2010 Fashion in review

2010 Fashion in review

What clothing pieces define the past decade?

This past decade vintage fashion has been having a moment, we’ve revived the 90s, 80’s and even 2000’s fashions. Because of this, it is easy to view the 2010 fashion as nothing more than a resurgence of the past.

This leads me to ask myself, what will women’s fashion look like in 30-50 years, will we still be recycling 80’s fashions, wearing our Mom’s Mom’s mom’s jeans or will we be copying the fashion of the 2010s? This leads me to my next question: what will 2010 fashion be known for aside from its recreation of past trends? 


Leggings jumped into the fashion scene in the 1960s, but back then they were generally worn as a layering piece or were more structured due to the lycra material. In the 2010s, they emerged as a pant all on their own. Suddenly, it wasn’t taboo to not cover your butt when wearing leggings (despite what your mom may have told you). Throughout the decade leggings have evolved and are often a statement piece due to their variety in material, patterns (who else really wanted a pair of galaxy leggings back in the day?) length, and embellishments. Most recently the leggings with mesh cut-outs on the side have become popular.

Skinny Jeans/Jeggings

2010s bottoms have mostly been about paying homage to the past, but one article of clothing we have pioneered is the skinny jean in its current iteration. At the start of the decade, everyone was wearing jeggings, they were soft,  comfortable, and looked like denim, but as time went on we wanted a more structured fit and so high-waisted skinny jeans came into vogue. They blended the body-hugging silhouette of jeggings and leggings with a more structured waist and material. They allowed a more fitted silhouette due to the ability to tuck a shirt into them. With the invention of skinny jeans, the layering so prevalent in the 2000s fell out of fashion but interestingly is making a return in the VSCO girl look of an oversized t-shirt over a long sleeve shirt.

Cold Shoulder Tops, dresses, sweaters, etc

The Cold Shoulder is one of the most inventive designs of the 2010s. Off the shoulder shirts aren’t new, they were around in the era of jazzercise, they were around when Sandy turned into a bad girl in Grease, but what makes the 2010 iteration of this classic different is that instead of being off the shoulder it cuts out the shoulder. This choice really classifies the 2010s for me, as these past few years have been all about showing off skin in new and exciting ways (think Kylie’s jeans with a rip in the butt or ripped clothing). Unfortunately, I haven’t seen this shirt much this year, but who knows maybe in 30 years it will come back around?

Crop Tops

Don’t get me wrong the 2010s didn’t invent the Crop top, it’s always been a mainstay, but because of the resurgence of high-waisted jeans, it has come to the forefront of everyday fashion. We started the decade with the basic tight t-shirt crop top and slowly transitioned to cropped sweaters, cropped sweatshirts, cropped tank tops, cropped long-sleeve tees and even cropped cardigans. In fact, a quick search on YouTube will reveal hundreds of tutorials on how to crop your longer shirts or sweaters. It’s harder nowadays to find a shirt that isn’t cropped than to find one that is.


Similar to the crop top the bodysuit has come back into fashion. This isn’t entirely new as lycra bodysuits were popular in the ’80s. After some research, I learned the ’70s were also characterized by bodysuits, as the sleek look of the straight-legged flared jean called for the seamless tuck offered only by a bodysuit. Today’s bodysuits serve a similar purpose. They are meant to fit snuggly and mimic any other shirt, though, in the more recent years, bodysuits have experimented with back cut-outs or even front cutouts, as bodysuits can still maintain their shape. Core to the bodysuits’ success is their ability to cover up but still show skin.

See-Through Clothing

See-through clothing truly jumped into the light in the 2010s, whether through the “naked dress” style seen mostly on runway celebrities or through gel see-through sandals. Most notably, though the see-through trend has emerged in the form of sheer tops. While mesh tops aren’t new, the 2010s iteration of this see-through classic is different because of its tighter weave and tighter silhouette. These tops can be long sleeve, short sleeve, and often feature a high neckline, sometimes even a mock neck. They’re generally in darker colours and provides an opportunity to wear them over a cute crop top, a bra or even just pasties. Some also have patterns that help simultaneously obscure the body underneath while also calling attention to it.

My hopes for the future of fashion can best be summed up by the word skirts. I really don’t think skirts got enough credit in the 2010s, while we experimented with dresses in our casual wear we kind of forgot about skirts opting to wear them mostly in business settings. Skirts, particularly jean skirts have had a bit of a resurgence, so I am excited to see what the 2020s hold for skirts, and of course, fashion in general. 

Tessa Warburton is an Online Contributor for MUSE

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