The evolution of trends over the past five years


These trends have been popular over the past five years.

Amelia Shives

The past five years have been a doozy and it was not only because of the Coronavirus. There have been many trends that have made the past five years memorable. Trends are not only what company is popular at the moment, but often a trend is characterized by a show or a certain “look” that people are trying to achieve. 

As COVID-19 hit in April 2020, the world distracted itself with this hit Netflix Original “Outer Banks.” Almost overnight, teenagers and Tik Tok influences were dressing as “Pogues” which was the lower class. Guys dressed in Hawaiian shirts, jean shorts, bandanas around their wrist and swimsuits all trying to resemble the main Character John B. The girls who wanted to look like Kie, one of the show’s main female characters, wore shell necklaces, had handmade friendship bracelets, bright cropped shirts and swimsuits under their clothes ready to get in the water. Some people went for the “Kooks” look, which was the rich upper class that had a more preppy look. Once the show took off and every other teenager was dressing like they lived in the show, American Eagle collabed with Outer Banks selling similar looks to what the main characters were wearing on the show. 

In 2018 the world first heard of the “VSCO girl”. Popularized by YouTubers like Emma Chamberlain, Hannah Meloche and Haley Pham. Anyone who dressed like a VSCO girl was practically a copy and paste of each other. Their outfits consisted of a big oversized t-shirts that covered their shorts, their shoes were birkenstocks, had scrunchies on their wrist, carried around hydroflasks that were covered in stickers and they made friendship bracelets off of them, their backpacks was from the brand Fjallraven, they always had Carmex chapstick on them and wore puka shell necklaces. 

The VSCO girl look was associated with the app that the whole look is inspired by, VSCO is a free photo editing app where girls would post photos of themselves, painting on their legs or rocks and sunset pictures. All of these pictures were not “instagram worthy” and needed a separate place to post them. Girls wanted to look like the “ultimate VSCO girl” by dressing like this everyday in the summer and posting all the time on the app. 

One person who did not get caught up in the VSCO girl trend was Senior Haley Abrahams, she said, “I think it was a fun trend at the time, but now there are trends that are a lot more creative where people can really express themselves so looking back on it, I think it was a trend where a lot of people tried to fit into the “VSCO aesthetic”.’ 

While the girls were dressing as VSCO girls, the boys were either dressed as a “Skater boy” or a “Soft boy”. These two trends of 2018-2020 had completely different styles. The skater boy wore baggy jeans, oversized sweatshirts, rings, converse, black nail polish, vans, eyeliner, flannels, graphic tees, chains and styled their hair messy. Some brands that the Skater boy wore were Converse, Vans and Pacsun. The “Soft boy” had a different look. Their style was more preppy and lighter than the darker look that Skater boy went for. The Soft boy wore straight leg jeans, white oversized graphic tees, sweaters with collars, Doctor Martens, pearl necklaces, blush and styled their hair in a middle part. Both the soft boy trend and the skater boy trends pull styles from the 90s to inspire their looks.

The soft boy and skater boy did have some bold reactions, because people either loved or hated them. Senior Kinize Carlson said, “The soft boy style is especially cool since it has challenged societal presumptions of what males should dress like, and I appreciate that more people are accepting new standards.” Trends for boys have allowed them to express themselves more freely.


This summer the main trends that have surfaced are the “coastal girl” and “granola girl”, these two trends can have two different distinct looks, but they always can intertwin and the trends can become one. The coastal girl looks like she is on vacation 24/7, has a more simplistic vibe with the color palette of blues, whites and cream, they are seen wearing one shoulder cropped tops, printed or floral dresses, sandals and white flowy pants. The granola girl wears lots of jewelry (it can make or break their outfit), headbands, crystals, vintage 80s vibe, hippie flowy pants, jorts, baggy graphic tees and little tops. Their clothing often has more colors than the coastal girl. When putting an outfit together they think little bottoms/big top or big bottoms/litte top. These trends can often intertwine with cowboy hats and boots, flowy pants and overalls.

Even though Senior Haley Abrahams didn’t participate in VSCO girl trend she does love the trends going on now, she said, “I’m loving the trends right now, but I think it is important that we look at how quickly trends are changing and how damaging that is to not only people as they constantly have to be buying new things in order to “fit in”, but also fast fashion is hurting the environment. I like the granola girl trend, because it is a great way for people to express themselves while also keeping the environment in mind. I am getting sick of how quick trends change.” 

Trends can be positive and/or negative. On the negative side, trends contribute to fast fashion significantly and companies are constantly trying to change their style to keep up with the trends. This causes over-production of clothing and in a few months that style of clothes and that brand might not be popular anymore. However, trends can be positive, because they allow people to find new styles and empower people in new ways they might not have expected or experienced before. Certain trends have enabled men to branch out of their comfort zone and try different styles of clothing that they might not have considered before. Trends also make certain time periods and eras memorable like the VSCO girl which people will never be able to forget.