Some styles are timeless, like aviator sunglasses, a camel trench, or a white button-down shirt. They’re worth investing in because they’ll up your fashion game for the rest of your life. But then, there are the fashion trends that we look back on and can only wonder, “What on earth was I thinking?” As 2019 comes to a close and we usher in a new era, let’s take a cringeworthy walk down memory lane at the worst style trends from the 2010s.
“Athleisure is one of the trends I’m happy to say goodbye to,” says Amy Voloshin, co-founder of the eco-friendly womenswear company Voloshin. “Leggings are a hard garment to pull off, and a lot of leggings are too sheer to really be worn as pants.”
As we enter 2020, Voloshin recommends investing in other comfortable clothing options—there are fashion-forward alternatives, like easy elastic waist pants and soft, comfy cotton popover tops.
According to fashion expert Jackie Grund, the editor behind The Mezza, Crocs are “the absolute worst shoe style that ever graced fashion.” (Unless you’re a healthcare professional who works in a hospital—then you get a pass.) Although they came out before 2010, they continued to haunt us throughout the past decade. The only thing worse than Crocs, Grund says, is wearing them with socks.
“Please make up your mind—are you a short dress or a long one?” says Grund of this early 2010s trend. She says the look is too complicated and unflattering to last much longer.
Rafy Bassali, co-owner of Swank Co., a women’s clothing and gift boutique, loves jeans as much as the rest of us. Between jean jackets, jean shorts, and a good pair of jeans, Bassali says jeans will always be on-trend and in style. (Phew!) He also loves a little bit of distressing on whatever kind of jeans you choose to rock. But when distressing and holes cover the entirety of your denim apparel, Bassali cautions that “it’s two steps away from falling apart.”
And speaking of jeans, Lisa Pongrass, founder of the luxury handcrafted leather handbag company Canvas & Hyde, says denim on denim was her least favorite trend of the 2010s. “Denim is not a suit, so wearing denim jeans, a denim shirt, and a denim jacket is a look that needs to be left in the last decade,” says Pongrass. She adds that denim isn’t tailored and is meant to be casual, so wearing too much of it just looks messy.
These shorts were a fad in the ’70s, and Pongrass says the re-trending of them in the 2010s was an unfortunate one. “Seeing young girls with their butts fully exposed in restaurants and in cities never sat well with me—especially [when] the pocket was longer than the shorts!” she says.
Colleen Bayus, a personal stylist and professional organizer in Washington, D.C., says wedge sneakers were definitely one of the worst trends of the 2010s. According to her, they were never chic or sophisticated, and are definitely not practical. “Anything that becomes a mainstay on the women of The Real Housewives of New Jersey you know is not going to age well,” says Bayus.
Super tiny and super cut-out swimwear (mainly in metallic colors) was all the rage at the turn of the decade—and it’s a style Philippa Brenninkmeyer, a designer at Indigo Swimwear, is glad to lay to rest as we enter the 2020s. Brenninkmeyer explains that only a very particular customer could buy these pieces, which made it very difficult for anyone without a model figure to wear the “trendy” swimwear of the summer.
“Now we can focus on more functional, body-inclusive, form-fitting, flatteringly sexy swimwear,” she says. “After all, who wants to worry about every inch of their body falling out of a tiny piece of fabric when they’re trying to enjoy their day in the sun?”
Elena Doukas, head designer of Garrett Leight California Optical, says oversized frames and curved lenses aren’t always a bad look, but the trend hit a low point in 2010. “The frames mostly hit your cheeks and totally covered up your eyebrows, which is such a key point of expression,” Doukas says. Today, she adds, “women have full brows that they don’t want to cover up.”
Sunglasses shouldn’t be too small, either. Samantha Brown, a wardrobe stylist in New York City, says one trend that we need to leave behind is the tiny sunglasses that have taken over since 2018. “This trend was predominantly seen on teenagers and people in their [early] 20s, but a tiny pair of shades looks ridiculous, no matter your age,” says Brown.
On that note, Brown says trends with unflattering proportions (think chunky dad sneakers and itsy bitsy handbags) should make their exit as we enter the 2020s, too. “The scale of the accessories should match the scale of the person wearing them, so when I see petite ladies in huge sneakers, they just look silly,” she says. “The same goes for a statuesque or curvy woman wearing a bag that can’t even hold a lipstick.”
“Ten years from now, people will be [asking], ‘What were people thinking?!'” celebrity fashion stylist Soneca Guadara says of the claw nail trend, which she describes as “super ugly and super scary.”
From earrings to sandals, Guadara says the vacation-themed pom poms trend was over the top in the 2010s. “Save the pom poms for [your] trip to Mexico,” she advises.
Germaine Caprio, owner and designer of the eco-friendly clothing collection Majamas Earth, is glad to bid farewell to clothes with excessive draping, like the Grecian goddess-inspired dresses, tops, and even pants, of the 2010s. “The folds, pleats, and extra layers only made women look 10 pounds heavier,” says Caprio. “[It’s] not a great look unless you’re a super thin, runway model type… [I] hope it doesn’t return.”
Stretchy jeans were the worst style trend of the 2010s, according to Emily McDonald, founder of The Stylist LA. Her platform for 2020? “Let’s wear real pants, people!”