The Top 10 Trends of 2019: From Animal Prints to ‘Ugly’ Shoes

Streetwear and the “dad” shoe may have been trending downward, but the year was still decidedly sporty, colorful and modern, with a whole lot of nostalgia thrown in. Here are the top 10 fashion trends that dominated 2019.

1. Animal prints

Leopard print has a long legacy in fashion cycles, but this year’s leopard midi skirt made it ubiquitous even for the office. Head-to-toe animal prints were an all-ages, genderless affair on the celebrity carpet, while the snake-print knee boot became one of the biggest fall ‘19 musts for retailers.

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Solange Knowles at the Met Gala in a python suit and boots by Salvatore Ferragamo.
CREDIT: Shutterstock

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A leopard overcoat from the Marc Jacobs fall 2019 runway.
CREDIT: Shutterstock

2. The square toe — and Bottega Veneta

Heralded as the “new-Céline,” Bottega Veneta’s comeback (courtesy of creative director Daniel Lee) also ushered in the era of the revamped square toe. Since debuting on the fall ‘19 runway, both luxury and mass market footwear has embraced the silhouette.

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Bottega Veneta’s quilted leather pump with an exaggerated square toe, from creative director Daniel Lee’s debut collection for the brand for fall ’19.
CREDIT: Shutterstock
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Square toe wedge sandals at New York Fashion Week in September.
CREDIT: Shutterstock

3. ’90s mania

From key colors and shapes (see lime green and square toes), to accessories like scrunchies and belt bags, it was impossible to escape the influence of the decade, even as 2020 approaches. Platforms made their comeback on fall ‘19 runways and continued into spring ‘20 collections.


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Clogs by Fabrizio Viti for spring ’20, part of the 2019 trend towards 90’s nostalgia that will carry over into the new decade.
CREDIT: Joshua Scott

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Bella Hadid at her New York birthday party in October wearing a late 90’s-esque look.
CREDIT: Shutterstock

4. Lime green

The Generation-Z-friendly hue reigned year-round, and it was a red carpet favorite, both for street stylists and musical artists, seen on everyone from Billie Eilish to Lil Nas X. In the attention-seeking age of Instagram, a look-at-me color seems inevitable.

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Billie Eilish at the KIIS-FM iHeartRadio Jingle Ball in December wearing her signature “slime green” from head to Balenciaga-clad toe.
CREDIT: Shutterstock
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MyTheresa fashion director Tiffany Hsu in a Sies Marjan suit at New York Fashion Week in September.
CREDIT: Shutterstock

5. Menswear moves on from the “dad” shoe

After purveying the Triple S sneaker in 2018, Balenciaga made a turn away from the chunky silhouette, introducing square-toe dress shoes and boots, even in sportier looks.

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Square-toe boots at Balenciaga fall ’19, ushering out the chunky fashion sneaker.
CREDIT: Shutterstock
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A dress shoe with a heavy lug sole on the runway at Prada men’s fall ’19.
CREDIT: Shutterstock

6. Tie-dye

From high-end versions at Giuseppe Zanotti and Dries Van Noten to summer camp interpretations and the persistence of the “scumbro” look made popular by Justin Bieber and Jonah Hill, the DIY print touched all categories.

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Justin Bieber in Los Angeles in August wearing a tie-dyed sweatshirt.
CREDIT: Shutterstock
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A full tie-dyed look at New York Fashion Week in September.
CREDIT: Shutterstock

7. The return of the Dr. Marten

Did it ever really go away? Maybe not, but in 2019 everyone wanted to wear the iconic boot, especially the British brand’s 1460 style, which received the 2019 FNAA Shoe of the Year award. In 2020, the 1460 will celebrate its 60th anniversary.

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Lil Nas X at the <em>Variety</em> Hitmakers Brunch in L.A. wearing Dr. Martens.
CREDIT: Shutterstock
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Gigi Hadid visiting Chanel in Paris in December wearing a pair of Dr. Martens.
CREDIT: Shutterstock

8. Hot pink

Another look-at-me color took over the red carpet and fashion weeks worldwide, transforming itself from a Barbie and “Legally Blonde” hue to a post–Me Too feminist power statement, from head to toe.

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Ami and Aya Suzuki at Paris Fashion Week in September wearing hot pink.
CREDIT: Shutterstock
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Hot pink embellished heels and socks at Versace fall ’19.
CREDIT: Shutterstock

9. Haute hikers

Tactical gear à la Virgil Abloh’s Louis Vuitton, fisherman’s vests, bucket hats and hiking boot hybrids all gave men’s collections a sportsman vibe. Luxury brands like Gucci and Prada also tapped into key outdoor silhouettes like Keen’s Newport Sandal and the original Teva.

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An outdoor-friendly look at Givenchy’s men’s spring ’20 show at Milan’s Pitti Imagine, in June.
CREDIT: Shutterstock
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An outdoor-inspired look for spring ’20.
CREDIT: Shutterstock

10. The “ugly” sandal

From Birkenstock’s continual rise in fashion to the proliferation of Tevas (and Teva look-alikes) this summer and all through spring ’20 fashion month in September and October, the clunky comfort sandal, along with outdoor-friendly iterations and a persistent thong sandal trend, made the ugly sandal the must-have warm-weather footwear. Spring ’20 runways show that it is likely to continue next summer.

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A pair of flatform sandals at NYFW in September.
CREDIT: Shutterstock
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A men’s sandal at Acne Studios spring ’20 at Paris Fashion Week in June.
CREDIT: Shutterstock

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