One of my new year’s resolutions this year is to reduce my phone screen time, on account of the fact we now get a weekly guilt report. So, when this week’s #10YearChallenge thing cropped up on social media, my resolution was dealt a hurdle. Hordes of celebrities, influencers, friends all posting split-screen pictures in a before-and-after 2019 trend of sorts. From J-Lo’s to Gabrielle Union’s to Reese Witherspoon’s it’s been an unnecessary insight into what good genes and hard work and lots of money can do.
Anyway, not sure why this particular period of time is suddenly proving so popular as a flashback, perhaps it’s just another excuse for a selfie* or perhaps it’s because nostalgia is hitting fever pitch. Whichever it is, we’re taking a stroll down 2009’s lanes to see what else was happening 10 years ago. Let’s start with a quick recap. 2009 was the year Lady Gaga was reigning queen of pop culture (good to see some things never change). The anti-dote to her dance-floor tunes being a ringlet-haired, country-style ingenue named Taylor Swift who released ‘Love Story’. RIP those Swifty singer-songwritery albums, we miss you. The Blind Side, The Hurt Locker and The Hangover were all released, as was Glee, Modern Family and Parks and Recreation. Fergie and Josh Duhamel got married and so too did Jenna Dewan and Channing Tatum. Michael Jackson tragically died and Tiger Woods began his very embarrassing public downfall…
But we’re here for the fashion. Looking back, 2009 was definitely on the path to chic. Slowly and surely shedding the skins of questionable trends of the early 2000s as well as hangovers from the late 90s. While hindsight can make one feel smug and wise, the flashbacks are the reality check. Remember though, ten years from now, when we look back at how we were today, we will think three things: how amazingly young we looked, whatever happened to that cool jacket we were wearing and that we very much regret all the ugly sneakers.
Let’s revisit the trends of 2009 and speculate as to whether history will repeat in 2019…
Chloe, Balmain and Ralph Lauren spring/summer 2009 collections all saw volume-tapered trousers strut the runway. With notes anchored in MC Hammer-land, this look spawned what would become fashion’s controversial love affair with harem pants. Suddenly these “poo-catchers” hit the everywhere. Sienna Miller, Rosamund Pike, J-Lo, they were all doing the slouchy, drapey pants dance. I bought some sporty ones from Bonds and wore them with t-shirts and thongs. They were probably still the most comfortable pants I’ve ever owned.
REDUX VERDICT: Relaxed, pleated trousers are back again (thanks to Altuzarra and Burberry pre-fall 2019) but I look forward to the inevitable resurgence of the tracksuit version. Hopefully please right around the time I’m postpartum this June. That would be great, thanks.
Something happened in 2009 whereby every daily outfit seemed incomplete without a loop of printed fabric around your neck. Even in hot weather. This was music to high-street mega-labels’ bottom lines, because simple (read: cheap!) squares of fabric started flying off the shelves. We most likely have Alexander McQueen to thank? blame? for beginning this accessory du jour, his skull-print scarf became an instant must-have among the Hollywood elite. Nicole Richie is crowned Most Loyal Summer Scarf Wearer, having kept up the trend to this day.
REDUX VERDICT: A McQueen skull scarf is a forever piece you can still buy now, but I’m finding it hard to get inspired by a pashmina-style neck wrap again just yet. It’s too soon. Opt for a silk neck tie or the knit-scarf combo trend for now.
Long Pearls And Belted Everything
When 2008 turned into 2009 the fashion world was still being wildly influenced by Patricia Field’s costuming in Sex And The City, the movie. Carrie’s decade worth of wardrobe winners seemed to culminate in a feast of New York City decadent dressing. What stuck most? Cinching all outfits with a contrasting belt and wearing a long string of pearls over everything. The “Carrie Influence” hit the heartstrings of fangirls worldwide and inevitably their sartorial ensembles.
REDUX VERDICT: I think our waists are still recovering from all the belting over the last ten years, however we are seeing a micro-rise in wide, safari-style belts. Looped and thankfully easily loosened. The long pearls? Trade for a long industrial-style chain as per Off/White’s latest collection. It’s what Carrie would do.
Punk plaid was a big editorial trend of 2009, and it continued up until about 2013. The specific look had branches of both rock-band-grunge thanks to Kirsten Stewart in her film The Runaways and Scottish-Highland-plaid-punk thanks to designers like Vivienne Westwood (of course). Some did it well (lover of punk since forever Gwen Stefani and the It-Brit set of Agyness Deyn, Alexa Chung and Peaches Geldof) and some did it, hmm, not so well (Taylor Momsen – remember her!? – and Avril Lavigne). Locally, this non-committal grunge trend could be indulged in via your local Dangerfield store, so you could rep the rocker vibe while secretly blaring Lavigne on your Shuffle.
REDUX VERDICT: Plaid is back as a 2019 trend, but the punky overtones have been replaced by elegant modernism. Calvin Klein, Proenza Schouler, Chloe and Coach have all ‘checked’ in this season with volume dresses and wide-cut suits.
Little metallic Party Dresses
While street style trends of 2009 were hit and miss, the red carpet of that year was actually pretty timeless. Elegant gowns were a-plenty on nommed celebs (as they always are) but the more exciting, trend-focused looks were overwhelmingly cute, fitted, bright and sparkly. Lots of lamé, sequins, colour and drapey gold made up a year of super-fun party dresses.
REDUX VERDICT: Already happening, baby. The little party dress this season is fun, metallic and colourful. Pre-fall 2019 delivered cuts from Versace, Balmain, Dundas and more. Moral of the story: never throw away your party dresses, and in ten years just call them vintage.
The French designer who has made a name for herself since 1994 with her chic, bohemian eponymous label, Marant’s spring/summer and autumn/winter 2009 collections became instant, iconic hits. The ruffle ra-ra skirts, the broderie anglaise tops, the washy denim, the folky quilted jackets, the low-slung leather belts and the laced-up slouch boots made for a new era of weekend sexy-cute style.
REDUX VERDICT: Not sure this a contender for a revisit because honestly it never left. Marant’s genius manages to create wearable-yet-chic style that evades tiresome trend. So keep up the floaty dresses and ruffled skirts, they’re not going anywhere.
The military jacket
Balmain’s military jacket of 2009 was an instant trend, a bold-shouldered, lapelled, slim-cut that could have been an ode to Michael Jackson’s memory had its timing not been more than a sombre coincidence. The look was served with ripped jeans and a studded sandal, giving its bedazzled shoulders and punchy buttons a casual nonchalance. It became a celeb winner, one of the first pieces to make Balmain the It-label it was to become once again. I bought my version from Zara. I wore it with Marant-inspired ra-ra skirts and slouch boots from Wanted Shoes.
REDUX VERDICT: Coat styles this year are overwhelmingly big, long and textural. In saying that it seems Balmain is subliminally sprinkling us with corporal cuts again. Sadly, though, my Zara one was struck by a case of back-of-wardrobe mould, so RIP.
If you’re an Australian woman over the age of 28, chances are in 2009 you either wished for, or owned a pair of infamous ‘PeepToe’ shoes. This Aussie-born shoe label was an absolute mega success and nailed the high street’s lust for Louboutin-esque sky-high heels almost overnight. It reached such (literal) heights that Christian Louboutin even had to reach out to demand they stop copying his famous red-coloured sole. PeepToe heels were super high, platformed at the front, available in every colour of the rainbow and painfully difficult to walk in. They were nightclub shoes of choice and graced the red carpets of all the MTV-Billboardy-Logieish events. The company folded in 2013 with a plethora of legal issues over outstanding loans.
REDUX VERDICT: Absolutely no way, no way in hell. Thankfully ankle-breakers like these are not a 2019 trend and Christian Louboutin’s shapes are far evolved too. Will they ever return? Yes, probably. Though I can’t say I’ll ever be in a pair again. Give me your slingbacks, your kitten heels, your textural mules and your mid-heels because having no blisters is the new having many blisters.
Four years after launching their label The Row, former child stars Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen hit their fashionable stride when 2008 turned to 2009. Widespread media attention saw the house start to be taken seriously as a high fashion label, and, in turn, the twins’ fame finally lean away from its Full House years and into that of mega style influence. Their oversized, modern-grudge-chic aesthetic (always accessorised with huge sunglasses and huge Starbucks) became paparazzi big-time. And unlike many of their youth-star counterparts the Olsen’s second career has only continued to reach sartorial highs.
Redux Verdict: While the Starbucks sightings are rare these days, the Olsen’s street style and runway get ups are more influential than ever. Their personal level of privacy and exclusivity makes the pieces all the more covetable.
In researching this piece, one of the funniest (saddest?) things I came across was a particular magazine’s “Trends To Leave Behind In 2009!” story from November 2008. In it, they featured an image of Cate Blanchett in a very chic pair of wide leg trousers worn with a fitted pinstripe blazer. The caption said something like: “Dude Dressing: This masculine-inspired trend is a little too Melanie Griffiths in Working Girl”. Ah. Right. While Cate’s look has remained bang-on, this sexist, eye-roll mindset has now been conspicuously condemned.
REDUX VERDICT: That whole “Dude Dressing” pigeonholing can retire back in 2009, but we’ll keep the style forever.
*note: it is definitely another excuse for a selfie.