The 2010s weren’t that different from decades past when it comes to fashion and beauty. What’s old is always new again, and what’s really good eventually makes its way back into the mainstream.
This is both great and terrible news for people who never want to get rid of anything from their wardrobes ― on the one hand, you’ll probably want to eventually wear it again, and on the other hand. you’ll eventually probably stop having room in your closet for all the stuff.
Having said that, there are a few things from this decade we’d recommend holding on to. The 2010s ushered in an era of big brows, comfort as king and so many Birkenstocks ― and that’s just naming a few.
As the decade ends much like the way the last one did ― wearing ’90s fashion, of course ― we’re taking a look back at some of the best style and beauty gifts of the 2010s that will no doubt follow us all into 2020 and beyond.
This ’90s trend came back in a big way in the 2010s, both on the red carpet and in our Instagram feeds. Chokers add a cool factor to any outfit ― just like this one did on Taylor Swift during her platinum blonde moment in 2016.
Turtlenecks for women and men
Another trend with roots dating far, far before the 2010s came back in a big way this decade. Both men and women looked chic in turtlenecks in real life and on-screen (ahem, Shiv Roy).
Bless these brows. The 2010s ushered in the bold and beautiful brows we’re used to seeing today. Cara Delevingne is often celebrated for her epic pair, but letting it all grow in has been a welcome change for people who spent the ’90s overplucking.
Let’s be honest ― Birkenstocks never really went away, they just skyrocketed to high fashion this decade thanks to designer collaborations and their constant appearance on the feet of fashionable folks. Gone are the days when they only roamed the foothills of your summer camp. If they’re good enough for Frances McDormand at the Oscars, they’re good enough for us.
Ombré and balayage
Highlights became more natural looking in the 2010s. Balayage made our hair less streaky and more blended thanks to its painting-on technique, and ombré allowed us to let our roots grow out for months at a time, guilt-free. Chic and budget friendly ― a win-win.
Fashion forecasting be damned, we’re standing our ground in saying that when it comes to pants ― the higher, the better. In the 2010s we were gifted “mom jeans,” a Levis style literally called “ribcage” and no shortage of support from high waist enthusiasts.
Love them or hate them, the Kardashians have really gotten it right when it comes to wearing your comfortable gym clothes at all times. This decade it became socially acceptable to just wear things that make it look like you’re going to be working out at some point, and we’re here for it.
Is there any easier way to get dressed than by putting on two pieces of clothing that match each other? Not really. Two-piece sets come in many shapes and sizes, but all look polished and fashion forward. That’s probably why they’re a staple for celebs like Selena Gomez and Taylor Swift.
Colorful suits have had a long-lasting moment this decade. As fashion becomes gloriously less gendered, red carpets and clothing stores are flush with tailored suits. Not all of them are as cool as the one seen here on Amandla Stenberg, but they’re still pretty cool nonetheless.
While mixing prints is an art, it’s luckily an art that can be left to one’s imagination. There are ways to mess this trend up, but we’re all about the experimentation when it comes to texture and design we saw heightened in the 2010s.
Elle Fanning’s Met Gala nail charms are not the most functional, but do speak to the ever-growing popularity of nail art over the decade. Sparkles, ombré, designs, nail rings, the growing trend of specialty nail salons and the constant nail inspo in our social media feeds are a clear sign nail art is here to stay.
Barrettes, bobby pins, even butterfly clips were huge this decade, and seem to be even more popular as we head into 2020. Headbands are having their day in the sun too, thanks to designers like Lele Sadoughi and Jennifer Behr, who design pricey headbands seen on many an influencer.
Department store designer collaborations
One way fashion became more accessible this decade was through designer collaborations. Folks might recall Target’s very first collab, a line with Isaac Mizrahi that Racked cites as the birthplace of the “now ubiquitous high-low collaboration.” Since then, a slew of other designers have gotten in on the trend, from Balmain for H&M to Vera Wang for Kohl’s.
Helen Mirren debuted pastel pink hair at Cannes in 2019 ― but fans might be surprised to know that wasn’t even her first foray. Seen here in 2013, Mirren joins a long list of celebs who dyed their hair all hues of the rainbow this decade.
Luxury brands and department stores alike committed to going fur-free in the 2010s, including Prada, Michael Kors, Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s and Gucci (to name a few). As a result, plenty of faux alternatives have popped up on the market, though their environmental impact is still questionable.
Jameela Jamil hit the pajama dressing trend and the wide-leg pants trend at once in this look, popularized this year and in the past decade. Both prioritize comfort while also looking cute.
Anything that lets us carry as much as possible while also looking stylish and giving our backs a break is a welcome change. This decade, backpacks have gotten cuter, roomier and more acceptable to wear as a fashion statement.
Dresses with sneakers
There was no shortage of sky-high platforms in the 2010s (especially not on Lady Gaga), but there was also the trend of pairing fancy outfits with sneakers. Not only do they dress a look down, like in the case of Millie Bobby Brown at the 2018 SAG Awards, but they’re way more comfortable. We’re starting to sense a pattern here.
When the ’90s came back, they brought slip dresses outside of the house. Slip dresses came into their own in the 2010s, not as something just to be worn underneath a dress but as their own outfit too. And the sexy look is versatile ― worn belted, corseted, layered or otherwise.
More options for more people
Arguably our favorite “trend” of the 2010s is not a trend at all, but rather something we’ve all needed for a long, long time. It’s hard to believe, since the options are still not great, that there are many more brands making clothing bigger than a size 12 and foundation darker than a shade of white. Diversity on the runways and in media have a long way to go, but we’re definitely leaving the decade better than we started it. Thanks in part to brands like Savage x Fenty, pictured above.