With 2019 drawing to a close and signaling the end of the decade, it's only natural to look back at the trends that have defined fashion as we know it. While some trends continue to be relevant today, there were those that fizzled out into fads and have been completely forgotten. But no matter how hard you've tried to bury all those cringe-inducing trends of yesteryears—yes, we're talking about really skinny jeans and balloon skirts—they were still trends that represented a moment in history. And, looking back at the timeline, it's clear that fashion has grown to embrace its force as a platform for discourse, be it political or social, as evidenced by the genderless clothing of today.
Here's to everything that fashion has achieved and will achieve in the future! In the meantime, we recount the most memorable trends in the past 10 years. Try not to shed a tear (we're looking at you, Phoebe Philo).
When Phoebe Philo took the reins at Celine in 2008, her big break wouldn't come until 2009 when she finally debuted her first collection for the French fashion house. Lo and behold, her relaxed silhouettes, A-line skirts, and fresh nude colors breathed new life into the brand and basically catapulted minimalism into one of the biggest trends of the decade. Yes, the minimalist pieces that you see nowadays are indicative of the "Phoebe Philo effect," and fashion insiders are still feeling a tinge of separation anxiety since the designer left the brand in 2017.
2011: Bandage Dresses
If 2011 could be remembered by just one item, it would have to be the bandage dress, as popularized by Kim Kardashian's iconic Herve Leger numbers. This quickly became a celebrity-favorite on the red carpet, and naturally, eager fashion girls ate it all up. The body-conscious style found its way in every fast fashion retailer and became a party staple in clubs everywhere. Aside from the bandage dress, other popular 2011 items include Givenchy's rottweiler sweatshirt, colored jeans, and—gasp!—the bubble skirt.
2012: Wedge Sneakers
No matter how hard you've tried to erase this from memory, there's no denying that wedge sneakers have made an indelible mark in fashion history. The design was pioneered by French fashion designer Isabel Marant who apparently had always dreamed of owning a pair of height-increasing sneakers. The style became an It item among celebrities and style mavens and also produced many knockoffs all over the world (much to the horror of Isabel herself). If wedge sneakers are too cringe-inducing to reminisce, there's the more palatable peplum dress and boldly colored statement pants.
2013: Slogan Shirts and Sweaters
Although 2013 was the year of leather everything (shorts, shirts, coats, you name it), perhaps something more prevalent was the slogan tee, which was seen on the runways of 3.1 Phillip Lim, Ashish, and Acne. Although neutral statements like Phillip Lim's "I Heart Nueva York" made for easy appropriation, there were cheekier ones that were a little bit more controversial, such as spinoffs of logos like "Celine Me Alone," "Feline," and "Homies" (in the Hermès logo). Yeah, those were so popular, they became a Tumblr aesthetic.
If there was a trend so big that sparked international debate, it would have to be normcore, a trend whose definition baffled even the most well-versed of fashionistas. Coined by New York group K-Hole, normcore was initially a social concept—not a fashion trend—that refers to a non-pretentious way of life. In the sartorial sense, normcore meant veering away from the pressure keeping up with trends in favor of non-descript clothing. Normcore was anti-fashion, but ironically, it was the coolest thing in fashion at that time. You might remember the look as comprised of fluid silhouettes in black and white, tent-like sleeveless shirts, matched with chunky slip-ons or white sneakers. Largely though, it simply refers to basic suburban clothing.
Athleisure is still a huge trend now, but it was in 2015 that 'casual activewear' made an impact the fashion industry. The trend's popularity is largely attributed to American brand Lululemon, which catered to women with active lifestyles. The brand turned their active wear into something less intimidating and more wearable for everyday use, so you could hit the gym in the morning and easily head to brunch with friends right after. Big brands like Nike followed suit by harnessing technology and enlisting 'everyday women' as brand ambassadors. Kanye West also released his first Yeezy collection 2015, while Beyonce launched Ivy Park. The trend mutated from the simple leggings and sweatshirt combo of the mid-2010s to the more avant garde styles we see today.
2016: Gucci's granny style
When Alessandro Michele made his debut as Gucci's creative director in 2015, he sent men and women down the runway clad in colorful 'granny fashion' such as pink pussybow blouses, furry slippers with the classic horse-bit detail, shiny tea-length skirts, and a mix of prints that look like they were plucked out of an old librarian's closet—huge glasses, included. Alessandro Michele took the helm at the flailing Italian fashion house after Frida Giannini was fired, revived the brand, and even revolutionized modern dressing as genderless, ageless, and boundary-free. Up until now, Gucci items are flying off the shelves and sold to everyone from 30-year-old customers to well-heeled society swans.
Logomania was huge in the 1990s and they returned in 2017 bolder and bigger than ever. Gucci released an '80s inpired logo tee, Vetements has its cool hoodies, and Dolce & Gabbana dropped fresh white T-shirts. On the other hand, logos found its way to the realm of accessories as well, including Balenciaga caps, Dior bags, and Saint Laurent heels. Let's not forget Moschino's splashy, tongue-in-cheek pop culture references inspired by Barbie. Think of it as the older, more sophisticated version of 2013's bland slogan shirts. In fact, the craze was so powerful that it gave rise to the bootleg trend where designer brands produce 'knockoffs' of other brands (in a creative, legitimate way, of course).
2018: Luxury Streetwear
2018 was inarguably the year of luxury streetwear, as evidenced by the reign of designers Virgil Abloh (who was named the new artistic director for Louis Vuitton menswear) and Kim Jones (behind Dior Homme). Unsurprisingly, it was also the year that Virgil Abloh's Off-White had soared to greater heights, establishing itself as the luxury streetwear brand in fashion (remember when we all went crazy for the brand's Manila store opening?). Off-White was so popular that even surpassed Gucci and Balenciaga on Lyst's roundup of the year's hottest brands. It goes without saying that designer athleisure-meets-streetwear has unfathomable appeal.
2019: Micro Bags
Sure, biker shorts were a big thing, and so were animal prints, but nothing was as groundbreaking as the micro bag. Popularized by Jacquemus with its Le Chiquito, the micro bag, easily found its way in the giddy hands of celebrities and street style stars, with the most memorable red carpet moment award going to Lizzo. You may not be able to fit anything in it except for spare change, but perhaps that means we've let go of excess baggage? When our sneakers our getting bigger and snazzier ('ugly sneakers' from 2017 got more luxe over the years and they're not going anywhere!), maybe it was time for our bags to take a backseat just for a little while.