Let's take a trip down memory lane, shall we?

By Samantha Sutton
Feb 01, 2021 @ 11:20 am
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11 Questionable Trends From 2011 That Are, Unfortunately, Back
Credit: Getty Images/InStyle

In some ways, 2011 feels like it was yesterday — until we remember that Gossip Girl was still on TV, William and Kate were newlyweds, and that some of the most popular songs that year were LMFAO's "Party Rock" and Lil Wayne's "How to Love." If our taste in music now seems questionable at best, it's worth noting that our fashion choices weren't much better. Outfits were made complete with items such as infinity scarves and round-toe, platform pumps — and now, history is starting to repeat itself.

The fact that it's been 10 whole years since 2011 can only mean one thing: Old trends are slowly trickling back into our lives, returning and resurfacing as the cool 'new' things to wear. We'd argue that we're wiser than we were the first time around (we'll skip the part where we add studs to, um, everything), but even so, we're down to have a little fun this year, and don't want to miss out on reinventing old styles.

It's time to check out 12 fashion trends from 2011 that are back for 2021. First, cringe reflect on how we used to wear them, then see how to style those same items today.

Color Blocking

Questionable Trends From 2011 That Are, Unfortunately, Back
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The 2011 Way: Purchasing dresses and tops that included actual blocks of color, and making sure to combine as many different shades in your look as you can. Also, if you added accessories, the goal was big and chunky. No statement necklace or oversized bag were off limits.

The 2021 Way: A little more thoughtful and streamlined. Opt to wear two or three bold colors together, then balance things out with something neutral while keeping accessories to a minimum.

Vests

Questionable Trends From 2011 That Are, Unfortunately, Back
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The 2011 Way: It was all about the denim, leather and tuxedo vests — and even better if they complemented that boho vibe we all had going on. This was a surefire way to spice up your maxi or fit-and-flare dress.

The 2021 Way: This time around, go the comfortable route with a sweater vest. Whether it's slightly oversized or cropped, you can play with proportion and add this piece to almost any outfit, especially over collared designs.

Standout Collars

Questionable Trends From 2011 That Are, Unfortunately, Back
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The 2011 Way: Peter Pan collars! So many Peter Pan collars. We have a feeling Zooey Deschanel's super sweet style influenced this trend.

The 2021 Way: It's all about the extra-large Pilgrim and prairie collars. It's an oversized detail that can instantly transform your outfit and make it seem more fashion-forward, even when paired with basic jeans, dresses, and sweaters.

Cutouts

Questionable Trends From 2011 That Are, Unfortunately, Back
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The 2011 Way: Clothes from 2011 were tight, sexy, and statement-making. It wasn't unusual to throw on a shirt with a keyhole neckline or show a bit of skin, whether through a side cutout or a cold shoulder.

The 2021 Way: Similar, but a little looser. Holes have definitely returned, and celebrities have been stepping out in baggy sweaters, dresses, and pants with subtle slits for the past few months.

Peplum Details

Questionable Trends From 2011 That Are, Unfortunately, Back
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The 2011 Way: We really, really committed to this extra bit of material, which was layered onto everything from dresses, to skirts, to pants. Yes, that's right — some of us wore peplum pants.

The 2021 Way: These days, we're more about the peplum jacket, which is a step up from a basic blazer or bomber. You can add a belt or leave as-is, since that little ruffle is more than enough to add some flair to your look.

Pleated Skirts

Questionable Trends From 2011 That Are, Unfortunately, Back
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The 2011 Way: The accordion pleated midi skirt was somehow everywhere, thanks to its overall easy vibe. It was a quick something to pair with a cami during the summer months, but was also able to be styled with a sweater and tights in the winter.

The 2021 Way: Preppy, plaid pleated skirts — as in, the type you'd find in a school uniform — took over in 2020. We're still big fans of the Instagram-approved combination of wearing them with chunky socks and a sweatshirt.

Preppy Shoe Staples

Questionable Trends From 2011 That Are, Unfortunately, Back
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The 2011 Way: We — and yes, we're including Taylor Swift in this — couldn't stop wearing oxfords with every outfit. A floral dress? Add some oxfords. Skinny jeans? Add some oxfords. This lace-up, menswear-inspired flat got some pretty great use that year.

The 2021 Way: While oxfords haven't exactly returned, we've definitely welcomed its cousin, the loafer, into the mix. Lug-soled styles will add even more interest and pop against feminine designs, and this shoe is just as versatile as our favorite pair of sneakers.

Peek-a-Boo Socks

Questionable Trends From 2011 That Are, Unfortunately, Back
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The 2011 Way: Um, remember when we wore ankle socks with platform heels, and sometimes even styled them with heeled sandals?

The 2021 Way: These days, we can't get enough of longer-length socks, and mostly wear them with sweatpants, letting them scrunch up at the bottom. However, we're not opposed to bringing back the old trick of styling them with heels. Socks are super easy to throw on, but they always make a statement!

Blazers Over Everything

Questionable Trends From 2011 That Are, Unfortunately, Back
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The 2011 Way: This was, perhaps, the early days of the blazer becoming our closet's most versatile layer — and no one nailed the look better than Olivia Palermo. Whether it was a two-toned design or something that could be belted, we found this piece made our outfits slightly more elevated, and could even be styled over gowns on special occasions.

The 2021 Way: So, it hasn't returned, really — the blazer never truly left. These days, though, oversized and long-line options are ones we know look great on everyone, and we've even worn them with sweats to give our cozy look a boost.

Colorful Pants

Questionable Trends From 2011 That Are, Unfortunately, Back
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The 2011 Way: Yeah...colorful denim had a moment — and we're talking bright jewel tones, too. There's no denying we committed to thinking outside the box when it came to clothes that year.

The 2021 Way: Now, we've added some color to another typically neutral staple: Leather-like pants. Whether you go super bright or opt for a more subtle olive shade, there are multiple ways to hop on this celeb-approved trend, and it's an easy switch if you're hoping to make your wardrobe a little more lively.

Belts

Questionable Trends From 2011 That Are, Unfortunately, Back
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The 2011 Way: For a while there, every outfit looked better with a long, skinny belt. We wrapped them around dresses and skirts, created the 'paper bag' effect with oversized pants, and used them to cinch jackets, too. On the questionable side of things, one of our favorite tricks was adding a scarf to an outfit, then belting it in place. (Bonus points if that scarf featured a skull print.)

The 2021 Way: To be honest, not much has changed. While it can be argued that the more popular styles are thicker, the mid-section and big-buckled belts have officially returned. Even Michelle Obama is on board.

Fit-and-Flare Dresses

2011 Trends Coming back
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The 2011 Way: If you didn't own an easy-to-throw on dress that featured a nipped-in waist and included some sort of grandma-inspired floral print, did you really live through 2011?

The 2021 Way: There's nothing wrong with a good ol' fit-and-flare, but these days, the classic dress has evolved and become poufier with the addition of balloon sleeves. The best news is, those strappy heels we once wore with the original are no longer a requirement; sneakers or the aforementioned loafers will perfectly complete this look.