The 2010s: The Decade of Dodgy Trends


With Lady Gaga’s meat dress making its unexpected appearance at the beginning of the last decade, it’s no surprise that the 2010s presented some rather tasteless trends. From neon to animal print to crop tops that flitted in and out of fashion, it’s hard to determine what was a questionable look and what was truly iconic. However, there is absolutely no denying that some things can only be (and should only be) something we look back on and laugh at the hideousness of.

2010 was the year full of kitten and 6.5-inch heels, as well as the peak of orange tan and thick black eyeliner. Despite being an entire decade ago, some bad fashion choices from this fateful era are still alive today. One of which is the massacre of acceptable nail care, with Barry M bringing out their crackle polish and the idea of mixing nail varnishes by putting them into water. I tried this again a few weeks ago so I solely blame myself for its resurrection.

Next came a very problematic year. Amazingly, we managed to survive through the 2011 creation and destruction of the wedge sneaker that was truly a crime against all things natural. Cheap, ‘too tight’ and ‘too short’ clothing was flooding the nation and with it came the infamous statement pieces of jeggings, spider lashes, and monokinis. Double denim was slain and three things that should never be put together were, of course, put together: studs, fringe, and sequins. Ugh.

The most traumatic part of 2012 was the introduction of the onesie. This of course is a British staple nowadays, though it is often left in the safety of the bedroom. However, in the good old days of the London Olympics, onesies made their way into the world – and onto the streets. People would wear them outside, and with much confidence. My favourite new hobby is looking at celebrities having Christmas photoshoots in 2012 – do it, you won’t be disappointed. This is also the year that ‘YOLO’ was created, so there was lots of this motif plastered across pretty much everything, as well as fake nerd glasses and meggings.

Following on from the disaster of 2012, one would hope 2013 would give something a little bit better – this was not the case. The moustache trend was the afterbirth of YOLO, which was often combined with the mastery of printed leggings and waterfall cardigans. It was also the year that luxe, fur-lined, Birkenstock-style sliders came into the public eye and paved the way for unnecessary and counterproductive sportswear.

Athleisure and normcore were introduced in 2014 and, despite being inspirational at the time, became too much, too soon and touched quite frequently on ridiculous. This is also the same for distressed jeans as this was the year Topshop started doing whatever they thought was a good thing for denim and still haven’t stopped doing. Empowerment came in 2014, but with it came an onslaught of latex and pastel armpit hair – something that can safely be left well in the past.

2015 was quite nuanced in its trends but did see the controversial ‘manbun’ escape salon doors. It was certainly a year that can be described as meh, with high-slit tops and glove shoes being all the rage. Accessories were pushed to their limits however, as fringe made yet another comeback to unacceptable lengths, as well as the creation of fur key-chains and pretty ridiculous chokers.

As well as the trend of using Snapchat filters as makeup inspiration, 2016 was the year the Kardashians really brought their unappealing side into the public eye. Plastered all over their Instagram accounts, waist trainers became the newest, desirable accessory. Not only did they create abnormal and cartoon-like curves, they also were damaging towards both mental and physical health, which seems to be a continuing theme for the Kardashian brand. Only a year prior had Kylie Jenner confused fans by getting lip fillers and looking like an entirely different person, leading to the dangerous craze of using household objects like shot glasses and bottle lids to get the look without the price tag and commitment, a dangerous activity that often lead to unappealing and disastrous results.

Footwear can never recover from the pure destruction starting in 2017. Described by Vogue as “ugly”, Balenciaga brought out their Triple S sneaker that certainly confused runways. Shoes made of clear plastic became trendy, as well as sock-like speed trainers, dad sneaker wedges, and even platform crocs. People may mistakenly say that fidget spinners were the most ridiculous part of 2017, until they remember Y/Project invented detachable jeans.

All the fashion throwbacks seemed to occur in 2018, with lots of 90s influences. Unfortunately, it seemed to be unwanted throwbacks, with tiny sunglasses and cold shoulder shirts (and jackets). Plastic fashion (think of the transparent jean panels) were a thing for some unknown reason as well as tiny, unusable bags. Monochromatic palettes were everywhere, which was a very refreshing look, until it stopped being refreshing and started looking a bit tired.

Along with the very rough start to the decade, 2019 was not much better. It saw the end of some unwanted looks (goodbye forever drop-crotch harem pants!), but also saw the epitome of stupid. Cage and crotch-less were adjectives for trousers, and bodysuits steered away from accessible fashion and entered the region of insanity.

Truly, the 2010s were a decade of remarkable achievement. This wasn’t often in the shape of desirable trends, but due to the beauty of time, it means it’s all behind us – unless it comes back into fashion.



Wessex Scene Editor 21/22. Living vicariously through other people.

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