Time to bitch about clothes again

I see that it’s more than a year since I last ranted about clothes. That’s ridiculous! It’s well past time that I ranted again!

Except that, well, on my European travels I didn’t see many clothes that offended me. Shocking but true.

I’ll admit that I’m not wild about ballet flats or kitten heels. But I can’t really get up into a frothing rage about them.

Low riders seem to have disappeared altogether. Formal shorts are getting very rare. There are no neon or pastel coloured clothes. Though some of the clothes I’ve been seeing bore me—none of them appal me. I know! I can’t believe it either.

Fortunately last night at the opera I saw some shocking numbers. One girl was wearing a black sack with a draw-string waist that barely covered her girly bits. Coupled with black spike heels so high that every step forward was an exercise in tottery danger. And she was not as hideously attired as the woman in the skin-tight leopard print dress with the black tulle layer over the top which she matched with white pumps. I do not lie.

What clothes fill you with horror right now? Share! You know you want to.


  1. Lauren on #

    Basically, everything I was wearing until two weeks ago fills me with horror and shame. Current pet peeves from the general public include: drab colors (stop fearing color, people! it’s your friend), low-waisted bell bottom jeans, pointy shoes, short skirts (always a bad idea unless you are a hooker or about to compete in a cheerleading competition).

    Recently, I had an amazing shopping experience at, of all places, Filene’s Basement in Union Square. Seriously, check it.

  2. sara z. on #

    My current complaints are with the casual tops offered at stores from Old Navy to Macy’s – the fauxternity, billowy, empire long top in a bold print. Right now I feel like I literally can’t find any other sort of top. I mean, there are always variations on the button-downs and t-shirts, stores are domininated with the mini-muumuu tops. Being 5’2″ and bigger on top than bottom, that will never be a good look for me. And honestly I haven’t seen it look great on anyone. Also I hate the big, plastic/”jewel”y neck embellishments on tops and dresses. That was more prevalent this past fall, but still.

  3. Ellen on #

    What’s wrong with ballet flats and kitten heels? I ask because I’m usually not a shoe person, but I love both of these! Kitten heels are so much easier to walk in than larger ones, and ballet flats are easy to slip your feet into.

  4. Justine on #

    Lauren: I wish I had whatever gene it is that allows you to deal with huge bargain shops like Filene’s. But I walk into them my eyes bug and I can never find anything because there is too much and I leave in a fit of despair. If only I had a magic person who could find all the cool stuff hidden away in those overcrowded racks!

    Sara Z: Those tops are strictly for the pregnant. They do nothing for anyone else.

    Ellen: Kitten heels are dangerous for thos of us with weak ankles. Also I find them aesthetically displeasing—with their wobble wobble and annoyingly clicky heels.

    Ballet flats are perfectly comfortable, I grant. And there is much to be said for that. They just look weird to me. As if someone had removed everyone’s arches. And the current crop have way too much toe cleavage. Ugly!

  5. robin on #

    A pox on the skinny jeans. A pox, I say!

  6. sara z. on #

    J, I agree with you about ballet flats. They just look strange to me, except maybe on tall, skinny women who are wearing exactly the right jeans. I have some pretty serious arches. And they need support.

  7. Gwenda on #

    There are still far too many leggings in the world.

  8. sara z. on #

    p.s. I do have a couple of pairs of flats. they are well constructed and have support, and when I wear them I can’t feel every crack on the cement through the soles. why do I keep commenting on your blog when I need to go catch a plane? bye!

  9. Delia on #

    What I hate more than anything else in the world is clothes that only look good on anorexic 14 year olds. Recently, I’ve been seeing ruffly little tops and that would look too young on an 8 year old. It’s hard being mutton in a world where even the lambs look inappropriately dressed.

    On the other hand. . . Kitten heels rule my world, clicky heels and all.

    I LOVE Filene’s Basement (even though the New York ones aren’t a patch on the Boston original). Come shopping with me, my dear, and I will show you Big Game Hunting at its finest and most exciting.

  10. janet on #

    My current pet peeve is that it’s next to impossible to find clothes for a two-year-old that aren’t aggressively gendered. I don’t want my daughter to wear nothing but pink and purple, but if I put her in anything else people think she’s a boy and then they get cross with me when they find out she’s not. For a while it wasn’t an issue because her hair was so long, but we recently cut it because she wouldn’t let us brush it.

    She could wear jeans, but buying jeans when you can’t try them on in the store is asking for trouble. Until she’s old enough to stand still (or even — gasp — help!) while we try garments on her, everything she wears has to be loose, stretchy, and soft. I now appreciate why my mother bought so many of my clothes out of catalogs when I was little.

  11. Mahek on #

    I hate skirts that don’t go down very far. What do you do when you need to bend or something? And it must be very hard to sit. AND I hate size 12 clothes on girls who are obviously something like size 20. One of my friends wears Size 10 trousers and she is larger than me and I’m a size 12/14.

    And I hate frilly dresses. My mum used to make me wear them. YUCK!

  12. Hillary! on #

    What the hell are kitten heels?!
    I’m quite fond of ballet flats, even though you are quite right that the latest does show way too much toe cleavage. Only one or two should be allowed.

    The style I hate most right now are shorts over tights! It’s so horrible! The look STUPID! the other one I hate is tights. Just tights, with a long shirt and ballet flats or high heels.
    Don’t people realize how stupid they look?

  13. molly on #

    I need the tunic craze to stop. All these shirts that are too long to be proper shirts but too short to be dresses (I don’t mind long shirts — ones that hit a few inches below the hip — but once we enter thigh territory, I get cranky) — and then they’re worn over jeans! Or leggings! UGH. And the footless tights/leggings — oh, dears, I remember those from the early ’90s, and a) it was not a pretty sight then, and b) that is too recent to be mined for “retro” nonsense. Fie.

  14. Brent on #

    The only thing that consistently offends me is the “empress” tops on teens and tweens. They look like maternity tops and seeing them on 14yo girls just jars my senses. Various other “urban” trends for guys I also dislike (like baggy pants ten sizes too big falling halfway down their rears), but I’m hardly alone and I think even the wearer’s know they look silly. The maternity tops for teens have to go though.

  15. Katsu on #

    As a relatively old fart that goes to college, I constantly see clothing that makes me want to stick my head in the oven. Low riders that expose the butt crack when the wearer is sitting are still very much in style at CU Boulder. What fills me with utter disdain, though, is the timeless combination of slip over t-shirt (didn’t wearing your underwear on the outside go out of style in the 80s after Madonna did it?), tiny gym shorts, and Ugg boots. I loathe Ugg boots. They make me want to set things on fire.

  16. marrije on #

    Justine, I was away on holiday for a bit, but I thought of you on Queen’s Day, when our princesses (a mix of Dutch and Argentine ladies) all wore incredibly high heels while traversing a route that included ancient cobblestones and ships and pebbly bits of landscaping. ’twas very pretty. You can see some pictures here: http://tinyurl.com/64nog7 and here http://tinyurl.com/5v2ttg

    Sigh. I love Queen’s Day.

  17. genevieve on #

    There are a lot of cheap, mass-produced clothes around in Melbourne. Don’t ask me how to solve that one. I used to sew, but that’s been over for a while – and it only deals with a couple of people, not all the others we have to look at.

    Not to mention how quickly fabric (usually from China) fades in Australia these days – can I blame the Chinese for using cheap dyes? because the higher UV rays are probably just as much of a problem.
    But cheap clothes + UV= greater impact on planet = ugliness AND guilt. What a horrible combo.
    On the bright side, people are taking more risks with prints than they used to. YOu only live once.

  18. genevieve on #

    Gracious, Justine, you lucky woman – the MET. As Fireman Sam used to say, ‘megabrill’.

  19. capt. cockatiel on #

    Along with Ugg boots (which, I swear, every girl at the high school I go to wears), I have so say that I really am not a fan of skate shoes being worn when people are not skateboarding. (Unless they’ve just, you know, *come* from skateboarding. No one can be expected to carry around two pairs of shoes, I guess.) But really. They just make people’s feet look big and chunky and flat and… whenever I see someone in them (which would be every day, since my sister has a pair) I can only picture them shuffling around, like their feet are too heavy to lift.
    And MAN FLATS! What do other people even call those? Canvas shoes? What are they? Anyway, man flats really need to go. They’re ugly. They are not attractive at all. Sometimes people look a little strange in ballet flats, but man flats are really about ten times worse. So if the earth were to be rid of one of them, it would have to be man flats. Ugh.
    This is probably just me, though..

  20. Iris on #

    Clunky plastic jewels on tops and dresses really are annoying. The baby-doll tops are also look like maternity clothing. I was in the store the other day, and some guy looks at the displays in the teen section and goes “what, are these tops getting girls to work up to real maternity clothing?”
    Kimono style is nearly as bad.
    The leggings are also bad. They work occasionally, but when it’s over shorts or with just a long tunic thing — ugh.

  21. Rachel on #

    This morning I saw a grown woman wearing a stonewash denim sleeveless button-up coverall with tapered ankles (opposite of bootleg) over a striped shirt, a white beret and blue ballet flats.
    I am scarred for life.

  22. Herenya on #

    Since I’m sure some of my wardrobe is terrible by other people’s standards (I’m much more interested in being warm and comfortable and spending my money on books than always being fashionable), I try to not critcising people for how they dress.

    But currently I can’t stand seeing people wearing shorts with tights. Or shorts and tights and boots. It just looks so … incongruous and wrong. I have no problem with skirt and tights – provided the skirt is long enough to be decent, but if it is too cold to wear shorts without tights, don’t wear them!

  23. limeywesty on #

    fortunatly for me, winter is beginning (well, not that that’s a good thing, but it does mean that all the summer clothing is going out)
    and with that summer clothing, the really icky selfish clothes proclaiming in fluro colours, “my boyfriend is better than yours” and “I’m better than you and you know it” and all the other ones just like that.

    It’s icky I tell you!

  24. lili on #

    1. LEGGINGS ARE NOT PANTS. Pants need to be worn.

    2. rocks on frocks. wrong.

  25. Lauren on #

    Man flats. Heh-heh. Man flats.

    Justine and Delia, I smell a Filene’s Basement excursion, perhaps with cocktails?

  26. Delia on #

    Lauren: You’re on.

  27. Lauren on #

    Delia, we shall confer.

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