It’s hard to capture the essence of the 2010s. There were the cutesy bows and Peter Pan collars, there were the hippy flowing dresses and flower crowns, and then the business chic of peplum and those donut buns (gag). I try not to think back to that time, as even though it’s only a decade ago, I’ve repressed it so deeply that it feels like centuries have passed.
But I’m finally ready to share my trauma with you all in the hopes that I’ll be able to move past it. I’ll cover the 2010 trends that will be the sole thing on my mind on my deathbed, as I urge my great-granddaughter to come closer and beg her to find and delete all of the photos. She’ll likely laugh and ask what Facebook even is, and I’ll be able to find my peace.
Until then, let’s dig up some trends we’d all rather forget.
Alright, let’s dive right into the thick of things and talk about peplum. If you don’t know what that word means, you’re one of the lucky ones, as the rest of us are haunted by this silhouette. Peplum was basically a fitted silhouette with a random extra piece of fabric hanging on. It completely hid your shape and yet somehow was the trendiest thing out there.
There was no cooler outfit than a peplum top and skinny jeans. You were the absolute shit if you rocked up in that. But it wasn’t just tops, we also wore peplum skirts, peplum dresses, and even peplum jackets. I wore this style for so long that I actually forgot what my hips looked like.
It was part of this strange crossover from business to casual. We’d rock up at the club looking like we just left a board room. The work-from-homers of today will never be able to understand the absolute chokehold of day-to-night outfits.
Speaking of chokeholds, let’s discuss the chunky necklaces that were literally choking us most of the time, and not in a fun kinky way.
Statement necklaces were a core aspect of any outfit. We would wear necklaces that literally looked like a collar, and then have a strapless top. We’d wear layered necklaces, not the cute little dainty ones of today, but layers of beaded monstrosities. Why??? I would love to know. I think I still have scars from the rashes given to me by the cheap jewelry. I wish I could airbrush those necklaces out of all the photos of that time. I still have unresolved trauma from statement necklaces, and can’t wear more than a simple gold pendant at this time.
At least statement necklaces pretended to be worth more than the $10 they were, but Silly Bandz had no excuse. We were purchasing packs of neon-colored plastic and proudly wearing them on our wrists. They made a cool shape once we took them off, but on our wrist, they just looked strange. Yet we were constantly comparing the different shapes we had, and trading for the ones we really wanted. They were like our own personal stock market.
Can someone explain to me why there are photos of all the Kardashians proudly displaying their Silly Bandz? They have truly made their way up since that sponsorship.
Enough of our necks, what about the crap we were putting on our heads? I kid you not, I went to a proper house party with a cheap plastic flower crown on my head, and I thought I was the coolest person there. I felt like I had literally stepped right out of Tumblr (more on that later) to grace people with my ethereal fairy-like presence.
Spoiler alert: I didn’t look like a fairy, I looked like an overgrown child. By the end of the night, my cheap flower crown was falling apart and no one had even tried to make out with this fairy queen.
I blame Hailey Bieber for this one. Only back then, she was still Hailey Baldwin, and she rocked the pink flower crown that convinced the rest of us to give it a try. I’m currently in the process of suing for emotional damages, so I can’t disclose more on that until we’ve settled the matter.
I had quite the fright when I went to a Lana del Rey concert a few months ago (sorry for the flex) and found myself surrounded by flower crowns. I quickly feared they were making a comeback, only to feel assured that it was just an isolated incident of nostalgia.
I keep seeing posts that dip-dyed hair is making a comeback, and I beg you not to put us through this again. I can handle the return of Juicy sweatpants, butterfly clips, and even skinny jeans, but I cannot bear wrecking my hair like this again.
We would take a decent haircut — I won’t call it great, we didn’t have Dysons back then, not that I can afford one now either — and then dye a random chunk of it an absurd color.
I had pink hair just a year ago, and I’ll admit it looked pretty fetch, because ALL OF IT WAS THE SAME COLOR. The same cannot be said for dip-dyed hair. We never measured how much we were coloring, we never did it evenly, and we sometimes didn’t even use actual hair dye to do the task. We were butchering our own hair and for what? To try and look Tumblr-worthy? My hair took a decade to recover and I’m not ready to go back to that patchy purple time.
Social Media Challenges
Let’s take a brief break from the many horrifying things we dressed ourselves in, to discuss the absolute bullshit we were putting online. Aside from over-filtered selfies and oversharing Facebook statuses, we were also partaking in social media challenges. Now I bet that’s a little fun blast from the past, dredging up trauma you had no intention of reliving.
Raise your hand if you did the ALS ice bucket challenge? Yep, me too. I tipped a bucket of ice water on myself while on holiday with my bestie in Ayia Napa, and uploaded the video onto Facebook, tagging the next victims. I really thought I had changed the world there.
Raise your hand if you did the no-makeup challenge? Yep, me too. Although instead of actually not wearing makeup like I did half the time anyway, I did concealer, brows, and some light mascara for the selfie. I liked the idea of it, but there was no way I was letting the internet see my real face just yet.
Raise your hand if you did the cinnamon challenge? Yep, I choked my way through that one too. What was the reason for this one even? I could’ve gone through life never knowing how vile pure cinnamon is.
But I do sleep soundly at night knowing that the Tide pod challenge was after my time, so I don’t have to wonder if I’d have been stupid enough to partake in that deathly delight.
Every night out, someone brought their trusty little digital camera and we all snapped away. This is before smartphones became what they are, so we relied on this camera to prove just how much fun we were having. We’d wait feverishly for the photos to be uploaded and then comment things like “OMG ROFL!!!” and “Not this photo, nooooo!”
There was an album for every party, every night out, even each trip to the mall. We were obsessed with recording ourselves, and that just means that there’s even more incriminating evidence out there.
Sometimes, I spare a moment to think about all the people walking around with a mustache tattooed onto their finger. At the time, it really seemed hilarious and quirky, I’ll give you that. But now you have to live with the consequences. Given that I got my first tattoo at 16, I’m so relieved that I was too scared of my parents finding out to do anything that visible, and instead just have my star sign on my hip.
I saw that some places offer free removals for Harry Potter or Kanye West tattoos, and I think the same should be offered for people with mustache tattoos. They’ve suffered enough by now. The funny photo isn’t looking that funny anymore.
If anyone reading this has the iconic finger mustache tattoo, please reach out and let me know how you’re doing.
We were all strutting around looking like an extra in The Mummy. I know bandage dresses are still a thing now, but at least there is some semblance of style provided to them. Back then we were wearing the most basic, Forever 21 bandage dresses and thinking we looked like they do on “The Hills.”
We could barely walk in them, and a single misstep was enough to reveal the hot pink thong underneath, but it felt worth it. To quote The Perks of Being a Wallflower, if you can handle the flashback, “and in that moment, I swear we were infinite.”
It wasn’t just our going-out clothes that left me terrified of those Snapchat anniversaries, but our casual clothes weren’t much better. We not only willingly walked around in plain crop tops with the text “NERD” on it, but we coveted those shirts. I remember going from store to store in desperate search of one. They were sold out completely. I would’ve settled for a “GEEK” or “RAD’ shirt even.
We’d spent years being terrified of being called a nerd, and suddenly everyone was strutting around in shirts declaring it and wearing fake glasses. I’m still trying to understand what was going through our minds.
Imagine a pair of sausages stuffed into a fishing net, that was roughly what my feet looked like in my trusty gladiator sandals. I am still recovering from the damage these flat shoes did to my arch.
The recent discovery that men are constantly thinking about the Roman Empire has only reignited this horror, and I can’t help but feel that the two must be linked. While I have NO issues with gladiators, especially when they look like Russell Crowe did back then, I don’t think my footwear needs to be involved in this desire.
This isn’t even mentioning the studs they would have, which were a weapon in their own right. No need for pepper spray with one of those bad boys on your feet. Only then people had to take it one step too far and turn them into heels. And yes, I had a pair of these, and I’ve burned all the photos.
Colored Skinny Jeans
Like I said, I’ll begrudgingly accept the return of skinny jeans. Personally, I’ve moved on to flared jeans, as I realized that my size 14 booty should not be squeezed into skinny jeans, and I deserve blood flow to my calves. But I love it for all you skinny jeans gals. However, my tolerance only extends so far, and the line must be drawn, and I am drawing it with colored skinny jeans.
We had no right to go about in bright yellow or neon green skinny jeans. We likely caused dozens of traffic accidents without even realizing it. We were too focused on not ripping those fluorescent pants. I don’t want to see hot pink skinny jeans out there again, and if I do, I’ll have to report you to 1-800-MILLENNIALS immediately.
Let’s end with the most toxic of them all, one that deserves an entire rant dedicated to it: Tumblr. TikTok may be filled with mean teenagers but it has nothing on Tumblr.
It all started so pleasantly. Just people posting photos or sharing them. Barely anyone I knew was actually posting their own photos, we mainly just reblogged them like crazy. A few would try and create super aesthetic photos where you couldn’t see their face or it was just the back of their fedora. The mustache tattoo girls were very popular here.
But like all good things, it quickly ran rampantly downhill. It promoted unhealthy body standards, fetishized mental illness, and became rife with bullying. Tumblr was a terrifying thing to be on back then, which you wouldn’t believe if you saw all the big bows and Peter Pan collars, but trust me, we do not need it coming back.