What Was The Biggest Fashion Trend The Year You Were Born?

August 09, 2019

Fashion – we wear it, we live it, and most of us are still trying to understand it.

The world of clothing is always changing, and each year in February and September fashion week gives us a whole new set of trends.

Admittedly, they it can be easy to fall into.

How many times have you looked at a runway photo and thought ‘there is literally no way I will ever wear that?’

Flared jeans, biker shorts, and bucket hats are just a few things that we confess to having dabbled with. (What? It’s cute!) 

Then there are the other types of trends, the ones from years past that you look at photos and wonder what in the world you were thinking. (Zip-off pants, I’m sorry but you were just plain old ridiculous.)

Each decade, and even year, has a very specific style. They not only define eras, but reflect on the art, culture, and news that was happening at the time. 

As trends come, go, and come back again, it can be fun to reminisce on fashion and it’s past. And truth be told, by looking at some of these older trends you might just be ahead of the next big must have.

Feel free to thank us later.

1970 – 1975

Wikimedia Commons

Summers of love, a push for world peace, and lots and lots of tie-dye.

Bright rainbow colors, funky patters, and bold fashion defined the first year of the new decade. Lots of style influence from the 60s was still a big influence on the early 70s. As the decade progressed bolder colors turned into stripes.

By 1971 hot pants had made there way onto the scene.

Pinterest

Short shorts were in and made an impact on the era for its blatant sex appeal.

Also clothes began to fit the activity trends at the time with most clothes being modeled to be comfortable while dancing or skating.

Gender roles also began to blend as both men and women’s fashion started to feature wider collars.

1972 continued to push the boundary.

Summer styles were all the rage during the early part of the decade and smaller garments of clothing became mainstream.

Halter tops with small athletic shorts was the height of the fashion elite as free expression began to gain more ground socially.

We still think there’s no better summer staple than a little tie tip and short shorts.

Also, bolder accessory trends like turbans hit the scene as people focused on spending more time in nature and the outdoors.

As the decade progressed bell bottoms defined denim in 1973.

Pinterest

While it may not be our style, we can all agree bell bottoms are universally pretty flattering right? Well either way, the fashion forward in the 70s only worn bell bottom jeans.

This was also the first time that jeans really started to become a staple of everyday wear as more casual clothing became accepted as stylish.

Bellbottoms and long jeans lead to the rise of the platform shoe in 1974.

If you’re going to wear floor length jeans it’s best they don’t drag all over the ground right? Well platform soled shoes were the answer.

Both men and women routinely began wearing stacked shoes that added several inches of height.

Also, although they were taller, the platform provided a flat sole so they could still be worn for comfort. Heels that are comfortable? Who knew it was possible?

1975 saw the rise of “Halston glamour.”

Halston Frowick was the legendary designer who is credited for started the trend of sequins, sparkle, and early disco.

The clothes evoked drama and old Hollywood glamour and became a closet staple for the the fashion elite at the hot clubs all around the country. (Studio 54 anyone?)

He also focused on a more Grecian and natural silhouette which set the tone for the later half of the 70s.

1976 – 1980

Saturday Night Fever

By the later half of the decade disco began to have a greater influence on fashion, starting in 1976 with the jumpsuit.

The hustle, the electric slide, and getting groovy all still sound like the best way to spend a Saturday night. Youth culture was intertwined with nightlife as going out became the new normal.

The jumpsuit also represented rebelling against societal rules (like women wearing pants) and to support new movements like feminism and LGBT rights.

1977 saw a new sweater staple enter the mix with turtlenecks.

Pinterest/Lee Jeans

Turtlenecks started as a popular clothing item in the U.K. and made their way over to the U.S. sometime during the British invasion music era.

The high collared sweater was often in a bold rich color or had a stripe pattern on it.

It also continued the push of the feminism movement as the sweater because popular among both men and women.

If you’re looking to make to make a bold fashion statement, may we suggest the plaid plants and a fitted vest look from 1978?

Not convinced?

It’s ok, we’re not completely sold either, but at the time everybody who was anybody was getting into the vest trend.

They were usually worn over a more ruffled or wide collar button-up. Pair it with a pair of mustard yellow plaid pants and you were ready for a night on the town.

In 1979 peak disco fever hit with wildly patterned shirts (paisley? really?) and dark denim.

Starsky And Hutch

Jeans continued to make their way from comfortable work pants into an everyday look for the fashion elite, and boy did they love it.

Move over Britney and Justin because the 70s did the all denim trend first.

The wash became darker as the decade progressed and by 1979 everyone was wearing dark jeans about town.

You know what they say, “Disco is dead,” and in 1980 a new movement swept the nation: punk.

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In 1980 punk rock hit the music scene and blew up around the country.

Soon kids everywhere were wearing ripped jeans, leather, and a facial expression that would scare even the bravest of souls.

If you think today’s middle schoolers are mean, just imagine this era.

1981 – 1985

Ah, the 80s. The wild child decade of the fashion world.

No hair, sleeves, or shoe was too big or bold. Music and fashion are always inextricably linked but the 80s saw an influence that few others could replicate.

The rise of Madonna, George Michael, and David Bowie left people feeling more free, proud, an unapologetic than ever before.

Madonna

1981 started the decade off strong with one of the most defining trends of the era, shoulder pads.

You know ’em, you probably don’t necessarily love ’em, but they were definitely one of the biggest fashion staples of the 80s.

Everyone was walking around in huge blazers with even wider shoulder pads.

Now we’re all for structure, but let’s just leave them in the past.

Today athlesiure is a staple item in almost every girls closet, and that all started in 1982.

Lycra

A new type of workout called aerobics was en vogue and fashion became tied to the fitness craze. Women were donning brightly colored leotards, sweatbands, leg warmers.

Even, Heather Locklear and Jane Fonda got involved. Personally, we’re all for fun workout gear. An excuse to look cute and spend another $250 at LuluLemon is half the reason to go to the gym.

Following the fad of aerobics fashion, neon colors made their way onto the scene in 1983.

Colors in the past had been bright and bold but never to extent of the neon trend. Hot pink, lime green, and electric yellow was all over every clothing item imaginable.

They also started to be accompanied by fun patters like polka dots and funky shapes. Fashionable, maybe. Fun, definitely!

1984 took a drastic turn with color with the black and white trend.

Like A Virgin

Not only did black and white become the go-to color combination of the year, but it was accompanied by lots and lots of lace. We can probably thank Madonna for bringing the lace trend to life.

Her style blended fashion, with the edge of a newly minted pop star, and girls everywhere quickly followed suit.

The power suit hit Wall Street and department stores in 1985, and normally features lots and lots of pinstripes.

Pinterest

The housing boom was under way and stocks were usually on the up.

Naturally, the idea of big business, and the appeal of being a mogul permeated into the fashion world.

The suits were normally oversized and grey and became popular not just among men but women as well.

1986 – 1990

Aerosmith

The late 80s was truly the peak of the rock n’ roll scene and fashion was inspired by the rock gods of the era.

The Police, Aerosmith, and Bon Jovi were sending teen girls into a frenzy, and sending designers back to the drawing boards.

Big hair became front and center in 1986.

Hair had always been used as a way to express individuality but in the late 80s it started to become an accessory.

Men and women alike would tease their hair within an inch of falling out to emulate that cool rockstar vibe.

You know, the vibe of “Oh I totally just rolled out of bed like this,” when in reality they spent two hours in the bathroom with a can of hairspray.

Another big trend was acid wash jeans which hit its stride in 1987.

Pinterest/Macy's

Cool, effortless, and totally glam rock, acid wash jeans took over regular styles of denim.

The bolder choice also worked really well with black clothing (another big trend at the time) and heavy big jewelry.

The big jewelry trend followed the same trajectory of hairstyles in that the more there was, the better.

When school was out for summer in 1988 high-cut swim suits was all anybody was wearing.

Pinterest/Hawaiian Tropics

While it may be the hot trend of 2019, high-cut swimsuits made their debut in late 80s.

The one piece swimsuit gave women everywhere a lovely silhouette and had everyone wishing they could cool off by the pool.

This might be one fad we’re happy has had a resurgence.

1989 is where the birth faux fur began.

We can’t say we love this trend, or the real fur trend either to be honest.

The world at the time was all about lavish excess, the economy was booming, the music was loud, and people wanted to look expensive.

The most popular form of faux fur of course was the coat, but it also appeared in hats, purses, and muumuus.

As the new decade dawned, 1990 fashion went back to business.

Pinterest

The power suit had been a big trend throughout the entire decade but in 1990 the classic boardroom staple took a fun turn with pops of color.

Dubbed “the Crayola suits” these matching blazer and slacks sets were most popular in bright bold primary colors.

Sounds to us like a perfect way to spice up a mid-week outfit.

1991 – 1995

Clueless

The 90s are now thought of as the last quintessential decade. Computes and cell phones were in their infancy, and social media was not even on the horizon.

Style went back to school, and back to basics and started to reflect the disgruntled youth of America.

Even music became more mellow as minimalism acted as a counterpoint the pomp and circumstance of the decade before.

1991 sent fashion into a tailspin as lavish dress went out, and grunge took its place.

Hard to explain or pin down but when you know grunge you just see it. It screams, “I literally grabbed the first thing on my floor.”

The silhouettes of the time became baggy and oversized and were normally comprised of jeans, t-shirts, and a beanie.

We know that all styles have merit, but goodness this one was just a plain old mess.

If you wanted to be cool in 1992, you were probably wearing a choker.

Clueless

Has there ever been a better accessory than the choker?

Still wildly popular today the choker became a huge trend in the early 90s, and every “It” girls go to accessory.

Cher, Racheal, and Posh all rocked the necklace and we couldn’t wait to run to Claire’s and buy our own.

Another trend that has had a resurgence in modern fashion is 1993’s slip dress.

Slinky and the sexy the lightweight dress left very little to imagination.

Soon it trickled down from runways, to red carpets, to proms all over the country.

We admittedly are huge fans of this trends and there is still nothing easier, or more sophisticated looking than a little black dress.

The grunge trend continued through most of the 90s and gravitated to one particular fabric in 1994.

Pinterest/Merry Go Round

Usually thrown on top of baggy jeans and a white tank top, flannel was a pivotal fabric. The plaid typically was muted earth tones that lent itself to the effortless vibe.

It also became a staple on TV shows at the time popping up on every teenagers and young adult during the Friday night lineup.

Comfy, cozy, and probably never heading out of style we tip our hats to you flannel.

Adjacent to the flannel trend was the school girl look of 1995.

You know what we’re talking about right?

Falling somewhere between a prep and catholic school vibe, the outfit consisted of a short skirt (usually corduroy), high kneed socks, and a little sweater or long sleeve top.

Colors tended to be more muted earth tones like burgundy, forest green, and navy blue.

Youthful and exuberant with energy the school girl outfit could easily knock ten years off of anyone, and have us longing to go back to class.

1996 – 2000

Friends

The end of a century and Y2K was all anyone could talk about towards the end of the decade and pop culture started to shift away from rock and grunge into the pop era.

N*Sync and the Backstreet Boys burst onto the scene starting the boy band trends, and vying it out for a top spot on the charts.

Fashion also became to look to the future and what the new millennium would really look like.

In 1996 mini skirts shifted away from focus as more gender neutral fashion like overalls entered the scene.

Remember that favorite pair of OshKosh B’gosh overalls you had as a kid? Well even adults in the late 90s got behind the trend.

Both long and short styles became a weekend staple for anyone looking to bike ride, roller blade, or just chill out.

They were simple, innocent, and reminiscent of a time where life felt like it didn’t move quite as fast.

Fashion in 1997 got a boost deep in its sole with platform shoes.

Spice World

Platform shoes were the must have items for every girl of every style.

From Doc Martens capturing the hearts of goth, punk, and grungy style lovers to Baby Spice and her pearly white pearly white platforms that matched her pigtails they were everywhere.

The flat sole also made them more comfortable than a regular heel Also, they were particularly helpful for those, who let’s just say, are not the tallest. *Cough cough* Us.

1998 was full of flowers, bandanas, and of course butterfly clips.

The last half of the 90s was all about accessories, and there was no such thing as too much.Butterfly clips came onto the scene as the fun alternative to bobby pins.

Hairstyles became much more elaborate.

Popular trends were lots of chunky highlights with pieces clipped back and the little rainbow clips were there to complete the look.

In hindsight was it the coolest? Probably no.

But would we wear them again? Still probably not.

Straps fell to the wayside as 1999 became the year of the tube top.

Pinterest/Tommy Hilfiger

As tanning reached peak popularity it does somewhat make sense how tube tops became so popular towards the end of the decade.

Also, Tommy Hilfiger was the biggest designer around and often featured celebrities in his ads wearing the classic red, white, and blue design.

A new era hit with the new millennium, and 2000 featured lots and lots of pleather.

The bubblegum pop look of the 90s slowly started to shift as more futuristic and edgy materials.

The biggest stars in the world began wearing the leather alternative everywhere.

Actors would wear it on the red carpet to movie premiers and huge pop stars like Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears wore it to every performance and awards show.

The look was edgy and would set the tone for the next decade.

2001 – 2005

Mean Girls

The 2000s were truly the wild west of fashion.

Style rules, outfit structure, and commonly used fabrics all seemed to fly out the window.

Also, as the age of the internet dawned the world became smaller and suddenly people from around the world had access to the fashion inspiration of their craziest dreams.

Pants were low, tops were cropped, and flip flops were high-end.

Also teen dramas and MTV became every parents worst nightmare, and every kids go-to style icon.

The era of the low-rise jean began in 2001.

*Sigh* Possibly one of the hardest trends, not just of the decade, but of all time came in the form of the low riser.

The jeans it right at the hip bone and left very little to imagination. Celebrities like Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan became synonymous for the trend.

Let’s just saw we’re VERY relieved the high-waisted jean trend is king now.

2002 was known for one thing, the Juicy tracksuit.

The  Was made

Jennifer Lopez/'I'm Real'

Anybody who was anybody had them, and everyone (we mean EVERYONE) wanted them.

They came in a range of colors, with the most popular being pink, and featured a bedazzled “Juicy” written on the back of the pants.

Once celebrities started wearing them it wasn’t long before teen girls followed (track)suit.

Word on the street is that Juicy Couture is planning to re-release the beloved item. Hmmm.

Von Dutch and trucker hats were the staple accessory in 2003.

The early oughts were a blur of graphic tees and logo wear. The graphic style at the time also featured raunchy sayings.

Few brands did this better than Von Dutch.

Their trucker hats were the go-to topper for graphic tees and a chunky belt.

All and all there was a lot to look at, but none of it good.

Will there ever be a shoe more comfortable than 2004’s UGG Boots?

Ugg

Have you every wants to walk around in slippers all day?

Well, UGG boots were the answer to your prayers.

The Australian based brand hit its stride in 2004 as people all over the world began wearing the shoes with jeans, mini skirts, and everything in between.

Soon you couldn’t walk down a school hallway without seeing at least 20 pairs.

Boy, do we miss the comfort.

2005 was known for its Bohemian style, and mainly maxi skirts.

Popularized by Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen at the the time the Boho trend was everywhere. Suddenly everything was layered flowery and bright.

The rise of the maxi skirt was brief, but powerful.

They also tended to come in more earthy tones as brown became a big color to wear.

Now that it’s over most designers refer to it as “the bag lady look.”

2006 – 2010

Gossip Girl

The later half of the 2000s were where the decade really found its footing.

Reality shows were still huge and Keeping Up With The Kardashians had just premiered on E! and the sisters were just stepping onto the scene.

Fashion became much more focused on labels, and the style was “the tighter the better.”

Few things looked as ridiculous as the cropped shrug of 2006.

Tied at the front, normally with a lace detail were shrugs.

They weren’t quite shirts but definitely weren’t cardigans and for some reason were always super cropped.

Shrugs also tended to go hand-in-hand with maxi skirts, oversized belts, and skinny scarves. Basically any clothing that was taken out of its proper proportion.

2007 Style – Step 1: Buy polo shirts. Step 2: Wear them all at the same time.

Dawson's Creek

If you grew up in the 2000’s you probably had a crush on a kid wearing layered polo shirts.

It sounds silly now but layering the preppy look was all the rage at the time.

Stores like Abercrombie & Fitch and Ralph Lauren benefitted from the high-brow trend.

While it did feel classy at the time, we have to imagine it was pretty darn uncomfortable.

In 2008 big bold accessories were in, and none more than the “Statement” necklace.

What does statement necklace mean?

Basically it was a large bright necklace that was the focal point of the outfit.

The came in a variety of shapes and colors and were often paired with solid color bright tunic dresses or peplum tops.

They were definitely cute, but we’re happy the more minimalistic jewelry trend is back in style.

Let’s face, jeans aren’t that comfortable. Enter the jegging trend of 2009.

Bongo Jeans

They looked like jeans (ish) but they were a million times more comfortable.

Made with cotton and feeling like wearing athletic leggings the jeggings fad was often paired with riding boots and a puffy vest.

Even celebrities contributed to this fashion mistake and people all over the country were thinking they would never have to wear regular jeans again.

In 2010 we met a new and sometimes annoying friend, the romper.

Rompers started slowly making there way onto the seen, and we have to admit we were skeptical at first.

Who would want to wear a little shorts outfit, and more importantly how did you get it off?

Well, truth be told the photo ops were worth all the pain they caused getting in and out of the adult onesie.

Rompers, also paved the way for bodysuits to make their way back onto the scene. Hmm, maybe we’ll have to dig our old going out rompers out of the bottom of our closet.