Retailers, please stop trying to get me into these

I am a major boat-misser of trends. Wasn't always so; one of my friends, recalling our thirties, said, "You always had the latest thing, even if it looked godawful". She was probably thinking of a fake wolf-fur chubby that made me look like a Muppet.

Certainly by my mid-forties, I had become leery. At first it was because I wondered, Can I wear this? Then, I began to resent the unending attempt to flog clothes that were not attractive on most women. This doesn't mean I can't admire the same item I sidestep on someone else, but, just between us chipmunks, usually I don't.

The button-back sweater

Other than the option to reveal a little skin at the top, what, really, is achieved by breaking up the back with a detail that is neither interesting nor functional?  I get that sometimes we want to change it up, but this clutters the sweater.

The "cold shoulder" top

This cut does not make sense where I live; our extremities are plenty cold for a good five months. In both woven and knits, these tops are already stuffing the sales racks, because the worst of them are cut out deeply so that the sleeve ends halfway up the arm in a graceless gap. The best will look current for ten minutes, which are already up.

Wide, cropped trousers

I like my pair (a good three inches longer than these to accommodate my height), but finding them in the right the proportion was difficult because retailers don't offer them in varying inseams.

Everlane say theirs  (shown above) are "the most flattering pant you'll ever try", but unless the length on her is one she likes, the rise is comfortable for her torso, and she has average to narrow hips, the pants are not that woman's best choice. Some women look great in narrow cropped trousers, and not in wide legs, and vice versa.

Falling-off outerwear

This trend is not the garment, but how it't worn: I sliding off.  Is this a fashionista version of the streetwear sweatshirt, worn with only one arm stuck through a sleeve, the rest draping on the torso like a blanket? Isn't outerwear to protect against the elements? A pretentious effect if ever I saw one, but then I think half-tucked shirts look like the wearer was distracted while dressing.

Ultra-long cuffs

Now this one gets my Irish up: don't they think we do anything with our hands? I saw a woman in a chic blue and white striped version of this, dabbing at the sleeve she had just dragged though her salad.

Many trends are either classic items anointed this year's must-have (pea jackets, white jeans, patterned tights) or sartorial novelties, mostly taken up for a season by the young.

If you have your head turned, ask yourself if you'd love it even if it wasn't in every window—and make sure you will feel that way for a few years, unless you have money to shred and a deep interest in having "the latest thing."

Postscript to you avid fans of the ça va de soi coatigan for which I lusted: tried it on.  The "framboise" is an intriguing pink mixed with a tiny fleck of grey, but it was too washed out on me. It also comes in light grey and black, but I have a nearly identical one in navy, so no.


The only item I might disagree with you about is the button in the back sweater - but it would definitely depend upon how it looked from the front. The rest of those trends can stay on the runway as far as I;m concerned. You have to be at least 6' tall to even look good, never mind great in those cropped wide pants - and don't even get me started on those long, wide sleeves - just ridiculous! owned a top like that in my 20's and it just annoyed me no end - constantly being dragged through everything I ate!
LauraH said…
I guess these are desperation clothes - the designers are desperate to sell and some women are desperate to look different/cutting edge/whatever. Don't know if it's still a trend but I never saw the point of all those short sleeved wool sweaters I used to see...if it's cold enough for a sweater wouldn't you want it to have sleeves? I never 'got' that.

Styles we consider classic also have useless details - breast pockets on shirts and little square pockets on cardigans are two that come to mind. Also pants with shallow pockets that don't really hold anything. I seem to have strong feelings about pockets!
Duchesse said…
Margie: I agree it depends on the front too. Sitting and feeling those buttons digging in does not appeal...

LauraH: While we are in pocketland: Kangaroo pockets: things fall out. I lost my house keys and had to pay $90 for a locksmith to get me into my house. Does anyone use the back pocket on trousers?
I've rarely seen anything much more ridiculous than those cold shoulder tops. Just looking them makes me feel cold, and in the summertime that is one of the worst places to burn (and increase the risk of skin cancer). And while I know that showing bra straps is no longer taboo, bra straps (even of a sport bra type meant to show) would just look sloppy and messy.

That sweater is a beautiful colour. Too bad about the silly buttons. And I think some men still use the back pocket on their trousers, and get pickpocketed...
Amen and hallelujah! So often I see those "cold shoulder" tops that are just an opening in the seam running down the arm - it looks as if the top is just falling apart...

And wide-legged shorter pants - could there be a part of the body less interesting than the shins? An area of the body that's naturally narrow on almost anyone, and I'm going to put a whole bunch of fabric there? No thank you!

Wise words, as always...
Jane said…
Fun post! I saw a dress in a shop - loved the fabric, print, color. It had that awful cold shoulder cut. I thought to myself, it's the style, keep an open mind. It hung like a sack and impractical too. Those wide, cropped pants make most of us look like a stump. Use your full length mirrors people!

P.S. My second son is going to Schulich School of Music at McGill! Sorry, proud momma here.
Wendelah said…
I don't wear shorts or even cropped pants now because my ankles swell in the heat. I want them covered up, thank you very much. However, I like the wider legs because they're cooler in summer. Eh. "Fashion" be damned. I'm just all about comfort now.

The trend that most annoys me is that falling off the shoulder coat thing. It looks ridiculous.
Jane said…
Oooh, I have another one! Raw hem jeans! Citizens of Humanity sells a raw hem jean for $258. It's unfinished! Shakes her head.
s. said…
Ahhhh. This made me think of another funny post I recently read.

I saw a beautiful young woman with her equally beautiful male companion wearing one of those silly pullovers at the Jean-Talon Market today.

She was stereotypically lovely: tall, blondish, slim, with regular features. He was the corresponding male type. They could have been models. But still, that damned thing looked idiotic.
Sharon said…
You are so right on every item!
Francie Newcomb said…
I agree with every one of your points! Especially about the cold shoulder tops.
Babsox said…
Yes, yes and yes. Too bad about the pink coatigan. Depending on price and fibre, I might have risked dyeing it the right shade of pink. I see it's made of wool and there are cold water dyes....would you risk it? It's a great sweater.
Duchesse said…
Babsox: an interesting idea but not for the faint of heart. ça va de soi uses high end, proprietary textiles. You might enjoy reading about them on their site. I would be more inclined to buy the piece in another color- though I have dyed cotton and linen successfully (and unsuccessfully), I would not riisk it myself, but an experienced and confident dyer might.
Gauss said…
The Everlane pants look terrible in all their photos, and they don't even seem cool or interesting. I don't think every item of clothing has to be "flattering," whatever that means, but these pants have nothing going for them.
Duchesse said…
Gauss: "Flattering" means the clothes fit you well. (Salespersons often use "flattering" as code for 'takes 5 kilos off you" but that is a very narrow definition). They accentuate parts of your body that you or others admire- but that does not mean tight or revealing. The colour makes you look healthy, not drained.

Essentially, flattery means you look good in the garment, at home in your skin. Clothing may be stylish, but not flattering, and vice versa.

If a woman does not know what flatters her, she buys the wrong cuts and colours, wastes her time and money and wonders why her clothes don't please her. Though "flattering" is definitely about vanity, it is also about wise consumption. Not understanding what suits you leads to the "stuffed closet but nothing to wear" situation.

I have also seen women buy "interesting" clothes, (including me) and then find what interests us is not always what we wear well.
Jane in London said…
I love your take on this! And I absolutely agree - though with two exceptions, which are button-back sweaters and wide-leg crops, both of which I like and can look relaxed and stylish on me if chosen carefully.

The all-time horror you've identified is, IMHO, the 'cold shoulder' top. Worn on sunny days they make for very weird tan lines and/or burnt shoulders. Moreover, dare I say it, they seem to have the ability to make even the most refined woman look a little There - I said it!

Jane in London
Duchesse said…
Jane in London: Glad you said it, I thought it, too.
SewingLibrarian said…
I'm in agreement with almost everyone here, and I'll add my favorite dislike, pre-ripped jeans. Why buy something that looks ready for the rag bag? Occasionally I have to veto that garment when my teenager and I shop.
Unknown said…
I usually just lurk here, but - I couldn't agree more! I looked at these Everlane pants, read about "the most flattering" and thought "they are hideous". Not one woman in their shots looks good in them, and the whole trend is: we'll sell you something you don't have already in your closet, you'll wear it for one season, it will look dated the next, we'll sell you something else. The sweater with the buttons at the back is the least offensive, but not great either. Don't start me on pockets, lack of pockets, faux pockets, etc. I just would like to have a summer dress with functioning pockets, but it's not meant to be. The partially tucked in shirt - it's supposed to look "oh I'm so insouciant and casual" and sometimes it looks like this on the models. I tried it at home, and the effects was "why is it hanging out, she was rushing and forgot to tuck it all in".
As for the ripped jeans - I live now in a small-ish South American town, where women take care of their appearance. I think my local friends would assume that I've become destitute and would start a collection to get me a new pair.
Duchesse said…
Unknown: That made me laugh- taking up a collection. And it reminded me of my father, who in. the late 60s would tease my long-haired boyfriend by offering him $5 so he could get a haircut.
Cannot abide the cold shoulder tops...the button down back sweaters remind me of my high school days when we wore our cardigans backwards!
Ripped jeans look fabulous on young women but I am over 60 and cannot quite get on that trend.
I recently went shopping with our darling daughter and she was wearing a vintage pair of jeans with ragged hems and a classic St. John sweater jacket that took my breath away....I love how adventurous and confident that she has become with her mix of old and new she found me the most amazing jacket!
KSL said…
Hilarious and true.
I don't like ripped jeans on young women either. I remember patching jeans that actually were worn, with the prettiest scraps I could find. The ripped and unmended jeans look like some kind of glorification of poverty, when actual poor people (think of Unknown's small South American town) go to great lengths to look presentable. A nun friend (who also knew the late Sr Madeleine Gagnon) taught in Cap-Haïtien for many years, and often spoke at how poor people fussed over having clean, presentable clothes despite a lack of running water, and kept their children spotless.

I like clothes that actually are lived-in and look it, but the pre-ripped ones don't. And I've seen many young women in beautiful thrifted coats and jackets.

Duchesse said…
lagatta: Though my post pertains to new clothing presented as "the latest thing", I predict some of these trendy styles will make their way into thrifts, donated by those who have moved on to the next trend.

Oh, I know that. I was just contrasting the silly ripped things with clothing that actually had been worn. I doubt there will be many takers for the silly shoulders at charity shops, unless they can be re-sewn.
Amen sister! I agree with you 1000000%, especially the cold shoulder tops, enough already!
Susan B said…
I'm with you on most of these, but especially the cold-shoulder tops which leave ME cold, both from a style and practical standpoint.
Abigail said…
The sweater that buttons up the back reminds me of a short time in the late 50's or very early 60's when I wore some of my sweaters backwards, as did others in my junior high classes. Mom never understood why we thought this was an attractive variation. I suspect she was right.
Duchesse said…
Abigail: We did it too, with cardigans. I think the idea was "two sweater looks for the price of one". At least with the new button backs, the sleeves are set in the right direction.

There is also another eccentric approach, which takes garments and twists and turns them into whatever- think of Little Edie Bouvier in "Grey Gardens" who wore a cardigan as a wimple. But for most of us, a cardi is just a cardi- so retailers look for ways to get us to buy a "new" one.
Carol Porter said…
As a resident of Hawaii, I'm thrilled to have the option of cold-shoulder tops. With daily temperatures always higher than 82 degrees F (28 degrees C), sleeveless shirts have been the only comfortable option until these tops appeared. Since I'm careful about sun exposure, irregular sun markings aren't a problem. The best part is that they hide my upper arms. I've only worn short-sleeved versions (and don't understand the long-sleeved ones at all), and I receive compliments -- even from strangers -- whenever I wear one of the three cold-shoulder tops that I own.

There is a good reason for those tops. You just need to live in the tropics to understand it!
Duchesse said…
Carol Porter: We have very hot summers here; in July and August the temperatures regularly shoot over 88 or 90F with high humidity. (I have been more comfortable in HI than here in the same temperature)- so the short sleeved versions would be fine in terms of coverage. Aesthetically it depends on whether one likes the style or not.

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