We’re coming up on that time again—another year coming to a close and a new one about to begin. But there’s something special about this particular New Year’s Eve. This year, we aren’t just saying goodbye to the year 2019, we are also bidding farewell to an entire decade—a decade that most of us have probably gotten pretty used to, whether we ever realized it or not.
As we prepare to greet the excitement and mystery of the Roaring ’20s: Round 2, let’s take a quick stroll down memory lane. These nostalgic people look back on the memorable trends that defined the 2010s.
1. I Moustache You a Question
One of the weirdest fads of the 2010s would have to be that weird mustache trend that was popular around 2013. You know, when teenagers would put mustaches on their phone cases as jewelry and whatnot. Good luck explaining that to future generations!
2. The Emperor’s Old Robes
I’m sure people will always be able to recognize the 2010s in photos by the distinct fashion styles. Men wore patterned, untucked button-down shirts with sleeves rolled up, short pants, beards, high and tight haircuts. Women wore yoga pants, athleisure, jumpsuits or rompers, “Coachella” attire (don’t know how else to describe this but it’s, um, distinct look).
3. All Dressed Up and No Place to Go
The most memorable trend of the 2010s for me was the internet’s whole “color of the dress” debate that captivated everyone’s attention for a brief but awesome period of time. For the record, the dress was blue!
4. High Brow Humor
The weirdest trend of the 2010s is whatever the heck people are doing to their eyebrows. Like, the 2000s were bad for eyebrows, but I’m not sure the appropriate corrective measure was to go from having the least brow possible to having the most brow possible and drawing them on so precisely that you look like an anime character.
5. Steppin’ Out
When looking back on the 2010s, don’t forget the dubstep hype of 2012! That might be one of the most unique music crazes the world has seen in a while.
6. Across the Pond
For Europe, the most memorable and defining moment of the decade will almost certainly be the refugee crisis following the Syrian Civil War.
7. Thank Your Lucky Stars
Astronomer here! No one had ever once asked me about the “Flat Earth” theory until just a few years ago. Now I get questions about it all the time, thanks mainly to the rise of internet conspiracy sites. The fact that this belief has become popular again for the first time in centuries is just so astounding if you really think about it.
8. Second Time’s the Charm
I will always remember the 2010s as the time when our entire culture suddenly decided to just start rebooting everything for the sake of nostalgia rather than actually coming up with new ideas for shows and movies.
9. We Have a Winner!
Millennials. They were the name of the game this decade. Millennials were at the center of almost every major cultural conversation. From social media and technology, to jobs and the economy. Hipsters and smartphones and gaming systems and trends and Facebook and Instagram, etc, etc. Millennials had the biggest cultural impact of this decade.
10. Taking the Bait
It’s hard to think of anything that has become as prevalent and ubiquitous over the past decade as “clickbait” on the internet. That being said, it’s really just a new word for an old phenomenon. Today, it’s videos with misleading titles. Back in the day, it was competing newspapers creating increasingly hyperbolic or controversial headlines with half-truths or flat out lies to sell more papers than the other guy.
Same thing, it’s just become digital.
11. Setting Up Shop
To the business world, the 2010s will probably always represent the death of the classic brick and mortar stores and the rise of Amazon Prime and other online shopping tools that now dominate the way commerce is done.
12. Close, But No Cigar
I’ll always remember the 2010s for how close we came to a massive Area 51 raid taking a horrific turn, resulting in hundreds dead and the unleashing of angry captive aliens upon the world to exact their revenge on humanity.
13. How Times Have Changed
To me, the most memorable thing about the 2010s has been the transformation of the internet into a force way beyond what it ever was prior to 2010. The popularity of smartphones and other devices has revolutionized many industries, as well as the way that the average person uses the internet.
14. It’s Not the End of the World
One of the wildest moments of the 2010s was the hype over the claim that the world would end in 2012. It happened to be in an era where everybody was pretty much already used to the Internet, and so the hysteria and interest spread fast. Future world ending predictions will likely all be viewed as a joke just like the past ones have been, but 2012 was special. That was the one that spread like wildfire.
15. Do I Detect a Hint of Sarcasm in This One?
My favorite trend of the 2010s would have to be acting like a total jerk to people on camera, all for the sake of getting likes from strangers on the internet. That’s definitely a positive sign of where society and culture are at these days!
16. Under the Influence
One of the things from this decade that we will likely look back on as ridiculously weird is the rise of social media influencers. Random teenage girls start posting their thoughts about useless information on YouTube or Instagram and the whole world suddenly cares what they think and takes their opinions seriously? How are we going to explain that to future generations?
17. Hail to the Chiefs
It’s hard to think of anything that the world will remember the 2010s for as much as the sudden and wild switch from President Obama to President Trump. Say what you will good or bad about either of them, but their ways of doing the job are vastly different in many ways; and no one can deny the enormous impact that Trump’s surprise election has had on how our culture and lifestyles have evolved for the latter part of this decade.
18. Sounds Like Fake News to Me
In my opinion, one of the most interesting and culturally significant developments of the 2010s has been the death of traditional media. Printed newspapers, periodicals, broadcast television, and radio are all slowly fading into extinction. While digital music way predates the 2010s, it took until this decade for pop stars to completely stop “selling” albums. They aren’t tallying CD sales anymore, they’re counting unique streams.
19. On the Road Again
To me, one of the most fun and most underrated trends of the 2010s that a lot of people never even noticed is the new golden age of automotive design that we have recently entered. Almost every new car from the past decade is elaborately styled. There are now car interiors with angular, intricate dashboards (like the Ford Escape, Chevy Equinox, and Hyundai Santa Fe).
This might end in the 2020s as crash safety technology requires more new cars to look the same, and car interiors will replace dashboards and gauges with touch screens (thanks, Tesla).
20. Great Faces for Radio
As far as the music of the era goes, the 2010s will be remembered for extremely commercial country, mumble hip hop, bad repetitive pop, EDM, and festivals.
21. That Sounds Super!
One of the random trends of this decade that I noticed is superhero everything. There have been at least 20 Marvel Comics Universe movies released this decade. Then, there are the other Spider-Man movies, the DC universe movies (Nolan’s and Snyder’s), as well as countless other movies and shows that tie superheroes into their themes in one way or another.
Last decade was zombies, this decade is superheroes.
22. So Many Memories, So Little Time
When it comes to the 2010s, there is a whole slew of memorable things that I think I’ll always look back upon fondly. I’ll remember the party music, from Gangnam Style and the really sad white boy with a guitar music right up to the dubstep and the mumbled rap. The MCU, Netflix, and all the streaming services that we never had before.
But in my own personal life, I’ll remember growing up, the hormones, the changes. I’ll remember that, even now as an adult, no matter what I did this decade, I would always end up finding it stupid and embarrassing. I’ll remember a lot of firsts. I’ll also remember a lot of lasts. And finally, I’ll remember that emptiness can go away, that I’ll go on for another day. That tomorrow can wait, while I live here and now.
23. Cancel My Order
To me, the 2010s will always be defined by our collective outrage addiction. How are we going to explain “cancel culture” to our future generations? My theory (as someone who wasn’t born in a Western country, but has lived here almost all my life) is as follows: People are SO comfortable in Western society and life is so predictable and safe and secure that they can now afford to sit there and complain and be outraged by any little thing that they don’t like for any reason, because there is no reason for them to worry about anything that could actually threaten their existence.
24. A Very Unpatriotic Attitude
As a sports fan who is not from New England, when future me looks back upon the trends of the 2010s, I will probably think of the Patriots making it to way too many Superbowls.
25. Exit Strategy
I’m a Brit. There is only one word that will define how my entire country will forever look back on this decade: Brexit. We’ve been bombarded with the Brexit issue and it does not appear to be going away any time soon. There is no telling what the future of our country will look like, and how drastically this decade’s events will change it in the long run.
26. Our Heads Are All in the Clouds
I think that this will be remembered as the decade when the physical world was overtaken by the digital world. Dating is online. Classes are online. News is online, and it’s all about what politicians said online. Presidential campaigns are internet memes. Print media and physical music are disappearing. Our jobs are being taken over by Artificial Intelligence. The jobs that we have left are done on computers.
The cloud knows more data about us than we do about ourselves. You have to have an email address to sign up for anything, and apps are constantly trying to wring more digital data out of us. I know this sounds conspiratorial. Personally, I’m not against it. I think we just have to find the right balance.
27. Breaking News
I think the most significant trend of the 2010s is the death of legitimate journalism. It has slowly been replaced by sound bytes, partisan hacks, “fake news,” and networks in such a rush to report ANYTHING that they don’t bother to fact check.
28. I Challenge This One
As far as I’m concerned, the craziest trend of the 2010s was the whole “_______ challenge” phenomenon. The barrage of different stupid challenges that went viral over the course of this decade is shocking when you really think about it.
99% of them were just horrible for your health. Things like the Ice Bucket Challenge. The worst I saw it get was when someone tried to start the “Fire Extinguisher Challenge.” The guy literally put the nozzle of the extinguisher in his mouth and hit the lever. No matter what type of extinguisher you’re using, this is incredibly stupid. What’s worse, though, was that he picked a dry chemical extinguisher. The second that he hit that lever, he blasted a lifetime’s worth of micro particulate into his lungs. His lungs are absolutely, unequivocally, well and truly destroyed.
Challenges lead to stupid people doing some stupid stuff…
29. It’s a Small World After All
From the perspective of global politics and security, there was no development more significant in the 2010s than the destabilization of the established international order. Historians will point to the past ten years as when everything started to change and the existing norms began to fall apart. We had a major, worldwide refugee crisis, in part stemming from the Syrian Civil War and the war against ISIS. That alone may be viewed as the point when something in our global economy and political system drastically changed.
It also will probably be seen as a missed opportunity for global crisis management reform, since the number of climate refugees expected to emerge in the coming decades is likely going to make the recent waves look like a joke. Who knows if we will be properly prepared and equipped for dealing with that crisis when it eventually hits us.
30. All in the Family
I would definitely say that one of the weirdest trends of the decade was all the family YouTube channels that we had at one point. Why would people think that we all want to just sit around watching them introduce the members of their family?
31. Anti-Social Social Experiments
By far, the weirdest trend of this decade is the whole “This isn’t a prank, it’s a social experiment” thing on YouTube and social media, wherein we’re going to see if people get mad when we walk up to them and punch them as hard as we can on camera!
32. The Rich Getting Richer
From the perspective of economics, one of the most noteworthy and significant aspects of the 2010s that will likely be looked back upon for years has been the enormous rise of CEO wages. In just a few short years, top-earning CEOs have gone from being paid about 50 times more than an average worker to about 500, 5,000, 50,000, and now pretty close to even 500,000 times more than an average worker. Only time will tell if that kind of crazy pattern can truly be sustainable for society in the long run.
33. The Way You Look Tonight
One interesting trend of the 2010s is the ability of pretty much any random person to gain a following and make money just by posting their thoughts on the internet and social media. There are now 16-year-olds becoming “brand ambassadors” for bogus skin products, and the whole thing never really made sense to me. Modeling is a profession of its own, but not everyone can or should do it.
Instagram has made us believe that many of these influencers have perfect lives that we should all look up to and try to be more like. Meanwhile, the inadequacy that people feel when scrolling through their feeds is extremely unhealthy for society. Becoming an influencer should never have been what social media was for. Connecting with friends has now turned into admiring strangers from afar, leading many of us to feel lonelier than ever.
34. Starting Their Life Out on the Right Foot
Elaborate “gender reveal parties” prior to the birth of babies are definitely among the most interesting trends to develop during the 2010s. Not the ‘normal’ quiet events with just family, but the driving need to get more and more extreme with these parties in every passing year. Some people even treat these parties like they’re on spring break or something.
I’ve seen parks ruined and beaches littered, all for something as basic as announcing the gender of your unborn child. Spreading blue glitter everywhere doesn’t somehow make the child more special than just saying “It’s going to be a boy.” They’re already special; they’re your child!
35. A Needle in a Haystack
In my opinion, one of the weirdest things about the 2010s would have to be the whole anti-vaxxer movement. As someone who spent their formative years in a dirt poor country, I can safely say that people in North America are so cushy and safe nowadays that they have the luxury of being able to believe ridiculous things like the claim that there is some massive conspiracy to purposely damage your kids through a vaccine.
It blows my mind. Yeah, go ask people in India how it feels to see someone walking with a polio limp and how grateful they would be at the thought of being able to have received a vaccine for it. As if doctors all around the world are literally getting together and plotting about how to make your kids suffer for no apparent reason. Freakin’ unbelievable!
36. Lip Service
Let’s not forget one of the most distinctive cosmetic trends of the 2010s, highly overdrawn lips and eyebrows! We can all see where your real lip ended a half-inch back, people!
37. Not My Cup of Tea
By far, my least favorite trend of the 2010s has been this bizarre, widespread attitude where people just put down things that they don’t understand. It happens with everyone, not any particular groups. I’m tired of seeing people being so blatantly disrespectful towards things that other people enjoy, for no good reason other than the fact that they themselves don’t happen to like it.
If I like X and you like Y, why do we have to argue about X vs. Y? Can’t we just have a meaningful conversation about the value of both?
38. Automatic Reply
In the world of tech, the 2010s will probably be remembered as the era where automation really started to take over many parts of the workforce. It’ll definitely be interesting to see where this ends up going for society in the long run.
39. Just Clowning Around
Nothing in the past decade was as creepy as when we briefly had that super weird problem of people dressing up as clowns and showing up in parks late at night to scare the pants off of everyone who walked by!
40. Spinning Out of Control
How are y’all gonna leave out the most influential trend of the 2010s?? Fidget Spinners!! They united us as a nation at a time when our country was divided more than ever. They solved Attention Deficit Disorder overnight while boosting our economy to levels unseen since the POG craze of the 90s! No matter what the future holds, please don’t ever forget this amazing little toy, future people!!