How Culture Can Lead to Style Mistakes: More Sociology of Style

Sometimes our context leads us in the wrong direction.  Here’s a great piece from my friends at the Sociology of Style.  For the full article (as featured below) and more from Sociology of Style, click here:

A Bad Idea, Expressed Poorly:
A Look at Some Contemporary Style Mistakes


Fashion is like the id. It makes you desire things you shouldn’t.

– Bob Morris

cosby sweaters

jelly shoes

As 2013 dawns and we clean out the detritus of 2012, many of us are making our way back to the department stores to return some well-intended but horrifying holiday gifts.  This time-worn tradition of bad ideas, expressed poorly, might make us question our good taste and our good sense. But, take heart. We all fall down, sometimes (And when you do, revisit these style emergency antidotes.)

The cargo skirt. Jellies (jelly heels!). Acrylic Cosby sweaters. The maxi-vest. Sure, it’s a matter of opinion, but in ours, these are all moments the fashion world could have done without. Each of these styles seemed like a good idea at the time, but where are they now? A lucky few receive ironic appreciation, and the rest are the unmentionables of fashion’s past.

Even among those whose taste is universally agreed to be impeccable, ‘mistakes’ are made. Despite exorbitant fashion budgets, high paid stylists, and designer gifts, the tabloids are full of fashion-police style exposes of many a celebrity red-carpet error.

Bad trends draw parallels to romantic infatuation. Most of us can relate to the heady feeling of being completely, hormonally head-over-heels crazy for someone, only to discover, a very short time later, that this person actually inspires a visceral sense of revolt. How could we have been so wrong?

An expensive pair of suede, pink, knee-high moccasins with pink cotton balls attached to the laces stick out in my mind (though I would prefer to forget them), because they were very much in style at the time that I purchased them. They tricked me with an enigmatic allure, and I was not the only person to fall prey to their insincere appeal. After being taken in by their trendiness, it took me a few days to see what should have been clear from the beginning: these boots were a trend gone wrong.

Here are a few particularly chilling examples of bad fashion ideas from the last few years:

crochet_pantsSomeone actually made these babies, and someone actually wore them!
juicy_couture_logo_pants_rearRemember this? Don’t feel bad. Women of all ages, shapes, and sizes rocked this look, no matter how ill-advised it may have been.
open toe bootAnd here’s one that mystifies: the open toed boot, because sometimes you just want your toes to be cold…


The point is, these things happen. Everyone has fallen under the spell of a terrible trend. Pat yourself on the back for thinking outside the box (albeit a little too far outside). Never stop taking risks. Just consider getting a second opinion on that really “edgy” look you’re sporting.

Not sure if you have a fashion one night stand on your hands or the “one”? Here are a few ground rules to help you maintain originality without later regret:

  1. Mix trendy pieces with classic pieces.
  2. Follow the Coco Chanel rule: Before you walk out the door, take off one thing (no, we don’t mean your pants).
  3. Own your choices. If you follow the above tips, never apologize for expressing yourself and always step out with confidence. Who knows? You might even start a trend.



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