If Fashion Is Cyclical And Trends Reemerge Every 20 Years, Then This Is What We Can Expect To See Next

Ever notice how fashion trends that seem to have died out come back around years later, like clockwork? The second you finally purge your closet of the high school staples you loved so dearly, it's nearly guaranteed that your favorite brands will be stocking their shelves with those items.

By Hannah Leah2 min read
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When I think of things that are trending right now, it’s like a blast from the past. Over the last few years, we brought back some of the ‘80s styles with mom jeans, scrunchies, and baggy sweaters, and now we’ve inched our way into the ‘90s and the early 2000s. Fashion goes through a cycle, where new trends come and go, and it seems like we repeat styles that were trending years ago.

It turns out there's a reason for this. It’s known as the 20 year rule, which refers to the time it takes for a trend to die and come back into the spotlight. This happens with more than just fashion. We also see it with music, art, films, and décor because the people creating these things tend to pull from the past for inspiration. If the 20 year rule stands true, we can predict what trends we’ll be seeing more of in the next few years. 

Fashion Trends 20 Years Ago

Let’s rewind to the early 2000s. A few popular movies from this time are Legally Blonde, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, A Walk to Remember, and A Cinderella Story. If you remember the overall style in these movies, then you can probably think of a few of the staples such as low-rise flared jeans, leather outfits, denim everything, cargo pants, crop tops, tube tops, bucket hats, platform shoes, and tracksuits. 

There was a time when we cringed at some of these fashion choices, and we still do at a number of them, but if you notice some of the current looks that are trending, it might feel familiar to the early 2000s. Supermodel Hailey Bieber has really taken on some early 2000s fashion in recent years. She's all about a crop top with a low-cut pair of jeans and a bucket hat. 


The great thing about fashion is that we can all choose our own style. Maybe you don’t love everything about the early 2000s fashion, but you can pick what parts of it you do like and put your own spin on it. 

Fashion Trends We Can Expect

We’re just now creeping into the fashion of the early 2000s, so in the next few years, you’ll be seeing some of that style mixed with the late 2000s if the 20 year rule remains accurate. In five years, it’ll be 2027. That means the middle of the 2000s is what we will be pulling our inspiration from. 

According to Central Casting, the middle part of that decade consisted of yoga pants, low-rise jeans, peasant tops, capri pants, cropped jackets, and wearing dresses over jeans. A few of these pieces are things we already wear today, like yoga pants, low-rise jeans, and peasant tops. Most yoga pants back then were wide-leg. Today we wear them mostly skinny-leg or cropped, but we still have wide-leg yoga pants (the split seam ones are particularly popular right now). Bridgerton and the subsequent rise of Regencycore might have caused a resurgence in dresses, but no one is wearing them over jeans (yet)! 

At the end of that decade were things like camisoles, miniskirts, bubble skirts, and sweater dresses. Central Casting states, “There was also a 1980s and 1990s revival that reintroduced neon colors, animal prints, geometric shapes, light denim jeggings, and ripped acid washed jeans that were worn with gladiator sandals, ballet flats, and headbands.”

All it takes is one celebrity who we consider a fashion icon to wear something different that starts to trend again. Social media has really caused fashion trends to spread quickly. Between TikTok and Instagram, we get endless inspiration and a million ways to try it. 

Closing Thoughts

I can’t imagine it being considered fashionable to wear a dress over jeans, but at one time we did, so much so that celebrities were sporting it on the red carpet! Every decade we shift into a different style, but like clockwork, we come back to something we’ve done before. The 20 year rule has been fairly accurate for a while, so it’s likely that we can predict what the next few years will bring. Maybe it’s those early 2000s classic movies that make these fashion choices so enticing! 

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