When Gen Z dubbed their predecessor generation’s go-to trends “cheugy” on TikTok in 2021, a whole slew of styles instantly became passé. Per the Instagram account cheuglife, the term describes someone who “follows out-of-date trends,” i.e., those popular when millennials were growing up. Skinny jeans and UGG boots were quickly stashed in the recesses of millennial closets — even my side part was relocated to the middle — at least, until now.
Due to fashion’s cyclical nature, trends are always coming back. And right now, we’re in the midst of a heavy early-2000s revival. Currently, the hottest trends are all blasts from decades past — like Carrie Bradshaw’s retro rosettes, visible thongs, and grunge belly button piercings. Among the trends making triumphant comebacks are cheugy styles millennials embraced not too long ago, albeit with a contemporary touch.
Colored tights, for example, a favorite of Gossip Girl aficionados, are being resurrected by the likes of Selena Gomez and Gigi Hadid, who’ve both stepped out in monochromatic ensembles with tights to match. Supermodels Kendall Jenner, Bella Hadid, and her sister Gigi, have also made a case for UGG boots, styling 2007’s favorite fur-lined shoe in a variety of ways.
Meanwhile, ballet flats — another beloved accessory — are dominating the market. A range of options is available from luxury (like Miu Miu and Manolo Blahnik), to fast fashion favorites. More on that ahead, plus more cheugy trends that are inexplicably back.
The ultimate comfort shoe is popular once again, thanks to the likes of Jennifer Lopez, Bella, and Kylie Jenner, who’ve all sported iterations of the shoe. No longer to be paired with candy-colored polo shirts and low-rise skinny jeans, the famous footwear is now worn with athleisure looks or baggy jeans for a laid-back, casual type of aesthetic.
The UGG mini platform — in classic Chestnut — seems to be the supermodels’ unanimous favorite. But whichever style you prefer, in whatever colorway, you’ll stand tall and stand comfortably.
After Gossip Girl aired in 2007, fans took to dressing like Constance Billard’s queen bee and her notoriously bright tights. The look reached its peak a few years later and have been labeled “cheugy” ever since.
Thanks to the likes of Selena Gomez, Anya Taylor-Joy, and Kendall, however, colored tights are back. Choose darker hues to ease your way back into the trend or jump in headfirst with vivid hues. Pinks! Blues! Whites! Don’t worry, it’s Blair Waldorf-approved.
With the resurgence of #balletcore, ballet flats have pirouetted back into the zeitgeist with stars such as Katie Holmes, and Alexa Chung, as well as Gigi and Bella wearing the humble minimalist shoe. This time though, more and more designers are having fun with the once-cheugy shoe style (one of Miu Miu’s buzzy designs, for example, even has heels).
There are a lot of options these days, in terms of color and fabric. Go for an edgy vibe with buckled straps, or harken back to your school days in Mary Jane styles — a favorite of Jennifer Lawrence and Zoë Kravitz. For a more contemporary feel, consider a square toe or a metallic sheen. Fashion-y details like these elevate the footwear from outdated to so trendy.
Once a mainstay on Pinterest boars and Target shopping carts, the formerly-beloved zig-zag print, has been making a reappearance as of late. Case in point: Olivia Wilde donned a glitzy chevron gown on the red carpet in November, while Jessica Alba and Stranger Things star Natalia Dyer were both spotted in the print in recent months.
Wear it in the classic, uniform print, don a rainbow-hued version à la Missoni, or spice up the look with sequins all over. These updated iterations are far from the Pinterest-era styles you used to wear.
The wedge — block heels’ even more comfortable sister — is back in its many iterations (Fendi just sent vivid wedges down its MFW runway). Set to be one of spring 2023’s biggest footwear trends, these babies are nothing like the cork-based versions of yore. Today’s styles are unfailingly modern — shop sculptural heels, electric hues, or even platform versions.