Popular fashion trends the year you were born
Popular fashion trends the year you were born
If you were born in 1918, congratulations. According to the Pew Research Center, you're one of about only 72,000 centenarians in the United States and fewer than 500,000 worldwide. If you've lived that long, you've seen some big changes in fashion along the way. Some have come, gone, and come back again. Others were regrettable fads that thankfully stayed dead once they went out of vogue. Others caught on quickly and never went out of style.
Some fashion trends are the result of war, others are the brainchildren of bold, innovative designers. Some are born out of necessity, some are triggered by a single celebrity's taste, and others arrive by accident. No matter the reason, fashion both steers and reflects the climate and culture of the time. Here are 100 of the most memorable trends over the past century.
In the 1920s, tanned skin came into vogue and by 1930, small, delicate, and decorative sun umbrellas were all but a memory. In 1918, however, parasols were still a common sight as women sported the accessory both for its function and its form. Parasols, after all, had long been a symbol of high society.
1919: Trench coats
Long outerwear made from rubberized cotton had been around since the 1820s, but what is now called a trench coat exploded in popularity after returning soldiers brought them back from World War I. Long, heavy, warm, and durable, they protected soldiers in the trenches not just from drenching rains, but also from the poison gas that has come to epitomize the conflict—the trademark wide collar was designed to tuck a gas mask into to make it airtight. Upon returning to civilian life, many soldiers just kept the rain jackets they were issued on the front.
1920: Bandeau tops
By the 1920s, women had mostly abandoned the bust-enhancing corsets and girdles of generations past. The era of the flappers was underway, and boyish bob cuts with boyish bodies were the hot new look. Women in vogue were now sporting tight bandeau tops that intentionally flattened their breasts.
1921: Cloche hats
Hats were a part—if not the most important part—of the standard uniform for men and women during the Roaring '20s, and few hats were more popular in 1921 than the all-encompassing cloche hat. Snug and worn low over the eyebrows, cloche hats perfectly complemented the short bob cuts that flapper women made famous.
1922: Trousers for women
Few people impacted 20th-century fashion more thoroughly than Coco Chanel, and although women briefly sported trousers while working in industry while the men were away during World War I, it was Chanel who made pants a female fashion statement. Chanel reportedly loved the look and feel of trousers, wore them often and publicly, and by the early 1920s, she started designing them for women.
1923: Art deco dress
The art deco movement that swept Europe and the United States in the 1910s was in full effect by 1923, and the style impacted clothing as much as architecture. That year, women's clothing was trending toward geometric shapes and patterns, often with seaming intentionally left visible to add detail, along with surface designs and graphic embellishment.
1924: High-heeled shoes
High heels had been around for centuries before the '20s roared—in fact, they were originally designed for men and were often preferred by royalty. In the 1920s, however, the modern designer high heel was born. A typical ad from 1924 might offer heels with intricate detailing and an elongated toe with bows or crisscrossing straps, not unlike the kind you'd likely see in a catalog today.
1925: Wingtip shoes
Brogue-style shoes had been around long before the 1920s, but during the then-unprecedented affluence of that decade, accessories like shoes and hats became more stylish to keep up with the dapper men's suits of the era. By the mid-'20s, a brogue spinoff called wingtips emerged, and their pointing toe caps, circular perforations and, of course, swooping "wings" came to define panache in footwear.
1926: Little black dress
Few pieces of women's clothing are more ubiquitous or enduring than the versatile and reliable LBD—the little black dress. Contrary to popular belief, however, it didn't start with Audrey Hepburn in "Breakfast at Tiffany's" in 1961. In 1926, Vogue published a drawing of a basic, narrow-sleeved dress designed by Coco Chanel that the publication dubbed "Chanel's Ford" because it was affordable, accessible to the masses and, of course, black.
1927: Saddle shoes
A.G. Spalding introduced the genderless saddle shoe in 1906, and by the late 1920s, they had become nearly ubiquitous—a trend that would hold for decades to come. Preferred by young people but also frequently seen on older Americans, saddle shoes contain a separate piece of leather sewn over the waist of the shoe, often in a contrasting color.
1928: Newsboy cap
Kids hawking newspapers while shouting, "Extra! Extra!" were a common sight in U.S. cities in the 1920s—and their headwear of choice came to be known as the newsboy cap. Once popular with European elites, the iconic eight-piece cap was available to all castes in the United States, from kids in candy stores to grownup automobile enthusiasts.
1929: A purse with straps
In 1929, groundbreaking designer Coco Chanel did what groundbreaking designers do: she broke new ground. That year, she designed a new kind of purse inspired by the shoulder slings she saw military men use to comfortably carry their gear. According to Glamour, she said in a biography years later, "I got fed up with holding my purses in my hands and losing them, so I added a strap and carried them over my shoulder."
1930: Driving gloves
By 1930, cars were cheaper and more accessible than they'd ever been before, and the fashion of the era shifted to reflect America's booming car culture. By 1930, both men and women sported driving gloves, which by that year had become shorter, thinner, tighter, and unlined to give the fingers a tighter grip on the wheel.
1931: Car coats
In 1931, driving was part of the American experience—but the first in-dash car heater was still years away. Car coats, therefore, were a fashion trend born out of necessity. Both men and women wore them, and they were made for different seasons, in different styles, and from different fabrics. It was common to see people wearing them even when they weren't in their cars.
1932: Modern bras
In the late 19th century, primitive Victorian corsets gave way to girdles, which soon gave way to split top-and-bottom women's underwear, which was followed by the brassiere. In 1932, however, three things happened that ushered in the modern era. "Brassiere" was shortened to "bra," bras got eyehooks and adjustable bands, and the alphabet-based cup-size system was born.
1933: Sport shirts
While formal wear is perhaps the most remembered style for men in the 1930s, multiple leisure looks began to take off during the Depression and by 1933, sport shirts were in vogue. Men flocked to buy bush shirts, polo shirts, and button-downs with wide, open collars.
1934: Ready-to-wear designer clothes
Designer clothes had long been the exclusive dominion of women who could afford to have each piece individually tailored to her body, but all that changed in 1934. Thanks largely to Chanel's collections and those offered by her imitators, middle-class women were now sporting the high-fashion tailored looks long seen in magazines.
Tuxedos arrived in Europe in 1865 as a regal alternative to formal tailcoats, and by the early 20th century, America had adopted the tuxedo as the male formal wear of choice. The tuxedo's popularity waned in the '20s, but came back in a big way in the 1930s. By 1935, blue wool was more popular than black wool, double-breasted tuxes—which would previously have been too informal—were the preferred look and black-tie was back in vogue as white-tie by that point was mostly left to special occasions.
1936: Chuck Taylor All Stars
Although the Converse Rubber Corporation unveiled the All Star basketball shoe in 1917, everything changed in 1936. That year, the familiar canvas shoe—the oldest and best-selling basketball sneaker in history—debuted in a white high-top model during that year's Olympic Games, making it an instant sensation.
1937: Panama hats
Panama hats have gone in and out of vogue from the early 1500s all the way up to the present day. The brimmed straw hats enjoyed a massive resurgence in popularity in the late 1930s, however, thanks to stars like Gary Cooper and Orson Welles, who wore them both on screen and in real life. By 1944, hats were Ecuador's chief export, topping even bananas.
By 1938, the trend of men wearing visible suspenders was growing, but it was still considered so risque that one town on Long Island, N.Y., tried to ban men from wearing suspenders without a coat. The ban failed, the trend was set, and actors like Humphrey Bogart would enshrine the look by wearing visible suspenders on the big screen.
Knitted or crocheted hairnets have kept women's hair out of their faces since time immemorial. In the 1940s, however, snoods soared in popularity—primarily thanks to something that happened in 1939. That year, Vivien Leigh's character Scarlett O'Hara burned them into the American imagination with her performance in "Gone With the Wind."
Fedoras have gone in and out of style from the time they arrived at the turn of the 20th century until the present day. The hat's heydey, however, was a vast period between the late 1920s and early 1950s when the functional hat was the finishing touch on the formal attire that men wore in that era—although fedoras have long been popular with women, too. By 1940, the man who would come to define the hat, Frank Sinatra, hit the radio.
1941: Propaganda scarves
In 1941, the United States entered World War II, and by that time, head scarves had already gone from functional garment to high-fashion accessory. That year, several companies cashed in on the patriotic fervor sweeping the nation by offering so-called propaganda scarves, which were emblazoned with slogans like "Into Battle" and "Salvage Your Rubber."
1942: Wrap dresses
In the early 1940s, a fancier version of the common day dress came into style—the wrap dress. Commonly worn to Sunday brunches or while entertaining guests, wrap dresses had gathers and pleats that wrapped around the front.
1943: Zoot suits
The Zoot Suit Riots were a series of attacks in 1943 by white policemen and American service members on young Latinos and other minorities in their own Los Angeles neighborhoods. Although racial tension and not fashion was the source of the mele, the zoot suit became a symbol of the conflict. The baggy suits—which were the preferred fashion for black musicians in New York and Latinos in California—were viewed with suspicion as a "badge of delinquency" by much of affluent white America, just as the hoodie would be 70 years later.
By the mid-1940s, a particular kind of jewelry was becoming a common sight. It wasn't worn around the neck, on the fingers, or in the earlobes, but on the lapel. They were brooches, and although they weren't invented at the end of World War II, that's when they enjoyed a swell of popularity as designer accessories.
1945: Fur coats
Fur coats have been around for as long as humans have been killing animals for their skins—sometimes for function, but often for fashion. Fur as fashion was, in fact, crucial to mid-1940s style. From muskrat to mink, leopard-stenciled Coney to fitted princess, fur coats were the physical embodiment of elegance in that era.
Few moments in fashion history have been more earth-shatteringly scandalous than the one that took place in 1946. That year, the world's first bikini made its debut at a poolside show in Paris, but the revealing cut was so risque that many French models refused to display it. The designer instead hired a nude dancer named Micheline Bernardini, who was the first woman ever photographed wearing one, but certainly not the last. Bikinis would soon take over the beaches of the United States and the western world.
By the end of the 1940s, belts had largely replaced suspenders because by that time, pants were more fitted at the waist. Men flocked to stock up on the accessory, which was both functional and fashionable, even though the options were limited mostly to tan, brown, or black leather with small buckles.
1948: Lampshade dresses
The lampshade dress was designed in 1912 by French designer Paul Poiret. The look was modified multiple times and was still very popular in 1948 and well into '50s. The style of dress is fitted through the bodice before flaring out dramatically on the lower half like a lampshade. Poiret's original design was achieved by threading wire through the bottom hem of the dress to hold its shape.
1949: Peep-toe shoes
By the end of the 1940s, peep-toe shoes were a popular footwear choice. They exposed just enough to be dishy without breaching the conservative standards that governed the era.
1950: Pillbox hats
As the 1940s transitioned to the '50s, there were lots of advances in the world of fashion, but some things didn't change. One of those things was the pillbox hat, a small, circular, straight-sided hat that sometimes included net veils. It grew by several inches over the years, but remained largely the same. It also became one of the only hats that endured from the 1940s into the 1960s, thanks in part to Jackie Kennedy.
1951: Full suits
The early 1950s signaled the beginning of an unprecedented rise in wealth and employment as the U.S. economy boomed. Legions of men moved their families to the suburbs and took up white-collar jobs—and those jobs required suits. Dark, full, conservative suits became so ubiquitous, in fact, that they were worn en masse even to the most casual events. When Bobby Thompson hit the "shot heard round the world" home run in the 1951 New York Giants pennant game and a crush of fans rushed the field, virtually all of the men were dressed in full suits.
1952: Poodle skirts
Poodle skirts now serve as a symbol of the innocence of the post-World War II era. In the 1950s, however, they were a fashion statement for girls and women across America. The full-length, swinging skirts were adorned with handmade embellishments, stitching, designs, and patches, often sewn on by the wearer or her mother. Among the most famous embellishments was, of course, a poodle on a leash.
1953: Smoking jackets
Smoking jackets have a long and storied history, first as leisure wear designed only for relaxing at home and then as formal wear that was appropriate for high-end public gatherings. The year 1953, however, was a watershed moment for the velvet and silk shawl-collared garments. That year, the first issue of "Playboy" came off the presses and Hugh Hefner—and his trademark smoking jacket—became a household name.
1954: The pioneer look
Ruffled buckskin jackets and coonskin caps were functional clothing worn by Native Americans and pioneers for practical reasons, not because they were winning any fashion awards. The look largely disappeared right along with the frontier—until 1954. On Dec. 15 of that year, Disney presented "Davy Crockett: Indian Fighter," a one-hour segment that was part of the "Disneyland" television series, and suddenly, boys across America were begging for classic frontier clothes.
1955: 2.55 handbags
The iconic Chanel 2.55 handbag remains among the most popular high-end purses in the entire Chanel collection—the cheap ones currently start at $2,500. The 2.55 stands for February 1955, the year designer Coco Chanel released the original, which was loosely modeled after the first bag she designed in 1929. It was a watershed month in the history of designer women's accessories.
1956: Denim jackets
From the Beatles to Bruce Springsteen, Marilyn Monroe to Beyonce, the classic American denim jacket has literally never gone out of style since Levi Strauss designed the original in 1870. In the mid-1950s, however, it became the embodiment of cool youth culture. The New York Times ran sewing patterns for denim jackets for girls and boys, while Levi's unveiled its Type II trucker jacket to the masses.
Exemplified by Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, and William Burroughs, the beat movement immortalized the kind of coffee shop cool portrayed in the movie "Funny Face" and in Kerouac's classic novel "On the Road," both of which debuted in 1957. If you were enamored of the culture that year, chances are good you owned a black beret, which was a trademark of beatnik stylings.
In 1958, women across America were wearing dresses that were spitting images of what the French queen Marie Antoinette popularized as undergarments in the 1780s: the chemise. Straight cut and unfitted at the waist, the chemise had long been a staple of women's underwear and night wear, but that all changed in 1957. That year, Parisian designers Christian Dior and Cristóbal Balenciaga unveiled straight, unbelted chemise dresses, and by 1958, the figure-concealing game-changers had gone mainstream.
1960: Polka dots
The history of polka dots as part of American fashion dates back to at least 1926 and endures to this day. In 1951, Marilyn Monroe posed for a famous pinup photograph sporting a polka dot two-piece bathing suit. But the spots got an arguably bigger boost in 1960 when Brian Hyland released the song "Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polkadot Bikini."
1961: Bug-eye sunglasses
In 1960, John F. Kennedy was elected president and he, along with his wife Jackie, would become the embodiment of high social style and graceful elegance. The first lady's trademark oversized "bug-eye" sunglasses would prove to be a trendsetter, and by the following year, women everywhere were hiding behind them.
Although versions of it existed throughout history, a certain fashion staple didn't hit the mainstream until 1962. That year, a newspaper in Montana made the first known reference to the world's most controversial hemline: the miniskirt.
1963: Pleatless pants
The 1960s were an uneven decade in terms of fashion, and pre-British Invasion 1963 looked much more like the '50s than the latter part of the '60s. There was one shift, however, that signaled a dramatic sea change in conceptions about formality. That year, it became widely acceptable for men to wear pants without pleats.
1964: Go-go boots
In the mid-1960s, it wasn't at all unusual to see women with a chunk of their clothes missing—don't worry, it was on purpose. The look was called the cutout, and windows through clothing could be small or sizable, round or square. They could be found on the backs of dresses or on the bellies, on the sleeves, on the neckline, or even on go-go boots.
1966: Slogan buttons
Little buttons safety pinned onto clothing had long been a staple of political campaigns, with "I like Ike" and other slogans serving as personal statements for those who wore them. By 1966, however, the Vietnam War was raging and social turmoil was engulfing the country back home. Slogan-pasted buttons pinned onto shirts, pants, backpacks, and jackets became a staple of the counterculture wardrobe, with familiar messages including "Hell no, we won't go," "Ban the bomb," and simply "Peace."
Though they're more commonly associated with the 1970s, bell-bottoms got their start in the late 1960s, as cultural icons hit the town with flared pants. Jimi Hendrix, Sonny and Cher, and Twiggy all promoted the look. So did Nancy Sinatra, who wore an especially memorable set of bedazzled white flared pants on her 1967 television special Movin' with Nancy. No wonder Vanity Fair later called bell-bottoms one of the fashion revolutions of 1967.
1968: Bohemian chic
Many young people in 1968 weren't hippies, but hardcore-hippie clothing rubbed off on mainstream society in the form of a trend that celebrated hippie culture without fully embracing it—bohemian chic. That year, peasant blouses, decorative handwork, and ruffles upon ruffles could be found far beyond Greenwich Village and Haight-Ashbury.
If the radical 1960s counterculture movement had a uniform, it would have to include tie-dye. Handmade rainbow clothing had defined the era's youth movement for several years, but in 1969, there was no doubt that tie-dye was king. That year, a half-million people gathered for a music festival in Woodstock, N.Y., and both on stage and in the sea of humanity in the crowd, tie-dye could be seen—at least on those whose clothes weren't covered in mud or who weren't wearing clothes at all.
1970: Platform shoes
1971: Hot pants
The loose, draping ruffles of the bohemian chic movement weren't dead in 1971, but they were starting to take a back seat to a more revealing and form-fitting style. That style was exemplified by hot pants. James Brown dedicated an entire song to the hip-hugging garment in 1971's "Hot Pants (She Got to Use What She Got to Get What She Wants)." Meanwhile, women ranging from Elizabeth Taylor to Raquel Welch proudly donned the short shorts.
By 1972, the '70s were truly the '70s, and department stores had the plaid to prove it. The crisp, linear look of plaid would have likely turned off counter-culture fashionistas in the '60s—plaid, after all, is made entirely of squares. By the '70s, however, plaid was acceptable—encouraged, even—on just about any type of fabric and all types of clothing, from hats to socks to jackets to shirts to pants and beyond.
1973: Crocheted bikinis
By the early 1970s, crochet bikinis were in. The woven swimsuits got their first big break in 1969, when Cosmopolitan put its covergirl in a green crochet bikini. The New York Times called the swimwear a "favorite" of boutique designers in 1971, and pretty soon Pam Grier was lounging poolside in a white knit two-piece.
If platform shoes were the footwear that defined the 1970s, polyester was the fabric. The 1974 Sears catalog was an homage to the synthetic cloth, which was spun into shirts, dresses, pants, jackets and, later on, entire suits, many of which were topped off with cartoonishly massive collars.
1975: Mood rings
In 1975, '60s mysticism collided with '70s commercialism in one of the most successful fashion fads in history: the mood ring. Like so many other fads, the color-shifting jewelry first found popularity in New York City but quickly spread as introspective soul searchers hoped to get a deeper understanding of their inner selves by peering into heat-sensitive crystals worn on their fingers.
1976: Corduroy suits
If your legs make a swooshing sound when you walk, chances are good you're wearing corduroy pants. The corded woolen fabric dates back thousands of years, and it remains a fall staple for some to this day. By 1976, however, the heavy fabric was a sign of the times as entire suits were made from the ribbed, un-wrinkleable cloth, which was sometimes worn head to toe.
1977: Punk jackets
Sometimes denim, sometimes leather, always daring, punk jackets were a visible symbol of youthful rebellion in 1977. As cities decayed, ghettos widened, and crime and unemployment soared, punk rock emerged to embody the spirit of youthful angst and, of course, to terrify parents. Designed to offend, punk jackets could be studded, bedazzled, torn or spiked, but all were required to be adorned with a message—the more antagonistic, the better.
1978: Doc Martens
Like so many fashion trends, Doc Marten boots and shoes were born out of necessity—the heavy footwear was originally designed to protect the feet of blue-collar workers who labored in dangerous industries. In the 1970s, however, they were a direct expression of the anarchic rebellion that defined the times. What started with punk would re-emerge over and over again with different musical movements: metal, pop, emo, alt, grunge, rave, and beyond.
1979: Jordache jeans
By the time Jordache stormed the fashion world in 1979, the company had already been in business for 17 years. But the company's meteoric rise can be traced to an ingenious ad campaign that featured a seemingly topless woman wearing skin-tight Jordache jeans, and nothing else, while riding a horse. She was soon joined by a shirtless man, also clad only in Jordache denim. The networks refused to air the ad but a few New York stations picked it up, which stirred controversy—and overnight success for Jordache.
1980: Daisy Dukes
First, there were miniskirts, then there were hot pants, but 1979 launched what just might be the most iconic trend in the history of ogle-inducing, leg-revealing fashion. That year, "The Dukes of Hazzard" debuted, starring Catherine Bach as Daisy Duke. She was an instant sex symbol, the denim cutoffs she wore became synonymous with her character's name, and by 1980, short shorts got just a little bit shorter.
1981: Leg warmers
In the early 1980s, the aerobics craze took off, and there was apparently widespread fear that the exercise fad could somehow freeze the legs of its practitioners—but only below the knee. Thick, footless socks—often colored in bright neon—began appearing en masse on shins and calves both inside exercise classes and out. The era of leg warmers had arrived.
1982: Jelly sandals
1983: Thriller jacket
On Dec. 2, 1983, 13 minutes changed the world. That was the duration of Michael Jackson's "Thriller" video, the MTV masterpiece that both launched the music video era and at the same time represented its zenith. The iconic red jacket with V-shaped red stripes that the King of Pop wore in the video was an instant phenomenon. When the original sold for $1.8 million in 2011, the buyer reportedly called it "the greatest piece of rock and roll memorabilia in history.”
1984: Fingerless gloves
1985: Air Jordans
While Michael Jackson was busy owning the pop culture space of music, another Michael was setting red-and-black leather trends of his own. In 1985, the original Air Jordan sneaker was released—and the era of high-end luxury athletic sneakers had begun. That year, Jordan made the jump from basketball great to global entrepreneur and fashion mogul, and fans all over the globe rushed to the local shoe store to see if they could afford a pair of his sneakers for themselves.
1986: Friendship bracelets
From bell-bottoms to peasant blouses, the trends that defined the hippie era of the 1960s have resurfaced from time to time. The mid-to-late 80s were one of those times, as countless brightly colored, handmade bracelets crafted from thread or yarn were woven, exchanged, and worn as symbols of friendship, often until close to the point of decay.
1987: Z Cavaricci pants
Z. Cavaricci launched in 1982, but when the brand's blockbuster Cateye pants hit stores in 1987, customers flocked to those stores to snag a pair for themselves. Like Air Jordans before them, Z. Cavs were pricey, but if you had the cash, that little white tab in on the fly gained you instant access to the in-crowd.
1988: Pinch-rolled jeans
In 1988, it wasn't so much the brand of jeans that mattered, but what was going on at the cuff around the ankle. The trend of pinching and rolling pant bottoms into ankle-hugging cuffs took off in the '80s, becoming standard operating procedure by the close of the decade. In 1990, "Beverly Hills 90210" would immortalize the look as a required element of the standard suburban prep uniform.
In 1989, standard hair ties would no longer suffice for pulling back ponytails. Scrunchies, a riff on the brand name Scunci, were the must-have elastic cloth bands that became all the rage in 1989 and endured well into the '90s.
1990: Hammer pants
Before 1990, puffy pants that taper from the low crotch to the bottom of the leg were associated with mid-19th century feminists. That year, however, M.C. Hammer released the smash hit single "U Can't Touch This." From that moment on, what had been called "parachute pants" or "harem pants" would be forever known as Hammer pants.
1991: Flannel shirts
By 1991, the bars and coffee shops of Seattle could no longer contain the grunge music movement that was born in the city. That year served as a seismic shift in American music as three seminal albums were released within the span of a single month: "Ten" by Pearl Jam, "Badmotorfinger" by Soundgarden and "Nevermind" by Nirvana. Grunge had gone national and so, too, had its Pacific Northwest stylings, which were defined by the centerpiece of the grunge uniform: the flannel shirt.
Put your hand on a purple shirt and almost instantly a perfect bright pink handprint is left behind. That was the magic of Hypercolor, a heat-sensitive clothing fad that won over much of America's youth in the early 1990s.
1994: Babydoll dresses
1995: Birkenstock sandals
Birkenstocks date all the way back to a German shoemaker in the late 1700s, but the modern Birkenstock sandal was born in 1964. The familiar Arizona style debuted in 1973 and from concerts to campus, boardwalks to bistros, they seemed to be on everybody's feet by the mid-'90s. In 1996, the company would offer more than 300 style and color combinations.
1996: Denim skirts
From split-fronts to blue pockets, button-fronts to cherry bombs, denim skirts in the mid-1990s seemed to be more popular than full-length jeans for everyone from middle-school girls to onscreen celebrities. The year 1996, however, proved to be a watershed moment for the denim skirt when ultimate '90s sex symbol and "Baywatch" babe Pamela Anderson rocked one with a skin-tight, girl-power crop top.
1997: Backpack purses
1998: Hilfiger everything
By the mid-1990s, Tommy Hilfiger had set his massively successful brand apart as a downstreet alternative to the chic stylings of competitors like Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren. Although the brand went through several incarnations, the Hilfiger heydey was most certainly the 1990s, when the clothing was part of the uniform for both inner-city hip-hop artists and the legions of pretenders in the suburbs who hung on their every move. The year 1998 was a watershed for Hilfiger thanks to supergroup Destiny's Child, who flaunted the red, white, and blue as their brand of choice—Britney Spears, Gwen Stefani, TLC, and other headline acts got in on the craze as well.
1999: Bucket hats
2000: Trucker hats
In 2000, the show "Jackass" debuted and "That '70s Show" was at the height of its popularity—and both Johnny Knoxville of the former and Ashton Kutcher of the latter were true believers in the trucker hat fad. Made from plastic mesh, foam, and little else, trucker hats were originally functional accessories born out necessity. But like flannel shirts, Dr. Marten boots, and so many trends that came before, blue-collar Americans who had worn them forever were largely dumbfounded when trucker hats were co-opted by celebrities and hip trendsetters.
2001: Popped collars
Although Kanye West occasionally rocks a popped collar today, the controversial rapper by no means blazed a fashion trail with that particular look. Collars intentionally raised on Polo shirts and button-downs was a trend among well-heeled country club yuppies—and the legions of pretenders—in the 1980s. But the trend got another boost in 2001 from Usher's "Pop Ya Collar."
2003: Juicy track pants
Juicy Couture brought the 1980s-1990s tracksuit movement back into vogue, but with a twist. If you felt like you couldn't leave the house in the early 2000s without seeing innuendo-laced writing on the butts of girls and women everywhere, you were not alone. The word "Juicy" sparked a cultural movement, making the seat of your pants the go-to spot to slap a logo.
2004: Livestrong bands
Before he was outed as a cheater, cancer survivor Lance Armstrong was the king of the cycling universe and the mind behind a well-intentioned fundraising prop that turned into a global fashion phenomenon. Yellow rubbery Livestrong bracelets were originally sold to raise money for cancer, but soon became a must-have fashion statement that spawned a laundry list of associated bracelets with their own colors and causes.
2005: Ugg boots
Although Uggs were born in 1978 and continue to endure to the present day, the pinnacle of the sheepskin-lined boots' reign was in the mid-aughts. After Oprah named them as one of her favorite things in 2000, the boots spiked in popularity. By 2005, everyone from Beyonce to Ben Affleck was wearing them—sometimes on the job.
These foam, Swiss cheese-holed clogs first appeared in 2002. But four years later, the company went from niche to juggernaut as Crocs made their stock market debut.
2007: Fedoras again
A century after the end of the hat's heydey in the mid-1950s, the fedora returned with a vengeance. This time around, it was no longer the capstone on an elegant formal look that dominated men's clothing culture in the early 20th century, nor was it the trademark accessory of gangsters, Rat Packers, and sportswriters. By 2007, the fedora had been co-opted by hip urbanites, popularized by idols like Brad Pitt, and no longer required formal wear to match.
2009: Cardigan sweaters
It's hard to imagine that a look most closely associated with Mr. Rogers would later be adopted by some of the era's most important hip-hop moguls, but in 2009, that's exactly what happened. That year, Jay-Z and Diddy made cardigans part of their wardrobes, which led Tyga, Chris Brown, Nelly and many more to follow suit in the coming years.
2010: Skinny jeans
Sid Vicious and the Ramones wore skinny jeans in the 1970s, while acts like The Strokes carried their style into the early aughts. In 2010, however, NPR proclaimed skinny jeans the new "rock fashion." The pants also became associated with hipsters, normally in derisive fashion. But the trend got so out of hand that eventually, even babies were sporting skinny jeans.
History is unkind to many fashion trends, few more ruthlessly than the much-maligned jeans/leggings combo known as jeggings, which stretched over legs of all shapes and sizes throughout 2011. The Daily Beast called them "denim-colored sausage casings" and "the 21st century's worst fashion trend," but it was the movement's adherents who got the last laugh. In 2011, the Concise Oxford English Dictionary added "jeggings" to the official American vocabulary.
The first hooded sweatshirt was produced in 1919 and served for decades as a utility shirt for outdoor workers, but the hoodie became the uniform of a movement with the 2012 killing of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin. To supporters of gun-toting, stand-your-ground-law defendant George Zimmerman, who was eventually acquitted of Martin's murder, the hoodie was a sign of trouble. To the Black Lives Matter movement and its supporters, hoodies represented a stand against prejudice, racism, and inequality under the law.
2013: Wedge sneakers
In 2012, Isabel Marant's Willow Sneaker lit the spark that would turn into the wedge sneaker inferno, which engulfed America and much of the western world the following year. They were a bona fide craze by 2013, as Nicki Minaj and Ciara sported them in the music video for "I'm Out" and Alicia Keys launched a wedge sneaker collection with Reebok.
2014: Loom bands
The latest in a long and storied lineage of bracelets that aren't quite jewelry, loom bands dominated youth accessory culture above nearly all else in 2014. Part of the reason the brightly colored interwoven arm-wear was so successful is that loom bands seemed to be loved equally by both boys and girls.
By 2015, yoga pants were no longer just for yoga—or even mostly for yoga, in a lot of cases. It was the year of athleisure, when Under Armour and Nike surpassed the likes of Gap and Abercrombie & Fitch for millennial clothing purchases. That year, the #FitSpo hashtag dominated Instagram and stretch pants and sports bras became going-out clothes.
Chokers have been hugging women's necks since at least the time of Anne Boleyn, who died in 1536—and they've endured through the ages. The year 2016, however, might just have been the pinnacle of the fashion statement. Jewel-encrusted, plain, velvet, lace, or adorned with a nameplate, you didn't have to look far to find a choker in 2016.
2017: Girl-power shirts
In response to the election of Donald Trump and the #MeToo movement, masses of women began wearing feminist protest shirts as both a political statement and a fashion statement. By 2017, girl-power shirts were a mainstay, with companies making fortunes designing shirts with slogans like "Matriarch," "Fight like a girl," and "Sushi rolls not gender roles."