Aztec print
Credit: Georgie Wileman/Getty Images

As the summer nights grow shorter and the days back in the classroom grow ever nearer, it’s time to bid adieu to denim shorts and tanks. Sure, draining your bank account for hefty textbooks and nailing down the perfect class schedule are back-to-school requisites — but we all know what the top priority is… the back-to-school wardrobe.

Whether you’re hitting the books this month or reminiscing about your days spent sunning in the quad, back-to-school season is prime time to take notes on past fashion risks, regrets, triumphs, and pitfalls. These articles of clothing might ring some bells and spark some regret, but that’s half the fun of graduating from Garanimals to clothing you purchased yourself. Some of these styles have resurfaced, while others have been left to collect dust in the corners of your closet.

Pastel Jeans

Remember those color-coordinated jeans-and-t-shirt outfits that we bulk bought from Delia’s? Yeah, I don’t want to either. Cropped, distressed, acid-washed… pastel jeans co-opted every denim trend in a palette of Easter egg colors. It’s a trend happily gone and forgotten for now — and hopefully forever.


Credit: Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images

The shoes with a cause were still new kids on the block in 2010, thus adorning tootsies on students and teachers alike. Whether you opted for neutral canvas kicks or preferred more chintzy prints, those blue-and-white emblems adorned every man, woman, and child’s heels in 2010.

Garden Motifs


2010 was in full bloom thanks to floral prints sprouting on flowing dresses, pencil skirts, ballet flats, pants, and beyond. This lean toward loud, nature-inspired patterns foretold the boho boom of 2015.

Midi Skirts

Credit: MTV

The maxi skirt’s classy cousin made a momentous appearance in 2010, foreshadowing the oh-so-elegant tea length skirt trend of 2014. The dexterous skirt could easily transition from casual to cocktail, making it a staple for both school days and date nights.

Nautical Stripes

Credit: MTV

The sequel to the Sperry Topsider trend of the early 2000s, this timeless print with a seafaring spin made a splash in 2010. Those navy-and-white strokes, modeled above by LC in Laguna Beach, adorned nearly every article of clothing possible, and remains a sophisticated staple today.

“Aztec” Print

Aztec print
Credit: Georgie Wileman/Getty Images

This splashy print — which attempted to copy Aztec tradition — migrated from the runway to the hallway in the mode of blouses, pencil skirts, handbags, and more. Spawned in a variety of colors and patterns, the Aztec print was a versatile trend that saturated high school closets and was (thankfully) left in the dust come 2011.

Oversized Cardigans

Credit: Jemal Countess/WireImage

The raggedy glory of grunge fashion began trickling into our closets one sweater at a time, namely through the Cobain-inspired oversized, moth-bitten cardigan. A perfect cocoon while daydreaming in classrooms, and a staple for after-school study sessions at the corner coffee shop, roomy cardigans are a 2010 staple that still remain in 2016.


Credit: Mark Mainz/Getty Images

Is it a dress? Is it a maternity top? Nope, it’s the most puzzling item in 2000s fashion: the tunic. Sometimes paired with basic black leggings, other times thrown over distressed jeans — the tunic was a staple in 2010 back-to-school wardrobes.