Looking Back At Trends From Throughout Our High School Career (2019-2023)


As a 2023 senior, my high school career has had no shortage of trends which have defined the 4 years and made them prominently distinct from each other. I know my fellow seniors can look back on this and remember all of these trends and the eras which accompanied them, and I have no doubt everyone else will remember them/relate to some capacity. 

It’s no wonder that in the age of fast fashion/incredibly rapid trend cycles, microtrends, influencer culture, and TikTok that my high school career lent itself to such distinct trend patterns. And of course, the natural tendency of trends to occur has brought about a few trends I think are specific to us at Magnet. 

Time to get specific. I hope this timeline will be reminiscent for you, a glimpse into what our high school career looked like and how fashion has directly flown with societal and technological changes over time. 


2019-2020 (our Freshman year)

Our freshman year could be considered the calm before the storm. Well, it definitely wasn’t calm, the trends being prominent and vibrant as ever in this era, but it was the pre-Covid time. I think this era characterizes some of the first extremely saturated styles/trends we saw, phenomena really. Of course, I’m talking about the Vsco era. I would say this dates to our 8th grade year and on, but before that, the only really notable trends we saw was galaxy leggings/2014 tumblr. So this era was kind of life changing. I would say this is exactly when TikTok became popularized too, which definitely changed everything to do with trend culture. So the very beginning of our high school career definitely started off with a trend-bang. Let’s get into it. 

  • Vsco aesthetic

Our class along with the rest of teenage America embraced this style in full swing. Summer/the beach was the center of the aesthetic. Motifs include: puka shell necklaces, Birkenstocks, oversized T-shirts, lululemon, scrunchies, hydroflasks. 







  • Soft

This was an aesthetic/style that became popular on TikTok around the same time. Motifs include: pastels, skirts, hair clips, heavy blush, dainty things, wire glasses for guys mainly. The emoji “🥺” about sums this up.







  • E(mo)

This aesthetic/style completes the vsco/soft/emo trio of the time. What a time to be alive… “E-girls/boys” were characterized by angst and edge. Think Hot Topic. Motifs include: black, red, eyeliner (on eyes and shapes on the face), stripes, chains, mesh, checkers, studded belts.









  • Brandy Melville 

Brandy definitely had a rise in popularity during this time. There were so many specific pieces everybody seemed to be wearing. A few of these include: the gina top, pink cheetah tank, rosa sweatpants, and random baby tees. 








  • Mom jeans

These saw a rise in popularity around this time during the shift away from skinny jeans. I would say they tied in with the soft/indie style. As SZA said a little while prior, “you came with your new friend and her mom jeans and her new vans.” 

  • Nike socks

The Nike sock trend was wild, because at the time, that little logo on the side of your crew sock seemed to make an outfit. 






  • Angel shirt

Angel print became a prominent microtrend before/into our freshman year, and the brandy angel shirt followed in high saturation. You really don’t see these anymore.






  • Cowboy hat

You know the one I’m talking about. It’s pink, it’s glittery, and was likely to be seen on every girl’s head at the BE vs. Magnet game. It appeared more often than that, though. Every chance that one of these could be worn, they were worn.








2020-2021 (our Sophomore year)

Sophomore year by far was the wildest year for us, trend and otherwise. Quarantine was in full force, and I think that’s the reason the trends were so saturated in popularity at the time. Everyone was chronically online, and TikTok trends spread like wildfire. This is not to say the trends are bad or ugly, there were definitely pioneers and people who actually identify with the styles, but this year was a trend phenomenon. 

  • Indie/alt 

This type of aesthetic was very very trendy sophomore year. The “indie” denomination came with lots of bright colors, mushrooms/earthiness, hyper patterns, vine decor, decorated shoelaces, bucket hats, and retro motifs. This style was genuinely everywhere. The “alt” part of this grouping is very similar but with more muted bright colors if that makes sense, and more edgy tones. I remember at the time there was a trend called alt-TikTok, where only cool people were a part of it and they had that style.









  • 2 color strands

This trend was part of the indie style but it was so widespread I had to make it its own category. If I believe correctly, I think Kylie Jenner sort of pioneered this trend with her light front strands, and then it was adapted as something to do to change your appearance during quarantine and the colors became brighter. It went from exaggerated money pieces to fully neon strands, see tik tok user Vereena.







  • Docs 

Doc Martens, specifically the low top/loafer ones, were really popular within the indie style as well. I think Emma Chamberlain had a lot to do with this, as she has done with many trends. 







  • Microtrend shein patterns 

As previously mentioned, hyper patterns were everywhere. These patterns were pushed out in massive quantities and characterize many’s views of the fast fashion phenomenon. Notably, the squiggle pattern, flower pattern, and cow print. 






  • Fuzzy bag

These also came with the indie trend. I include this separately because I remember our class at AMHS embraced this trend in full force.










  • Sweater vest/argyle 

I think I also would date this back to Emma Chamberlain. Sweater vests became another trend vastly adapted by fast fashion and produced in massive quantities. Oftentimes the vests were argyle, so that pattern also became trendy. This is sad to me because I think this can be cute, but now all I see is a watered down and over-done fast fashion catastrophe. I think that I would say trend culture is slowing down now somewhat, which I hope continues so that this problem doesn’t keep happening.








  • Collar/crew/tennis skirt 

This is yet another trend that Emma Chamberlain began, and everyone else, Shein in particular, ran with. It was cute at first, but quickly became overdone, as it’s a very specific outfit, and after seeing it done in the exact same way 100 times, it becomes tired. The concept was cute, but fad culture ruined it.









2021-2022 (our Junior year) 

Here, we take a sharp turn from sophomore year. Everything was calming down and so was our style. There was definitely a maturity shift in all of us and we found more individuality. But, trends don’t stop. Here’s what was happening. 

  • Leg warmers 

I would say leg warmers started becoming more of a trend this year. I think the 80s also had a brief comeback, maybe connected with the Stranger Things season that came out. Of course I embraced this trend, as pictured. I love the 80s. 








  • Model off duty/clean girl 

This is still a trend but I date it back to this year. “Model off duty” consists of basics worn in a put together way, and to be a “clean girl” means to have your life together and look like it… I think. 







  • Tyler the creator core

This was a big trend in junior year, especially for our school, with Tyler coming to North Charleston and his merch being the staple of many Magnet student outfits. It is not only his merch that was popularized, but his entire style. I would say it’s streetwear meets old grandpa. It is still common to see this style today, and I can’t say I hate it.








  • Elena gilbert core

The people called it “Elena Gilbert core” when they wore (/wear) low rise jeans with long Y2K tops, and lacy tanks beneath them. Oftentimes this look could be seen with a ratty pair of converse. This spurred on the low-rise jeans trend of the time. 









  • Amazon corset

During this era, Amazon corsets were not only seen on spirit week. They were used as tops themselves, and could often be seen as going-out tops, or even everyday school tops. I believe it began because corsets were trending on TikTok, and everyone accidentally ran to the same one on Amazon.








  • Flare leggings

There is the iconic photo of Emma Chamberlain in her crewneck, turtleneck underneath, and yoga pants. This photo single handedly sparked a flare legging revolution, where everyone searched for the perfect pair. Aerie developed the perfect one, and almost every girl asked for the pants for Christmas. This item continues to be a staple in many closets, used as much as the Lululemon Hotty Hot Short in Freshman year.










2022-2023 (our Senior year)

I honestly couldn’t think of that many trends to associate with this year for us. Trend culture has died down so much as we’ve all come into ourselves and our own styles. That being said, influencer culture is still swinging, so here are a few.

  • Uggs

Bella Hadid undeniably began the trendiness of Uggs. While they have been a popular shoe choice for many decades, her iconic paparazzi photos wearing platform uggs, eating a pizza in NYC influenced many to get their own pair. So much so, that it is almost impossible to find a pair nowadays, and on the Ugg website, a pair, or even something similar, is on backorder for months. They became THE winter shoe to have, and will continue into the summer, no doubt. Here’s a picture of the Uggs I’m wearing right now.








  • Coquette 

This type of style/aesthetic has been flying around a lot this year, often titled “coquette.” Motifs include: lace, pointelle, hyper femininity, light pink/white/red, bows/ribbons, ballet influences, and Lana Del Rey.  








  • Bleached eyebrows

The immense popularity of the movie “Pearl” made Mia Goth, and in particular, her look, extremely revered. The most interesting aspect of her look was her light eyebrows. A trending TikTok filter showed people what they themselves would look like with light eyebrows, and many were influenced to do it themselves. Including me, as pictured next to miss Mia. 








In conclusion, as a grade and as a school, we have gone through many phases. Some continue to influence our fashion choices today. All of these trends have influenced our style, and consequently our senses of identity, creating who we are today. They shed light on what has happened throughout our high school career and how our fashion followed, together. <3