A Look Back on Fads

Imagine scrolling through your Instagram feed when suddenly Taylor Swift posts a photo of herself performing in a chic crop top. You, along with Swift’s roughly 68 million Instagram followers, instantly fall in love with her look. By the next day, New Yorkers galore are sporting stylish crop-tops while strutting down the streets of Manhattan, and similar scenes are erupting worldwide.

Celebrity Instagram accounts, such as those of Swift, Beyoncé, and Kim Kardashian, in addition to other social media outlets, seem to guide fashion fads which instantly begin to dominate the internet. While some of these ultimately evolved into long-lasting trends, most fads have a lifespan of a few weeks or months before their often-appreciated extinction.

The Plaid Flannel

Stores ranging from Urban Outfitters to J-Crew always carry this fashion staple, which is versatile enough to be customized to every style demographic. Whether the plaid flannel pairs a simple pair of jeans or tied around the waist of a sweater dress, this 70’s fad clearly transitioned into a consistent staple for today due to its practicality and androgynous identity.


While this style appears to scream summer, this fad has proven its ability to transition into winter months, appearing on the runways of both Katie Gallagher’s Spring/Summer collection and Concept Korea’s Fall/Winter show. A subtle flash of skin creates a playful edge to any look, ranging from bathing suits to blouses to evening-wear.

Ankle Boots

Another fad proving to be a must-have is the ever-fashionable ankle bootie. For a natural look, suede or leather booties go with almost any pair of jeans, but one can easily obtain a cool bohemian style by opting for brown booties with fringe.

Cross-Body Bags

A perfect balance between practicality and stylistic flair accurately describes the public’s everlasting obsession with the cross-body bag. This style of bag never disappoints, managing to work well during the day or at night. While clutches are characteristic for an evening out, a leather cross-body bag embellished with gold studs can add an edge to a party dress while ensuring the unique bag is not misplaced throughout the night.

Nerd Glasses

Thick plastic-framed glasses worn by 20/20-sighted people were one of the most ridiculous fads. People with perfect vision trying to embrace their inner Johnny Depp or Anne Hathaway (both of whom wear glasses and contacts regularly) caused the spread of this geek-chic look, which peaked in popularity around 2011.

Feather Hair Extensions

This fad, only seeming to last for a single summer, achieved a carefree, previously uncommon look. Hair stylists weaved colorful plumage, ranging from natural-looking to neon colored, for prices ranging from $15-$50. Celebrities including Selena Gomez and Steven Tyler also decided to join in the bird-brained fad.

Velour Tracksuits

Regina George’s mom called, and she wants her sweats back. This regrettable fad seemed to gain fuel from Juicy Couture’s endless collection of velour tracksuits, coming in almost every single color and pattern. It was as if these tracksuits were worn for every activity except actually running track.

These trends all offer a healthy dose of nostalgia, yet also give stylish students reason to carefully consider each fad that pops up on the internet. Feel free to experiment with the new look you saw a celebrity sporting in their latest photo, but do not stray from personal style standards and remember that this trend may pass, becoming a laughing matter in the near future.

Photo by Polina Buchak.

Carson Kessler is a staff writer. Email her at violetvision@nyunews.com.


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