Best of 2016: Fashion Trends

2016 was the year of memes, muted tones, and way too many Instagram updates. From overused hashtags to oversized tees, we hyped up the simplest trends, like a pair of white Vans, right, Daniel? Damn.

As 2016 is coming to an end, let’s look at some of the best trends that had us feeling like we were on the right path towards reaching Insta-fame (spoiler alert: we are still not Insta-famous).

What’d You Bring Me Back? — Souvenir Jackets

Starting with Yeezy wearing his iconic olive bomber jacket, and the Kardashian-Jenner clan following shortly after, thus infiltrating the retail market in the blink of an eye, bomber jackets became a staple item that everyone needed at the beginning of the year. To the average eye, souvenir jackets seem like a silky and Japanese-inspired version of a bomber jacket, and with the popularity of the bomber earlier this year came the very fluid trendiness of the souvenir jacket. Though its roots are heavy within the history of American soldiers bringing back these jackets from battle as souvenirs, 2016 American consumers were not about to pick up a history book anytime soon — especially since souvenir jackets are so easy to find in department stores. Yes, Saint Laurent, Supreme, and others created carefully crafted luxe souvenir jackets, but all in all, 2016 outerwear belonged to the mass produced silky, two toned zip jacket with a (mildly culturally appropriated) tiger/dragon symbol on the back. That statement might have sounded a bit cold, but it’s ok — you have your jacket to warm you up!

Holey Sh*t — Distressed Clothing

We watched the Yeezy fashion show in 2015 and realized that all the clothes were ready to wear for church because they were hole-y af. We scoffed at the collection, we made memes relating the line to The Walking Dead and jedis, we posted tweets about the outlandish price points for the collection pieces,

and then, we all lowkey/highkey/middlekey wanted everything.

There was something about Kanye’s shades of nude and neutral tones that were slightly different than the rest, and as it trickled down to retailers worldwide, we began to see more copycats — though can you really call a mass production of a camel shirt with three holes in it a copycat? The debate continues. However, let’s not dabble into the big corporations blatantly stealing designs and mass producing them from indie labels and designers, because 2016 had a looooot of that too.

Anyhow, 2016 was a year of spending way too much on way too little material; shouldn’t we be getting reimbursed for all the holes in our longline shirts?! Sigh.

Join Us — Cult Branding

Sure, any clothing company or brand can have a following on social media, but cult branding is a whole ‘nother game. There’s something so desirable about being part of the club, and that was no exception in regards to the rise of indie labels this year. The simplistic and minimalist visual branding such as that of Anti Social Social Club took off, making their lines more than just about clothing — it was about the lifestyle. Using social media as visual representations and mood boards to depict what their brands’ lifestyles entailed, brands became more enticing to their consumers; it was like having an inside joke with the brand and all of its wearers. If you saw someone wearing the same lowkey brand as you, regardless of who they were, you would feel some type of unspoken way. It’s weird, but at the same time, I found myself wanting to get a Palace windbreaker for literally 0 fathomable reasons, so alas, the cult following worked.

The Life of Tour Merch

We have camera phones and apps to keep the memory of a concert or show alive, but tour merch is a tangible and exclusive item from that magical night that you can keep forever. The overpriced merchandise tables in the lobbies used to only consist of poorly made silk screen tees and crew neck sweaters, but we can now find silky bomber jackets from the “Formation” tour or a whole “Purpose”-ful collection and call them iconic. In 2016, tour merch seemingly stepped up its game. I say “seemingly” because it isn’t necessarily that the material or art has increased in quality; rather, it has somehow made its own market in the fashion world as iconic fashion statements, thus stepping its game up in its own niche market, but not necessarily in quality. Look at your $60 Saint Pablo long sleeve tee. It’s a Gildan tee.

A f*cking GILDAN tee.

And you know that Kylie has her own merch, right? Because apparently, we can just make merch now even if we aren’t on a tour. No disrespect though, because while all the Kylie haters are typing in their disapproving comments on IG, the Kylie fans are typing in their parents’ credit card information to keep Kylie in business.

All Day I Dream About Streetwear

Yes, adidas gets its own section in this post. You can argue that all athleisure brands did extremely well this year, and this is definitely attributed to the blend between street wear, cozy wear, and athletic wear that has been growing since 2013. However, adidas exceeded in all parts of the spectrum, working with Kanye to create and support his clothing and shoes, which had an incredibly amazing year. Also, with the comeback of tracksuits, matching monochromatic sets, and inspo from old school hip hop, adidas barely had to make any changes or learn a new trick of the trade; they succeeded with their classic ‘fits before, and they could do it again. From the simple three lines in the corner of a shirt, to the blatant brand name on the back of a windbreaker, to the inconspicuous contribution towards the rise of Yeezus, adidas dabbled in anything and killed it in everything. Like seriously, who would have thought the Superstars (aka the shoes I demanded my mom to buy me every year between 1st through 6th grade) would make a comeback? Adolescent me is shaking her head.

A Lady in the Streets — Women’s Streetwear

View this post on Instagram

Today at 4 p.m. EST

A post shared by Sporty & Rich (@sportyandrich) on

Like most things in this world, streetwear is perceived predominantly as a male culture, but that never stops us from stealing our friends’ hoodies and looking 12 times better than they would ever. However, with the growth of gender equality in all aspects of life, there was no exception that fashion would be an outlet to achieve these goals. Women’s streetwear brands have been alive with brands like HLZBLZ and Dimepiece, but 2016 was the year for more indie labels and brands to create unisex (or rather, just gender-fluid) pieces for women to easily obtain. “Sporty & Rich” by Emily Oberg and “Jennifer” by Bobby Hundreds are just two of the plethora of women’s streetwear collections and brands that have made waves in 2016, and it’s not stopping there. In an interview with Bobby, he asks,

“How come it’s okay – trendy, even – for girls to covet their guy’s clothes, but not the other way around? Isn’t it time for a women’s label that men beg for?”

Though these words are incredibly inspiration and aspirational, there is no way that a guy is going to look better than me because I’m always hashtagKILLNIT *insert sassy pink shirt girl emoji *

So Over-all of it — Denim Overalls

Coachella goers are half about high-fashion flower child vibes, and half about just not giving a sh*t and wearing whatever is comfortable. I met up with a group of friends and two of the guys were wearing overalls, looking like lost farm boys. We obligatorily made fun of them here and there while we were trying to take a group picture before we were about to get to second base with the security guards at the gates, when all of a sudden, we saw a group of guys in overalls. Making our way into the front gate, we saw ANOTHER group of farm boys, and as the weekend went on, I would like to say I saw more people in oversized overalls than I had ever hoped to see in my life #overallofit.

From the 90s fashion hitting it hard this year came the resurfacing of tattoo chokers, satin slip dresses, and overalls. What’s not to love about a pair of pants and a top altogether? Guys did not understand the simplicity of a romper/jumpsuit situation until the overall made its way into 2016 fashion, and they held onto it for dear life. It helped that Chance looked adorable and on point in his Sheila Rashid pair of Desert Denim overalls at the VMAs, making the look iconic and extending its longevity. If you haven’t tried the look yet, give it a Chance (before it becomes dead and you have to wait another decade or so to wear them again).

He Was a sk8rboi — Skate Culture

Beginning with Daniel’s white Vans, I think we can agree that skate culture has been alive and well, though most consumers can get away with buying a pair of skate shoes for fashion and comfort. However, with the rise of graphic tees and the oversized fits this year, skate culture has pulled a 180 (is that the correct terminology). As the souvenir jacket fluidly transitioned from the bomber jacket to the average consumer, skate culture transitions from the rise of vintage band tees, the trend that was making it’s mark mid-2015 on Justin Bieber and Kendall Jenner, to name a few. From Palace Skateboard simple hoodies to Thrasher Magazine graphic tops, throw on a pair of Vans sk8-hi’s and you’ll be ready to grab your board — for a pic, of course. It’s not like any of us can skate, especially if we’re wearing our high waisted mom jeans and fishnets peeping from the top.

It’s Vintage #SoFetch — Reworked Items

For some reason, I imagine that all the brands that boomed and bustled in the 90s locked themselves in a sad little room between 2002 and 2015, as they couldn’t compete with hair gel and flip phones that invaded the new millennium. As vintage items started making a comeback in 2015, the brands unlocked the door and flooded the fashion world with their simple branded sweaters and reworked windbreakers. Honestly, 2nd grade me is upset that I didn’t keep all of my Tommy Hilfiger overalls or FILA shirt that were so easily accessible at a local ROSS; instead, I’m finding myself contemplating on spending $80+ on a simple pullover Champion sweater.


Like every year, 2016’s clothing culture trends were a clusterf*ck of wondering why you bought these items in the first place. However, we’re totally not discrediting any of these trends; obviously, they did something right, whether it was through influential marketing, visual branding, or straight up because it was dope af. Looking back at the trends and waves we rode in 2014 and 2015, there’s no doubt that each succeeding year is heavily influenced by the trends of the past, and that’s how fashion should be: a constant evolution!

Did we leave out any of your favorite trends, or do you have any predictions for 2017? Comment below and let us know! Since the Pantone color of 2017 is Greenery, I expect to see a lot of greens in all aspects of life — clothing, juices, and (most importantly) in that paper.


Featured Image c/o Frankie Collective Spring 2016 Lookbook


Christina is a writer based in Palm Springs, LA, and any place with WiFi. She graduated from UCLA and currently attends USC because she's a traitor and loves being in student debt. She hopes to be the next Carrie Bradshaw with better hair (sorry SJP), and when asked to describe herself in one word, she chooses the word, "indescribable." Don't follow her on Instagram because you'll hate how extra she is and you won't want to be her friend in real life.

One thought on “Best of 2016: Fashion Trends

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s