Here’s What Was ‘Sexy’ Over the Last 50 Years

Here’s What Was ‘Sexy’ Over the Last 50 Years

New World Pictures

It seems like we never can quite decide how to define “beautiful” or “sexy”. Our opinions about a woman’s figure, the length of her dress, the length of her hair, and the cosmetics she wears are constantly changing. As each decade comes and goes, so do beauty and fashion trends.

Today, we’re taking a look at the sexiest fashion and beauty trends from the past five decades. Who knows, you might even pick up some style inspo to work into your own look. Click through to see!

1970s Beauty and Fashion

Farrah Fawcett

The 70s brought us disco, and that bled over into fashion. Lots of gold and sequins and jumpsuits. It also brought us the wrap dress and platform shoes.

Farrah Fawcett had the ultimate 70s do. Her feathered hair was iconic, and oh so imitated by women everywhere. The makeup looks were a bit on the subtle side, with an emphasis on bronzed skin.

1980s Beauty and Fashion

80s fashion, Heathers
New World Pictures

Ah, the decade of excess. The 80s were the decade of “bigger is better.” Big, baggy, boxy cuts (balanced by plenty of spandex, obvs). Big shoulder pads. Blousy, high-waisted jeans (bonus points for ripped knees).

Beauty trends were bold. Big hair, neon colors, blue eyeshadow, hot pink everything, and thanks to Brooke Shields, bushy brows. And, as Madonna is so kindly showing us, you could never have too many bracelets.

1990s Beauty and Fashion

Liv Tyler in Empire Records
Warner Bros.

The neon trends of the 80s stuck around for a minute, but the early 90s introduced us to grunge. And it made its way from the music industry to the fashion industry. Flannel and plaid were everywhere. As were Doc Martens. And they paired with anything. Including slip dresses, babydoll dresses, mini skirts, belly shirts, and boyfriend jeans.

On one side of things, you had the heroin chic minimalism look that Kate Moss made popular, with straight hair and nearly bare skin. On the other, you had grunge’s influence, which almost brought in a 1920s flare. Pale skin, bold lips (dark, brownish reds), heavy eyeliner, and pencil-thin brows.

2000s Beauty and Fashion

Britney Spears
Jive Records

Oh, the ubiquitous Juicy Couture velour tracksuit of the early 2000s. Other than trucker hats and platform flip flops, this one outfit might be the most iconic look of the decade.

But let’s not forget other important trends, like ridiculously super low rise jeans, belts that were decorative rather than functional (metal studs, seat belt buckles, neckties, scarves, and fringe), graphic printed tees, and belly shirts that were a tiny step above just wearing a bra.

Frost was the name of the game in the 2000s beauty industry. Frosted lip gloss (that you kept in your back pocket at all times), frosted eyeshadow, and face glitter were staples. As were chunky highlights.

2010s Beauty and Fashion

Kim Kardashian

The 2010s brought us mom jeans (because we needed to rebel from jeans so low rise you couldn’t sit in them), skinny jeans, and leggings as pants. It also took a nod from the 60s hippies and brought us “festival fashion.” Which ultimately brought on a lot of talk about cultural appropriation.

Finally, we have 2010’s beauty trends. It was a big decade for makeup. We saw beauty bloggers explode on Youtube and Instagram, the Kardashians taught us how to contour, and we could cut through glass with our carved out brows. There was also a focus on big, overdrawn lips and rainbow-colored hair.