No matter what the fashion cycle is, the fashion industry always strove to bring something edgy, unique and fresh to the public and especially to women’s fashion trends. Celebrities are a huge influence on fashion; their boldness enables them to step away from the “norm” and develop something new. In turn, the media capture pictures of them on the streets for the tabloids or in a photography studio for a magazine. Young women, seeking role models to emulate their looks, see these celebrities and follow suit. Thus a fad is born.
From the 1980s to the new millennium, the public has seen rather off-the-wall styles. Many times, people hope these trends never see the light of day again once they faded into the background of regret and nostalgia. As is the case with fashion, styles resurface often with a sleeker, more refined look, as though designers took their cue from the ghosts of fashion regret past. Particularly, the spring 2014 season is coming out with fashions that were once popular in the 1990s with more sophisticated looks.
Fashion missteps have gone into bizarre territory, taking their influences from the most unlikely of places. Such areas include the desire to push the boundaries of sexiness and clothes reserved for certain professions, occasions and even fictional characters. In spite of several faux pas, fashion consciousness marches on, searching for the next best thing while anticipating whether the public will catch on.
Here are 10 of the worst women’s fashion trends of the last 30 years. Do you remember following any of them?
10. Trucker Hats
Whoever created the clear bra strap thought there was practicality behind this women’s fashion trend. Clear bra straps would lend the same quality bust support as bras with straps, but are “invisible”. Yet the fact that clear bra straps can still be seen proved counterproductive. Much better alternatives when wearing a halter top, spaghetti straps, etc. are to purchase a great strapless bra, stick-on cups, double-sided tape or a bra converter that can make your ordinary bra hook around the waist.
The name for the plastic clogs is actually that of the manufacturer which launched in 2002; eventually, “Crocs” became a more generic term for the footwear. The issue many people have with Crocs is its unattractive aesthetics. Despite what seems like a public backlash, Crocs sold more than 200 million pairs of shoes in over 90 countries. In 2011, the company reached a turning point of $1 billion in sales. Lindsay Ferrier, the style blogger for The Stir website, says she “loves” Crocs because the women’s fashion trend is practical, cheap and great for children. “I wouldn’t personally wear Crocs out beyond a quick run to the gas station, but I don’t have a problem with people who do,” Ferrier writes. “Crocs are awesome. Everyone should have a pair, in my opinion — at least as yard shoes. Especially kids.”
7. Harem pants
Harem pants, originally associated with stories of “1,000 Arabian Nights”, first entered pop culture when M.C. Hammer rocked them in his 1990 music video “Can’t Touch This”. But what is it about this unflattering article of clothing that caught on like wildfire lately? Tailored as slouching in the crotch and tapered at the bottom, this women’s fashion trend does nothing for a woman’s figure. The harem pants have made an explosive comeback with Gwen Stefani, Ciara, Rashida Jones, Naomi Campbell and Rihanna donning them. Even Justin Bieber can’t seem to get enough of them. He wore them at a Victoria’s Secret fashion show in 2012 and again a different style of the harem pants at the 2013 American Music Awards.
Overalls, the unflattering outfits of farmers that once reached its popularity peak in the 1990s, have come back in spring 2014. Overalls were once ubiquitous in TV and the grunge music and fashion movement. Celebrities like Will Smith (back when he was known as “The Fresh Prince” with his own sitcom) and the R&B group TLC wore them. Even Demi Moore sported a pair in the 1990 movie “Ghost”. The latest reincarnation of this women’s fashion trend is meant to be sexier, more versatile and with flair of designer wear. “Today’s overall is designed to be totally on-trend,” writes Rachel Raczka of The Boston Globe. “They’re a perfect, obnoxious storm of normcore/early-’90s/music-festival-ready fashion that we can’t quite seem to escape.”
5. Going pantless
It seems that when ideas are running out in women’s fashion trends, sometimes creativity is taken to the next level of extreme. That may be the case in the pantless trend, when A-listers like Lady Gaga and Rihanna were seen out and about without any pants. What’s more, they seem to use alternatives to pants like thigh-high boots and socks. “We love when celebrities are raw and unguarded, but sometimes they take it a little too far,” said Jessica Carroll of ModaMob.com, a website dedicated to all things fashion. “Like when they decide to skip wearing pants just all together. Ugh! It makes me cringe.”
4. Platform sneakers
A cross between the platform shoe and the sneaker, platform sneakers were trending in the mid-1990s when the Spice Girls wore them. In reality, the combination of an unwieldy, uncomfortable women’s fashion trend and comfy athletic wear was at best jarring and at worst unsightly. Perhaps not surprisingly, some fashion designers are rather intrigued by this hybrid. “You could say that this bizarre design is just a continuation of the trend for wedged trainers,” said celebrity stylist Alex Longmore as reported by The Daily Mail. “Isabel Marant was the first to put the heel into the trainer and now Nike and high street brands have followed suit.”
3. Giant shoulder pads
In the 1980s, when the mantra was practically “Bigger is better”, shoulder pads were one thing that went big. High enough to make shoulders appear awkwardly bulky, giant shoulder pads were a staple on prime time soaps like “Dynasty” and “Dallas”. Shoulder pads were originally invented to make the waist look smaller. Fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli first made shoulder pads a women’s fashion trend by incorporating them into her designs in 1931. Pads rotated in popularity through subsequent decades until the 1980s, when they became a power symbol among career women. By the end of the decade, shoulder pads grew to the size of dinner plates. A backlash occurred in the 1990s against the trend, banishing shoulder pads into the realm of 1980s nostalgic kitsch. Resurgence of shoulder pads came about in the new millennium but with more conservative sizes.
2. Visible thongs
The early 2000s saw exposed thongs as chic to the point where they were decorated with jewels, beads and feathers. This women’s fashion trend was accomplished with low-rise jeans and hip-hugging pants. The visible thong became known as “The Whale Tail” because the Y part of the underwear resembled a whale’s tail. A number of celebrities like Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and Mariah Carey adopted this look. The undergarment became such a phenomenon that Sisqo immortalized it in his 1999 song called — what else? — “Thong Song”. “It’s an inappropriate thing to show your thong sticking out,” Elycia Rubin, lifestyle director for E! Networks, once said. “I don’t think it looks nice. It’s tacky.” The trend died down as the 2000s wore on.
1. Bare midriffs
The bare midriff is well seen at fashion shows and among celebrities, with Britney Spears making it her trademark. First emerging in the 1990s, the bare midriff has come back in the 2010s. Yet women, for the most part, are hesitant to adopt this women’s fashion trend for several reasons. The stomach is one body part they’re uncomfortable showing off. In addition, midriffs can’t be exposed in the office or cold weather. Many advise that less skin is more – the peek-a-boo approach. If a woman wants to bare her midriff on the red carpet or on the go, it’s best worn with high-waisted pants or a skirt so more can be left to the imagination.
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