The Best Summer Trends Throughout The Decades

The summer season brings out the ice-cream-eating, game-playing, beach-loving child in all of us. The long days bring us back to a time when summer meant total freedom.

We’ve partnered with the 2014 Toyota Highlander to look back on all of the fads we love from summers gone by. After all, summer fades and trends come and go, but nostalgia is eternal.

THE ’50s
1950s couple beach
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THE ICONIC LOOK: “Just Another Day In Pleasantville”
A squeaky-clean look epitomized by teen queens like Doris Day and Sandra Dee. This vibe has been brought back to life through pop-culture touchstones like “Happy Days” and “Grease” — and, in more recent days, “Pleasantville” and “Mad Men.” If it ever got too hot out there, you’d just take your polka dots and bow and slicked-back hair to the local diner for a milkshake with two straws.

THE SHOES: Saddle shoes, boat shoes and penny loafers with pennies in the slots, if you were feeling superstitious.

THE SWIMSUIT: “Pinup”-style halter one-pieces for girls (think Marilyn Monroe or the original Barbie), “cabana sets” in flashy prints for men.

THE SUNGLASSES: Cat-eyes for women, browline sunglasses for men.

OTHER MUST-HAVE ACCESSORIES: anything with polka dots, a frilly bathing cap, a Panama hat.

THE ’60s
woman white sunglasses car
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THE ICONIC LOOK: “A Little Bit ’50s, A Little Bit Rock ‘N’ Roll”
While some of the clean lines and mod looks had their roots in the ’50s, the new idols were rock-and-rollers with their floppy hair, leather jackets and slick sense of style.

THE SHOES: Chuck Taylors and (more) saddle shoes for everyone, super-groovy Vans if you were a hippie.

THE SWIMSUIT: For girls, the itsy-bitsy, teenie-weenie … oh, you know the rest. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ICkWjdQuK7Q&feature=kp). Hawaiian or mod prints for the guys.

THE SUNGLASSES: Round, dark Jackie O.-style specs, perhaps with a slight cat-eye.

OTHER MUST-HAVE ACCESSORIES: Mod makeup for girls (dark liner, big lashes, frosty-pink lipstick), miniskirts, letter jackets, anything with horizontal stripes and a strong opinion on whether the Beatles or Rolling Stones were better.

THE ’70s
1970s guitars
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THE ICONIC LOOK: “A Bohemian Rhapsody”
The ’70s brought on the carefree hippie style that we still associate with summer, from flowing maxi dresses to bright florals. Your idols preached peace, love and happiness, which still hasn’t gone out of style.

THE SHOES: The original shoe that claimed to work out your legs — Dr. Scholl’s “Classic Exercise Sandal.” Also see: Vans for casual occasions and Nikes to signal your newfound commitment to jogging.

THE SWIMSUIT: The newly popularized string bikini or high-cut one-piece for the girls, track-style shorts for the boys.

THE SUNGLASSES: John Lennon-style round specs or big old plastic frames with a brown fade à la Diane Keaton in “Annie Hall.”

OTHER MUST-HAVE ACCESSORIES: A big floppy hat to channel Brigitte Bardot, anything floral, a headscarf, feathered hair for girls, long hair for boys.

THE ’80s
flip

THE ICONIC LOOK: “Do The Right Thing”
Spike Lee’s iconic 1989 film captured a Brooklyn neighborhood in heat; it also, incidentally, captured the height of ’80s summer fashion. From Dodgers jerseys to super-bright prints to crop tops to that iconic four-finger ring that film had it all.

THE SHOES: Jelly sandals for girls, white Air Force Ones or Jordans for everyone else.

THE SWIMSUIT: Cut-out one-pieces for the ladies, above-the-knee neon shorts for men.

THE SUNGLASSES: Ray-Bans à la Tom Cruise in “Risky Business.” Extra points if you add Croakies.

OTHER MUST-HAVE ACCESSORIES: Smiley faces, scrunchies, anything airbrushed and bucket hats.

THE ’90s
tankini
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THE ICONIC LOOK: “I Just Stepped Off The Soccer Field”
Remember when this was cool? Parachute-like Umbros took you from the playground to the sprinkler and back. This unisex look was best paired with a pre-wrap headband and an oversized T-shirt.

THE SHOES: Adidas slides because you’re sporty, remember?

THE SWIMSUIT: Tankinis, and the classic Speedo one-piece for the girls. Preferably your suit would look like something that a member of the 1996 U.S. Olympic team would wear. Board shorts for the boys.

THE SUNGLASSES: Yellow-tinted Oakleys.

OTHER MUST-HAVE ACCESSORIES: Friendship bracelets, anything involving lanyard, “tattoo” chokers and puka-shell necklaces.

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