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What were the top fashion in the 2010s

July 9, 2023

In the 2010s we saw, as ever, diverse fashions, from formal Royal styles through to Athleisure and Festival Wear. Lots of people copied Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton’s style and specific dresses that they bought from High Street shops. There was a romantic, pretty mood with festival fashions and a more practical sports wear trend. 

Fashion trends in the early 2010s included a whole host of items, like bike shorts worn with crop tops and fanny packs, mom jeans, skinny jeans, high waisted jeans or yoga pants, Stan Smith sneakers or dad sneakers. Flower crowns were the go-to accessory. The top designers for the red carpet, avidly followed on social media, were still Phoebe Philo, Alexander McQueen, Louis Vuitton, and Gucci creative director Allesandro Michele.

Top Fashion of the 2010s – The Royal Family

Kate Middleton married Prince William in 2011 and sort of won the hearts of the nation. She definitely provoked intense scrutiny. But after the problems associated with the press fascination with Diana, in which she was chased so much by the paparazzi that she felt hounded, the press decided a more benevolent approach was better this time round for this royal wife. So the focus on Kate, or Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge as she is officially known, was mostly more admiring than anything else.

Kate Middleton’s Royal Wardrobe

The British royal family on Buckingham Palace balcony after Prince William and Kate Middleton were married. Date. 29 April 2011

The British royal family on Buckingham Palace balcony after Prince William and Kate Middleton were married. Date. 29 April 2011

The royal carefully considered her image, modelling herself somewhat on Diana during her demure years. After a couple of initial scandals where she was photographed topless and one in which her skirt blew up in a Marylin moment, her wardrobe was all below knee length skirts in heavy fabrics with skirt weights sewn in, high necklines, long sleeves and a range of very Royal matching hats. Her dresses are usually structured, as are her coats, and she also wears high waisted trousers with blouses. She does enjoy bold florals and, like the Queen, wears a range of bright, block colours. Although she hasn’t got to the point the Queen has of wearing exactly the same cut and shape of dress and matching coat every day, varying only the colour and fabric.


Kate Middleton sticks to British brands, like Alexander McQueen (who made her wedding dress), Emilia Wickstead and Jenny Packham. She also wears high street brands like Jigsaw and Monsoon, and when she does, the dress she picks sells out in minutes. She has stuck with the same hair and makeup since her marriage – a glossy blow-dry with big waves, nude lips and a bit of a heavy eyebrow.

Top Fashion of the 2010s – Meghan Markle’s Fashion

Meghan_Markle_14 January_2013

Meghan_Markle_14 January_2013

The other exciting royal to pique interest was Meghan Markle, who married Prince Harry in 2018 and became the Duchess of Sussex. She also goes for classic Royal style, and in the 2010s was much copied. Her favourite designers were smaller and less well-known. Mackage and Greta Constantine, Aritzia, Club Monaco and Reformation appeared in her wardrobe. Because Markle is American, she doesn’t stick so closely to British brands as she might, and also likes Misha Nonoo, who is a close friend, as well as designers like Jason Wu, Brandon Maxwell and Veronica Beard.





Athleisurewear isn’t a new phenomenon at all. It’s been around since at least the 1920s, when it was known as sportswear. Even the flappers wore comfy clothing just to hang out in! They played sports, like golf, and dressed accordingly, but found things like cardigans, knitted sweaters and pleated skirts great for casual wear, even if they weren’t doing sport. Since then we’ve alway adopted sports clothes for every day. Things like trainers or tracksuits, or even t-shirts which were originally underwear, then sportswear, before being just a normal item of clothing to put on every day.


In the 2010s, we called it athleisurewear, and because its a bit of a mouthful, just althleisure. And actually, this didn’t really refer to althetics-wear, but more yoga-wear or pilates-wear. This was because there was an explosion of really interesting leggings coming from labels like LuluLemon and Sweaty Betty.

Top Fashion of the 2010s – Leggings

 street-fashion- crop top - leggings

street-fashion- crop top – leggings

Leggings, of course, have also been around for a long time. In the 80s it was ski pants, with a stirrup strap around the foot so that they didn’t ride up. In the 90s they were likely to be cropped and worn with a big baggy t-shirt or tunic. But these tended to be plain black cotton or cotton with lycra for a little stretch. In the 2010s leggings became vastly colourful, with different prints, and had mesh inserts, different textures or other points of interest. Technical fabrics and new ways of knitting also gave the leggings different properties. Claims were made such as that they wouldn’t ride down when bending over, or become see-through and show your underwear. They also compressed muscles or lifted your bum, and some had the holy grail: pockets.


From the top brands, these amazing creations came with an equally amazing price. But copies were of course created at cheaper price points. Maybe because these pieces were so expensive, maybe because they were so comfortable, or maybe a combination of both of these things, people started wearing them outside the yoga studio and just out and about. They became the top fashion in the 2010s.

And Other Athleisure

As well as leggings, the shapes of jogging bottoms changed and became more elegant. Men were wearing leggings out and about, especially under baggy shorts, courier-fashion. But male fashions in athleisure were entered around streamlined jogging bottoms and zipped tops. The whole outline became narrower than before. There was also some experimentation with deep cuffs and dropped crotches. These re-engineered pieces crossed over into womenswear too.


A lot of catwalk designers became interested in athleisure. Young British designer Grace Wales Bonner combined relaxed shapes with glitzy fabric for men. The fabric and details she used were more often used for womenswear. Ironically her “feminine” menswear was so very cool that women started wearing it too, and she expanded into very similar clothes for women. There were many other designers at London Fashion Week who took to the trend too.

Flower Crowns and Festival Wear

Top fashion of the 2010s - flower crown.

Top fashion of the 2010s – flower crown. Copyright -free Image via PxHere.

One of the other top fashion in the 2010s was festival wear. There were so very many festivals to choose from in the 2010s, from posh Opera fest like Glyndebourne to the traditional Glastonbury, but also many others like T in the Park or Bestival in the Isle of Wight. Lots of great European destinations offered an opportunity to have a holiday and some sunshine as well as rocking out.


Bestival in particular encouraged fancy dress but people enjoyed honing their festival chic anyway. It often consisted most importantly of welly boots, because of the inevitable mud. Welly brands started to bloom, and offered a wealth of designs, including glitter and multi coloured, and lots of lengths so they were say to pull on in the dark. So they no longer looked as incongruous as they had done, paired with short shorts or floaty dresses and sun hats. Kate Moss and Sienna Miller were the ultimate ambassadors for this style.


Dressing up for festivals had become rather problematic, because people at festivals really, really like to wear headdresses. This translated for a while into feather headdresses which were inspired by Native American culture. Far sweeter was a trend for flower crowns. Flower crowns were a little circlet of flowers, nothing extravagant, but pretty. They were usually made from artificial blooms. This festival style passed from just something worn for three days into a whole summer long look.