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Style > Fashion

How To Become A Psychic For Fashion Trends

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at KU chapter.

Wanna know a secret? A fashion secret?

You can guess fashion trends 20 years in advance. Fashion is basically a circle. Trends come in and out and back in, sometimes in the same way, sometimes a bit different from the last, either way, fairly predictable. Ever notice how, as distinctive as most decades’ fashion is, there are a lot of parallels between decades 20 years apart? This I call the 20-year rule. 

The twenty-year rule really started when 50s trends started to come back in the 80s. Poodle skirts got shortened into skater skirts. Neck scarves and chunky belts came back into style. Big curls were all-the-rage. While the interpretations were different, the foundations were the same. 

Then in the 90s, trends from the 60s started to come back. Both these decades have plenty of parallels, drug use and fashion went hand-in-hand, with the 60s being all about weed and the 90s being the heroine chic era. They are also both decades of supermodels and model-off-duty style. Twiggy, Jean Shrimpton, Jane Birkin and Edie Sedgwick ruled the swinging 60s, while Cindy Crawford, Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell and Claudia Schiffer were the trendsetters of the 90s. They are also two of the most timeless decades. The 60s had mini skirts/dresses, headbands, boots, tights, leopard print, matching sets and all-black outfits. The 90s had denim-on-denim, oversized blazers, leather accessories, flannels, layering, sneakers and combat boots. A lot of these trends crossed over between these stylish decades and are still staples in many women’s wardrobes today. Also, the animal print trend went from a sign of glamour to a sign of celebrated wildness and sexuality in both decades. Karl Lagerfeld made matching sets a signature of Chanel in the 90s. School girl plaid from the 60s became the grunge plaid in the 90s. Both matching sets and school girl plaid were utilized in the timeless costume design by Mona May in the iconic film Clueless. Another example of the 60s influencing the 90s is through Fran Fine’s wardrobe in The Nanny. Fran often wore matching sets, headbands, checkered prints, color blocking, stripes, floral prints, polka dots, plaid, beehive hairstyles and mini skirts.

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The 70s and 2000s also had some parallels. Both decades feature the trend of wearing shrugs and vests with no shirts layered underneath. They were both experimental with denim, in the 70s with bell bottoms and in the 2000s with low-rise jeans. Paris Hilton’s iconic 21st birthday look can be seen as an evolution of some of Farrah Fawcett’s iconic looks. The sexual revolution occurred in the 70s through Linda Lovelace and the rise of Playboy (the brand was also huge in the 2000s). In comparison, the 2000s featured a lot of sexualized media, from the American Pie franchise to Britney Spears’ public image. 

Starting in the 2010s, the trend cycle moved at a rapid pace, which only sped up faster and faster with the rise of social media. This happened mainly on platforms where visuals were utilized like Youtube, Instagram and Tumblr. With the 2010s being all about rejecting the trends of the 2000s (i.e. low rise bottoms) and fashion being undeniably cyclical, the 2010s fashion landscape was very chaotic. There were three main decades that came back into fashion; the 50s, the 80s and the 90s. 

How 50s trends came in the 2010s was through the hipster Twee aesthetic that rose on Tumblr. Celebrities like Alex Turner, Lana Del Rey and the queen of twee herself Zooey Deschanel were all about the sockhop vibes. Taylor Swift even admitted that “For the entirety of 2012, I dressed like a 1950s housewife,” which was during her original Red era.

The 80s were a HUGE influence on the 2010s, especially the early 2010s. Neon came back in a major way. Remember the saturation era of Youtube? “Niki and Gabi”, “Meg Deangelis” and “MyLifeAsEva” were huge at the time. Acid wash, muscle tees, harem pants and studs all came back as well. Remember what I said about figure skating? Well, skater skirts came back and were an even bigger trend in the 80s. Converse and Doc Martens came back, as well.  Colored skinny jeans returned, even though predictably with the rejection of 2000s trends skinny jeans were going out of style. Celebrities like Ariana Grande and Demi Lovato fell in love with Madonna-esuqe bustiers. 

By 2015, the 90s grunge was on its way back into fashion. Emily Fields on Pretty Little Liars made this comeback very clear. The big thing was tying a flannel around your waist. Doc Martens, which had previously been reserved for edgier aesthetics like pastel goths and hipsters, came back in style. By 2015, everyone wanted to get a pair. And by the decade’s end, there was a full 90s comeback with the fashion from Clueless becoming even bigger and more popular than at the time of its release (yet again proving how timeless its costume design is) and model-off-duty fashion was becoming one of most sought after aesthetics. 

The 2020s marked 20 years from the start of the 2000s, making it the perfect time for a 2000s comeback. Euphoria’s Maddy Perez and Miu Miu’s iconic Spring 2022 collection are the best example of this. Low-rise bottoms, halter tops, baby tees, zigzag headbands, ties, lace-up details, cutouts, whale tales and velour tracksuits have all had a huge comeback. Even celebrities wearing archive designer pieces have started going back to the collections of 2007. Olivia Rodrigo, who also helped bring back the 2000s music genre of pop punk, is also a huge fan of 2000s trends, as shown through her “Good 4 U” and “Brutal” music videos.

And unsurprisingly, 2010s fashion trends are already coming back. Bustiers, colored denim, pleated skirts, slogan tees, and thigh-high socks and shoes are already making a comeback. So, let’s just say, don’t be surprised if there is a full-on Tumblr resurgence as well. 

This is such a big thing, that there are even jobs called Trend Forecasters, whose job is to predict the next big fashion trend based on the trend cycle. However, you can also be your own trend forecaster, and become a trendsetter, with fashion being cyclical.

Hello! My name is Sami Gotskind! I'm from Chicago and graduated from the University of Kansas with a degree in Acting and Journalism. I also working on getting a certificate in Fashion Styling from the Fashion Institute of Technology. I was a writer for Her Campus KU from 2020 to 2022 and for Her Campus Nationals since 2021. I was also the Writing Director for Her Campus KU in 2022. I love film, TV, fashion, pop culture, history, music, and feminism. My friends describe me as an old soul, an avid Euphoria fan, a fashion icon, a Swiftie, an Audrey Hepburn-Blair Waldorf fanatic, a future New Yorker, and a Gossip Girl historian. Look out for me on your TV screens in the near future! Thank you for reading my articles!