18 Fashion Trends Teens are Rocking from Our Youth

It turns out, your cringe-worthy school photos are now coveted looks with teens

by Nancy Reynolds

This post: 18 Fashion Trends Teens are Rocking from Our Youth

Written by: Morgan Hill

We thought we were so cool back then with our mullets, big hair, neon jackets and ripped jeans. But looking back, we can’t help but laugh a little… and maybe cringe. Well, all those fashions we thought we said goodbye to forever are finding their way back with our kids!

Yep… your cringe-worthy school photos are coveted looks now. From acid-washed denim to stirrup pants, these comeback clothes are rocking high school halls… again! Check out these 18 fashion trends teens are rocking from our youth.

18 Fashion Trends Teens are Rocking from Our Youth


1. Acid-Washed Denim

Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the stores…boom! Acid-washed denim jeans (and jackets) are back. A staple of your youth, and probably a baffling eyesore to your parents, these are back with a vengeance.

2. Concert Ts

You wore Backstreet Boys and Spice Girls Ts. And, guess what? Our kids are wearing Backstreet Boys and Spice Girls Tees. Oh, and Guns N’ Roses, Queen and Journey. It doesn’t matter that these bands rocked the ’80s and ‘90s, (literally 30-40 years before our kids were even born!), our kids are wearing them unironically. I’ll give ’em this, at least they know killer music when they hear it.

3. Reeboks

While the 1990s hip pastels and neon Velcro high tops are still around, all-white Reebok low tops are definitely proving to be timeless. I mean, come on, they ARE versatile, right? Walk the halls of any middle or high school and you’ll see, pretty much everyone has a “standard’ white pair of shoes whether it’s Adidas, Reebok, Nike, Vans, or some other brand. 

4. Crop Tops

Who didn’t like showing off a little skin in high school, much to our parent’s dismay? Even though schools have cracked down on their dress code big time since we were in school, you’ll still see girls sneaking a cropped t-shirt or sweatshirt. And, who can blame them – they’re cute!

5. Crewneck Sweatshirts

Whether branded or basic, keeping warm has never been cooler. In every color for every body, these may not be the worst trend to find its way back. In fact, you might just start wearing them again after all these years – much to your teen’s chagrin.

6. Friendship Bracelets

Remember friendship bracelets? Well, gone are the days of girls weaving colorful jewelry for their besties with a safety pin holding them in place. Today, both guys and girls are buying them for each other, fresh off the store racks. And, I have to admit, I’m a little jealous – their friendship bracelets are so much cooler than ours were. 

7. Bodysuits

When tucking in your shirt isn’t enough…Whoomp! (There it is). Bodysuits. Creating a smooth look via snaps. This trendy comeback isn’t particularly heinous, but it is impractical and, well, yeah.

8. Cargos

Once the go-to pick of preppy guys, all teens (regardless of gender) are now rocking this trendy look. I guess they figured out how handy those pockets come in to carry your phone, pencils and pens, money, and well… just about anything else. 

9. High-Rise Jeans

We were teased and traumatized for wearing “mom jeans” for years and now, lo and behold, our teens are jumping on the bandwagon like they invented them. For every mom who never gave up her mom jeans, take comfort in knowing that you were (and still are) on-trend. Only now you match your teen. Oh, the horror they must feel. (Ahem… even better.)

10. Rugby Shirts

Forget the fact that our kids don’t play rugby or that they might not even know what rugby actually is, this little trend has found its way back big time. In fact, rugby shirt sales in second-hand thrift stores are up a whopping 40%. Top brands like Ralph Lauren are the top picks – a stain or two is an added bonus. 

11. Chinos

We’d wear them to our after-school job or sometimes to school with a rugby shirt or crewneck sweatshirt. Now, they’re all the rage with teens. Our kids have no idea how freaking cool we really were back then. 

12. Miniskirts

Watch just about any 80s movie and there’s likely to be a girl rockin’ a mini skirt. We had the trend down pat – florals, ruffles, plain and leather – we OWNED it! Now, our girls are turning back the hands of time and diving into these daring hemlines. And, I say, let them! We kinda had fun with this one – let them have their moment. 

13. Plaid

We thought we said goodbye to plaid forever, but some things just keep coming back. Made year-round trendy by Nirvana, plaid is now all the rage with both guys and girls. Only now it’s worn more as a jacket, not a shirt. Oh, and plaid pajama pants are still a thing, too. 

14. Mock Turtlenecks

They’re baaaaaaack! While you might mock this generation for sporting the mock turtleneck trend you owned when you were young, some things have a tendency to circle back and this is one of them. Never underestimate the power of half the warmth but all the style. 

15. Stirrup Pants

Just. No. Why? WHY? As if we haven’t seen a resurgence of enough nostalgic fashion, here comes stirrup pants, back with a vengeance! Don’t forget to remind your teen to scrunch their big white socks down, too. Just kidding. That’s still a trend that’s, thankfully, stuck in the 90s.

16. Bomber Jackets

After the original Top Gun movie came out, bombers were all the rage (with aviators, of course). After taking a break from the fashion world they’re back with a fresh new spin. Teens today have choices galore. From satin and leather to cropped and oversized – teens are pairing them up perfectly with baggy jeans, miniskirts, and leggings. 

17. Neon 

One of the most iconic trends of the 80s was neon everything. Workout clothes, headbands, scrunchies, leg warmers, and color-blocked windbreakers – if you lived in the 80s you wore neon. Fashion designers seriously need to come up with something new. This is one trend that deserves to keep its spot in the past. 

18. Puffer Jackets

Have you been in the stores lately? They’re everywhere! Although the “new” puffer jackets are cropped and I have to say, I’m kinda liking that trend! (Maybe enough to buy one, although that might freak my kid out!)

Sooo many trends are circling back! It’s hilarious to see things we wore, t-shirts we loved, and styles we thought were totally cool on the backs of teenagers. If anything, maybe our kids are realizing that the ’80s and ’90s totally rocked! See? We’re not so lame after all!

About Morgan Hill:

Morgan Hill is an essayist and humorist. She has written for many online and print publications including Insider, Your Teen Magazine, Revel, and MASK Magazine. She is the mother of freshman and senior sons in high school. When not writing, she can be found at flea markets, in her garden, photographing architecture, taking cooking classes, or eating the stinkiest cheese she can find. You can also find her on Twitter @MorganHWrites or Instagram @MorganHillWriter

If you enjoyed reading,  “18 Fashion Trends Teens are Rocking from Our Youth,” check out these other posts you might like!

I Remember What it Felt Like to Be a Teenager and It’s Making Me a Better Parent

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