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14 Aug

The Fashion Bug: How We Get Fooled By Ridiculous Trends

Womens Mint Jeggings
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It is not uncommon to look back at pictures of ourselves in our younger years and, upon studying our sartorial choices, wonder aloud “What was I thinking?” Although the 80s are a notoriously bad decade for style, recent years have seen the widespread adoption of jeggings, pedal pushers, platform trainers, hotpants, Crocs and Uggs amongst other eyesores. When considering this, the question comes to mind – how do these appalling trends catch on in the first place and how do people find themselves sucked into them?

fashion bug UGGs

From Sarah Jessica Parker to Kate Winslet, a lot of celebrities have been wearing their Uggs while out and about

More often than not style trends do not begin with the consumer’s choices effecting designers. Fads often begin when celebrities, and other individuals in the public eye, are often seen sporting new trends (which have often been donated to them by designers to wear) in waves. After being bombarded with image after image of the rich and famous sporting a new style, the trend manages to spread across the high street and into wardrobes all across the land. Regardless of whether the style is as ugly as the velour track suits that were in trend in the early to mid 2000s, it would seem that we are eager to adopt these styles even if they are clearly ridiculous; it is only once the fad has died down that we are able to take an objective look at fashion and note what we should have known all along – that the fads we follow are often ludicrous. It also seems that we embrace fashion regardless of its comfort too – if sky scraper heels are the current fad we will wear them regardless of the fact they are impossible to walk in and can cause untold pain to our feet.

The problem with such styles, however, is that once these faddy fashions have outstayed their welcome – once celebrities have ditched the styles to be given whatever designers want to push for the new season – the trends are rendered practically useless, unwanted even by charity shops. The Spice Girl’s popularised Platform Sneakers in the 1990s but once this cartoony trend quickly reached the end of its shelf life, the fact that the shoes were too impractical to wear for sports and too ugly, and gimmicky, to be worn as part of any outfit post 1996 (except fancy dress), meant they disappeared from popular view as quickly as they arrived.

Victoria Beckham hated platform sneakers that the Spice Girls all wore during the height of their fame in the 90s. Maybe that was the reason why they didn’t wear them at the London Olympics closing ceremony?

Using the term “infest” to state how individuals can catch the “fashion bug” and find themselves open to these ludicrous trends acts as a metaphor for how fashion itself works. Like a virus, fashion is always trying to adapt to its environment and will constantly change throughout the years to stop its self from becoming extinct – if fashion ever reached a point where the “perfect” clothes were invented for men and women, designers would be rendered obsolete as we would find ourselves wearing the exact same outfits from generation to generation. In this analogy, consumers are hosts for the virus who will offer a home for these new strains until we gain immunity to these latest trends and throw them away forever. In the same way that we can only get chickenpox once, it is scarcely likely that we will accept and embrace jeggings as a trend more than once in a lifetime.

Womens Mint Jeggings

Mint jeggings are having a moment!

Fashion is Darwinian in that it is a “survival of the fittest” landscape where only the absolute best will survive and become “classics”. So, for example, Chanel Number 5 is a brand which has remained en vogue since Marilyn Monroe and has remained as such up until the modern day – this is because it has managed to continually adapt over the years up until the point where we have accepted it. Velour tracksuits, however, were rejected very quickly as the design was unable to re-invent itself in new ways and, as such, found itself on the fashion scrapheap. In order to survive, many designers take risks hoping they will catch on – at the moment it is sky high women’s shoes, blue eye shadow and floral print. If each of these styles is able to subtly adapt from season to season they will eventually be accepted as a staple of fashion; if not, it is possible they will go the way of shoulder pads and low slung jeans.

Keith is a fashion blogger who writes on a regular basis for Barratts. He suggests trying out their autumn ladies shoes.