By Liza Ilarde
1 Dad sneakers. Also known as ugly sneakers—no explanation necessary. All the cool girls wore these chunky, oversized shoes with everything from denim cutoffs and cycling shorts to pant suits and even flowy dresses. Where did this sneaker-on-steroids fad come from? Skechers claims they first released this style back in the 90s, and when the nostalgia trend struck, the whole gamut of brands from luxury (Balenciaga, Louis Vuitton) to high-street (Zara, Topshop) to athletic (Fila, Nike) cashed in.
2 Tiny sunglass frames. Oversized bubuyog shades used to be the height of chic. Oh, but how quickly the fickle fashionista shunned them in favor of teeny tiny sunglasses that hardly protected the eyes from the sun and bright lights. Ah, but eye protection was not required; these frames—especially the bright-colored cat-eye—were treated more like nose accessories. They were meant to be worn on the bridge of your nose with your eyes peeking over them
3 Holey jeans. Jeans with holes in them are not new. But we’re talking extreme ripped and shredded jeans, which showed a lot of skin—thighs, knees, shins, even some butt—and which sometimes didn’t have much denim fabric left. Yes, these jeans were sold this way (at full price, mind you, even with less fabric), but if you didn’t want to spend on damaged-looking merchandise, a DIY video was just a Google search away.
4. Round wicker bag. Also known as the Bali bag, the round woven purse with a long leather strap was certainly the bag of summer. Worn by every influencer worth her followers, the bag was made of natural materials like rattan, bamboo, seagrass, and abaca. The style originated in Bali, where entrepreneurial tourists brought them back by the dozens to be sold on Instagram. Then a million copycats followed.
5. Bobby pins. Women have worn bobby pins in their hair since time immemorial. But you never saw them because they were meant to be hidden beneath buns and beehives. This year, the lowly bobby pin came out of hiding and became front and center in the most cutting-edge hairstyles. Aside from classic black, they now came in colors and with crystals; and were worn in pairs, in rows, or by the dozen in fun, funky patterns across the head.
6. Block-heeled sandals. This has got to be the most un-sexy and most non-descript footwear of the year. Treading the thin line between sensible shoes and, well, tita shoes, It Girls gave up their platform heels and flat mules for these in-between-height strappy sandals and slip-ons. A practical, comfortable alternative? Maybe, but keep them from looking frumpy by styling with cool, edgy clothes.
7. Essential oils. Essential oils as ingredients for fragrances and skin-care products are a staple in the beauty industry, considering that they have been used for thousands of years to cure certain ailments. This past year, my Facebook feed was filled with friends asking advice on where to get them, how to use them, and even making them part of their lifestyle, completely eschewing modern medicine to heal themselves. It’s become big business!
8. Romper. This is another one of those trends that goes way back—way back to when we were babies, that is! Known as onesies for infants and playsuits for children, for grown-ups the romper was cute and comfy—until you had to go to the bathroom. That didn’t stop girls from wearing this summer staple all throughout the year, day and night. (Thankfully, the romper for men—or “romp-him”—trend didn’t fly!)
9. High-waist bikini. The nostalgic trend touched on all fashion categories, including swimwear. Two-piece bikinis were still in fashion, but this time came with high-waisted bottoms. Paired with bandeaus, tank styles, stringed triangles, and ruffled tops, this retro style filled my Instagram feed all summer.
10. The influencer. This year, while print publications all over the world were shutting down and the digital platform strengthened its presence, social media stars, a.k.a. influencers, made a swift and steady climb up the fame ladder. When it came to brand endorsements, celebrities took a back seat. When it came to attending fashion week, editors had to make way. With their endorsements, collaborations, partnerships, book deals, TV gigs, and even fully sponsored birthdays/weddings/vacations, looks like these content creators (as they prefer to be called) are here to stay. For now.