A Modern Girl’s Guide to Past and Present Fashion Trends

19th Oct 2016

The key fashion trends of 2016 ranged from fun throwbacks to the 1970s, 1990s, and even as far back as the Victorian Era in Britain (1831 – 1901). Designers and fashionistas are combining many of these trends into a single outfit with stunning effects.

For those with an appetite for fashion and a reluctance to settle for just one trend, this is the year for you! Now you can have your uber-stylish cake and eat it too—with fashion trends, past and present. Use the tips below to combine more than a few trends into one look that is all you.

Masculine v. Feminine


Cute collared shirts, boyfriend jeans, and shorts are now key fashion trends of 2016. This year, designers are blending feminine and masculine looks for maximum effect. For women, these designs include trousers, pant suits, and fabric patterns typically associated with menswear, like pinstripes and plaids. You may wonder if this can actually work, but the fashion world has once again proven itself correct. Follow these simple tips to stay ahead of the game for the 2017 fashion forecast!

Innovative use of masculine styles can actually accentuate femininity (and vice versa). When building your five-trends-one-look outfit, take a couple steps out of the gendered fashion box and try these Mysterious Woman Pants. The chiffon material feels silky and hangs beautifully. Top the pants with a tunic or dressy blouse and complete the look with heels.

80s Glamour

The 1980s have a special place in American pop and fashion history. Here is your chance to get in on some of the fashion magic seen in movie favorites like The Breakfast Club and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Molly Ringwald’s leather jacket, suede skirt, and plunging neckline outfit easily epitomized 80s fashion.

Have fun with other 80s styles that are back in vogue. Pleated skirts—both long and short—stormed the runways of this year’s fashion shows. Suede, à la Molly, is a popular fabric this season for everything from dresses, skinny pants, trousers, and jackets. If you are more of a leather girl, there is plenty for you to pick from as well!

Effortlessly merge the fashion trends of past and present by emulating classic 80s looks. Focus on leathers in this season’s favorite colors, such as brown and deep hues like orange and rust. Pleated leather is a key fashion trend of 2016 and one of our favorites for dresses and accordion skirts.

 Any throwback to the 1980s would be incomplete without mentioning the re-emergence of mesh in its finest form for tops, skirts, and bottoms. If you love mesh, this is your time to rock it out!


While some of these favorite fabrics are not necessarily the warmest, fabrics used to embellish the outfits do provide a coziness factor. Fur linings, lapels, collars, and hoods create beautiful additions to any piece while also warming you up a bit. Try this Sheepless in Seattle vest for a fun and warming layer for your newest trendy outfit. Stack it on top of a complementing collared shirt or three-quarter length sleeve blouse. The additional vest length means it all pairs well with midi and mini dresses, ensuring that it fits in with our 2017 fashion trends forecast.

The Victorian Era


The Victorian Era spanned 70 years in 19th century Britain. The fashions common during that time have re-emerged in modern times, making it one of the ultimate fashion trends of past and present. Trends popular in Queen Victoria’s time included intricately embroidered patterns, delicate lace collars, and large statement bows. Ultra-feminizing corsets also highlighted women’s narrow waists. The key fashion trends of 2016 have brought back lace, corsets that painlessly accentuate women’s curves, and the grandiose skirts of the era.

Create a trendy and delicate look by swapping a little Victorian lace for fabric in these must-have sweaters. The Our Hearts Collide for You sweater uses a floral lace pattern for the sweater’s sleeves while our Just for You Grey lace sweater replaces part of the sweater’s back with an intricate lace pattern. Mix and match these sweaters with distressed jeans and knee high boots to be well on your way to mastering the 2017 fashion trends forecast!

Statement Coats


Thoughts of fall and winter coats are mostly for functionality and warmth. Our fall and winter coat decisions do not have to be black and white. If you want to walk along fashion’s edge, turn heads with a vinyl jacket. It may not keep you very warm on its own, but it is excellent for layering! Statement coats are a sure way to draw a crowd of admirers. However, fashionistas shouldn’t have to choose between warmth and style.

For traditional outerwear styles that dominate past and present fashion trends, consider these pieces. For a dramatic effect, top off your outfit with dusters and outerwear with fur embellishments like hoods, cuffs, and lapels. Shearling also works well for these embellishments and works as a super-cozy lining. This Unstoppable Love plaid vest is versatile enough to mix with many of your outfits. The vest shows off this season’s penchant for menswear-inspired plaids, but with a feminine feel that layers perfectly over dress, skirts, and jeans.

How to Combine Trends

Decide on three to five favorite trends

Pink Lily’s recent blog posts have detailed this year’s essential fall outfits and how to elevate them with the key fashion trends of 2016. You know what this season’s fashions are all about, so pick three to five of your favorites that combine both past and present fashion trends. Are you all about stripes, trousers, and cargo jackets? Or do you love florals, collared shirts, and pleated mini-skirts? Having more than one trend that makes your heart flutter is wonderful, and now you don’t have to settle with just one look!

Choose One Main Trend

To successfully combine the trends that you love most, you have to first pick one main trend. Having more than one attention-seeking piece in your outfit is like having two divas trying to share the same stage—the show will be a mess. However, giving one trend the spotlight and delegating the rest as backup singers will give your outfit clarity. With choosing one main trend, you are making it clear to everyone that you know exactly what the 2017 fashion trends forecast is going to be about.  

Layer and Accessorize with Other Trends

At Pink Lily, we can’t get enough of this season’s love of layering. Stacking prints and patterns, accessories, and layers is every girl’s dream and a stylish way to stay fashionable this fall. Once you have chosen your main trend, plan your outfit by accessorizing with other trends. Yes, think in terms of tops and bottoms, but also consider which pieces, accessories, and jewelry you can layer on top of one another. As you pull your pieces together, everything should support, complement, and stylishly contrast with your main trend.

Basic Tips

It is easy to say “accessorize with other trends,” but what does this really mean when going through your closet or browsing Pink Lily’s store? The tips below will show you how to work accessorizing magic.

Surprise the Heck Out of ‘Em

Ask any of your closest girlfriends to go into a store and pick out an outfit you would love—most of your friends could do it with no problem, and in no time flat! It’s great to have friends who know your favorite go-to styles. That might also mean that you are in a style rut and just wear variations on the same standard outfits. Use those staples from your wardrobe to combine fashion trends of past and present!

If you are a jeans-and-sweater girl, step out in trousers or a flowing midi. If you are the feminine girl who is always in ruffles and heels, try on one of this season’s more masculine looks and pair it with a leather jacket. Your femininity will shine through as heads turn all around you.

Opposites Attract

When girls learn how fashion works, we are often taught all kinds of fashion pairing do’s and don’ts. If we had a dollar for every minute we have spent finding shoes or a jacket that “properly” matches an outfit, we could take an exotic vacation, shop our hearts out, and still have money to buy another outfit. Give yourselves a break and permission to choose contrasting styles. Wear those Army boots with those leggings and mini dress, and wear it proud.

Mix It Up

If you feel fancier than a particular event calls for, go for it! This doesn’t mean wearing a prom dress to Thanksgiving Dinner, but it can mean pairing an eye-catching blouse with your jeans, or wearing heels instead of flats.

Pair Cute with Confidence

The power to dress as an individual has to start somewhere. You have the eye to put together super-cute outfits, so let it start with you! You can start slowly by choosing a single item from the key fashion trends of 2016 that dominated the runways, such as shirts with metallic details. Knowing that you already have a super-stylish piece is an instant confidence-booster!

Marry Upscale and Budget-Friendly Pieces

More commonly called “high-low-fashion,” this just means mixing the price ranges of various pieces in your outfits. There is nothing wrong with pairing that gorgeous dress you saved for with that awesome vintage scarf you found tucked away for years in your mother’s closet. In fact, the juxtaposition of the past and present fashion trends—the expensive and the thrifty—is an ideal way to show off your creativity!

Examples of How This All Comes Together

Pair Clothing from the 70s and 90s

If you are too young to have enjoyed the fashion highs of the 1970s and 1990s, you can celebrate those styles now because the best of those decades have come back around on the fashion wheel.


Lace and lacy details had their last heyday in the 70s. For a late twentieth-century nod, make bold style decisions, like lace capped sleeves with a draping shirt or blouse from the 90s. This There She Goes lace blouse is the perfect way to mix looks and trends. While you are reaching back into the 70s, grab a bright floral fabric and fast-forward to the 90s to make this Trust Your Heart floral romper. Sneak it out for one last warm weekend outing or save it for a winter getaway to some warm locale.

Victorian and the 70s


Folks during the Victorian Era could have never imagined the ballads of Loretta Lynn or jamming out to the Devil Went Down to Georgia. However, they may have guessed that some of their favorite styles would still influence the 2017 fashion trends forecast!

For a feminine and comfortable throwback 70s/Victorian mash up, try out this Graceful Elegance mini with a lace neck and embroidered bodice. For a more formal event, wear this Regal Radiance lace dress with exaggerated, sheer sleeves and a more form-fitting bodice. Pair these dresses with your favorite high heels or, if you are feeling edgy, try booties or knee high boots.

Larger than Life Suede

Larger than life is a bit of an exaggeration, but we had to get our point across. This season is especially interested in over-sized suede bags and coats. This trend brings out more of the 70s vibe! The extra-carrying space and warmth are also super convenient.


Victorian Lace Necklines

The Victorian high collar is emblematic of the entire era. Often made of lace, these high collars served as the benchmark for elegance and sophistication. For a 1970s twist on the Victorian collar, keep the lace but make a statement with what’s left out, instead of what’s added. This I’ll Be There blouse has a lace neck and an open back that is surprising, stunning, and sure to stop admirers in their tracks. The beautifully draping fabric makes this plunging back a must-have for your trendy ensemble! For an effortless combination of fashion trends past and present, pair this blouse with other trends like suede skirts, boots, and accessories that shine.

Statement Jewelry

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Jewelry from the Victorian era reminds us of the old idiom, “A picture is worth a thousand words.”  Victorian designers used bold gemstones arranged in intricate patterns that hung low. Their designs said a lot about the style and tastes of the women who wore them. Pink Lily’s rose gold Go All Out Necklace offers a unique stone arrangement and stones that truly shine. Adding an element of elegant surprise to any key fashion trend of 2016, this necklace sings beauty, confidence, and an appreciation for timeless styles.  

The 2016-2017 fashion line offers us plenty of past and present fashion trends from which we can build amazing outfits. Take on this season’s styles with a feet-first plunge in coming trends. We can’t say the next time such fashion freedom and eclectic fun will come back around to us!

Keep in touch with Pink Lily for updates and new pieces for your 2017 fashion trends forecast fun!