogan-emblazoned tees, logoed tights, the 'GG'-adorned belt: Gucci has created some of the world’s most-wanted apparel. The most obvious here being the Gucci loafers. Beloved by fashionphiles from Gigi Hadid, Alexa Chung and the Queen, the shoe was first launched by the fashion house in 1950s, before making an epic comeback in AW15 with a backless, fur-lined style. One of Alessandro Michele’s many greatest hits. Happy feet, indeed.
images | SHUTTERSTOCK