The 14 Fashion Trends That Defined The Last 10 Years
I began my career in fashion in 2010, precisely one decade ago. Over the last 10 years, I have seen designers come and go, trends emerge and disappear, and the industry, as a whole, undergo dramatic shifts. It's been a wild ride but I wouldn't have it any other way. Sure, there were some questionable style moments scattered throughout the years (namely ultra-low jeans and wedges, in my humble opinion), but the decade also spurred a ton of inspiring trends that distinctly defined this period in style (and my introduction to the world of fashion). Narrowing down the most important styles from a decade's worth of fashion trends is a tough feat, which is why I turned to a few of TZR's fashion writers in addition to my favorite women in the industry for their picks and added a few of my own for good measure.
Ahead, take a stylish stroll down memory lane to rediscover the fashion moments that cemented style over the 2010s (plus one very strange year into the '20s). There are instantly recognizable looks like voluminous puff sleeves and athleisure staples, but you'll also find a few throwbacks that you may have forgotten were a huge deal a mere handful of years ago (ahem, Balenciaga moto boots). Together, consider the 14 below as your style yearbook, complete with visuals and shopping.
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Best Trends Of The Decade: Extreme Proportions
"When I think of the past decade fashion-wise, I go to extremes," Stylist Sarah Schussheim tells me. "Think oversized Balenciaga coats and Vetements hoodies versus tiny Jacquemus and Telfar bags. Playing with proportions is a balance that offers ultimate cool vibes; it's fun and not too serious."
Best Trends of the Decade: '90s Redux
"One of the things I'll remember most about the last decade of fashion is its obsession with all things '90s," Freelance Writer and Editor Gina Marinelli says. "Truly everything — from tiny chokers to grungy plaid. Neither of those is my style, but slip skirts (and by extension, dresses) are a personal favorite for their inherent sleekness and ability to make even a plain tee feel special."
Best Trends of the Decade: Voluminous Sleeves
“Perhaps I was channeling the decade I was born in, but bold, puffy sleeves á la the '80s have been big for me (no pun intended)," Freelance Writer and Editor Laura Lajiness tells me. "As I’ve shaped my style over the past decade, clean and modern versions have been integral — I could write a love letter to the Rejina Pyo, Khaite, and Brock Collection splurges hanging in my closet.”
Best Trends of the Decade: Alessandro Michele's Gucci
In January of 2015, the fashion world was forever altered by Gucci's appointment of Alessandro Michele as creative director. The granny-chic, estate sale aesthetic he made ultra-popular with his thick frames, Pussy bow blouses, and beloved loafers continues to be an influential force, almost six years later.
Best Trends of the Decade: Bike Shorts
"To say that biker shorts impacted the last decade of fashion would be a massive understatement," Contributing Shopping Editor Shelby Ying Hyde tells me. "Princess Diana and Kim Kardashian West alike have proved that what once was considered a wildly impractical staple from the '80s has the range to be actually quite posh." Hyde describes her style as sport-chic and "instantly became a fan of dressing them up with a blazer or an oversized jumper."
Best Trends of the Decade: Western Boots
"So many trends come and go, but the one that will always be in my closet is a pair of Western boots," Henry Rose Head of Marketing Breanna Warner shares with me. Warner grew up on a ranch in the Sierra Nevada foothills and spent her childhood riding horses and "kicking up dirt in classic 'cowboy/girl' boots." Her first pair was bright red. "They were practical and protective but also a huge reflection of style and preference," she says. "I was fascinated to see the trend spread to all the luxury brands (YSL and Isabel Marant, to name a few) and felt a sense of pride in my country roots. That being said, they will never be a fleeting trend for me but a forever staple."
Best Trends of the Decade: Normcore
"I'm eternally grateful for the timing of the Normcore trend because it made many of the staples of my childhood into fashionable choices," TZR Senior Fashion Editor Aemilia Madden shares with me. "Birkenstocks, fleeces, tie-dye, baseball caps, and chunky hiking shoes were no longer things I wore solely for outdoor weekends or low stakes errands."
Best Trends of the Decade: Vintage Waist Cuts
For Lesse Founder Neada Deters, the last 10 years marked a return to high-waist cuts. "I think there was unanimous relief across all generations when they made a comeback," she tells me. "A high-waist trouser or skirt feels infinitely better than the hip-grazing silhouettes of the early 2000s, on anyone." This trend also coincided with the push for a more sustainable, circular economy with plenty of pre-loved options. "It was a stepping stone for vintage clothing to become mainstream, which is immensely better for our planet," she adds.
Best Trends of the Decade: Streetwear & Athleisure
For Acielle, the photographer behind Style du Monde, the influence of streetwear in fashion is the trend that stands out. "As a photographer, I'm always on my feet, both on the streets or backstage, so great-looking streetwear has been a blessing," she shares with me. "I love my Prada or Gucci belt bags, Raf Simons or Comme des Garcons x Nike sneakers, and Craig Green or Raf Simons hoodies." Athleisure, as a whole, is among the most prevailing trends of the last 10 years and shows no signs of slowing down after a year like 2020 when everyone is reaching for their most comfortable separates.
Best Trends of the Decade: Loewe Puzzle Bag
"When I think about iconic fashion items from the decade, one thing that jumps out to me is Loewe's Puzzle Bag, which was Jonathan Anderson's debut silhouette for the brand in 2015," Madden says. "Its unique shape holds its appeal today, a fact which isn't often the case with trendy bags which tend to have their season and then oversaturate and fade away."
Best Trends of the Decade: The J.Crew Effect
It wasn't until her departure in early 2017 that I had realized just how profound of an effect Jenna Lyons had on J.Crew and street style, in general. Her eccentric, masculine-meets-feminine styling tricks were signature to her time at the brand and ushered in a wave of well-layered, mixed-and-matched outfits far and wide.
Best Trends of the Decade: 'Ugly' Shoes
The 'ugly shoe' trend began to brew shortly after Man Repeller was launched in 2010 — a coincidence? One of the first iterations I remember seeing was Balenciaga's ultra-popular Cienture moto boots. After that came a slew of eccentric styles like chunky sneakers, the revival of Crocs, Birkenstocks, and countless others.
Best Trends of the Decade: The Retro Dress
There was a certain moment in time, about five years ago, when seemingly everyone I knew all of a sudden owned a floral wrap midi dress. It was effortless! It was French-inspired! These easy breezy frocks emerged from brands like Rouje, Réalisation Par, and Faithfull the Brand. It's not groundbreaking but it sure is wearable.
Best Trends of the Decade: Statement Denim Hems
The last 10 years have procured a vast amount of denim trends (too many to list out here, in fact). One that sticks out are reimagined hems for jeans. Super tattered raw hems, oversized cuffs, cutouts, embellishments — there was something for everyone and the result always felt fun.