2022 Fashion Picking from the Past and Present
by Alexis Booker ‘23 and Lauren Frank ‘23
Dozens if not hundreds of trends have made an appearance in Gen-Z fashion and incorporated iconic styles from the past few decades. These fashion trends have quickly gained popularity and reached a wider audience because of the internet and the entertainment industry’s influence. Fashion has evolved to fit into specific avenues and niches including 90s, early 2000s, Tumblr grunge, and “model off-duty” that incorporate timeless and popular styles into today’s trending fashion.
Many of the popular styles seen last year have become significantly more accessible, with many hunting for their favorite pieces in local thrift stores like Goodwill or Unique Thrift. “I like how [thrifting] exposes me to new styles since clothes there are completely mixed together … stuff I’m looking for might show me something I’ve never seen before,” said senior Nick Brown, who finds many items that align with his personal style and those trending, such as baggy jeans, corduroy, earthy tones, and antique apparel.
These 90s era pieces have continued into trends today, especially with brands like Levi’s and Converse. Hit show Friends popularized the 90s indie and denim-filled wardrobe, while movies like Clueless popularized a more preppy, Beverly Hills style. The mixture of “underdressed” and “dressed’’ 90s fashion remains relevant among Gen-Z.
In a post-pandemic world, many look to the early 2000s for fashion inspiration and this era has become one of the most dominant influences in today’s fashion. Many love the youthful, bright, and slightly retro style this early 2000s (y2k) aesthetic offers because of the nostalgia it brings people. Several designer brands of the time like Juicy Couture, Ed Hardy, and Von Dutch influenced some of the most iconic styles that were seen on prominent figures. These style icons like Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie often wore these extravagant and eye-catching y2k styles, including bright Juicy Couture tracksuits, animal print patterns, trucker hats, and mini pleated skirts. In general, this style is very distinguishable from others because of its flamboyance.
As y2k remains on the rise, it comes in tandem with the resurgence in emo/grunge fashion, a peak last seen at the height of Tumblr’s popularity back in 2014. The Tumblr grunge aesthetic was a microcosm of pop culture at the time, with edgier pop bands like The Arctic Monkeys and The 1975 gaining their claim to fame. These trends have grown in popularity among those who desire the grunge, ‘‘rockstar girlfriend’’ type of look. The rock-punk look bleeds into teens’ wardrobes with pieces like plaid skirts, Doc Martens, black eyeliner, and tall knee high socks. The recent success of Netflix’s Wednesday further publicized dark and edgy wardrobes on the small screen, influencing many young viewers to emulate the styles in the show, especially seen on the feature character, Wednesday.
While y2k fashion emphasizes maximalism, some recent trending styles have started to shift away from this, instead toning it down towards a simpler look. The “model off-duty” or minimalist is an aesthetic popularized by social media but in reality was originally a staple pioneered by Black and Latina women in the 90s. Several elements of this style nowadays include neutral colors, gold jewelry, and blazers. This seemingly effortless look is topped off with glowy/natural makeup like “Brownie-glazed lips,” which were publicized by Hailey Bieber, and paired with slick back hairdos.
Social media platforms such as Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest give teens infinite access to what’s popular, which has helped specific fashion and aesthetics gain traction quickly. Many experimenting with their style find themselves admiring modern celebrities and influencers who popularize fashion trends. Among them, Emma Chamberlain, Bella Hadid, and Zendaya, who often wear designer brands, create a greater interest in high-fashion for the average consumer. Trends reflect what is happening in pop culture; therefore, much of the fashion seen in 2022 was a mixture of several styles seen in the past, now popular in the present.