In honour of Stylist’s 10th birthday, sub-editor Meena Alexander looked at the past decade through a sartorial lens – and what she saw wasn’t pretty. However, the Stylist fashion team insists some key trends emerged that still stand up today. Here’s what happened when she put them to the test.
The 1970s gave us flares and sky-high platforms. In the 1980s, we got shoulder pads and power suits. The 1990s are to thank for slip dresses and bucket hats. And the 2010s? As far as I’m concerned, this is the decade where fashion came to die.
When I think of the years between 2009 and 2019 – the period we are all reflecting on this week as Stylist turns 10 – a kaleidoscope of hip belts, gypsy skirts and low-rise jeans flash before my eyes. When pressed, the only ‘iconic’ or ‘era-defining’ look I can come up with is Paris Hilton in a Juicy Couture tracksuit – little else sticks out, and I reckon my mental block might be a defense mechanism lest I trigger myself with memories of misguided teenage outfits.
But my esteemed colleagues on the fashion desk tell me that I am sadly, badly mistaken. For not only did the past decade give us Stylist magazine and the manmade wonder that is oat milk, but it also gave us a wealth of trends that are still entirely wearable – and much beloved – today.
Me being me, I wasn’t satisfied with taking their word for it, so I asked them to single out some key trends and wore them to the office to see if they stand up in 2019. Here’s how it went, as documented through the modern art form of the mirror selfie:
As a disciple of head-to-toe black, needless to say I was horrified by the idea of being decked out in neon colours all day. To ease myself in and stay as close to my comfort zone as possible, I paired this bright yellow-green top with black trousers and my trusty Dr Martens. Instead of looking like an upended highlighter as I suspected, I actually felt cool and lapped up the compliments from colleagues on how much the colour suited me. 1-0 to the fashion team.
2. Sports luxe
Athleisure as we know it today really came into its own in the 2010s, with even the most high-end of fashion houses taking inspiration from sportswear brands. But in my view, a decade that saw plastic slides revered as a luxury staple must be cursed, right? Wrong, say the fashion team, offering up this office-appropriate take on sports luxe. Striped trousers, off-duty trainers and a three-way coat with more pockets than one girl could ever need – comfort will always be cool.
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3. Double denim
Cowboys and country singers having been rocking denim on denim since forever, but the early 2010s saw a major resurgence. This look, I am sure, hasn’t stood the test of time, but in the name of investigative journalism I try out the fashion team’s 2019 take: a relaxed denim shirt tucked into some Levi’s. The result is not quite Britney and Justin levels of horror, but I am definitely not into it. The cowboys – and 2010s – can keep this one.
4. All beige everything
Once considered the most boring of colours, a few years ago beige had a serious moment that apparently isn’t over yet. Tonal dressing is the key to making this look modern, I’m advised – camels, creams, tans and browns are all fair game. I’ve never worn an entirely monochrome outfit (unless 50 shades of black counts) so I warily head to work in a beige roll-neck, shirt dress and trainers. My colleagues are evidently shocked that I look so put-together, I feel grown-up and (I’ll admit it) very 2019. 10/10, would wear again.
In a highly predictable plot twist, the Stylist fashion team have proven they know more about what makes an enduring trend than I do. We may have seen some truly shocking fashions come and go since Stylist began in 2009 – and I may have dabbled in more than a few of them – but the past decade also gave us lots of looks that are still wearable today.
This exercise made me realise that instead of jumping on the latest trends every season in an attempt to stay up to date, I should be rummaging at the back of my wardrobe for inspiration, too. Remixing the looks we used to love is a fun challenge, and our bank accounts – not to mention the planet – will always thank us for it.
Images: author’s own, Getty
Meena Alexander is Stylist magazine’s features editor.