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Haute Stuff: Trends that scare me

Trends are those tricky styles that come in one season and go out the next. Sometimes they linger for a little longer, but nowadays they seem to be everything from my childhood coming back to haunt me. And while there are some of those bad childhood memories that look different in a new light—like my rekindled love of leggings—there are other trends that I can’t quite face with the same willing gusto of a free fashion spirit.

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By Amy Van Veen (The Cascade) – Email

Print Edition: May 8, 2013

Trends are those tricky styles that come in one season and go out the next. Sometimes they linger for a little longer, but nowadays they seem to be everything from my childhood coming back to haunt me. And while there are some of those bad childhood memories that look different in a new light—like my rekindled love of leggings—there are other trends that I can’t quite face with the same willing gusto of a free fashion spirit.

The first one is the high-low dress. What is the high-low dress? Why does it sound so paradoxical and contradictory? The high-low dress is the mullet of the dress world. It’s short in the front and long in the back, which may theoretically be a great way to enter a Gatsby-esque ballroom as you cascade down the stairs and the low hemline floats behind you, but it still looks like a mullet dress.

This judgment is not something I cast on others who wear the dress. This judgment comes from me giving the trend a try in the Winners fitting room. There were beautiful dresses with birds and stripes and flowers, and I wanted in on the springtime feelings, but when I put it on, all I could think was how weird my legs looked. From behind I look like a fool who doesn’t understand how to buy a maxi-dress that’s long enough and from the front I look like someone who got stuck in an escalator and had to be cut out.

The second trend I balk at is the block heel. It’s a fairly self-explanatory shoe, for those who may not right away understand what the block heel is. It’s a mid- to high-heel shoe and instead of a pointy stiletto or a demure kitten heel, it’s a block. Imagine a block, and put it under the heel of a shoe, and there you have it – the block heel. I actually owned a couple pairs of block heels when I was younger. They were hand-me-downs from my older sister, which worked just fine because to me, the trend held over from mid ‘90s into the turn of the millennium long enough for me to wear strappy block heels with, coincidentally, a high-low dress to my eighth-grade graduation. It may sound classy, but when paired with the adolescent awkwardness and a wannabe pixie cut, it was more so a memory I’d like to forget.

Finally, the overalls. The one-piece-outfit that’s perfect for when you want to grab a drink with your gal pals and splash on a coat of paint in one fell swoop. Celebrities are starting to parade around in them like they’re the greatest thing since the little black dress, but we have to be brutally honest about this trend. From the front, I bet quite a few ladies could pull this look off. With the right jut of the hip and the right angle of the arms, this look could be quite cute in an urban farm girl way, but as soon as you turn around – things get real. Small butts look even flatter, big butts look even larger and no one is willing to say how much overalls actually make our butts look like an ideal audition for the SNL “Mom Jeans” commercial.

I owned overalls. I remember when the baggy look was cool. Everyone wanted to be as fresh as the Fresh Prince. But please, let’s not put ourselves through the shame again.

The thing about trends is when they first come out, I scoff and cast judging stares, but when they stick around for a little longer, I suddenly begin to warm up to the idea. I see girls around me pulling off the trend and I think I could get in on the up-to-the-minute action. Maybe the high-low dress isn’t that bad. I mean sure it looks a little like a mullet, but a floral mullet could be cute. And maybe I was a little too hard on the block heel – I mean they’re sturdy, which is always a good thing. And perhaps I shouldn’t disregard the overalls. They may have made Liz Lemon look like a lesbian Mario brother, but that doesn’t mean the same will happen to me.

Except it will. And I’ll regret it. Because some trends only last one season for a reason.

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