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A Decade of Fashion: Clothing Trends from the Last 10 Years

With the passing of another decade, it seems to be the ideal time to reflect upon some of the most influential fashion statements of the last ten years. From statement sleeves to luxury leisurewear, this list shall dissect three of the biggest trends of the Tweenies.

Illustration by Vitoria Mendes

The Dad Trainer

For an era defined by its fast-moving nature, it came as no surprise that the trainer was picked out as an essential item for the wardrobe. The demands of modern life could simply no longer be kept up with a pair of stilettos. As the years progressed, however, these items of footwear seem to have been taken to the extreme with the invention of the ‘dad trainer’. The uglier the better as brands such as Balenciaga and Nike sought to create the chunkiest, most orthopaedic-looking shoes ever to tread on the high street. They quickly received cult status thanks to their distinctive aesthetic and were worn with everything from the simple pair of jeans to the power suit. The question now is how much further the simple trainer can be pushed in the coming years.


Trainers were not the only item of sportswear that attracted a mass fashion following in the last decade. The frequent appearance of celebrities adorning their gym kit in every situation, apart from the gym, resulted in the trend for ‘athleisure’, that is athletic leisurewear. Leggings, hoodies, and other sporting paraphernalia were given a luxury upgrade as they were made available in plush fabrics such as cashmere and mohair. It was a clothing fad that allowed for the most mundane of tasks to be completed in utter comfort, something that was considered a blessing by those who would rather spend most of their day watching Netflix whilst dressed in something that resembled pyjamas. The last decade was also one that saw the emergence of ‘fitspiration’, with millions of people sharing their workouts online. Looking like you just hit the gym allowed you to identify with this tribe of fitness fanatics without putting in any of the actual work.

Statement Sleeves

The last ten years also oversaw the emergence of a more refined trend, that of the statement sleeve. For the first half of the decade this took the form of the cold-shoulder. Large holes were strategically placed on tops and dresses alike with the aim of showing just a glimpse of the arm. This morphed into the more overt off-shoulder as the years progressed. Towards the end of the decade, however, it seemed that designers unanimously decided that more was better as the bell sleeve was reintroduced into their collections. This was a fad whose palpable presence seemed to have been specifically devised for the age of Instagram. It was a case of go big or go home, with vast amounts of fabric being used to create a fashion statement that will take some time to forget.

The originality and initiative of these past trends arguably reinforce fashion’s position as a cornerstone of creativity in today’s world. It is used as a vehicle to reflect not only personal taste but also the society in which it is worn. With this in mind, it shall be interesting to see what trends shall emerge in the forthcoming decade.


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