Worst Fashion Trends of All Time

worst fashion trends

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It’s easy to romanticize the style of past decades as always inspiring, elegant, and magical—but in reality, bad fashion has been around since the start of mankind. If you’re still having PTSD from the traumatic trends of the early 2000s, take comfort in the fact that every other decade has also faced many questionable sartorial choices. From squeezing into corsets to exercising in leg warmers to accessorizing every outfit with a Von Dutch hat, here’s a roundup of the most cringe-worthy fashion trends from the past century.

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1900s: Corsets

Internal organ damage, broken ribs, hours to get dressed—there is such thing as doing too much for fashun and corsets are it.

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1910s: The Hobble Skirt

Sure they look chic, but walking in these heavy and constricting floor-length hemlines is no easy task. Imagine wearing a tight, ankle-length pencil skirt and having no choice but to move at a glacial pace: no fun.

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1920s: Cloche Hats

Unless you’re going for the look of an overgrown infant, this hat trend is better left for newborn babies.

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1920s: Bathing Suit Dresses

Props to all the women who managed to stay afloat whilst swimming in these taffeta dresses.

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1930s: T-Strap Shoes and Heeled Oxfords

Listen, I know the people of the ’30s were going through a lot of things but there was no reason to act out by wearing this tragic footwear, now better known as vintage Taylor Swift shoes.

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1940s: Mini Bowler Hats

Fact: miniature hats flatter very few heads.

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1950s: White Gloves

Elegant? Yes. Practical? No. How is one supposed to indulge in finger food while wearing these?

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1950s: Poodle Skirts

Look, everyone loves poodles but that isn’t good enough reason to embroider them onto a skirt.

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1960s: Patterned Tights

Whoever thought that multi-colored, multi-patterned tights would flatter ANY HUMAN’S legs was seriously mistaken.

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1960s: “Futuristic” Fashion

Let us all be grateful in knowing that the fashion of the future never actually ended up looking like this. These metallic skin-tight pants are nobody’s friend.

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1960s: Babydoll Dresses

Being an adult is pretty terrible but dressing like a small child is equally terrible and next-level creepy.

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1970s: Patchwork Peasant Skirts

Very few people can manage to pull off wearing a quilt as a skirt.

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1970s: Sweater Vests

Aside from really serving no purpose whatsoever, sweater vests are truly flattering on no one.

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1970s: Jumpsuits for Men

The jumpsuit isn’t for everyone and that’s okay.

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1970s: Safety Pin Face Jewelry

The whole punk rock movement went a little too far at times; let it serve as a general life lesson that we should never pierce our cheeks with office supplies.

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1980s: Leg Warmers

Is it even humanly possible for someone’s calves to get chilly while working out? Please advise.

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1980s: Every Color in the World at Once

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1980s: Everything On Madonna in This Photo

Colored leggings. Mini skirt layered on top of said leggings. Neon everywhere. The worst colored makeup in the history of makeup. 600 rubber bracelets to weight train your wrists. It all hurts so much.

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1980s: MC Hammer Pants

When not even the founder of a fashion trend can manage to pull the look off, that’s when you know there’s a problem (Sorry, MC, you’re still great).

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1980s: Sweatbands

Just when you thought the act of sweating couldn’t get any more unappealing, this “accessory” became a thing.

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1980s: Sweaters Tied Around The Neck


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1980s: Acid Wash Jeans

Acid wash jeans began in the 1960s, but really increased in popularity during the ’80s. From punk rockers to high school queens bees, almost everyone would take bleach and dose their denim in it. Seriously, why?

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1990s: Butterflies

Between the late ’90s and early 2000s, butterflies were all over the fashion industry and beyond. Mariah Carrey’s 1997 album certainly helped with that. From tops to hair clips to trousers, the silhouette and patterns associated with the winged insect were fluttering all over.

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1990s: Color Tinted Sunglasses

Proving the world doesn’t always look better through rose-colored glass.

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1990s: Blossom Hats

In retrospect, these ’90s-favorite maybe weren’t so cool after all.

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1990s: T-Shirts Over Long-Sleeve Shirts

I would follow Rachel Green if she jumped off a bridge but this I cannot find the logic in or get behind at all.

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1990s: Popcorn Shirts

This was THE most impressive piece of clothing from the decade and in retrospect, we should all be a little sad about that.

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1990s: Parachute Pants

Made of nylon, a material used for parachutes (hence the name), these trousers often can in loud neon colors, which made the wrong kind of statement.

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2000s: The Velour Tracksuit

Spearheading this time of bad sartorial decisions was the ubiquitous velour tracksuit. Everyone and their mother (literally) had a tracksuit to style with a cami underneath and a logo bag in tow. Bonus points if you had a pair with the word “JUICY” across the butt.

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2000s: Very, Very Low-Rise Jeans

Perfect for showing off your thong.

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