Fashion is a funny thing. What’s en vogue today will be a fashion faux pas tomorrow. Making matters more confounding is the propensity for some fashion trends to cycle in and out of favor while others are one and done. For instance, nobody wears togas or Elizabethan collars anymore but neckties have remained relevant for centuries.
A quick glance back on a century of fashion reveals a pattern where certain trends seem to dominate certain decades. For instance, the styles of the 1970s were very different from the 1950s. While the fashion of the 1980s was equally distinct, some of it borrowed from the 1950s. Fast forward ten years later, and the fashion of the late-90s and early-2000s borrowed from the 1970s.
The point is worth repeating: fashion is a funny thing. With this in mind, we figured it’d be a good idea to highlight several modern fashion trends that were considered off-putting not that long ago. It’s a testament to the fact that fashion is flaky, fleeting, and faddish.
Without further ado, here are six former fashion no-nos that are now either back in style or considered stylish for the first time:
White sneakers with jeans or khakis
Wearing white sneakers with jeans or khakis was once synonymous with the “dad” look. Throw in a light jacket over a button-up shirt, and the ensemble certainly fits the bill of the proverbial father. But lately, wearing white sneakers with jeans or khakis has become a mainstay of simple streetwear style. While throwing in the jacket and button-up is still avoided by those in the know, the bottom half has gone from the proverbial old-person style to something worn by those in their 20s.
Coveralls and overalls
Full-body articles of clothing have moved in and out of style for decades. For instance, you wouldn’t be caught dead wearing overalls in the 1980s unless you were a farmer, but they were more popular than ever in the early-90s before once again falling out of favor in the early-2000s. Those with a long-term outlook on fashion might guess coveralls and overalls are primed for a comeback and they’d be right. It comes down to comfort and convenience; fashion ebbs and flows back and forth between practical and outgoing, and practical is currently en vogue.
To be honest, it’s hard to tell whether high-waisted jeans are a resurgent fad already on the decline or here to stay for good. The return of high-waisted “mom jeans” began nearly ten years ago. But given how controversial they were after their original run, it’s safe to say the ongoing trend serves as a reminder of how certain styles can be loved, hated, and loved again.
Flared pants – referred to as bell bottoms in the 1960s and 70s – were most recently fashionable in the late-1990s and early-2000s. But they were abandoned around 2010 in favor of skinny jeans that hug the leg and ankle. But it looks like flared pants are making a minor comeback. Perhaps it’s an indicator of the “anything goes” approach to fashion that trendsetters possess. It’s that attitude that drives the next wave of style. Whether the current resurgence of bell bottoms stays or goes as fast as it arrived is hard to say, but it remains an observable shift that proves the thesis of this article, hence its inclusion.
Tie-dye shirts were – up until now – one of those fashion trends that seemed to be destined for permanent banishment. The association with the hippie movement of the 1960s was too much for anyone to override; those who wore tie-dye shirts from 1980 to 2020 were almost always pegged as burnouts, deadheads, and drug users. But in an age where anything goes in terms of personal style, tie-dye shirts are becoming more common and as a result, they’re inching their way back to becoming fashionable. With that said, we can’t help but hope there’s an unwritten rule regarding the origin of your tie-dyed shirt; did you do the tie-dye work yourself, or is it store-bought?
You’d think cut-offs would flourish during the age of pre-distressed denim. But that wasn’t the case. Cut-offs were cut off from fashion for the last 20 years. However, that seems to be changing. From “Daisy Dukes” to the “Skater Boi” look of jeans cut off just below the knee, it seems as though this one-time popular style is making a remarkable comeback.
We’ll say it one more time: fashion is a funny thing. A quick look back on the fashion trends throughout history reveals a never ending sequence of what’s hot and what’s not. Chalk it up to the inherent eccentricities of the human race.
Alex Farina is a freelance writer from Ohio. He enjoys writing about design, fashion, nature, and technology.