OK, ladies. Let's be honest. Do you have something embarrassing in your closet? A piece of your wardrobe that drives your friends nuts, looks terrible on you (which is a shame, because you're so beautiful) and went out of style more than a decade ago? It's OK. We all have one. For example, I may or may not still own a baby doll dress that wasn't even flattering on me in the 1990s. I know, I know. It's got to go.
Anyway, here's the deal: We want to save you from a lifetime of ridicule, or at the very least, a visit from Stacy London and Clinton Kelly. So here's a list of 10 things you shouldn't put on. Ever. That means you, lady in the grocery store whose thong underwear is peeping out of your pants.
Nobody looks good in mom jeans. Not even mom looks good in mom jeans. The term "mom jeans" was popularized by a 2003 "Saturday Night Live" parody that poked fun at a certain type of jeans worn by a certain type of woman -- someone out of touch with the latest fashions and culture. You know -- the way every teen thinks of his or her parents. Anyway, do you have a pair of mom jeans in your closet? Here is the criteria to help you sniff them out:
- They're made of soft, easily washable denim.
- They're a generous cut, especially around the waist.
- They have a very high waistband.
- They were likely purchased at a discount store.
- They make your butt look huge.
Do you own a pair of jeans that meets these guidelines? Yes? Then we suggest you trash them and head to the mall ASAP. Try on as many pairs of jeans as it takes. We promise you'll find something that looks much better.
Alright, alright. We heard you. Crocs are comfortable. There's nothing like them in the world. They cushion your feet in a cloud of marshmallow-y wonderfulness. We sympathize. We understand. And you're certainly not the only Crocs enthusiast to wax poetic about the dreamy plastic shoes. But the truth is if you're not 4 years old or Mario Batali, we can't condone you wearing them. At least not in public.
Sure, we give the Crocs Company props for making a shoe that's eco-friendly and vegan, which is all very attractive to a green-conscious consumer. And yeah, Crocs are also dishwasher safe. But honestly, do you really want to wash your dishes and your shoes together?
Very Low Low-rise Jeans
As long as they don't ride too low on your hips, low-rise jeans can be quite flattering on the right body type. But before you invest in a pair of these jeans, you should check yourself in a three-way mirror to see how much skin and/or underwear is showing around back. If your cotton briefs, pink thong or your, shall we say, coin slot, are in full view, these aren't the jeans for you.
Also, jeans with a super-low rise tend to create a situation known as "muffin top." When you're wearing jeans and your waist looks less like an hourglass and more like a blueberry muffin, your jeans are too low and too tight. Just go up a size and you'll be perfect.
When we say "matchy-matchy," we mean your outfit matches someone else's outfit (like your spouse's or your BFF's). Matching outfits are cute on infant or toddler twins. But when anyone older than 3 tries to dress like the Doublemint Twins, it starts to get weird. If you and your schmoopy are known to wear matching holiday sweaters, identical T-shirts at the water park, or even complementary seersucker outfits to church, you might want to rethink your wardrobe. Be yourselves! We already know you two are a couple -- you don't need to rub it in.
OK, this might be a controversial choice for this list, but hear us out. Everyone knows that fur isn't a popular choice for the animal rights advocates among us. The fur for clothing and coats is sometimes procured in very unethical and disturbing ways. Also, in many circles, wearing fur is considered a no-no. But even if you're not particularly interested in animal rights, chances are you don't live in an area that's so cold you can only get by with a fur coat. If you love the look of fur, you can find lots of faux fur coats and trim today, some so good no one will know whether it's real or fake. Faux fur is also much cheaper than real. So it's a win-win!
Anything That Requires Batteries
Yes, that's right. There are actually items of clothing that require batteries. We're not talking about the new-fangled camping and survival clothing that uses batteries to generate heat. We're talking about those holiday sweaters and sweatshirts that light up.
In fact, on a popular home shopping network, you can buy a Christmas sweater festooned with a fiber optic light-up Christmas tree powered by two batteries "conveniently hidden in an inside pocket." Does that sound like the perfect item of clothing for an ugly holiday sweater party, or what?
Leggings as Pants
There's nothing wrong with leggings per se. But let's get one thing straight: Leggings are not pants. I repeat: Not pants. If you're wearing leggings, we shouldn't be able to see your behind, not when you're standing up straight and not when you're bending over, either.
Leggings are meant to be worn with a dress or long shirt to ensure your fanny and hips are covered. And we don't mean an oversized college sweatshirt or T-shirt, unless you're staying in to paint the spare bedroom. To make the ensemble look nice, wear leggings with a tunic-style shirt or an age-appropriate dress with boots. And to be safe, don't wear your leggings to work, since they're not business appropriate. Save them for drinks and dinner with your hubby or with the girls!
In the early 2000s, the trucker hats of the 1970s made a major comeback, if an ironic one. Many people credit actor Ashton Kutcher for bringing back the trucker hat. Um, thanks?
Anyway, faster than you could say "hipster," everyone was wearing a trucker hat. Even famous designers like Christian Audigier launched trucker hat lines, with designs created by tattoo artist Ed Hardy. Today, these mesh, ill-fitting caps run upwards of $100 apiece. One hundred bucks for a mesh hat that doesn't fit? Not in this economy.
Short, Short, Short Jorts
In case you're wondering, "jorts" is shorthand for "jean shorts," and one thing's for sure, jeans cutoffs are hot right now. Just about every Hollywood starlet has been photographed wearing a pair of frayed denim shorts, ala 1989. Are you thinking about cutting into a pair of old jeans? Well, just be careful about where you make the cut with your scissors. Daisy Duke may have looked fantastic in her super short denim numbers, but who has a body like that? If your pockets hang down below the frayed hem, you've cut your shorts too short.
Uggs in the Summer
Ugg boots started out as anti-fashion. After all, they have flat soles, no shape and a rather bland design. Australian pilots used to wear these boots, made with sheepskin and shearling, to keep their feet warm and insulated. Some people say their name actually comes from people calling them "ugly boots." Uggs had a bit of popularity in the 1970s with California surfers, who liked the way the shoes kept their feet warm after surfing in cold water. But Uggs hit the big time when Oprah Winfrey gave them away on her TV show in the early 2000s.
While there's certainly nothing wrong with the Ugg boot or wanting to keep your feet warm, it's a bit strange when you see people wearing these boots in the 90-degree heat with a sundress or -- oh dear -- too-short jorts. It has to be hot inside those boots! And nobody likes sweaty feet. Put the Uggs in the closet, get a nice pedicure and slip into some comfy gladiator sandals.
For more fashion dos and don'ts, bounce over to the links on the next page.
HowStuffWorks looks at the roots of corduroy fabric, how to care for it and how it has evolved.
- Brotman, Barbara. "Battery-powered clothes." Chicago Tribune. 2009. (Aug. 17, 2010) http://www.chicagotribune.com/features/style/ct-hot-clothes-pg,0,7462167.photogallery
- Neal, Jill Hudson. "Mom Jeans Flatter No Body." Washington Post. Oct. 16, 2006. (Aug. 17, 2010) http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/10/13/AR2006101300540.html
- O'Rourke, Meghan. "The Croc Epidemic." Slate. Jul. 13, 2007. (Aug. 17, 2010) http://www.slate.com/id/2170301
- "Uggs History." Ugg is Boots. 2009. (Aug. 17, 2010) http://www.uggisboots.com.au/uggs-history