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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.