Special Report

30 Iconic Fall Fashion Trends Through the Years

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The autumn season is often regarded as a symbol of change and new beginnings. This applies to fashion choices as well. But fall has a way of sneaking up. One day you’re putting on your shorts and sandals, and the next you’re in need of a jacket.

Last year’s jacket, however, might not be that fashionable this year, although fashion has a way of repeating itself and perhaps that jacket from the ’90s you keep deep in the wardrobe is making a comeback. Throughout the years, fall fashion has changed, and ahead of fall, 24/7 Tempo compiled a list of several iconic fall styles through the years.

In the grand scheme of things a century is not a very long time. But when it comes to fashion, it might as well be a millenia ago. It may be the difference between a girdle that is about to cut off blood circulation and comfortable leggings that are so in vogue today.

Changes in fashion are often driven by anything from technology, popular culture, social norms, and celebrities’ influence. America’s most popular fashion influencers, for example, may surprise you.

Many trends emerge over the years and leave their mark in fashion history. Some of them are even making a comeback with a cool new and freshened up look. Often the designers of today draw inspiration from designers of the past.

Click here to see 30 of the most iconic fall looks through the years.

To compile a list of 30 iconic fall fashion trends through the years, 24/7 Tempo reviewed fashion industry sources and media reports. The styles’ iconic status was based on name recognition, influence on fashion, legacy, and enduring fame.

Source: Keystone / Hulton Archive / Getty Images

Bourgeois dressing

The inspiration for bourgeois dressing can be traced back to the 1970s in Paris. Flaring knee-length skirts or culottes, wool capes, blouses, boots, and silk scarves, were the trademarks of the style. Bourgeois style has been making a comeback on 2019 fall runways of some major fashion houses such as Gucci and Givenchy.


Source: Fox Photos / Getty Images

Wool midi skirts

The midi skirt is quite the versatile item, and it has been rising in popularity over the last few years. Depending on the design and material, it fits any season. Wool will keep you warm while looking chic in the fall and winter seasons. Beige and black prints are classic for fall, but you can go for unexpected and bolder and brighter hues and patterns, too.

Source: Topical Press Agency / Getty Images

Trench coats

The trench coat has been popular for more than a century, even though its roots go back to 1823, when it was used as weatherproof outerwear by both civilians and the military. In World War I, soldiers in trenches found that their long, thick woolen coats got too heavy in the rain and mud. The coat was replaced with a shorter, lighter version — the trench coat — and soon became common among civilians too.

Source: Evening Standard / Hulton Archive / Getty Images

Big belts

Belted evening gowns, belted coats, belted jackets, and belted dresses — they are becoming popular again. Big belts were popular in the early 2000s. Celebrities such as Kim Kardashian were often spotted accessorizing with them.


Source: Hulton Archive / Getty Images

Boiler suits

Activists and leftist intellectuals were wearing boiler suits or coveralls in the 1920s. Part of their appeal is comfort — they have a no frills design and a loose cut. They made it into women’s fashion in the ’40s at the outbreak of World War II, when women started doing men’s jobs.

Source: Chaloner Woods / Getty Images

Pearl necklaces

Back in the 1950s, when many women were housewives and were expected to look well-groomed at all times, they wore pearl necklaces. They were an ideal accessory for any type of clothing — anything from a classic black dress to everyday outfits.


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Swinging circle skirts

Swing skirts nowadays can be seen at Halloween parties and other events where participants are encouraged to wear costumes. But in the ’50s, these high-waisted tea length skirts were a classic.

Source: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures


Bell-bottom jeans were the rage in the mid-70s, especially in the disco scene. Perhaps the most famous image of these trousers that widen from the knees down is of John Travolta in “Saturday Night Fever.” But even his were not as wide as when the trend was at its peak.

Source: Gunnar Larsen / Evening Standard / Getty Images

Platform heels

Platform shoes were in vogue in the ’90s, and before then in the 70s — and many of the most popular celebrities at the time were seen wearing them. The thick soles — some of which were also quite high — go back to ancient times when the Greeks used to wear them to appear taller during theatre performances.


Source: Getty Images

Leather jackets

Leather jackets were first associated with aviators in the early 1900s. They were known as bomber jackets during World War II and were popular in Europe in the 1950s and 60s. The most iconic style is perhaps the MA-1 Bomber.

Source: Courtesy of Aaron Spelling Productions

Wide shoulder pads

Wide shoulder pads were very popular in the 1980s. The most iconic image of this fashion trend is perhaps that of Joan Collins’ “Dynasty” character Alexis Carrington. Such strong-shouldered dresses used to be called “power dresses.”


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Velour tracksuits

In the early 2000s it looked like everyone owned a velour tracksuit. Many versions had the word “Juicy” encrusted with rhinestones. The pants at the time were always low rise, but more recent versions are not.

Source: Express Newspapers / Getty Images

Pillbox hats

The little pillbox hats Jackie Kennedy wore in the 1960s were not expensive designer hats. The most famous pillbox hat in history is perhaps the one she was wearing as part of the pink Chanel suit when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963.

Source: Larry Ellis / Express / Getty Images


Miniskirts technically go back to ancient Egyptian times when female acrobats wore them, according to unearthed frescos. But miniskirts, as we know them today, became the mode in the mid-1960s, as supermodel Twiggy became the face of the miniskirt look.


Source: Express / Getty Images

Pinstripe suits

Pinstripe suits used to mark the wearer as a financier or power broker. Because they were associated with power, the New York Yankees adopted the pinstripes. Today, celebs such as actor-singer Donald Glover and boxer Conor McGregor have reclaimed the pinstripes.

Source: Courtesy of Touchstone Pictures

Over-the-knee boots

Remember Julia Roberts in “Pretty Woman” wearing over the knee boots? They were very popular when the movie came out in 1990. But they don’t look good only when paired with short skirts, but also with jeans, long skirts, as well as dress coats.


Source: Evening Standard / Hulton Archive / Getty Images

Wide-legged pants

The wide-legged pants were popular in the ’70s and are making a comeback with a fresh new look. The today version is a little shorter — just above the ankle — and is often paired with sneakers.

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The jumpsuit, a lightweight alternative to a dress, was a popular item in the 1970s that is making a comeback. The roominess of the jumpsuit, which often featured huge sleeves, lends itself to a diverse palette of colors.

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Suspenders, also called braces or snaps, are a substitute for belts. For many men, the only time they wear suspenders is with a tuxedo. Suspenders once had a fairly utilitarian role, but today they are considered a fashion statement and are worn with panache.


Source: Jeff Spicer/Getty Images for Three


While it’s true that denim never really went away, particular styles popular in the ’90s — when all-denim outfits flourished — are coming back. Modern versions of the cropped jacket are more box-shaped than their ’90s predecessors.

Source: Chaloner Woods / Getty Images

Polka dot dresses

Polka dot everything are often associated with a period in the ’50s, but polka dot prints, including on tops, blouses, and swimsuits, have been around since the ’20s.


Source: Joe Bangay / Express/Getty Images

Front-buttoned skirts

Light front-buttoned dresses are popular in the summer. But button-front skirts, a ’70s trend, are becoming once again a hit in the fall. They come in all sizes – mini, above the knee, and down to the ankles — and have a cool retro vibe.

Source: Rob Kim / Getty Images for alice + olivia by Stacey Bendet

Ripped jeans

Ripped jeans — with or without a leather jacket — were very popular in the late 1980s, made fashionable mostly by rock and heavy metal stars. As is the case with many fashion trends, ripped jeans have come back in style and are common items in clothing stores.

Source: Tony Duffy / Getty Images

Bold and bright colors

1980s’ fashion can be characterized by a few words — big, bright, and bold (and heavy makeup). Pink, blue, yellow, and red were experimented with in endless combinations, along with big jewelry as accessory.


Source: Steven Ferdman / Getty Images)


Faux fur, or fake fur, was a popular fashion trend in the mid-1990s. Animal rights activism was on the rise, incrasing awareness of the fur trade and associating it with animal cruelty. Designers responded by creating outfits from fabric that imitated fur. People liked it, perhaps not just because they were cheaper.

Source: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Plaid skirts

Plaid skirts are vintage mid-90s. They were often paired with long or short-sleeved turtlenecks. Modern versions are sometimes longer, reaching below the knee and paired with long boots.


Source: Kevin Winter / Getty Images

T-shirts over long-sleeve shirts

For many people, mostly guys, casual wear in the late 1990s and early 2000s meant donning a short-sleeve T-shirt over a long-sleeve shirt. It was known as the grunge look. Some fashion magazines are noting the style is making a comeback.

Source: Tim P. Whitby / Getty Images

Scarf shawls

The scarf shawl, sometimes referred to as the wrap, is a combination of a blanket and a scarf. They were all the rage in the 2010s; stores had entire sections of various models — ranging from very simple one-color scarves to complicated embroidery ones. They can still be found in clothing stores.

Source: Chaloner Woods / Getty Images

Pencil skirts

Pencil skirts made their debut in the mid-1950s, when Christian Dior first designed them. He wanted to enhance the hips as opposed to the waist of a woman. This kind of skirt has since become a must-have for every working woman. The only change in the skirt, depending on current trends, is where the hemline is.


Source: Pietro D'Aprano / Getty Images


A minimalist style is all about the basics — simple jeans, blouses, shoes, or sweaters. Minimalist wear doesn’t have to be just black and white. Bright colors are part of the style, but they are usually paired with a more neutral base jeans or trousers.

Source: Central Press / Getty Images

All-leather everything

Leather everything is making a comeback on runways. Leather pants, skirts, jackets and shirts, and of course boots are paired together. And not just in black. White, red, and brown leather outfits are trendy as well.

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