Story by Chloe Campbell

In the 2010s, movies, TV, and fashion consistently featured throwbacks to the 1980s and 1990s. As the decade comes to a close, PRISM takes a look at all those funky fashion trends you may have forgotten. 

2010: Silly for Silly Bandz

The coolest kids in 2010 had sleeves of Silly Bandz on their arms. Silly Bandz were small, stretchy silicone bracelets that came in the shape of animals, objects, and even popular food items. They didn’t quite resemble their intended shape when worn, but kids loved to show their friends the new Bandz they owned and even traded amongst themselves to get better ones (like the highly coveted Princess Pack). It’s clear that this trend was short-lived, but it’s nice to reminisce on simpler times. 

2011: Birds of a Feather 

2011 brought a flock of feather accessories to everyday style, including earrings, headbands, and hair attachments. The thin, artificial hair feathers clipped onto strands of hair at the scalp and stayed in for a couple months. Similar to highlights, the feathers showed one’s individuality in a colorful way, even if everybody had them. 

2012: Ugg Boots and Wedge Sneakers 

The year we all thought the world was going to end: 2012. Although Earth didn’t actually explode, the fashion world exploded with funky shoe options, including Ugg Boots and wedge sneakers. Made of sheepskin with fleece on the inside of the shoe, Uggs are perfect for cold weather or lounging inside the house, but in 2012, people wore the iconic tan boots everywhere and in all seasons. Wedge sneakers, however, were an impractical shoe. These “sneakers” featured a wedge heel that made them a fashion statement rather than a functional athletic shoe. 

2013: Acid Wash 

A popular style for denim in 2013 was acid wash. Acid wash jeans are made by pouring a chemical solution over denim to strip the first layer of color away, which yields a result similar to tie-dye with a variation of color, but acid wash achieves a marbled effect. Acid wash could be found on all types of denim, including jeans, shorts, and jackets. 

2014: High Waisted Jeans and Crop Tops

In 2014, a fashion staple was high-waisted jeans, which rise to about one’s belly button. These jeans are often paired with crop tops, which falls higher than a regular t-shirt. Since 2014, high-waisted pants and crop tops have only grown in popularity. We have also seen variations of high-waisted jeans, such as ripped jeans and mom jeans (a 1980s throwback).

2015: Chokers 

Choker necklaces, another 1990s trend, returned in the 2010s. These necklaces are worn close to the neck and can be made out of many different materials, such as velvet, plastic, or conch shells. A popular choker was the plain black “tattoo” style, which features small overlapping circles. 

2016: Space Buns are Out of this World

A popular hairstyle in 2016 was space buns (yet another 1990s throwback). Styling space buns requires making two buns on the top of one’s head, one on each side above the ears. This hairstyle quickly became a favorite at music festivals, such as Coachella, and for internet influencers. Brightly dyed hair also trended in 2016, so the brighter the space buns, the better!

2017: Fanny Packs (Are Back) 

First worn in the 1980s as a practical alternative to a purse, fanny packs were not originally a fashion trend. But in 2017 that changed, and fanny packs assumed status as the ultimate funky accessory. Fanny packs are worn like a belt around the waist as a hands-free purse.  While most fanny packs only hold the absolute necessities due to their size, a few brands make the “belt-bags” bigger and with more capabilities, such as built-in speakers or phone chargers. 

2018: Distressed Clothing 

A big trend in 2018 was distressed clothing, and not just ripped jeans. Popular street fashion designs featured shirts, pants, and shoes with holes and frayed edges. (Bonus points for destroyed tie-dye band tees.)

2019: Leopard-Print Everything 

Fashion definitely got wild in 2019! Although animal prints are not new to popular fashion, leopard print took center stage in 2019. Leopard print could be found on everything from scrunchies and belts, to jeans and bike shorts to shirts and skirts.