Fashion of the 2010s
The decade is characterized by influencers and a rare variety of different fashion styles. Social media leads to rapid consumption, from buying to disposing of barely worn clothes, influencers spread important fashion trends, while classic fashion editors can hardly keep up with describing the latest trends. At the same time, there is a growing demand to make the fashion world more sustainable, inclusive and diverse.
The early 2010s (2010-2012)
The early 2010s are often characterized by recycling and vintage fashions from previous decades. The trend of combining expensive designer clothes from Gucci or Chanel with garish neon colors spreads. And the hip fashion of the late 2000s—leggings, skinny jeans, midi and maxi skirts, as well as large-print, round-necked shirts, sweatpants, motorcycle jackets or tunics—remains popular and in some cases lasts as a fashion trend until the end of the decade.
Nineties Revival—Belly Tops and Acid Washes
Oversized flannel shirts and blouses, skater skirts, midriff-baring tops, acid-wash jeans or even parachute pants, leggings, the high waist in women's fashion or even the combination of shirt and blazer make a comeback at the beginning of the decade and often form a counterpoint to the fashion of the 2000s, which is mostly characterized by a low waist. For men, colorful shorts are a big hit.
The lace look—a comeback from grandma's times
What once seemed like something from grandmother's time is making a comeback in 2010. Lace is all the rage and is not only used to embellish the décolleté. The fine fabric can also be seen as a mini dress or a handbag.
Neon colors—ideal for designer fashion
The pioneer of neon fashion is Dior, which brings the bright colors to the catwalk. But in everyday life you can also see the bright colors on leggings, dresses and shirts, combined with expensive designer pieces.
Skinny jeans and high heels—the Rihanna look
Stars like Rihanna show how it's done: Simple shirts with large prints go well with skinny jeans, perhaps complemented by a biker leather jacket. Skimpy high heels add the necessary glitz and glamour. But soon this trend will be replaced by high-cut mom jeans.
Feminine style—girl boss instead of girlie style
Haute couture catwalks at the beginning of the decade are characterized by a very classic, feminine look. Pencil skirts, minimalist dresses and cardigans often look almost conservative when paired with platform shoes, but always professional and feminine. This will not change in 2012, even though skirts will be a little wider again and women will be wearing trousers on the catwalk. In particular, Marlene pants will make a comeback, preferably in a sand color. In any case, the outfits are a counterpoint to the girlie look à la Britney Spears. Girl Boss is the new buzzword that can be found in both day and evening wear at the beginning of the decade.
Boyfriend style—the antithesis of the feminine look
The antithesis of the figure-hugging feminine look is the boyfriend style. Women wear oversized blazers and pants that could have come from their boyfriend's closet. Of course, the fashion industry discovers the boyfriend style as its own sales trend.
Fashion Mid 2010s (2013-2016)
In the mid-2010s, one term in particular makes a name for itself in the fashion world: Athleisure made its way onto the streets and has since become indispensable. The sporty look with a touch of luxury is ubiquitous on catwalks, red carpets, streets, and the clubs alike.
Monochrome vs. print—neon is out
The neon colors that were in vogue at the beginning of the decade have gone out of style and are being replaced by more subdued colors. In particular, black and white—solid or combined with stripes or polka dots—are everywhere, from blouses to pants to shoes. There is also a trend towards large prints, fueled by supermodels wearing animal print shirts. At the same time, 2013 is also characterized by a solid look, with orange and red being particularly popular. Sheer clothing that shows more than it hides, pastel colors and a glitter look are also popular with women—as long as they have the right catwalk figure.
Anti-fashion—revival of grunge fashion
In the early to mid-decade, grunge fashion made a comeback through the artist Steven Peeps. The outfit includes ripped jeans, combat or biker boots, flannel shirts and printed shirts.
In 2012 the one-piece jumpsuit is available in many colors and variations, some with short pants. If you prefer something more discreet, you can opt for overalls instead of a onesie, optionally with embroidery or rhinestones, which are also suitable for evening parties.
In the 2010s, women in particular are increasingly wearing athletic sportswear in their free time—without thinking about the sporting activity. This trend is called athleisure and often combines athletic fashion with a lot of luxury. By combining expensive high-end brands with ordinary sportswear, it is even possible to go out to dinner in leggings. The comfortable pants are not only suitable for sports, but are also very versatile, just like yoga pants or sports bras.
But even away from luxury brands, sweatpants, simple shirts and hoodies are becoming everyday wear—although of course there are also elegant luxury versions that are combined with expensive sneakers.
Hourglass figure instead of skinny look—narrow waist, curvy hips
Crop tops allow you to show off your toned body—an ideal that is increasingly replacing the hype surrounding the skinny figures of Kate Moss & Co. The Kardashian-style hourglass figure with a narrow waist and curvy hips is also back.
Suits—inspired by Mad Men & Co.
Office suits are made of mohair or houndstooth, usually with two buttons and a narrow lapel. Mad Men, Hannibal or Daniel Craig in James Bond are the models for this cut. In Asia, businessmen eschew the tie and waistcoat that are increasingly part of the office outfit in Western countries.
Bomber jackets and blousons—ideal with leggings
Bomber jackets, preferably from Alpha Industries, do not have the same dubious reputation as in Germany, where women tend to wear blousons. Especially in the USA, stars and starlets wear the characteristic jackets with the orange lining—preferably in an athleisure look with sporty leggings.
Indigenous fashion—a trend despite cultural appropriation
From the beginning to the middle of the decade, fashion is inspired by Navajo and Aztec patterns with their diamonds and triangles, which can be found on shirts, handbags and knitwear. Of course, accessories like beaded bracelets, moccasins, ponchos and even feather earrings are not missing. Oriental influences can also be seen in harem pants, sometimes in shiny gold fabrics or subtle blue.
The Seventies Comeback—Hippies, Mods and Teddy Boys
From around the mid-seventies, hippie fashion made a comeback with bell-bottoms, Birkenstocks, crochet tops or even palazzo pants, reaching its peak in 2017. Bright colors and batik prints replace the monochrome trend of previous years, on maxi dresses, tartans and flared jeans. The revival of the boho look, like so many fashion trends this decade, is largely thanks to influencers.
But Britpop is also shaping the revival of the seventies through the fashion influences that are coming back into fashion. Velvet-collared suits, popularized by the Teddy Boys, also make a comeback.
End of the 2010s (2017-2019)
While street fashion continues to be characterized by a diversity of styles, business fashion in particular evolves towards the end of the decade. Growing awareness of sustainability in fashion is also leading to a shift in attitudes, with more companies moving away from the use of fur, for example.
Casual look—casual wear for more inclusiveness
It's not just sex that sells. Casual wear and loungewear are becoming increasingly popular, expressing social ideas such as inclusivity and gender neutrality, as well as aesthetic ideals that go beyond sex appeal and provocative looks. Even haute couture designers are combining casual wear with sportswear, baggy pants and long tweed coats. Shirts with graphic prints are also making a comeback.
Whether it's the famous tiger print with an eye-catching Kenzo logo or other fashion brands prominently placed on the chest, the trend for fashionable sweatshirts in the 2010s is hard to miss. Since around 2017, seemingly every shirt has a large logo of Gucci or another brand emblazoned on it. Those who don't want to hide their brand preferences are turning to garments with large logos and brand lettering.
Sustainability—Questioning fast fashion
Since the collapse of the Rana Plaza garment factory in Bangladesh in 2013, which killed more than 1,100 people, the environmental and climate impact of cheaply produced, fast-moving fashion has become clear. More and more fashion companies are focusing on sustainable requirements such as ethically correct production or organic materials. Leading fashion houses such as Gucci are following the trend and are increasingly phasing out the use of fur.
Adult look—mature look is in
What was the girlie look in the 2000s continues in the 2010s as a trend towards the adult look, which is all about seriousness. Miniskirts give way to wide dresses, skirts and blouses with puff sleeves. Only the hourglass waist remains indispensable, with shoulder pads emphasizing the middle of the body again in 2019.
Capes, pleated skirts and leather dresses—2019 winter trends
Probably the most important trends for winter 2019 are capes, pleated skirts and leather dresses. The capes come mostly from fashion labels such as MiuMiu or Marc Jacobs and provide variety among the classic winter jackets in one size fits all.
Suit fashion—looser, more casual, more colorful
While gray, slim-cut, Mad Men-style suits were in at the beginning and middle of the decade, the suits of the late 2010s play with fashion, its styles, textures and even patterns. Polo shirts and turtlenecks often replace the classic shirt. Those who wear ties tend to opt for a wide version rather than the narrow ones of previous years. Shapes, cuts and materials traditionally associated with women's fashion are now being used in men's fashion. Celebrities such as Harry Styles, Ryan Gosling and even Prince William are wearing floral prints, velvet jackets or silk scarves.
Beauty Trends 2010
Of course, an outfit is only perfect if the styling is right. Hairstyles, makeup, and accessories are all subject to the fashion trends of the moment. And, of course, the right shoes. If you choose white sneakers, you can hardly go wrong in this decade.
Hair—the decade of men's hairstyles
At the beginning of the decade, women in particular are opting for naturally long hair, which was already in fashion in the 2000s. Extensions are also popular to make hair look fuller. When women turn to color, natural tones dominate, such as the summer beach look. African-American women are also emulating Rihanna with bright reds. And short hairstyles like the bob are often seen alongside classic bangs.
For men, the short hairstyles of the '50s are making a comeback. In contrast, hipsters in particular are wearing their long hair in a samurai chignon, while elsewhere the undercut is all the rage. Until then, the full beard is absolutely en vogue—as long as it's perfectly trimmed, of course.
Make-up—accentuating the eyes
The smoky eye trend continues, especially in the UK. The pale pink lipstick is replaced by a matte red or brown shade in the middle of the decade. Dark mascara, false eyelashes, and blush are the complementary accessories worn by the influential women of the decade. Toward the end of the decade, the younger generation is also inspired by a subtle gothic style with very dark emphasis on the eyes.
Jewelry and accessories—It bags and wearables
The 2010s is a decade in which jewelry and accessories play an important role. Bags also play an important role when it comes to completing an outfit. The Celine Luggage Tote makes its mark on the fashion world as the "it" bag of 2010 in various colors and shapes. In 2011, Givenchy's simple but utterly functional Antigona bag became an absolute trend, and in 2018, the Jacquemus Chiquito bag, which looks good but is completely impractical, conquered the photo world of Instagrammers, along with other mini bags. One thing is clear: a handbag is an absolute must-have for just about every outfit.
From around 2018, even the fanny pack is making a comeback with designers like Gucci, Prada and Louis Vuitton. Not only does it go perfectly with the sporty athleisure look, but it is also very practical.
Sunglasses, which are an integral part of many outfits, impress with their special shapes and tiny lenses. Cat-eyes are especially popular.
Necklaces in the 2010s are often opulent and make a clear statement on the wearer's neck: inside, they perfectly accentuate the décolleté.
At the beginning of the 2010s, digital wristwatches were worn with suits, but from the middle of the decade, men began to wear strikingly large digital watches with black, gold or even white dials and classic leather straps.
With wearables, tech accessories are also becoming a popular way to accessorize. Brands like Apple are not only releasing functional gadgets like AirPods and smartwatches, they are also making them must-haves.
Shoes—white sneakers and Timberlands
Vans, Keds or basically any sneaker or even Chucks are absolutely en vogue in the 2010s. White sneakers in particular are at the forefront. Thanks to designers like Chane, Dior or Balenciaga, the comfortable sneakers even make it onto the catwalks and red carpets of the world. The Balenciaga Triple S sneaker in particular, with its special sole and upper proportions, stands out as a decidedly ugly model that's on everyone's lips at the same time. Pop stars such as Kanye West create their own models (Yeezy) in collaboration with renowned sports goods manufacturers such as Adidas, thus triggering veritable hypes.
Uggs, knee-high and over-the-knee riding boots, boat shoes and moccasins can also be seen, as well as strappy sandals, flip-flops, combat and work boots or Timberland hiking boots. Haute couture is also making a fashion statement with the famous Valentino strappy shoes with their square studs. For suits, men wear classic oxfords, loafers or even Chelsea boots.
Fashion icons of the 2010s
While the last decade was dominated by girlish styles, the 2010s is characterized by strong women who make no secret of their feminist agenda. Models who take the catwalk outside the classic norm are still considered influential. However, it is the social media influencers who are likely to have the most impact this decade.
- Alexa Chung
- Sophia Amoruso
- Lady Gaga
- Kim Kardashian
- Halima Aden
- Denise Bidot
- Cara Delevingne
- Krow Kian
- Ashley Graham
- Chiara Ferragni
- Jared Leto
- Gisele Bündchen
- Gigi and Bella Hadid
- Kanye West
- Batsheva Hay
- Cara Delevingne
- Steven Peeps
- Kate Middleton
- Meghan Markle
Designers of the 2010s
While some designers, such as Dolce & Gabbana or John Galliano, make their names through scandal, others set new trends on the world's runways that inspire other designers. And the deaths of prominent designers such as Alexander McQueen and Karl Lagerfeld have had a profound impact on haute couture in the 2010s.
Jonathan Anderson—Fashion and Furniture for Loewe
The young designer began his meteoric rise in 2012 with his label J.W. Anderson, which earned him numerous international awards in just a few years. The Irishman is best known for his appointment as creative director of Loewe (LVMH) in 2013, for which he designs his own furniture line in addition to women's and men's collections.
Alessandro Michele—a new shine for Gucci
Alessandro Michele has been Gucci's new creative director since 2015. Previously a little-known designer, his eclecticism, individuality, fluid gender lines, and diversity have brought about a profound change in the company and helped the fashion house achieve tremendous success. His very first collection exuded a unique Wes Anderson aesthetic with recomposed references, which can also be found in his later creations, adding a touch of humor to haute couture. Soon his shows, with their blurring of gender boundaries and extraordinary stunt elements, became the most anticipated of the season.
Hedi Slimane—Karl Lagerfeld's inspiration
The former YSL designer and creative director of Dior is also inspired by the colorful style of Alessandro Michele, who in the 2000s designed numerous stage outfits for Daft Punk, The Libertines, Mick Jagger, Beck and actress Nicole Kidman. At the same time, the fashion of the eighties, with its shoulder pads and synthetic materials, flows into Hedi Slimane's creations, which, towards the end of the decade, end in completely oversized outerwear. The designer's creations are also said to have been the reason why Karl Lagerfeld drastically reduced his weight in order to be able to wear Slimane's suits.
Phoebe Philo—a new line for women
In this decade, the designer of Céline stands for a new look in a modern, digital working world with flat hierarchies that looks grown-up and serious. The British designer completely overhauled the fashion house's line, creating a minimalist, elegant, cool and modern line, and also significantly expanded the accessories business, such as the so-called "it" bags. After her departure from Celiné in 2017, Hedi Slimane took over the management of the fashion house.
Karl Lagerfeld—withdrawal from the fashion business
In 2018, Lagerfeld shows himself from a completely new side. A little heavier and without his characteristic sunglasses, the star designer presented his latest Chanel collection against the backdrop of an ocean surf with a guest appearance by Pamela Anderson, once again demonstrating his fine sense of humor. The show also raised eyebrows because it seemed to be the 85-year-old's farewell to the fashion world. Sadly, his death the following year would prove this to be true.
Fashion Styles of the 2010s
Every decade has its trends, which are mainly shaped by the younger generation—and often find their way into the general fashion world and onto the catwalks later on. In the 2010s, the global influences and the importance of the Internet can no longer be ignored.
Hipster—Individualization and Nerd Accessories
The hipster style, which emerged at the beginning of the decade, is characterized by men wearing vests with jeans, horn-rimmed glasses, and perfectly groomed beards and buns. Especially in urban centers, the mostly male hipsters can be found in trendy neighborhoods wearing ankle-length pants with socks and sneakers. It was in this context that American Apparel created the Normcore trend—a supposed renunciation of consumption in favor of the basics, while at the same time increasing personalization and individualization through horn-rimmed glasses, hats or even white tennis socks.
VSCO Kids—a trend from the Internet
Social media is setting its own trends in the 2010s. Some are simply named after the platform. Around 2014, for example, the so-called Tumblr Girls stood out, whose style was mainly based on the indie fashion of the late 2000s. The VSCO Girls, on the other hand, peaked in 2019 with the mass adoption of TikTok. Named after a photo editing app, VSCO Girls wear oversized T-shirts and shorts with Birkenstocks or Crocs. A water bottle, a shell necklace, hair bands, a metal straw and a Fjallraven backpack complete the look.
Steampunk—the continuation of the nineties
The first steampunk outfits date back to the nineties. The basis of the fashion style is borrowed from the Victorian era and is similar to Japanese Lolita fashion. But cowboy and gothic fashion also influenced the style, which was always complemented by accessories from steampunk fiction, such as pocket watches or special glasses. Equally important is the headwear. Top hats, bowler hats, aviator helmets, or even pith helmets are used, while hair is often adorned with braids, feathers, or even dreadlocks. Women often wear petticoats, corsets and elegant gloves with riding or flying jackets, while men wear three-piece suits with vests and jackets.
Hip Hop—Street Style and Designer Fashion
The origins of hip hop culture date back to the seventies. Since then, the culture has continued to influence the fashion world. In the 2010s, the style has hardly changed from XXL shirts and pants, fisherman hats and baseball caps to flashy gold jewelry. Sturdy ochre Timberland boots are also popular in hip-hop in the 2010s. Superstars like Kanye West and Pharrell Williams are also in demand on the fashion scene, designing their own clothes in collaboration with Adidas or as designers for Louis Vuitton.
K-Pop—the trend from Korea and Japan
With the Asian music style, the fashion of artists is also spreading around the globe. The stars of the scene wear skull, flower or honeycomb prints, simple shirts, silk jackets with Asian art prints or leather skirts, colorful leggings, tuxedos or glitter jackets. However, the scene has also come under criticism, especially for the girls in the K-pop bands, as there are strict guidelines for their outfits, which are allowed to be sexy and funky, but not show too much skin.
The 2010s will likely go down in the fashion world as the decade of the influencer, often overtaking models as style-defining icons. In addition to the "see now, buy now" fashion shows, where viewers can purchase the fashion on display directly online, global megatrends include clear trends toward more sustainability and diversity on the haute couture catwalks, which increasingly reflect a cross-section of society. On the street, the athleisure trend is unmistakable, with brands such as Supreme, Off-White or even yoga brands such as Lululemon or Ugg Boots prominently represented alongside sporting goods manufacturers such as Adidas and Nike.