All the Ugly in the World

I’ve been reading that people are looking for silver linings in the midst of the pandemic. I don’t think it’s disrespectful to the dead or mourning or unemployed for people to hope for some good to come out of something awful. It’s been nice after all to go for walks and be waved and smiled at, said “hi” to… to hear “thank you” after I walked into the grass so a biker could stay on the path and keep his 6-foot air bubble. For as many people are letting their fear make them mean (looking at you, b**** who glared at me after I coughed quietly into my elbow while wearing a mask), there are even more, in my experience, who are remembering their manners and kindly acknowledging that other humans exist. (Is it sad it took a pandemic for this to happen in my neck of the woods? YES, but… whatever.)

Anything we can be grateful for can provide emotional healing, so today I’d like to say that I’m grateful that we’re under a shelter in place order because that means that spring 2020 fashion is basically canceled.

Disco collar, check. Too-busy print, check. Clashing embroidery, check. Too-short pants, check. Shiny plastic boots, check. Alien visor sunglasses? CHECK.
What more could a girl ask for?

This makes my soul cry.

As a female human who buys clothing, I wonder what damn planet these designers are living on. Every time a fashion magazine calls this crap stylish, somewhere under a volcano, a shadowy figure presses his fingertips together and mutters “Excellent… yesssss, excellent…”

Or maybe there’s no evil intent and designers simply got bored of creating clothes that look nice on people. Shirts that aren’t two sizes larger than the tag says? So 2000s. Prints that don’t make anyone want to vomit? But why?

The Problem

It’s become nearly impossible to find a fitted top (that isn’t a crop top… ugh) over the past few years, and now pants are going the same way. Are we supposed to wear these things together?

No. No! I won’t do it! You can’t make me!

Why? Why would anyone present this as a desirable option? Particularly when you can go outside (yes, even now) and see women in what they choose to wear when the only requirement is personal preference, which for the most part, are form-fitting LEGGINGS?

The answer, of course, is money. In a 2018 article on the changing trends in women’s pants, fashion reporter Marc Bain wrote

“The high-rise, relaxed shape is a match on all of these points. If it is finally—finally!—replacing the skinny jean, it’s good news for fashion retailers like Hayne [CEO of Urban Outfitters], who had lamented the endurance of the skinny jean in the past: The industry relies on people wanting new styles to drive sales, and a woman with a closet full of skinnies isn’t likely to go out and buy more.

“But when the look changes, she has to go shopping if she wants to avoid looking outdated. Moments like these, Hayne said on a recent call, is when demand is at its highest. That’s what he’s excited about.

There’s the answer to why designers are pushing ugly – because it’s DIFFERENT. As Arby’s used to tell us, “different is good.” Well, sometimes it’s good. Sometimes it’s just different. And sometimes it’s complete shit.

Fortunately for those of us who don’t want to wear potato sacks for clothing, stores do have to make sales to survive. If you look around, you’ll find those few slightly more fitted tops, and a plethora of narrow-fit pants. From the same QZ article:

For years now, the skinny jean has been that standard—a few too many years for some, prompting industry onlookers to start predicting a new proportion overtaking the skinny bottom. So far, they’ve been wrong: Skinny jeans are still on store shelves and piling up in women’s closets. Brands, of course, are always adjusting to what customers want, and they’ve been updating their jeans in the face of ongoing pressure from leggings and athleisure, adding stretch and making them in softer fabrics to keep shoppers interested.

They may convince high school girls that “mom jeans” don’t objectively make them look deformed, but most of us aren’t falling for it.

What Not to Wear

Okay, but what if you are tired of skinny jeans? What if you’re truly ready for something other?

Just remember the rule of poof: Your top can poof or your bottom can poof. Pick one. We should be able to tell there’s a person under there, so none of this wearing a tent nonsense.

I guess there’s less to carry when camping?

There’s also the rule of width: The wider the leg, the longer the leg. Otherwise, you end up with an unfunny joke like this:

There is nothing flattering about these pants.

Unless you want to look like Steve Urkel. I mean, it’s up to you. But why? Why give in to the push to buy buy buy just because someone decided something is “trendy”? They don’t care if you look stupid – they just want your money. I mean, I want money – who doesn’t want money? But I’m not trading mine for crap.

These wide-leg pants are an appropriate length for the width. They look sleek, not like you’re a post-growth-spurt kid who dressed herself today!

The truth is, everything old is new again, and most of the new old stuff is from the 90s (see crop tops and tied T-shirts). It’s not like 1995 was the peak of flattering fashion, but it is what it is. What this means is two types of tops will be pushed on us: boxy baggy horribleness, or tiny and tight tops (in some cases, bras masquerading as tops). At least the latter will balance out the inevitable gaucho pants (Remember when we all knew they looked awful? Drew Barrymore remembers).

When our governors finally let us out to enjoy the remainder of the flattened curve, it’s going to be a challenging season. Likely, most of us won’t have enough disposable income to spend on new trends, so perhaps stores will play it safe and stick to the tried and true – or maybe they’ll push harder to convince us we need a thneed, whichever they think will keep them out of bankruptcy. It’s a tough spot, and I don’t envy retailers one bit.

I’ll leave you with links to a few happy mediums:

olive green tie-waist crops

black and white gingham crops

high-rise tapered pants

loose cropped yoga pants

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