7 Iconic Fashion Trends of the 2010s

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times

Presented by Colgate Optik White Renewal 

The biggest fashion trends are usually high risk, high reward. And specifically in the tragic case of low-rise jeans, that was a lesson I had to learn all my own. Travel with me for a moment to the year 2011 when I *might* have been leisurely crunching on a Subway chicken, bacon, ranch salad and a woman *might* have abruptly rose from her seat and exclaimed that she could not finish eating her meatball marinara sub whilst my undergarments were on full display. The fashion police would have been right to arrest me right then and there and throw away the key. It was a moment of clarity—and I can’t stress this enough—she was not wrong. 

But bizarre fashion choices are a given when you look back at yesteryear and with the possibility of low-rise jeans allegedly making a comeback (please, fashion gods, no), we’re reflecting on the past decade’s best and worst trends. Because you never know when the ghost of styles past is going to come back and haunt you. From saggy harem pants to the invention of the wedge sneaker and the choker redux, be sure to scroll through and take a walk down memory lane. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

1. The bandage dress

Three examples of bandage dresses, body-contouring and tight-fitting dresses

If you were celebrating a birthday or headed to Las Vegas for New Year’s Eve between the years 2010 and 2014, the bandage dress was the look and the lifestyle. Designed by Hervé Léger, skin-tight, Ace-like bandages wrapped the body much like a Mummy—but make it sexy.  The dress covered countless Cosmopolitan magazine issues and was worn by every celebrity under the sun, from Nicki Minaj to Chrissy Teigen and even Meghan Markle. I’m secretly hoping this body-con number comes back into fashion’s good graces, because if so, I’ll see y’all at 1 OAK. 

2. The wedge sneaker 

Three examples of wedge sneakers

RIP to perhaps fashion’s most controversial shoe: the wedge sneaker. It was the ultimate hybrid of comfort-meets-height and the truest form of chaotic energy. The sporty Willow Sneaker designed by Isabel Marant in 2012 surprisingly rose to popularity when fashion tastemakers like Beyoncé, Miranda Kerr and Gwen Stefani made a compelling case for the elevated footwear, wearing the trend deep into 2015. 

3. Cold shoulders 

Much like the name would describe, the cold shoulder was exactly that—a top with the shoulders cut-out, breezily exposed to the elements. It was a fashion statement heard worldwide and soon stars like Margot Robbie, Priyanka Chopra and Rihanna would be seen gallivanting the streets of NYC in the edgy lewk that, honestly, could use a revival.  

4. Drop-crotch pants 

Three examples of men's black drop-crotch pants.

If Justin Bieber were an item of clothing he would be the drop-crotch pant. While the baggy bottoms first came to fame in the early ’90s thanks to M.C. Hammer, it will go down in history as Justin Bieber who brought them back to life circa the early 2010s. They quickly became a trademark of the singer’s attire both on and off-stage, as JB was dedicated to the laid-back style. But serious Q and unsolved mystery: How did he walk?

5. Clear heels

Three examples of clear heels.

We have a single family to praise for saran-wrap-inspired footwear, and that is the blessed Kardashian/Jenner clan. Thanks in large part to Kanye West’s Yeezy 2017 spring ready-to-wear collection, PVC heels catapulted into notoriety when every relative donned the trend strutting the streets of Calabasas looking long and lean. And while visually appealing, clear shoes pose the very real threat of exposing squished toes and visions of sweat—yikes. So to quote Mr. West, “I feel it’s fadin’” and we’re not sorry to see this one go. 

6. Peplum top 

Three examples of peplum tops

The peplum top was the “going-out top” of the early 2010s. The official party blouse had us rocking a big ruffle smack-dab in the middle of our waistline. But despite often unforgiving proportions, celebrities far and wide from Nicole Kidman, Selena Gomez and Blake Lively chose to rock the trend on every red-carpet occasion, and it always looked—dare I say—hella chic. Soon after, the trend quickly became a staple in the workplace as professional attire and TBH we wouldn’t mind giving this trend another moment in the sun.

7. Choker necklaces

Three examples of chokers

Bella and Gigi Hadid played a pivotal part in 2015’s choker craze. The sisters were photographed wearing the cool-girl accessory everywhere, en route to grab a slice or hustling backstage at a high-fashion runway show. They proved that, styled casually or dressed up to the nines, this trend went from ’90s Buffy the Vampire Slayer vibes to elevated, off-duty model in a New York minute, and we’re very much still here for said trend. 

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