Fashion is the industry that just keeps on giving – not only does it give you an excuse to go out shopping every time there’s a change of season, it also gives you the fun of looking back at last season’s wardrobe and laughing at just how bad it was. Because that’s the nature of fashion – we all get caught up in a “look” and, for a short period of time, think it’s OK. But time passes and fashion moves on, leaving only a stream of embarrassing photos in its wake. So, join us as we celebrate the Top 10 Worst Fashion Trends Ever.
10. Harem Pants
If there was ever a trend that deserved to stay dead, it was harem pants. Pioneered by MC Hammer, the defining characteristic of the harem pant is the excess material in the crotch, giving it a saggy look. This is neatly counterbalanced by the tightness of the ankle. If anyone can tell me why this is cool, I’ll give you some kind of prize.
But these things happened in the heady days of the 80s/90s crossover so that’s forgiveable, right? No! Because harem pants came back a few years ago and they are still here, giving that unflattering toddler look to grown women around the world. They are available on Forever 21 right now, where some ironically-minded buyer has named the line “Forever Cool”. They really aren’t. But they sure are practical if you don’t like your trousers dragging in puddles when it rains…
9. Puffball Skirts
Another trend that got briefly revived but mercifully didn’t stay the course. Wildly popular in the 1980s, they returned in that screechingly inevitable way that trends always do – when 20 years has elapsed, it seems that it doesn’t matter how bad a trend was, it still gets a second shot. But the puffballs on ASOS are retailing at just a quarter of what they started at, signposting the end for this deliciously ridiculous garment again.
For anyone not familiar with the puffball, it’s essentially a skirt that’s been volumised by gathering the material up at the hem and sewing it back up to the top. You can easily recreate the look by accidentally tucking your skirt into your underpants when coming out of the bathroom. Some people may laugh at you, but real fashionistas will probably sign you up to design a range.
Kind of the puffball of the hair, scrunchies are another trend that has had an attempted revival in recent years. The offenders were American Apparel (see above) and the attempt was widely mocked. Apparently not everything that was cool in the 80s needs to come back into fashion.
But there’s no denying it – back in the day, scrunchies were pretty cool, with all the 80s and early 90s icons wearing them, including the girls of cult TV show Blossom. They even made an appearance in early episodes of Friends, along with dungarees and other trends the stars would probably like to forget. So, they were cool then. It doesn’t mean that we need the statement hairpiece back in our lives or on our catwalks (and yes, they have been spotted there once or twice). Are you listening, world?
In the 2000 “X-Men” movie, there’s a moment where Wolverine is mocking everyone’s black leather uniforms and is asked by Cyclops “What would you prefer, yellow spandex?” (a reference to Wolverine’s costume in the comics). The answer to this is clearly “no” because Wolverine, like most people, understand that spandex is the kind of trend that needs to be left well, well alone. Its plastic-y nature may well be strong enough to withstand adamantium claws, and it’s useful when exercising but as a fashion statement? No. It’s mostly associated with the 70s trends of disco and glamrock, although 21st century bands like The Darkness (pictured above) have done their best to revive it. Something so tight-fitting and shiny is never going to be flattering though, is it? Best left for the gym and fighting crime.
Another trend that found a natural home among glamrockers like David Bowie, the mullet soon slipped out of favour and now is largely seen as the preserve of rednecks and Germans. The distinctive “short at the front, long at the back” look certainly deserves to be shunned as one of the most ridiculous hair trends ever. And I say this as the mother of a small girl who sports one of these neckwarmers through no fault of her own (it’s just the way that baby hair grows…we’re waiting it out).
As with all the worst trends, it’s coming back. There have been recent sightings of the “new mullet” on the likes of Sandra Bullock and Rihanna and it’s even been sighted on the catwalks. Presumably held back with a scrunchie….when will this madness end?