35 fashion trends that came and went

From top of the pops to bottom of the charity bin, we count down 35 fashion trends that thrilled and then distilled. Remember: fashion is fleeting, true style is eternal!

by Lynette Nylander
29 May 2015, 6:07pm

Skirts over trousers
Baffling. Truly baffling. Was it to protect against the draft the skirt would have given if worn alone? Or was it to have the option of whipping off the trousers at a moment's notice? The best had the skirt and trousers made out of the same fabric and stitched together.

Diamanté hip chain belt
I like to think it wasn't Whole Again that made Atomic Kitten what they were, it was the diamanté hip chain belt. They managed to integrate them into every outfit. The fully reasonable price point made these babies a hit pretty much everywhere, despite being completely useless.

JD Sports drawstring bags
The most unexpected style accessory on our list, JD drawstring bags were just the carrier bags you got with your Air Max 95s, but boy did people use them. Sadly Marks and Spencers' bags for life haven't reached the same style status.

Hair mascara
Where were Alex Brownsell and Sam Teasdale when we needed them? Before the days of Bleach London and their masterful color jobs, we just had our local drugstore and hair mascara. A single electric blue streak - that didn't actually show up unless you had bright blonde hair - took a disco outfit from good, to legendary.

Nu Rave
It was 2005, you were reading SuperSuper!, listening to The Klaxons, Hadouken! and New Young Pony Club, and all of London's coolest kids were hanging out at Boombox. Much more than glow sticks and neon, the scene became a spiritual home for some of the city's hottest design talent: Carrie 'Cassette Playa' Munden, Henry Holland and Gareth Pugh. Our prediction is that whilst slogan tees and liquid leggings aren't coming back anytime soon, the nu rave era of 2005-08 will be remain a seminal time of London's fashion scene for years to come.

Hip Hop's hottest rappers' own clothing lines…
Today we've got A$AP Rocky sweet-talking Raf Simons post show, and Kanye West creating high fashion lines and "$2000 pairs of shoes that make it to the Paris news," but back in the day all we had in terms of hip hop fashion lines were the likes of Nelly's Vokal, G-Unit's eponymous label that 50 Cent set up with Marc Ecko (yes of Eckō clothing but we won't go into that…) and Jay-Z's Rocawear, which had Victoria "Out of your Mind" Beckham fronting campaigns. Whilst rappers are still producing their own merchandise and clothing lines, we have yet to see any become quite as ubiquitous as those of the noughties' biggest rap stars.

The footwear you NEEDED to truly feel like you were part of an American teen dream, even if you were a 13-year-old living in Lincoln who'd never been to the mall or prom. Skechers had their moment, with both Britney and Christina fronting their campaigns, but now all they're known for is producing odd, platformed Shape Up shoes that claim to slim you whilst you walk… what?

Von Dutch Hats
The hat that spawned a thousand knockoffs. The brand had actually been knocking about for a few years before being popularized by designer Christian Audigier via a slew of the noughties' most famous bright young things: Paris Hilton, Nicole Richie, Lindsay Lohan, Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake. It's the hat that made Audigier a bona fide millionaire before he left the brand in '04. He's probably still got his millions, and Oxfam's bargain bins have millions of reminders of how easily our loyalty can be bought.

Worn peak up or down by your shopping center dwellers in the 80s and rappers in the 90s, we're not quite sure why visors ever caught on but it's pretty safe to say that unless you're about to serve up on the tennis court, the visor is best left at the back of the wardrobe.

Light up trainers
The release of LA Lights cemented trainers that glowed with every step as the must-have items of the early 90s. If you were cash strapped, you got the CICA version from Clarks, walked quick and hoped no one would notice. Apparently there are a fair few companies still offering light ups as part of their trainer customization services. No comment.

Members Only jackets
"When you put it on, something happens" was Members Only's slogan in the 80s, but what that was, we hace yet to find out. The brand was founded in 1975, favored by The Hoff and Burt Reynolds, and to this day rings as a cult classic to those in the know.

Halterneck tops
Unless you're perusing the rails of Mothercare for a nice summer pressie for a beloved niece, no-one should be shopping for a halterneck top. Unless you're an impossibly lean and lithe model, or an American Apparel employee - but what's the difference these days?

Kangol hats
In retrospect, Run DMC's lyrics really should have been "It's tricky to rock a kangol hat," because it was. The hip hop group were the only ones to do it with any finesse. While bucket hats are enjoying something of a renaissance, no-one has been able to perpetuate the classic Kangol since the golden era of New York's 80s hip hop scene.

The bandana - adopted by Aaliyah, Ja Rule and Hannah from S Club 7 - was sadly not to last. Now more commonly seen on cholas and cholos complete with slicked back tresses and baby hair laid to the gods.

Duffer of St. George
If you lived in the suburbs of ANY town in the UK during the 90s, you were privy to Duffer of St. George. The roots of the brand are actually pretty credible; started in 1984 by founders Eddie Prendergast, Barrie Sharpe, Marco Cairns and Clifford Bowen, the brand hit its stride when it opened up a store on London's D'Arblay Street, and was adopted by father of Buffalo Style, Ray Petri. Sadly after the business changed hands, the company lost credibility and soon the (weirdly placed) words 'Duffer' were emblazoned on the chests of the youth in every suburban town center in England. The company may be pretty unsalvageable at this point (after more business missteps), but for its early contributions to British street style, we salute you Duffer.

Slap bracelets
The beauty of the slap bracelet was that it was low risk, high reward. So much so that even Dior came out with their own neon versions. A Google search STILL finds a genuine article going for in excess of $80. 

Jordache jeans
Jordache saw its heyday in the label-obsessed 80s, where brand names such as Calvin Klein, Gloria Vanderbilt and Sassoon were worn emblazoned on butts and chests across the globe in all their glory. Whilst our love affair with denim will never wane, fit and comfort now reign supreme above any logo. The family who founded Jordache are still rich as sin (they own factories that produce jeans for Levi's) and the brand is now stocked at Wal-Mart… All's well that ends well I suppose.

Coogi sweaters
The lyrics "Every cutie wit a booty bought a Coogi" were immortalized in Notorious B.I.G.'s 'Hypnotize,' but the rap legend had been rocking the colorful sweaters for a while and the Cosby Show's Mr. Huxtable made the sweater a hot item in the 90s. Whilst there are things a lot more offensive, seemingly the Coogi sweater has seen its best days…. 

Baby G Watches
Argos made so many of these trends possible and Baby G watches were no exception. Birthdays, bar mitzvahs, christmases and good job rewards often came in the form of the Baby G watch in the 90s. Produced by Casio (who also produced your maths class savior calculators), we STILL can't afford a grown up watch, so maybe these need to make a comeback! Plus the running graphic guy was super cool.

Velour Tracksuits
Red and yellow and pink and green, orange and purple and blue, I can wear a rainbow, wear a rainbow, wear a rainbow toooo! Indeed, at the turn of the millennium, thanks to Juicy Couture, the velour tracksuit made it possible to rock the candy color spectrum all in the comfort of a fabric that was reminiscent of your bath towel. Extra points if yours was Swarovski-studded with your name on.

What did Ugly Betty teach us? That you should never rock a poncho, it can scar you and your loved ones for life. Who can forget the acrylic wool waffle knit ponchos in assorted colors you could get at Petticoat Lane market? 

The Pete Doherty indie-era
The Libertines might've told us 'Don't Look Back into the Sun' but that doesn't mean we can't reminisce for a minute. After the release of their second album and his relationship with a certain Ms. Moss, we couldn't escape Doherty and his drainpipe skinnies, blazers, fedoras and drummer boy jackets. They were the Kurt and Courtney of the 00s, with their every move documented in the middle pages of the London Lite every morning. It was a simpler time.

Boho-chic skirts
In the latter half of the noughties, i-D cover star Sienna Miller rose to prominence with an effortlessly chic mix of gypsy skirts, gladiator sandals and disc belts that she looked stellar in. What we didn't realise at the time was ONLY SIENNA MILLER LOOKED GOOD IN IT! Topshop, Zara, New Look et al. had a field day making cheap copies of her vintage finds for the everyday girl to rock in the hopes they could find a little bit of Notting Hill on their local High Street.

Cowboy boots
Why do you think they are always in the vintage shop? Coz they are best left there gathering dust. Unless you have idealistic plans on mosey-ing down to the rodeo, why bother? Plus Nike Flyknits are more comfortable anyways.

Feather boas
Unless you're going on a bachelorette party, no-one should wear a feather boa. Naomi tripped with hers in THAT Vivienne Westwood show with the platform boots. Let that be a lesson to you.

Fingerless gloves
Michael Jackson, Karl Lagerfeld and Madonna made fingerless gloves look good. We can't. End of story. And for those using the practical excuse of needing your fingertips to use your phone… just ask Siri.

Hammer pants
A YouTube search will find a 12-year-old Ryan Gosling getting down at a dance recital in a wicked pair of Hammer pants. They were basically harem pants but got the nickname after MC Hammer reached the height of popularity in the early 90s. He loved them in gold lamé, and with that please remember some things are best left in the past.

Shoulder pads
The bane of any already ill-fitting school uniform across the country were the God-awful shoulder pads in the blazer, but way before this (well the 80s) people wore exaggerated shoulder pads as a fashion statement. They even made a psuedo come back via Christophe Decarnin's tutelage at Balmain with the peaked shoulders.

Temporary tattoos
Why we thought a picture of a Jigglypuff transferred onto our skin that flaked off in just a few hours was a good idea I'll never know.

Butterfly hair clips
Once you had fried, dyed, crimped, curled, twisted and teased your hair, the finishing touches were springy butterfly hair clips. If it was good enough for Buffy, it was good enough for us.

Jane Norman bags
The town center pub needed girls and those girls needed Jane Norman. Impossibly short dresses and hip huggers that rode so sinfully low you could see your pelvic bone. After filing for bankruptcy in 2011, a cruel mistress breathed life back into the brand before the company went into bankruptcy for a second time in 2014. I for one heard the hallelujah chorus at that announcement.

Dior Saddle Bags
So bad it was good. The Dior saddle bag became a true status symbol and one of the first It Bags of the 90s/00s. The bag has sadly seen its last sunset, but you gotta admit, it still kinda looks rad!

Hypercolor t-shirts
The closest thing to magic, well in the 80s. The Hypercolor T-shirt changed color with the touch of your hand. The pigment was activated by the heat, but now, when you can order and Uber Luxe at the touch of a button, such things don't seem as exciting. But let's be honest, a Hypercolor will always have a level of marvel to them.

Naf Naf
Puffas and tracksuits from the French brand were legitimately cool and kids of the 80s and 90s saving cash from Saturday jobs and pennies from pocket money to get themselves a piece of the brand spawned a flurry of knock-offs in markets up and down the nation.

Inflatable bubble backpacks
These days you can find inflatable bubble backpacks in one of two places: eBay or nostalgic Tumblr sites calling for their return. You might be able to pull them off if you're Charli XCX or a Nasty-Gal wearing Instagram star - if not, it's not really gonna fly.


Text Lynette Nylander

Baby G
pete doherty
Think Pieces
nu rave
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the 35th birthday issue
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