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Apr 20, 2004
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Scariest Fashion Trends Ever

6 trends we hope never -- ever! -- come back into style.

By Sasha Emmons

C'mon, you wore them. You know you did! There aren't many among us who can't recall a few cringe-worthy faux pas as we rode a trend toward fashion infamy. Here, we recall the worst of the worst -- and offer recommendations to make sure you never ever go down that road again.

1. Acid-Wash and Ripped Jeans

There's nothing like a pair of comfortable, worn-in jeans -- but this worn? In the '80s, your choices were jeans that looked like bleach had spilled on them, or jeans that looked like you tussled with a shredder. Nothing much looked good with them. And neither provided the clean, vertical lines that make legs look long.

Nowadays, we know the look that flatters almost everyone: Dark rinse, bootcut jeans that sit slightly lower than the waist.

2. Shoulder Pads

Maybe it was armor for busting through that glass ceiling. Or maybe women were trying to fit into the male-dominated workplace by looking like linebackers. Whatever the reason, shoulder pads -- the kind that added an inch or more of height -- were very, very wrong.

That doesn't mean shoulder pads should be banished into fashion oblivion. In fact, if you are round-shouldered, you might find they can square off your shoulders nicely. Look for jackets with more understated versions sewn under the lining. (Never shirts, which look too obviously padded.)

3. Flannel

It's good for lumberjacks and for people who live in chilly Seattle, but on the rest of us, flannel looked frumpy and silly. Worn open over an old concert T-shirt -- Kurt Cobain-style -- the situation got even worse.

Those looking for warm but more flattering styles should stick with this season's cozy sweaters, like vintage-inspired cardigans, adorned with a brooch, or a crocheted poncho.

4. The Dancer Look

Most of us are not professional dancers. So why did we once insist on dressing like them, complete with leg warmers, ripped sweatshirts, and braided headbands? Who did we think we were fooling? And this was just street wear. At the gym it got even worse: unitards, leotards cut waaay over the hip, and even thong bodysuits worn over biker shorts.

Still, there is something cool about that Jennifer Beals; she was on to something good. The key is to go for one element of dancer style and leave it at that. Ballet slipper flats, wrap sweaters, and chignons are classic, easy ways to convey a bit of dancer chic.

5. Tie-Dye

Like a bad flashback, this style keeps popping up at least once each decade -- and still lives on today. Fun to make at home -- not so fun to remember. The color combinations -- bright, psychedelic -- flattered almost no one. And whether you live the lifestyle or not, there's no getting away from the fact that tie-dye gives off a certain slacker vibe.

Love color? You can still wear it in a more polished way. Try unexpected combinations, like pink and red, or brown and plum. Or try to bring color in with accessories, like red shoes, a turquoise necklace, or a bright belt.

6. Bad Hair Accessories

Big hair wasn't enough in the '80s. We had to further adorn the wall of hairsprayed hair with ribbon barrettes and feathers on a clip. And those without long, overstyled hair were still in luck. They could tuck still-growing-in locks into unflattering banana clips to sport a kinda pontytail/kinda Mohawk.

Today's hair accessories (thank goodness) are a little more understated. To play if safe, stick with simple looks, like tortoiseshell ponytail holders or slim silver barrettes. You'll never have to burn photos of yourself in those.


OMG... Were you FOLLOWING me back then Diva!?!? I should've known!

Does that mean you saw me in my SUPER big permed hair, flannel shirt, leggins, and checkered slouch socks!?!? I also had the 'Braided headband' a la' Flashdance... but that as well as my banana clip only came out on 'special' nights! lol UGH!

ahhhh, i was a little slave to fashion in the 80s. remember those benetton high waisted pants with button on suspenders? mine were red. i wore zapatas with giant lace bows. remember the birkenstock revival of 92? or the clogs? or the shoes that looked like cropped cowboy boots? yeargh! i rocked my biker shorts with my tie dyed shirts and two pairs of colored socks.

Whew....Have to say I missed out on a lot of those, I just passed on a lot of the 80's stuff, think I was too old
. Somehow I could never see myself dressed up like Pat Benatar or Olivia Newton-John(Let's get Physical) with a baby on my hip and a toddler clinging to my leg. I do however still love those flannel shirts, I love wearing jeans, my toe socks and a comfy flannel shirt on cold nights, to me thats heaven.

<TABLE borderColor=#ffffff cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=2 width=95 bgColor=#ffffff borderColorLight=#000000 border=1><TBODY><TR><TD noWrap align=middle>3 cheers for flannel</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>

Hmm, don't think i ever wore any of them!! I do remember having a pair of tartan doc martin boots. Im not sure if you can get them in america but i thought i was SO cool in them at the time.. I cringe at the thought of it now!

I had a pair of Doc's too!! lol They looked so cool with jeans! lol They also went well with those dog tags that everyone had made up with their names on them. Does anyone remember "Diaper pants" and "Skidz"??? lol And then there were "Hypercolor" tshirts and "Cross colors" - and there were those windbreaker jackets that were all those wierd metallic looking colors that changed when you looked at it a different way!?!? Wow.... memory lane! LOL

"Can't Touch this!"

Originally Posted by laura127 Hmm, don't think i ever wore any of them!! I do remember having a pair of tartan doc martin boots. Im not sure if you can get them in america but i thought i was SO cool in them at the time.. I cringe at the thought of it now! I have them bought my first pair in 1990- i love them !
The only caveat to shoulder pads is to balance out wider an understated way...

I like the shoulder pads that are in some of the blazer jackets I sometimes wear for work.. they're thin, so you don't really know they're there... and they are sewn into the jacket, so you don't have to worry about bunching or 'wings' lol - plus they make it seem a little more 'sophisticated' - and not as casual.


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