We wore that: a look back at spring fashion trends

We wore that: a look back at spring fashion trends

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This photo was taken in 2001 - when flower-topped flip-flops were a big trend. (News file photo)

This photo was taken in 2001 – when flower-topped flip-flops were a big trend. (News file photo)

As we wait, wait and wait some more for spring to fully arrive, who isn’t eager to swap those winter boots and coats for some sandals and sundresses?

Time will tell if there will be any big trends across Western New York this spring and summer. Some warm-weather favorites are more timeless than trendy, after all.

Still, looking back through our News’ archives from the past decade or two, we dug up a few memorable looks from various years.

These are fun to revisit – even if we don’t care to go back there, never wore the styles in the first place or, as may be the case for some, never stopped wearing them.

Enjoy the journey.

The trend: Tube tops

Tube tops enjoyed a heyday as we approached the 21st century. On the runway in the late 1990s, Calvin Klein paired a jersey tube top with a stretch skirt. On stage for her July 1999 concert at Darien Lake Performing Arts Center, Britney Spears sported the look in shiny pink. Clothes (not all but many) were tight back then. Low-rise jeans were popular.

Now we would like to share a recent headline spotted on Glamour.com: “Are You Ready for the Great Tube Top Revival of Spring 2018?” So what’s the “new” way to wear tube tops? Layered under a blazer or layered over a T-shirt or button-down, according to the website. Sounds complicated.

Britney Spears wore a shiny pink version of the tube top while performing at Darien Lake Performing Arts Center on July 10, 1999. (Harry Scull Jr./News file photo)

The trend: Floral flip-flops

We’re not talking about floral-print flip-flops here. Rather, women were hitting the beach or nearest garden party in flip-flops with huge fake flowers plunked on top of the straps.

An article in The Buffalo News described the flip-flops of the day this way: “Step into a pair and all eyes will focus on the raised platforms. The tutti-frutti colors. The splashy insoles. The look-at-me-straps topped with festive flowers or fruits. Think Carmen Miranda – standing on her head.”

And let us not forget that big flowers were everywhere in fashion in the early 2000s – not just on flip-flops. Perhaps we have lead character Carrie Bradshaw’s big flower corsages to thank in part for that – just one memorable fashion trend from HBO’s “Sex and the City.”

The trend: Maxi dresses.

This was hardly the first time maxi dresses were popular – fashion is cyclical – but 2008 was a big year for maxi dresses. And it didn’t end in 2008.

“Thumb through any fashion magazine and you’ll spot one: the maxi dress for spring, in every price range – from Old Navy to DKNY,” noted an article in The Buffalo News. Maxi dresses came in prints and solids, strapless and halter styles.

“The full-length ’70s-style sundress is the new staple for girls on the go. Pair with sexy sandals, and you’re set for any occasion,” wrote the fashion editors at Marie Claire magazine.

In another article, a local retailer added this: “What’s huge this year is the long maxi dress – not for your country club invitational but for walking around in the daytime. The long dresses are very straight and simple, but it will be a real change for the eye to walk into Spot Coffee and see someone wearing a long dress,” she said.

The maxi dress.

The trend: Ruffles

You could hardly escape ruffles this year – or the next. They appeared on tops, dresses, skirts, even shoes and handbags.

“The ruffle is so absolutely feminine for spring,” said one local shop owner in April of that year. Back then, she recommended pairing a ruffled halter top in a beautiful print with long white walking shorts and gladiator sandals.

While some ruffled effects were subtle, others made a big statement. Considering that ruffles have been around for decades – no make that centuries – they really never go completely away, do they?

Just one year ago, the Philadelphia Inquirer noted this: “They’re baaaack. But you won’t find them in a lacy frenzy. Their flounce is simple this spring: We are talking one layer – two layers, tops.”

Candie’s dress from Kohl’s (2013) with high-low hemline.

The trend: High-low hemlines

For women who couldn’t decide between wearing a short dress or a long one, this was the answer. Wikipedia points out that the high-low look is “also known as asymmetrical, waterfall, or mullet skirts.” Mullet? Oh, my.

InStyle.com showcased high-low hemlines on celebrities in July 2013: Olivia Palermo in a lively print, Kate Hudson in beaded chiffon, Rachel Bilson in a baby doll dress – very different designs, fabrics and colors but all with hemlines that were shorter in the front than in the back.

The trend: Rompers

While one woman we know recalls wearing a romper on a trip to Las Vegas in 1996, a new generation of women discovered them just a few years ago. Perhaps recording artist Taylor Swift fueled the trend in 2014, while attending the MTV Video Music Awards wearing a romper. Before long, it seemed all the mall stores were selling them.

Then we started hearing about men wearing the RompHim (the male version of the romper). Newspaper columnist Lori Borgman couldn’t resist poking some fun at the trend: “We have a picture of our 35-year-old son in a romper. Of course, he was 6 months old at the time,” she wrote in 2017.

The trend: Cutout sleeves

Finally, we can hardly leave out cutout sleeves – a trend that was very popular last summer. (Dresses and gowns with cutouts at the waist were seen a couple years before that.) Cutout sleeves evolved into all sorts of “statement” sleeves last fall. Bell sleeves, dolman sleeves, balloon sleeves with cuffs, voluminous sleeves with lace-ups, ruffles, pleats and bows … they were all out there, the News reported in a style story last August.

And let’s not forget the “cold shoulder” trend – a trend that designer Donna Karan popularized in the ’90s that became a hot (cool?) trend again in 2016.