Fashion trends started by the Kardashians
There’s no denying what a huge driving force the Kardashian family has become for the fashion industry. On Instagram alone, they have over 380 million followers between the five sisters, all of whom are waiting to catch on to the next big trend. Fashion designers have taken notice, too. Even if they’re not walking the runway (we’re looking at you, Kendall!), the sisters are consistently front-and-center during Fashion Week, close with huge designers like Marc Jacobs, and even own their own clothing and makeup lines. Like it or not, the Kardashians are a modern day fashion dynasty. Read on for the hottest fashion trends started by the Kardashians.
If there was only one trend we could forever thank the Kardashians for making popular, it’s tight, body-conforming clothing. From dresses and bodysuits to tight jeans and pencil skirts, the Kardashian sisters are notorious for wearing clothes that accentuate their bodies. And as fashion blogger Amanda Maxwell told me, “with their famous curves, it’s no wonder that they want to show them off!”
When Kim Kardashian first shot to fame in 2007, the women’s fashion scene included things like denim skirts with leggings and those tiny little vests over t-shirts (yeah, remember those?). But, as documented by Us Weekly, Kim’s never been shy when it comes to showing off her best assets — she consistently gravitates toward clothing that’s “form fitting while accentuating her waist,” Megan Moran, owner and wardrobe stylist at The Style Foundry, described to me. These days, every part of the fashion industry is saturated with bodycon clothing. “These dresses have gone from being sold at Wolford only to target racks,” says Maxwell. “They have become the most styled accessory in the past year.”
Bodysuits (yes, those stylish onesies that make going to the bathroom a nightmare) are one example of this, which Miami fashion stylist Lauren Malacsina told me the Kardashian sisters started wearing way back in 2014. “Kim K was wearing the solid body suits under suits and paired with ripped boyfriend jeans,” Malacsina says. Today, bodysuits are everywhere from high fashion runways to the sale rack at Forever 21.
Back in June of 2016, Kendall Jenner made headlines when she hit the streets of New York City wearing an incredibly sheer top. While this trend of see-through, free-the-nipple clothing appeared on the runways the season prior, it had yet to become mainstream — but Kendall was all about it. “I just like showing my nipples through some of my outfits,” she told People. “There’s something understated, yet sexy about it.” Fast fashion (and those who wear it, AKA most of us) quickly caught on. Sheer tops and bodysuits are a wardrobe staple, often worn with colorful pasties over the breasts.
Thanks largely to the Kardashians, coats are just as much a fashion statement as sneakers or purses. Megan Moran, owner and wardrobe stylist at The Style Foundry, told me in an interview for The List, “you will notice that most of [Kim’s] outfits comprise of a coat or jacket.” Fashion blogger Amanda Maxwell told me that Kim’s affinity for long coats began around 2014, when she was pregnant with Saint. “Floor length coats of all kinds quickly followed,” said Moran. And it’s not just to keep warm — Moran notes that the addition of coats to an outfit help “show off her figure (long lines create a slimming profile) or aide in her “lingerie and jacket falling off the shoulder sex appeal” look.
“Millennial Pink” is this generation’s iconic color. The subdued pink is everywhere, from accessories to clothing. Not surprisingly, that’s due in part to the Kardashians’ embracement of soft, neutral colors. “Kardashians tend to stick with a neutral or even nude palette, more often than not,” Megan Moran, owner and wardrobe stylist at The Style Foundry, told me in an interview. “Skin tones, light pinks, bright whites and blacks let them either standout in their outfits or become one neutral canvas.”
In the years since the Kardashians have all but taken over pop culture, Pantone’s colors of the year have largely been bright and bold. But since they’ve transitioned to the more calm, neutral colors, fashion has followed suit. “When I started dating Kanye, he was like, ‘Babe, you have so many crazy shoes and platforms with spikes and jewels, so much going on. Can I have my stylist come and we’ll clean out your closet?'” Kim told Glamour in 2015. “I’ve become in love with this still sexy but just cleaner look,” she said. Apparently, the fashion industry has, too!
If there’s one recent trend we should be forever grateful for, it’s “athleisure.” You know, the trend that makes it okay to wear your comfy gym wear all day (even if you never go to the gym). “The Kardashians really ran with this one!” fashion blogger Amanda Maxwell told me. To be fair, we might have to name Kanye West (who’s a Kardashian by marriage) as the original pioneer of this trend. His Yeezy line made laidback, sporty clothing fashionable. And with models as popular as the Kardashian sisters, the trend quickly caught on.
Kylie Jenner cemented the trend in 2016 when she signed a deal with Puma — and today, people wear “athletic everything, from daywear to night,” says Maxwell. According to Forbes, “the apparel sales, as a whole, increased 2% year-on-year in 2015, the rise in activewear sales was a whopping 16%.” And don’t think athleisure is just for lounging around the house, either. According to Maxwell, “joggers and athletic pants have been everywhere. Athletic pants worn with heels and unbuttoned at the bottom have been down the runway for all genres of fashion.” The trend has gotten so big, in fact, that Merriam-Webster added the term ‘athleisure’ to the dictionary in 2016.
It’s true: Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake attempted the full-on denim trend first. Their 2006 matching denim outfits are iconic for sure, but didn’t ignite a double denim frenzy quite like Kim K’s foray into the trend in 2013. Her sisters quickly followed suit: Khloe paired the double denim trend with a white lace bodysuit in 2016, and fashion-forward Kylie gave the trend a go in 2015. Obviously, the rest of the fashion world wasn’t far behind. Denim-on-denim is no longer the taboo “fashion don’t” it once was.
One piece bathing suits
Bikinis were the reigning swimwear choice for a long time, but one pieces have recently made quite the comeback — and surprise! We first spotted the trend on Khloe Kardashian and Kendall Jenner on Instagram way back in 2015. With the low cut backs and high-cut leg openings, the two proved that one pieces are just as sexy as teeny bikinis. “I love one-pieces. I think one-pieces can be super-sexy,” Khloe said in a 2016 interview with Lorraine. “I don’t think you need to show everything for it to be sexy.”
One of the biggest beauty trends to take over in the past few years is a full pout. And though all of the Kardashian sisters have full lips, it’s the youngest Kylie who really emphasized the impact lips can have on your full look. “Kylie has created a whole business based on accentuating your lips,” Megan Moran, owner and wardrobe stylist at The Style Foundry, told me. She continued, “Different lipsticks, plumpers, glosses, etc. You won’t see a Kardashian without plumped up lips, that’s for sure.” Kylie’s lips became so envied on the beauty scene that she turned it into a career, building a brand of lip kits that eventually expanded into a full makeup line.
Society’s recent fixation on full lips hasn’t come without some criticism, though. Various think pieces across the internet have slammed the star for appropriating black culture, claiming that “the fanfare surrounding Jenner plays into a white fascination with plumped lips, a feature commonly associated with stereotyping and fetishizing black bodies.” The internet also saw the effects of the Kylie Jenner Challenge in 2015, when teens began using dangerous methods to enlarge their lips.
To safely enhance your own features, makeup artist Shara Strand suggests using “a very light neutral gel lip liner to make lips appear larger and keep lipstick on.”
“All the Kardashians, and their makeup team, too, have become experts and trendsetters in the contouring world,” says Megan Moran, owner and wardrobe stylist at The Style Foundry. While Kim Kardashian is effortlessly beautiful no matter what she does, her absolutely flawless look kicked off a worldwide contouring trend culminating in thousands of video tutorials (including one from Kim herself) and articles showing the public how to achieve her look.
“They’ve showed how they do it, constantly that they’re doing it, and then of course look flawless in all their pictures. A recipe for trend success,” says Moran. The contouring frenzy led to makeup companies designing kits specifically for contouring. “Whereas people would be using a bronzer for contour before, the Kardashians used cream pigments to create dimension on their face,” makeup artist Shara Strand told me. “Because of that, makeup companies have definitely promoted different sorts of contour palettes.”
Before contouring and dramatic lips took over the beauty scene, many women flocked to the smoky eye trend. It’s no surprise that the Kardashians were among the first to promote this look. “The Kardashians were first known for their deeply smoky and sultry eye,” makeup artist Shara Strand explained to me. “The trend of the gray and black blended and smokey shadow was really due in large part to the Kardashian girls.” No surprise there!
Wet hair look
For most of us, going out with wet hair is just a way of telling the rest of the world you woke up too late to do a quick run with the blow dryer. For the Kardashians, however, going out with wet hair ignited a “wet hair don’t care” trend that took over the red carpet, according to Megan Moran, owner and wardrobe stylist at The Style Foundry. “Kim proved that a sleek bun isn’t the only way to quickly get ready for the day and the rest of the family followed suit,” Moran said. The trend quickly became popular in Hollywood, and like most of the Kardashian-induced trends, led to step-by-step how-to’s and video tutorials all over the internet.
Oil slick hair, rose gold hair, hidden rainbow hair… What do they all have in common? Well, it’s likely they were inspired by Kylie Jenner’s locks. One scroll through her Instagram and you’ll see her hair changing colors almost daily. “Honestly, what I think set everything off is when I cut my hair off when I was 16 and dyed it blue,” she mused in an interview with Interview magazine. “After that, I just felt so free and wanted to experiment with my look.” The rest of the world followed suit, and Kylie’s not shy to admit it’s because of her. “I started wigs, and now everyone is wearing wigs,” she told Marie Claire. “I just do whatever I want to do, and people will follow.”
Trends in the fashion and beauty world are always changing
Celebrities have a huge influence on what’s popular, and, thanks to social media it’s easier than ever to dress and look like your favorite celebrities. The Kardashians are a driving force in the entertainment industry. From their makeup and clothing brands to their various television shows, it’s no wonder they have such an influence on today’s trends. “The Kardashians have given us a lot of trends in the past years,” fashion blogger Amanda Maxwell told me — and we’re sure there’s no stopping now.
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