The 15 Fashion Trends That Defined How We'll Remember 2015

It's almost impossible to recognize what makes an outfit so "1992" or so "2006" when you've just wrapped up that year. With a few years of hindsight, though, what used to be invisible because it was so normal became obvious — it's funny to think now that sunflower-print vests and low-rise pleather pants were ever closet staples. To try and distill what made 2015 so iconic means hanging up your mom jeans and gray knits for just a moment, and taking a look at the most standout shapes, items, and moods we tried to go for with our clothes.

From the '70s-meets-'90s redux to a return to minimalism, the biggest trends of 2015 were enough of a departure from the over-the-top, embellished, glossy, girly looks of the prior years that — to us — they signaled a style shift that'll separate the end of this decade from the first few years. Take a look at the fifteen trends that made 2015 special, and what made them such favorites.
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Button-Front Skirts
For those who don't have a boho bone in their bodies, the button-front skirt was the one way to get in on the '70s comeback without having to stomach all-over fringe. Flattering and sophisticated, this kind of skirt only had one drawback: everyone else seemed to have the same one.

Genuine People Blue Denim High Waist Button Front Mini Skirt, $50, available at Genuine People.
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If there were ever a fashion buzzword this year, athleisure would be it. Describing workout clothes that were comfortable and casual enough to be worn during lounge-time, athleisure dovetailed with the minimal movement and became a style that, not only could be worn while at home on the couch, but also out during your regular day, too. Fabrications got nicer, cuts got more chic, and before you knew it, you started showing up to lunch meetings in sneakers and paneled leggings.

Outdoor Voices 4-Piece Kit, $300, available at Outdoor Voices.
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Lace-Up Fronts
Sexy, but not obviously so, the lace-up front became the going-out top of choice for women who are more into Kim since-Kanye than Kim pre-Kanye. The trend extended into swimwear and dresses, too, but the top-as-bodysuit (worn with Mom jeans and a smize), will be the item we remember most.

The Reformation Avalon Bodysuit, $23, available at The Reformation.
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Off-The-Shoulder Tops
If the midriff by way of matching sets was the body part to highlight in 2014, 2015 was all about shoulders. Peasant-style blouses were pulled down over the shoulders and worn with everything from short-shorts to wide culottes. Like the lace-up fronts, this look was unexpectedly sexy, which made it so appealing.

Tibi Striped Poplin Off The Shoulder Tunic, $295, available at Tibi
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Early Internet Graphics
There's nothing that teens do better than romanticizing an era they didn't live through. And though it seems #toosoon to view the early '90s (and early-'90s internet) through rose-tinted lenses, many brands fell hard for the kind of highly pixelated, RGB-color-wheel aesthetic that only GeoCities webmasters used to love.

ShopJeen Internet Darling Bucket Hat, $30, available at ShopJeen.
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White Sneakers
You might have been a Stan Smith girl, a Chuck Taylor girl, or an Air Force 1 girl before, but if you were paying attention this year, your most-worn pair of sneakers were probably all-white. They worked with slacks for the office or a cute dress for out at night; because of their go-with-anything-ness, white shoes saved our butts on plenty of packing nightmares this year, too.

Adidas Stan Smith Sneakers, $90, available at KM20.
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Folk Embroidered Dresses
Traditional embroidery styles from places like Mexico, Ukraine, China, and Sweden, and the American Indian tribes all became sources of inspiration for fashion designers. While some designers felt entitled to just copy, many others went straight to the source and used local artisans and traditional techniques to produce some of the most fresh-feeling pieces of 2015.

Vita Kin Shedevr Embroidered Long Dress, $2,048, available at Matches.
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Itty-bitty sliver cutouts decorated necklines, waists, and hems. They were opportunities to show a flash of skin without the hassle of needing to find a crazy-advanced bra.

Alexander McQueen Cutout Yoke Engineered Rib Knit Dress, $1,685, available at Lane Crawford
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Furry Key Chains
The gratuitous fur trends we saw on the runway this year trickled down to real life in the form of the furry key chain. The real deal is attached to a price tag that'll have you thinking twice, but there were so many affordably priced faux versions that followed suit, that it was hard to do your morning commute without seeing at least one rainbow furball attached to a backpack or tote.

Fendi ABCharm R Keychain, $600, available at Fendi.
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Not all trends have to cost you. In fact, one of our favorites of the year could be found at most dollar-stores. And the fact that bandanas were versatile too (we showed you how to wear one 17 different ways earlier this year), was the icing on the cake.

Coach Skulls Silk Scarf, $117, available at Coach.
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Lace-Up Pumps
Lace-up pumps were one of the bigger fancy-shoe trends of the year. Not only are they mighty pretty, but they also stay on your feet, which made them a great option for the many nights this year when we wanted to make sure our outfits could keep up with us.

Aquazzura Christ Lace-Up Pointed-Toe Flat, $675, available at Neiman Marcus.
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Piled-On Neutrals
All-over charcoals, browns, and camels became a huge trend in the way that color-soaked monochrome was years prior. Blame it on the minimalists, but there was a reason you saw so many long gray sweaterdresses this year.

Photo: Courtesy of & Other Stories.
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Raw Hems
The crisp hemline fell out of favor this year for undone, unstitched, frayed, and destroyed edges. Marques Almeida really started the fire on the runways, but soon after, most denim brands and labels had their own versions.

3x1 WM3 Crop Fringe, $295, available at 3x1.
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Stacked Rings
One huge showpiece ring was replaced this season by tons of delicate bands you'd wear all together. Worn on every digit of the finger, delicate rings and the effect they created were worth the pain in the ass it was every morning to get them all on.

Photo: Courtesy of WWake.
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Slip-On Sneakers
You might have remembered these from your high school days, but every brand seemed to put out their own versions this past year. Ranging from two-digit to four-digit price tags, these kinds of shoes pushed the limits of what you could charge for something you'd normally throw on to pick up kombucha at the corner store.

Chloé Ivy Scallop Slip-On Sneaker, $520, available at Nordstrom.