I’m over winter. Done with the dirty snow in my driveway. Ready to rid my closet of its “dull but cozy” clothes and start fresh. So what if it’s only February? My spring fashion magazines are here!
But leafing through the glossy stack the other day made me kind of depressed. I was struck by how many spring trends veered from totally unappealing to totally and completely unwearable. Racing stripes paired with spiky heels. Half-shirts. Catwoman fingernails. WTF.
Baffled, I called up style guru Anna Wallner, co-host of Ion Life TV show “Beauty Call.” “What is going on?” I cried. “The fashion industry is getting even worse about accessibility for the average woman!” Wallner pointed out that the high-end fashion magazines are really only intended to “reflect the art form” in fashion,” she explained. “What I love about places like Zara is that they make it wearable for the everyday woman.”
Well, then I think I’d like to trade in my issue of Vogue for a Zara catalog.
Flipping through some of the big style trends of 2014, five looks struck me as down-and-out duds. I sanity-checked my list with Wallner, the professional fashionista, who agreed with me somewhat but also considered how they might work with some adjustment.
1. Track Pants
The fashion set might believe that since the embellished sweatshirt hit big in 2013, we’d go for its bottom-half counterpart: the dressy track pant. High and low versions of the track pant are coming your way, with designers like Alexander Wang, Gucci, and Rag and Bone all on board. Oh boy.
While the blousy-shaped sweatshirt flatters most figures — and looks surprisingly good with a flash of graphic pattern or lace — the same can’t be said for the homely track pant. Its telltale stripe down the leg and its elasticized waist and ankle may signal casual comfort but — c’mon — just doesn’t seem right with heels. Plus, I can’t shake the idea that I’d look like Ben Stiller in The Royal Tenenbaums (minus the terry-cloth sweatband).
The Fashion Guru’s Defense: “I’m a huge fan of the track pant,” she said, citing its versatility in being paired with wedge sneakers or pointy pumps. As she references the comeback of ’90s styles, including the slightly harem cut of some track pants, a song lyric from the same decade pops into my head, matching my sentiment exactly: “U can’t touch this.”
2. Head-to-Toe White
This trend may best be described using a movie voiceover that goes something like this: “In a world where delicious, dark liquids like coffee, red wine and even Diet Coke are forever banished … and dirt and children do not exist … the all-white ensemble reigns supreme.”
While the highly impractical trend isn’t new, it defies logic in its ability to be recycled. Big designers showed this look during spring 2014 New York Fashion Week, including Victoria Beckham, Helmut Lang, Jason Wu and Prabal Gurung.
For me, head-to-toe white also tends to read very specifically. It says, “I am an avid tennis player and I belong to a fancy club” or “I am the Pope.”
The Fashion Guru’s Defense: “Ilove head-to-toe-white,” Wallner initially coos. But she makes a point to distinguish betwen the costumey hard white and off-white or cream, which she says can look sexy, sophisticated and clean.
3. Orange Lipstick
You read that right: ORANGE LIPSTICK. Call it the pumpkin pucker. Simply put, orange doesn’t deserve at seat at the lipstick counter. It’s the garish, déclassé cousin to the kinder, demure coral of last spring. Not only does it not flatter pretty much any skin tone, it actually insults it. And while it might serve as a nice contrast color to blue eye shadow, why try to make art magic when the canvas is your face?
The Fashion Guru’s Defense: She has none. “I can’t think of any women that I know who would look good in orange lipstick,” she says. “It’s great to revisit your makeup look. But in general, makeup trends should be ignored.” Phew.
4. Long, Pointy Nails
Really? The simple fact that you are reading this online means the long pointy nail trend will never really work for you. Whether you type with your fingers on a computer keyboard, a tiny keypad on your smartphone or swipe aggressively on a tablet, long talons are bound to cause repeated aggravation.
Sometimes, it’s tolerable to suffer — some — in the name of fashion. But at least killer heels make you several inches taller. These Lee-Press-On-like tips do very little to enhance your overall appearance. Certainly not enough to warrant the annoyance you’ll endure in return.
The Fashion Guru’s Defense : Wallner said it’s important to know why you’d want these kind of nails to begin with. “Who are doing it for? Yourself? Other women? To attract somebody?” That said, her personal stand is pretty clear: “All I know is if I walked around with long pointy nails, my boyfriend would tell me to go get a manicure.”
5. Crop Tops
They’re baaaack. The spring New York Fashion Week debuted a raft of crop tops on the runways from the likes of Peter Som and Lacoste.
While some ’80s trends deserve resurrection — I’d argue a small percentage of the music and not much else — the midriff-baring crop top should remain in the dustbin of our tweenage memories. Furthermore, I’d add that most grownups shouldn’t be wearing clothes to work/dinner/anywhere where their muffin top will be on public display. Oh, you have a six-pack, you say? Save it for the bikini.
The Fashion Guru’s Defense : Wallner points out that she recently purchased a crop top sweater and pairs it with a tank underneath. Proof that the truly stylish can translate almost any trend into something that works — with a little creative tweaking.
Why you should care
Because some fashion trends have become fully ridiculous.