Black is the new black is the new grey is the new charcoal, wasn’t it? Indeed, what’s cool, uncool, old school or novel seems to be in a constant state of evolution. The only thing predictable here is the unpredictability. As such, we’re focusing on those timeless items which started their life with a different purpose but have since been appropriated by the fashion world: trainers are no longer just for running, nor are jumpsuits for jumping, and the sartorial world evolves accordingly.

Yep, fashion is unruly and should be celebrated as such. With that in mind, here are 5 IDEAL old school fashion items making a comeback in 2020.


When trainers were first conceived, no one had fashion in mind. The earliest forms of trainers were plimsolls and their rubber design featured no distinction between the right and left foot. These primitive trainers were purely utilitarian, the fact that they were cheap and wearable was prioritised over aesthetics.  

But James Dean’s trainer debut in the hit film Rebel Without a Cause helped the popularity of ‘fashion trainers’ grow, and many clothing companies jumped on the sportswear-as-streetwear bandwagon. Gola’s iconic Harrier trainer, for example, was originally launched as a general training shoe geared towards squash, badminton and other sports. This design has since become a streetwear staple, with classic trainers looking set to be hugely popular once again in the new decade.


In recent years, jumpsuits and boilersuits have seen a surge in popularity on the high street. And their ubiquity is only going to grow in the coming decade. Despite their current status as fashion must-haves, their origins were entirely practical. Designed by a Florentine designer in 1919, jumpsuits were created, as their name suggests, for jumping. More specifically, they were made for parachuters or skydivers making jumps out of planes. After this, they also became popular with race car drivers, aviators and even astronauts. 

When you think about it, jumpsuits were iconic fixtures of the twentieth century. From Rosie the River on the wartime “We Can Do It!” poster to the disco dancing of ‘70s Saturday Night Fever, and even the 1969 moon landing, they were always around. They gradually transcended their pragmatic origins to become fashion statements and are now essential items in every fashionista’s arsenal.


The bum bag is an unlikely item that has made a roaring comeback among festival goers over recent years. Whether this fashion comes from a place of post-modern ‘uncool’ irony, or the necessity for keeping your stuff in one place when spangled, or from a genuine appreciation, the bum bag is here to stay.

We can trace its origins back to 1962, when the first prototype was designed by Australian Melba Stone. However, the concept of a pouch held around the waist by string goes much further back. As bags predate pockets, people needed somewhere secure and close to their person to store their most valuable items. A pouch held at the waist seemed to be the perfect solution, and this gave us the ‘chatelaine’, a bum bag forerunner. In Scotland, the equivalent was the traditional ‘sporran’, which was a small pouch normally made from animal fur, worn over a kilt.

Although we haven’t yet seen the sporran or the chatelaine become a festival essential, bum bags are worn with vigour. Whether tied around the waist or slung over the shoulder, these items bring fashion and practicality together (with a pinch of ‘middle aged tourist’ irony thrown in for good measure). Look out for Taylor Swift rocking hers on the stage of Glastonbury 2020 later this year!


High neck dresses found huge popularity in the 60s, and surged back into the public consciousness through TV hit series Mad Men, when the fictional advertising agency Sterling Cooper’s New York setting saw the glamorous and fabulous donning these iconic dresses regularly. 

The modern high street followed suit, with IT girls of the present day channeling this swinging 60s look succinctly. With retro, nostalgic fashion looking set for another bumper decade, expect to see high neck dresses worn in formal settings to great effect.


Double denim. Cut off sleeves. Exposed muscles. Bandana. Style icon and silver haired heartthrob Bruce Springsteen has been an unofficial spokesman for double denim for decades, and suddenly, it seems, the whole world wants to catch up. Where once this was a fashion faux pas up there with socks and sandals or combining a brown belt with black shoes, now the whole catwalk is at it with enthusiasm. So make it a new year’s resolution; in the 2020s you’ll give double denim another go.

Bringing back clothes from a bygone era is a fantastic excuse for re and upcycling; great for the environment just as much as it is for your wardrobe. Check out our other tips for avoiding fast fashion now, and save the planet whilst still looking great.