Fashion is cyclical, with trends often going out of style only to resurge 20-30 years later. Whether it’s 1970s flared trousers, 80s power suits or the Y2K revival, the early 2020s have already seen plenty of returning retro styles — some of which are universally embraced and others that have proven controversial.
But why is it that trends seem to come back around after once being declared passé? Does society simply forget, or is there more to it?
In this blog, we look at how styles change over time and why many old fashion trends come back — whether you want them to or not. Our fashion experts also outline what fashion trends are coming back in 2022, helping you navigate the world of retro-inspired fashion and embrace nostalgia in your wardrobe.
Why Do Fashions Change Over Time?
One of the reasons fashion is so inspiring is that it never stands still. Whether it’s something completely new or the return of a long-forgotten style, the industry is constantly evolving and adapting, inspired by changing tastes, popular culture, social media and world events. Some fashion trends are associated with particular groups of people like musicians and movie stars, while others emerge as a result of shifting attitudes, ethics or social movements such as #MeToo or the modern shift toward sustainability.
Fashions change over time because people and circumstances do. As well as anticipating shifting preferences, the fashion industry must rapidly react to all kinds of events, from World War II which saw a rise in functional fashion to the Covid-19 pandemic that made us all want to live in loungewear.
In the modern day, politics, technology, celebrities and social influencers all have a significant impact on contemporary fashion trends. The emergence of social media and tech has made trends catch on more quickly than ever before, with different styles becoming increasingly accessible and sought after.
Why Are Old Fashion Trends Coming Back?
Although new designs are always emerging, these often take inspiration from trends we’ve seen before or reinterpret them in fresh and imaginative ways. In the 2020s, the fashion landscape may have you feeling like you’ve stepped through a time machine, with many of the most popular styles evoking trends of decades past. Structured blazers and statement slogan tees are reminiscent of popular 80s looks, while early 2000s fashion is back with a vengeance in the form of low-rise jeans, cut-out details and wide-leg silhouettes. So, why does this happen?
The 20-Year Trend Cycle
The 20-year rule is often referred to in the world of fashion — a cyclical movement suggesting that today’s popular trends will see a resurgence in two decades. Also applicable to interior design, film, television, music and art in general, the 20-year trend cycle explains why Y2K is seeing such a resurgence on catwalks, across social media and in your favourite high street stores. Fashion designers will always look to past references for inspiration and consider how they can pull these into the present, whether by rediscovering forgotten moments in pop culture or exploring their archives to ignite that creative spark.
Film and Television
When old fashion trends come back today, they’re often inspired by the latest big thing in film and television. Hit Netflix show Stranger Things has thrust several 80s styles back into the spotlight, while costumes featured in period dramas like Bridgerton have undoubtedly inspired a rise in Regencycore dressing. In 2021, Lyst reported that searches for corsets had spiked by 123% as the show rose to popularity. Euphoria has embodied Gen Z’s experimental approach to fashion and brought with it a revival of velour tracksuits, cut out dresses and aughties mini skirts.
Taking fashion inspiration from our favourite movies and TV shows is nothing new — Gossip Girl, Sex and the City and Friends are just a handful of shows that have heavily influenced fashion trends over the past 30 years. But with the rise of streaming and binge-watching, the small screen’s influence on style and shopping habits has become more powerful than ever.
Trends have long been changing with each generation as young people strive to create their own identities and put their stamp on fashion. As well as taking inspiration from pop culture, younger generations are often considering social and environmental causes before they shop — plus, they’re not afraid to take the lead and set their own trends. Social media has somewhat changed the way trends emerge, with Instagram and TikTok allowing anyone the opportunity to go viral and establish themselves as tastemakers.
5 Fashion Trends Making a Comeback in 2022
1. Platform Shoes
One of the biggest fashion trends making a comeback right now is platform shoes, from boots, heels and sandals to chunky trainers with an amped-up sole. Spring/Summer 22 runways saw footwear reach new heights with stacked loafers and slip-on flatforms, while celebrities such as Olivia Rodrigo, Florence Pugh and Beyoncé have all embraced bold platform heels within their looks. If towering heels aren’t for you, don’t worry — chunky sandals and sneakers are an easy way to incorporate this trend into your outfits. Explore Lofina, GANNI and Ash footwear to discover the latest platform styles.
2. Purple Hues
One of our favourite 2022 fashion trends is the colour purple, which is everywhere this year and encompasses everything from low-key lilacs to bold, regal shades. Set to be autumn/winter’s “It” colour, purple has been dominating the runways ever since Pantone unveiled colour of the year, Very Peri. Embrace the shade of the moment with statement knitwear, dresses and accessories sure to spark sartorial joy.
Regencycore is still going strong in 2022 with prim florals, frills and corsets taking the fashion world by storm. This trend has encouraged fashion-lovers to look as far back as the 19th century for their wardrobe inspiration, with long gloves, empire waist dresses and pearls making their way back into the spotlight. Although you may not have a ball to go to, you can still embrace this trend in your everyday looks by pairing a puff sleeve shirt with your favourite jeans or a ruffle dress with your go-to trainers.
4. Baguette Bags
Do you remember the original “it” bag of the late 90s to early 2000s? Well, Carrie Bradshaw’s favourite accessory is back, with the iconic baguette bag currently seeing a surge in popularity. Get the ultimate nostalgic look by tucking one of these classic shoulder bags under your arm wherever you go — many of our favourite styles have a removable shoulder strap so you can easily switch up your style.
5. Maximalist Prints
If you want to know what fashion trends are coming back in a big way, you can’t miss 60s-era prints, which are brightening up our wardrobes and helping us master dopamine dressing. Psychedelic swirls, bold florals, checkerboard prints and geometric colour block designs will take you out of your comfort zone this season and breathe new life into your wardrobe, adding vibrant colour to your looks. These quirky prints are versatile enough to wear day and night, featured on blouses, dresses and chic straight-leg trousers.
Stay up to date with the fashion trends making a comeback by checking out our latest women’s new arrivals, with new pieces dropped weekly. You can also sign up to our mailing list for expert styling tips and exclusive offers, plus 15% off your first purchase.