Portmanteau Commentary: The emperor wears no clothes - Unflattering Trends and the Fashion-writer's Dignity



In fashion most people, especially writers, tend to shy away from slamming a big trend in the fear of being seen as not having understood the trend and the high aim of wanting to please and praise what's good whilst avoiding to mention anything a big enough designer has picked up on that they don't like. Even magazines that entail "in" and "out" or generally will admit to not liking a fashion trend will usually criticize something that is already in a past season or that doesn't fit into the trends of the season, worn by an outsider due to bad styling.

Nobody should want to get on the wrong foot with the big ones, right? Sure, in essence, but wrong.

Trends fade. It bores me to see pages and articles on "how to make something utterly unflattering or ridiculous in it's nature, which in its essence works against your body shape - work". Why not admit it's ridiculous, have some dignity and stick to your good sense of taste and self-awareness. You'll feel a lot better looking back at something everyone knew instinctively was an embarassing trend and being able to say "I never participated in this one". It's mainly about being objective enough to not get blinded by craftsmanship and professional marketing but simply look at the piece itself as a concrete concept.

For instance, the ultra platformed covered wedge. I have no doubt in a few months I'll be reading "What were we thinking, the amount of mass there completely imbalances the body and makes you look like a horse on hind legs" in much a way as most people used to talk about "those awful 90s clothes" - for example the tattoo-like black plastic wire choker... Do you remember them? Makes me shiver. Horrible. However, talking in a derogative tone about past trends that are no longer 'in' is pretty easy. Doing so when they actually are in by stepping aside and saying "Hold on now - this isn't flattering." is less so. Sentences such as "re-interpretation of unflattering trends" and "being able to pull it off" are banded about as excuses.

Another trend I dislike, purely because it just don't look good, is rolled up, baggy trousers with heels. I recently read an article on how to pull this 'trend' off which actually works against your body, as they pointed out ("Makes your legs look short and ballooned up like a clown) by wearing heels. Why bother if perfectly nice straight leg, skinny jeans or a skirt would have made that very same outfit more flattering and less ridiculous - and still with heels. Please don't tell me about "cool chic" or "geeky-I-don't-care-about-looking-good" impressions, because there are flattering ways of doing that, too, such as with big squared sunglasses and messy hair as an example.

In the end there is nothing wrong with stepping back and acknowledging that there is a current trend that isn't very good. They are fleeting, anyway, and you will have made your stance (fashion bloggers and writers, this is directed at you). I don't worry about offending anyone. It's a case of "the emperor wears no clothes" - everyone knows it's a bad look, but nobody wants to admit it as the emperors (big designers and big magazines) are busy justifying their "re-interpretations" which we should all buy into for no reason other than that they put so much work into it.

That doesn't mean we have to work hard to make it work.

I find the sense of wanting to make something work that doesn't and being 'able to pull something off' with a lot of unnecessary work a bit strange. Unless you're a model, in which case you should look good in anything that is put on you, including the wildest couture creations, clothes that we actually wear - not on the runway in a conceptual environment - should work FOR you, not YOU for THEM.