22 American Fashion Trends We Hope Never Come Back

Fashion is always changing, and some styles come and go faster than you can say “trendsetter.” Over the years, America has seen its fair share of wild fashion crazes. While some look to stand the test of time, others make us cringe when we look back at old photos.

From questionable hairstyles to weird clothing choices, certain trends are better left in the past. Check out these 22 American fashion trends that people hope stay tucked away in everyone’s closets forever.


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This hairstyle was all about “business in the front, party in the back.” Popular in the 1980s, mullets featured short hair on top and long in the back. While some still rock this look ironically, most of us are happy to leave it in the past.

Shoulder Pads

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These made everyone look like they were ready for a football game. Shoulder pads were stuffed into jackets and dresses to create a wider, more dramatic silhouette. They made clothes uncomfortable and gave everyone a boxy shape.

Acid Wash Jeans

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These jeans looked like they’d been through a chemical accident. The spotty, faded look was achieved by washing denim with chlorine. While they were super trendy in the 80s, now they just look dated and weird.

Parachute Pants

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These baggy, shiny pants were a staple of 80s and early 90s fashion. They made a swishing sound when you walked and came in bright, eye-catching colors. While comfy, they looked more suited for skydiving than everyday wear.

Fanny Packs

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Worn around the waist, these small bags were once considered the height of practicality. They came in all colors and patterns but always seemed to make outfits look awkward. Although they’ve made a slight comeback, most people are happy to carry their stuff in pockets or regular bags.

Frosted Tips

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This hairstyle involved bleaching just the tips of short, spiky hair. It was super popular with boy bands and their fans in the late 90s and early 2000s. Looking back, it mostly just made people look like they had weird, pointy hair.

Velour Tracksuits

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These matching sets were everywhere in the early 2000s. Made of soft, fuzzy material, they came in bright colors and often had words printed across the back. While comfy, they looked more like pajamas than outfits for leaving the house.

Low-Rise Jeans

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These jeans sat dangerously low on the hips, often showing off underwear or bare skin. They were hugely popular in the early 2000s but were neither practical nor flattering for most body types. Many people are relieved that higher waistlines are now in style.

Trucker Hats

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These mesh-backed caps with large, often bedazzled fronts were a staple of early 2000s fashion. Celebrities made them popular, but they quickly went from trendy to tacky. Now, they’re mostly associated with actual truck drivers or ironic hipsters.


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These foam clogs became wildly popular for their comfort, despite their odd appearance. While they’re great for gardening or quick errands, they become way too common as everyday footwear. Many people are happy to see them relegated to more appropriate settings.

Ed Hardy T-Shirts

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These shirts featured busy, colorful designs often featuring skulls, tigers, and roses. They were everywhere in the mid-2000s, worn by celebrities and regular folks alike. The flashy designs and high prices make many people cringe when looking back.

Popped Collars

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People would flip up the collars on their polo shirts, sometimes wearing multiple layers with all collars popped. This look was meant to be cool and preppy but often came across as try-hard and silly. Most folks now prefer to keep their collars down where they belong.

Uggs with Miniskirts

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This odd combo paired warm, fuzzy boots with short skirts, regardless of the weather. It was a go-to look for many in the early 2000s, despite making little practical sense. The clash of cozy winter boots with summery skirts is a fashion mistake many hope to forget.

Wallet Chains

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These long chains attached wallets to belt loops, supposedly to prevent theft. In reality, they were more about looking tough or edgy. They often just ended up being noisy and getting caught on things, making them more of a nuisance than a fashion statement.

Platform Sneakers

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Platform sneakers were shoes with very thick soles. They became popular in the 1990s and early 2000s. These shoes made people look taller, but they were hard to walk in. They often looked clunky and weird.

Oversized Everything

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In the 1980s and 1990s, people loved wearing clothes that were way too big. Huge t-shirts, baggy jeans, and giant sweaters were all the rage. While it might have been comfy, it wasn’t very flattering. We’re glad that clothes that actually fit are back in style.

Shirts Under Spaghetti Straps

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People would layer t-shirts or long-sleeved shirts under spaghetti-strap tops or dresses. This look was big in the early 2000s, especially among tweens and teens. It often looked messy and ruined the lines of the original outfit.

Crimped Hair

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Crimping was a way of styling hair to make it look wavy and zig-zagged. It was super popular in the 1980s and 1990s. People used special hair tools to get this look. While it was fun for a while, crimped hair often looked messy and frizzy. We’re happy with smoother hairstyles now.

Overly Distressed Jeans

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Jeans with a few rips are one thing, but this trend took it to the extreme. Some jeans had more holes than actual fabric. While meant to look edgy, they often just looked messy and impractical, especially in cold weather.

Jelly Shoes

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Jelly shoes were plastic shoes that looked like they were made of jelly. They came in many bright colors and were popular in the 1980s and 1990s. While they were fun and cheap, they weren’t very comfortable. They also made feet sweaty and smelly. Fashionistas are happy to leave these sticky shoes in the past.

Butterfly Clips

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Butterfly clips were tiny hair clips shaped like butterflies. They were super popular in the late 1990s and early 2000s. People would wear lots of them all over their hair. While they were cute for kids, they looked silly on adults. We hope these fluttery clips stay in the past.

Super Skinny Eyebrows

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In the 90s and early 2000s, pencil-thin eyebrows were all the rage. People plucked their brows until they were just thin lines. This look was hard to maintain and didn’t flatter most faces. Many who followed this trend are still trying to grow their eyebrows.

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Victoria Omololu

Victoria Omololu is a fashionista exploring the world on a budget. She co-founded Only Earthlings in 2023 to show her travels in North America, Europe, Africa, and everywhere else. Victoria loves writing about travel tips, itineraries, packing guides, and taking photography from all over the world.

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