FASHION’S FALSE STEP? The no-nos of fashion are diminishing in the face of an ever-changing style democracy. Does this mean that fashion faux pas are a thing of the past? Nicole Newman tracks the trends
I f I had told you three years ago that wearing socks with sandals would be a part of future fashion, you would never have believed me. If I’d told you that mandals (man sandals) were coming back into fashion, you would have cringed inside. But both of these have happened and, when we saw designers doing it, as well as our favourite celebrities and street style stars, we were quick to follow in their newly chic footsteps. The same goes for trainers with jeans (or trainers with anything, really): this look went from functional to fashionable in one season of fashion week shows and we couldn’t get our hands on a pair of Nike or New Balance fast enough. Even I convinced myself that I needed a pair of Free-Runs or I would fall behind in the fashion lane… Turns out the look really wasn’t for me and those Free Runs are sitting patiently in my cupboard waiting for me to take them to the gym.
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But it seems that in fashion today we can do no wrong. Well, provided the fashion authorities give it the go-ahead. Just look at Valentino’s knee-length gladiator sandals on the Haute Couture runway, Chloé’s denim maxi skirts from Spring/ Summer 2015 (which I clearly remember wearing in the early 2000s) or the poncho that made its comeback on the Autumn/ Winter 2014 runways and are now stocked in every major retailer. These are pieces that, flashback four years, would have constituted an all-out fashion faux pas but now, since they’ve been given style approval, we can’t wait to wear them. I’m not saying that we must rush out and buy whatever our favourite designers put on the runway, but they definitely influence the way we exercise our purchasing power – and even what we want to wear (or don’t). The real fashion faux pas, I guess, is when you don’t feel comfortable in the trends of the season but you wear them anyway.
I was desperate for those Free Runs; I tried and tried to make them work with my wardrobe, but they weren’t my style and I couldn’t wear them with confidence. They just weren’t … me. When Marni (and many other designers) sent mandals down the runway and every store was making Birkenstock lookalikes, I knew that, even though I wanted to wear them, they would end up waiting vainly in my cupboard too. So I didn’t even try.
Even though these two top trends didn’t work for me, they were worn with utmost confidence and style by women the world over and no longer qualified as a ‘false step’ in the world of fashion. I find myself thinking back to my denim maxi skirt (leather tie in the front and all), which, until I saw the Spring/Summer 2017 Chloé show, I would have rather died than admit I owned (and loved to wear). Now that this look is back, there’s a small part of me that wishes I had known that fashion often repeats itself, and had held on to that denim maxi.
When you look back at photos of yourself wearing cringe-worthy clothes, don’t be too quick to get rid of them: you never know what the runway resurgence will be next season. Whether it’s the poncho, flared jeans, mandals or maxis, just wear it well and you will never fall out of fashion step.