The Best & Worst Fashion Trends You Grew Up With

The Best & Worst Fashion Trends You Grew Up With

Fashion Trends From the 1950s-1990s

Compared to modern fashion trends and styles, the looks from the past were vastly different. From neon spandex to disco glam and poodle skirts, fashion has made so many changes throughout history. So today, let's take a walk down memory lane to revisit some of these standout trends (for good or for bad). Of course, fashion is subjective so what's your take on these looks you might've grown up with?

Woman-6190498 1280Image by Victoria from Pixabay

1950s Best: Teddy Boys

The Teddy Boys was a British phenomenon that brought a new distinctive style, reviving Edwardian fashion but with a modern twist. They wore drape jackets, high-waist trousers, and brogues, influencing men's fashion in a way that people never expected.

Teddy Boys On Southend High Street 1977Southend-on-Sea City Council on Wikimedia Commons

1950s Best: Poodle Skirts

Poodle skirts were a defining trend of the 1950s that had a lot of character to them. With their wide circle cut and poodle motif designed onto the fabric, these skirts were often worn by teenage girls, symbolizing the era's fun and youthful fashion.

1950S Poodle Skirts (1)User:Muhammad on Wikimedia Commons

1950s Worst: Bullet Bras

Here's a strange fashion piece that came out of the 1950s (and hopefully won't ever return), the bullet bra. Characterized by its wacky conical shape and pointed cups, it left an exaggerated, unnatural silhouette on the female body, making it one of the less practical trends of the decade.

Genuine 1950'S Vintage Bullet BraEmma Benitez on Wikimedia Commons


1950s Worst: Saddle Shoes

Saddle shoes were popular among teenagers in the 1950s thanks to its two-tone leather design, but in present time, many look back on them with less fondness. They were considered too "preppy" by some and became associated with school uniforms rather than a fashion statement.

Feltman & Curme, Back To School With Happy Feet In Scotty Brogues (Nby 430545)Unknown author on Wikimedia Commons

1960s Best: Mod Fashion

Mod fashion emerged in the 1960s, characterized by its bold geometric patterns, bright colors, and clean lines. It was an exciting time for fashion, filled with freedom and experimentation. This trend consisted of lots of mini skirts, go-go boots, and androgynous suits, reflecting the era's spirit.

1965 John Bates For Jean Varon Mindress 01Dani Lurle on Wikimedia Commons

1960s Best: Hippie Movement

The Hippie movement in the 60s was certainly an interesting one. It was a drastic departure from the traditional fashion trends we'd seen up until this point; it was a style that favoured bell-bottom jeans, tie-dye shirts, and floral patterns. This trend emphasized comfort, self-expression, and a relaxed look, rebelling against the fashion of previous generations.

Jose-P-Ortiz-Poqbqbytm2U-UnsplashPhoto by Jose P. Ortiz on Unsplash

1960s Worst: Paper Dresses

Meant to only be worn a few times, the 1960s saw the growing trend of disposable paper dresses come to life. Although it was a short-lived trend, it showcased the era's love for innovation. Unfortunately, these dresses were impractical and incredibly uncomfortable, making them one of the decade's worst fashion choices.

1960S Paper Dresseslocationsite on Wikimedia Commons

1960s Worst: Vinyl Clothing

Vinyl clothing, including dresses, boots, and coats, emerged as a futuristic trend in the 1960s. While they captured the space-age aesthetic of the time, they were often uncomfortable and unbreathable so it's no surprise they quickly declined in popularity. 

Shenkar Archive - Bag Collection. Black Bag With Stained Bamboo Handle.tiffUser:ShenkarArchive on Wikimedia Commons

1970s Best: Disco Glam

When we think 70s fashion, we're definitely thinking disco glam! The 1970s disco scene sparked a growth in glamourous and bold fashion. From sequin dresses to satin shirts, everything was so eyecatching! This fashion trend was all about shining under the disco ball, encouraging flamboyance and fun.

Couples Dancing At A Disco With A Light Show - Dpla - 828F2A848Dc29C550Bd7Adc134670979David Lucas on Wikimedia Commons


1970s Best: Punk Fashion

Punk fashion emerged confidently into the scene as a fashion trend that fought against the mainstream. Characterized by leather jackets, ripped jeans, and band tees, this style was definitely an influential one. It wasn't just about what you were wearing, it was also about expressing oneself.

Young Punk Us-C1984Tim Schapker on Wikimedia Commons

1970s Worst: Leisure Suits

Often made out of polyester, leisure suits featured bright colours and patterns, giving men an opportunity to stand out on a day to day basis. Despite their popularity in the 70s, when people look back on them now, they're often seen as a symbol of bad taste. The over-the-top look doesn't quite fit modern preferences.

Leisuresuitconvention4Daniel Hartwig on Wikimedia Commons

1970s Worst: Platform Shoes

Adding height and drama to the 1970s fashion scene, platform shoes were notorious for being difficult to walk in. Posing a risk of ankle injuries, the exaggerated height of these shoes were nothing to laugh at; they were awkward, uncomfortable, and certainly a unique look back in the day.

1024Px-Super 7 Inch Tall Platform Flip Flop ThongsCeddie2000 on Wikimedia Commons

1980s Best: Power Dressing

With women gaining more recognition by the 1980s, power dressing became a popular fashion trend befitting of the time. Symbolizing women's growing role in the corporate world, this style included tailored suits and bold accessories, a look that reflected the growing confidence and authority that women held.

Lance-Reis-Scyneaaxrsi-UnsplashPhoto by Lance Reis on Unsplash

1980s Best: Athletic Wear

The 1980s saw the rise of athletic wear as everyday fashion, with brands like Adidas and Nike becoming household names. Jogging pants, leg warmers, and headbands were not just for the gym but became part of casual wear, driven by the decade's fitness craze.

Wu-Yi-Zy3Ziodkxl4-UnsplashPhoto by wu yi on Unsplash

1980s Worst: Shoulder Pads

Shoulder pads in the 1980s were intended to give women a more authoritative silhouette in the workplace, but they often resulted in an exaggerated, boxy look. We're not sure what they were thinking with the whole "broad shoulder" look! This trend is frequently questioned and criticized today for its lack of subtlety and unnatural proportions.

Black Lace Bow In Red Hair And A Blue Dress With Shoulder Pads (19398971370)Jamie on Wikimedia Commons


1980s Worst: Neon Spandex

One of the more questionable looks from the past is definitely neon spandex. Coming to popularity in the 80s, neon spandex took the form of leggings, bodysuits, and aerobics gear. While it definitely captured the decade's fun, exciting spirit, it's a look that many people often facepalm when thinking back on.

Spandex Biker By Ed YourdonEd Yourdon on Wikimedia Commons

1990s Best: Grunge

Grunge fashion took center stage in the 1990s, marked by its laid-back and unkempt look. Straying away from more formal looks to relaxed, comfortable clothes, it was a unique fashion era that stood out. Flannel shirts, ripped jeans, and combat boots were staples of this trend, heavily influenced by the grunge music scene.

Fairy Grunge Urban OutfittersKauey on Wikimedia Commons

1990s Best: Minimalism

In sharp contrast to grunge and other flamboyant looks from the previous decades, the 1990s took on a new approach to fashion: minimalism. This trend highlighted simple lines, neutral colours, and understated elegance. It was epitomized by fashion designers like Calvin Klein and Jil Sander, two iconic names who built their empire off of the "less is more" approach.

Calvin Klein Dress With PocketsMaegan Tintari on Wikimedia Commons

1990s Worst: Frosted Tips

In the 1990s, frosted tips also became a popular hairstyle among men, involving bleaching the ends of short, spiky hair. Although it was a common hairstyle choice back in the day, it doesn't really match modern tastes and preferences, leaving this one that some people look back on with embarrassment.

Lance Bass 2014Toglenn on Wikimedia Commons

1990s Worst: Baggy Jeans

The oversized, baggy jeans of the 1990s, popularized by the skate and hip-hop subcultures, may have offered comfort but resulted in a sloppy, messy appearance. Seriously, how do those jeans even stay up? This trend sacrificed fit for size, creating a look that looked more lazy than stylish.

Baggy Jeans Guy 1Schreckgespenst on Wikimedia Commons