Most outrageous, risqué fashion trends of 2020

Penny Burfitt
·Lifestyle & Entertainment Producer
·7-min read

For most people, 2020 couldn’t be over soon enough.

It’s been a year of unprecedented global events and disaster that no one saw coming.

They say art imitates life and this year’s fashion trends worked overtime to prove that old adage correct, with extreme fashion trends focusing on MUCH less is more becoming the norm this year.

Rianne Mejer models face mask bikini in Instagram fashion trend
This year saw some truly bonkers, and flesh-baring trends become the norm. Photo: Instagram

We had the return of the G-string dress detail to the horror of many, the unusual reemergence of velour in unprecedented new settings, and some bikini cuts that, well, took beach fashion to dizzying new heights.

Some good, some bad, and some very ugly, here are the most outrageous, risqué and groundbreaking fashion trends of 2020.

The completely sheer gown

Maura Higgins in a purple sheer dress trend
Maura Higgins wore a purple sheer dress to the National Television Awards in January. Photo: Getty Images

Naked dresses have dominated the fashion scene for the past few years taking over everything from red carpets to wedding aisles, but like with almost every other phenomenon, 2020 took the trend to a new extreme.

Love Island's Montana Brown in sheer gown 2020 extreme fashion trend
Love Island's Montana Brown stunned in a gold see-through dress at the same event. Photo: Getty Images

This year saw totally transparent dresses become a red carpet staple, with far more of our favourite celebs on display than ever before.

Stunning detailing, and the translucent material made for some jaw-dropping looks, but with it all hanging out, it’s a look that only the brave dared don.

Face mask bikini

Former Love Island star Vanessa Sierra face mask bikini 2020 coronavirus fashion trend
Former Love Island star Vanessa Sierra wore a 'bikini' made from face masks. Photo: Instagram/Vanessa Sierra

A trend that would only make sense to someone who lived through this year, it was only a matter of time before essential PPE (personal protective equipment) became essential PPB (personal protective bikini).

A very controversial trend, the face mask bikini started as a viral joke but became a more serious talking point around the appropriate use of resources as the coronavirus pandemic saw medical supplies run low in countries across the globe.

Chelsea Handler wears a tiny face mask bra in risque coronavirus fashion trend
Chelsea Handler also donned a tiny face mask bra. Photo: Instagram/Chelsea Handler

Comedian Chelsea Handler, influencer Rianne Meijer and Aussie reality star Vanessa Sierra were all fans of the naughty look.

The underboob crop

Emily Shak underboob crop trend
Model Emily Shak was one of the celebs to jump on the underboob bandwagon. Photo: Instagram

Ah, the underboob – the awkward, divisive trend that no one is quite sure is actually hot, but that envelope-pushing celebrities like Kylie Jenner seem determined to make a ‘thing’.

This year saw Kylie and others whip out the daring underboob crop with concerning regularity, and the trend got something of an evolution this year though, as with so many of these raunchy trends, it was more of a blast from the past than a vision of the future.

Kylie Jenner underboob shirt
Kylie Jenner modelled a 'peek-a-boo' version of the look. Photo: Instagram

Celebs including Tammy Hembrow and Em Ratajakowski began sporting the underboob scarf crop which leaves even less to the imagination than the traditional crop.

Tammy Hembrow wears underboob scarf bikini
The underboob scarf style was an even more raunchy take on the revealing trend. Photo: Instagram

With security at an all-time low, it looks like summer 2020 is going to be full of wardrobe malfunctions.

The return of the visible G-string

Kylie Jenner sports visible green G-string underneath jeans
The noughties most naughty trend is back, baby. Photo: Instagram

Another oldie that made a stubborn come back this year was the peekaboo G-string trend that was a staple of the early noughties.

Remember when Tania Buckley wore the glittering G-string dress to the Brownlow in 2001 and Australia lost it’s collective mind because we were all huge prudes at the time?

Tania Buckley wears G-string dress Brownlow Medal 2001
In 2001, Tania Buckley walked so that in 2020 Kylie Jenner could run. Photo: Getty Images

Well, Tania has had the last laugh this year.

The trend has been well and truly legitimised between appearances on high-fashion runways and celebrities from the Kardashians to the Hadids and Jennifer Lopez herself sporting it.

Bella Hadid visible G-string look Versace high fashion runway
Bella Hadid even modelled the look for Versace. Photo: Getty Images

Where back in the day it was a short-lived trend worn only by the most daring celebs, it now looks like the trend has put down roots and intends to stay.

The ‘wedgie’ shorts trend

Model poses in wedgie shorst trend 2020
This year, exercise shorts reached new heights. Photo: Instagram

This year saw bizarre fashion creeping into gyms, with a brand new active-wear heavy trend turning head and dividing opinion.

The wedgie shorts, or butt-crack leggings, trend was a real miss for many this year, with one woman famously being asked to leave a gym that deemed the look too revealing for its dress code.

The looks feature a scrunch detailing running up the wearer’s natural, ahem, seam?

The effect is an exaggerated derriere and what in any other setting would be called a wedgie, but which in this case we call fashun dahling.

Naked leggings

ETCH naked leggings extreme fashion 2020
A pair of leggings had gym goers, and internet users, doing a double take. Photo: Instagram

That wasn’t the only fitness fashion that turned brazen this year.

A brief but baffling trend saw many ladies opting for flesh-toned leggings that created the illusion of nudity while they worked out.

The leggings, available from Aussie activewear brand ECHT, come in a range of colour tones that can sometimes match the colour of a person’s skin - and it will definitely make you do a double-take.

The inside-out bikini

Tammy Hembrow inside out string bikini trend fashion 2020
Tammy Hembrow has done things with a string bikini that we didn't even know were possible. Photo: Instagram

Last year we contended with the upside-down bikini.

Before, it was see-through straps, string-only and much much more (less).

This year saw the interpretation of the string bikini reach new levels when Tammy Hembrow opted for an upside-down, reversed, crisscrossed look we’re calling the inside out bikini because, honestly, we don’t even know what to call it anymore.

What we do know is this is perhaps the most eye-popping bikini trend we’ve seen yet and its tentative appearance at the tail end this year could herald an explosion of this look on beaches in the future.

Velour swimsuit

Kourtney Kardashian wears Kim Kardashian's SKIMS velours bikini
The Kardashians dragged the noughties kicking and screaming into the new decade. Photo: Instagram

Not content with dragging G-string dresses kicking and screaming out of noughties retirement, Kim Kardashian also hit the world in the face with the return of velour, though this time around she didn’t stick to tracksuits.

No, 2020 saw Kim’s SKIMS brand rebirth velour as a lingerie and swimwear staple in what has to be the most batty trend this year threw up.

Kylie Jenner velour SKIMS bodysuit risqué fashion trend of 2020
Not even Kylie Jenner could make this velours bodysuit look appealing. Photo: Instagram

No offence to those who dig the velvet-style material but this trend was a personal low for me, with the bunchy, thick material unflattering even on the enviable figures of the Kardashian sisters, not to mention entirely unpractical as a swimwear material given its both heavy and thick.

Don’t try this one at home kids.

The waist necklace

Bella Hadid wears a waist necklace fashion trend 2020
Bella Hadid snuck a subtle trend into 2020. Photo: Instagram

Finally, the blink-and-you’d-miss-it trend that snaked its way into 2020 without many of us noticing was the waist necklace.

Worn by style-setters Bella Hadid and Kylie Jenner, the waist necklace is a beach staple that to us plebs looks uncomfortable and impractical, but that the two ladies are rarely seen without.

The thin, almost invisible body chain can be spotted draped around hips, arching out of low-slung pants, sneaking through stringy bikinis, and even peeking out from beneath the afore-mentioned velour bodysuit.

Kylie Jenner models waist necklace 2020 extreme fashion raunchy trends
Kylie's chain could be seen peeking above the waistband of her jeans. Photo: Instagram

Dare I say, in a year of bombshell after bombshell, both on and off the runway, perhaps the unassuming body chain is the subtle, understated trend we needed to take out this year with a bit of much-needed calm.

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