"Cheugy" Trends That Are Actually Worth Keeping Around

7 "Cheugy" Trends Worth Keeping Around, Because a Skater Skirt Never Hurt Anyone

Not everything we wore in 2010 was cringey.
By Tess Garcia
May 05, 2021 @ 7:00 am
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Congrats to 2010s fashion on graduating beyond the word "basic." There's a new term in town to describe the decade's specific yet well-understood aesthetic: Welcome to the era of "cheugy."

According to a recent article from The New York Times, cheugy (read: chew-gee) was coined by software developer Gaby Rasson as a way to describe once-beloved trends that have mostly lost their sparkle, but still appeal to a broad swath of people. They, too, become cheugy by association. TikTok is full of videos highlighting cheugy cultural touchstones, from clothes to slang to interior decor. Widely accepted examples include Gucci logo belts and wall art emblazoned with messages like "But first, wine." 

Cheugy is about a feeling, not a particular style. More than anything, it requires an awareness of what has recently fallen in and out of general popularity. For instance, Rasson tells The Times that low-rise jeans aren't cheugy because they're currently making a comeback. However, if a retired fad has yet to receive a mainstream revival, it likely falls under the umbrella term. Take chevron, which I'd argue is one of the pillars of cheugy. When was the last time you saw zigzagged stripes in a trend report?

The Internet has complicated feelings about cheugy's connotations. My Twitter feed is already full of think-pieces arguing Gen Z created the term to deliberately mock millennial culture. That may be true for now, but once the trends adored by today's teens endure their natural life cycles, they'll also become cheugy. It's like overplaying your favorite song until it sounds downright cheesy.    

Yet Rasson is careful to note that cheugy isn't always a bad thing, and I couldn't agree more. It's a power move to love something the world tells you isn't cool anymore, especially when it comes to fashion. 

Below, I've rounded up seven cheugy trends that are still completely worth wearing. Keep reading to learn what makes each so out-of-date and glorious. 

Infinity Scarves

I've only seen a handful of these babies IRL over the past five years, which makes me feel comfortable calling them cheugy. Even so, they're truly a multipurpose accessory - a concept I'll always stand behind. This one looks great wrapped around twice, but it could also be styled in a single loop with a few delicate necklaces. 

Shop now: $12-$13; amazon.com

Skater Skirts

I refuse to believe the classic skater skirt doesn't have staying power. After all, this one is an Amazon best-seller and has earned over 30,000 five-star ratings despite its undeniable cheugy factor. Its draped silhouette is as playful and versatile as the version you wore 10 years ago, which makes it the perfect #ShotGirlSummer companion

Shop now: $14-$16; amazon.com

(Some) Chevron

These preppy stripes blew up as Juicy Couture tracksuits began their descent, meaning they just missed the opportunity to be lumped in with Y2K trends. I'll be the first to admit that not all chevron pieces are created equal, but I love this cool-toned tankini top. Its babydoll cut and racerback provide an excellent dose of early-2000s energy.

Shop now: $19-$23 (Originally $28); amazon.com

Initial Necklaces

Social media has deemed monograms a cheugy mainstay, whether they appear on tote bags or bath towels. Though initial necklaces technically fall into that category, they will forever remain cool and easy to wear. This layered iteration actually feels on-trend, as does its $15 price tag. 

Shop now: $15; amazon.com

Peplum Tops

Structured peplums have come and gone, but looser versions provide a fresh take on the staple we once couldn't get enough of. I'd give everything to have worn this cami to a high school party with my favorite Urban Outfitters skinny jeans. Nicki Minaj's "Super Bass" would, of course, be on full blast. 

Shop now: $19; amazon.com

Tassel Earrings

Just when you thought you'd never see them again, fringed earrings have reentered public discourse via the cheugy movement. The mod shape of this pair is impressively elevated compared to the DIY styles of decades past. For best results, style with a Starbucks Frappuccino in hand.

Shop now: $10-$12; amazon.com

Knee-High Boots

Ariana Grande might disagree, but these legendary boots are cheugy by definition. Where they used to be considered unique and even innovative, the pandemic seems to have pushed them to the backs of our closets. And that's a shame, because they balance functionality and drama like no other.  

Shop now: $37-$50; amazon.com