Trends of Modern Day America

Trends of Modern Day America

In modern America, every decade has had its own fashion trend that sparked the nation, such as leather pants in the 80’s and flannels in the 90’s. Nowadays, however, it seems that America is no longer coming up with a new trend for this decade specifically. This is because the fashion industry can’t create any new trends. Fashion designers have taken a nostalgic approach for the fashion of today and make these trends popular by celebrity involvement.

Nostalgia is a wistful desire to return in thought or fact to a former time in one's life ( This emotion can be triggered by objects, settings, people, or events. Other emotions can trigger it as well such as loneliness. Despite these negative connotations, humans like the feeling of nostalgia. In reference to a study done by Batcho, a psychologist who is referred to in Self Continuity, compared to younger adults, older adults have higher self-concept clarity and engage more often in remembrance. Older adults reminisce in the past more often than younger adults. Since most of the people in the fashion industry in charge of designing outfits for popular celebrities are older -- such as Marni Senofonte, designer for Kendall Jenner and Beyonce--they are specifically picking the styles that they grew up wearing in order to feel a “sentimental longing” for the past. For example, Kendall Jenner who has been seen wearing high waisted jeans, oversized coats, and crop tops. All of those styles were popular in the 1980s. This then causes present-day fashion trends to be from past decades and to be popular due to famous celebrities.

Due to the influence of nostalgia in the fashion industry, styles have moved more towards an 80’s look, which includes mixing and matching fabrics and patterns. Leather and leggings have become a staple. There was also the punk scene which brought the idea of DIY clothes such as patching and ripped jeans. Examples of what is sold in stores today are pre-patched jackets, leather jackets and skirts, leggings, and chokers (Forever 21), similar to  popular items in the 80’s. Fashion designers are feeling nostalgic to the eras they grew up in. This then causes them to focus on past decades and take those styles as inspiration or direct reference to create the fashion of the today. Fashion designers want to see the world of fashion fall into the past to make themselves feel nostalgic. They do this by having popular celebrities such as Cara Delevingne, who has worn leather jackets and t-shirts similar to Winona Ryder, a celebrity who started her career in the late 80s. Winona Ryder was and still is a heartthrob for most people who grew up in the 80’s. Everyone wanted to be like her, similar to how people see Cara Delevingne. According to Vogue Cara Delevingne is bringing back the tracksuit, an 80’s trend, as an airport style. These celebrity outfits were put together by designers who think about the past and incorporate it into celebrity outfits.

On the other hand, the 90’s brought denim into extreme popularity, along with music influencing what people wore, similar to punk in the 80’s. Grunge introduced flannels and brought back ripped jeans, creating “the rocker” style (Kass). Today those styles have been brought back and made popular. Trends that are coming back are oversized blazers, flannels, high waisted jeans, acid washed jeans, ripped jeans, and band shirts. Fashion designers such as Senofonte are dressing their clients, Kendall Jenner and Hailey Baldwin for example, in a “90’s vibe’ because they are reminiscing in the past. Fashion designers are even bringing out their own clothes such as Senofonte, Kendall Jenner’s designer, who states, “Kendall’s been wearing some of my old clothes I had in storage.” This then brings 90’s clothes into popularity. The fashion of today has brought people to a nostalgic place. The “90’s style” is now sold in popular stores like Urban Outfitters to make these styles more accessible to the younger generation, making these nostalgic items popular.

When asked, people might say that there is no way there couldn't be something new that has been created in fashion, but on closer inspection, everything that is popular today was once popular in past decades, showing that we can't create new fashion. It’s not that the fashion industry just doesn’t want to create something new; it is that they can’t. They feel the need to dress celebrities in old fashion in order to bring it back. Fashion designers want to remain in the past in order to create a nostalgic feeling for the past in the present.

Work Cited:

  1. Forever 21 ,

  2. Kass, Alison. “American Fashion Through the Decades.” 10 May 2011.

  3. “Nostalgia.”,,

  4. Sani, Fabio. “Nostalgia as a Self-Relevant and Positive Emotion.” Self Continuity: Individual and Collective Perspectives, Psychology Press UK, 2014.

  5. Schmidt, Ingrid. “Celebrity Stylists Zero in on Fall's Biggest Fashion Trends.” Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Times, 8 Sept. 2017,

  6. Ward, Maria. “Cara Delevingne Turns the Throwback Tracksuit Into a Cool Travel Look.”Vogue, Vogue, 21 Aug. 2017,

Comments (2)

Amado Alfaro-Allah (Student 2019)
Amado Alfaro-Allah

This 2fer taught me that I never saw the trends in this day and age. Every decade or year has there certain trend and I haven't really seen a noteworthy style. I think its really cool how stores are cashing in on nostalgia