photo www.thesartorialist.com
photo http://www.thesartorialist.com

I was jolted out of my rather extended stylish adventure & travel comfort zone this week by the appearance of some very suspicious characters on ‘new-season-must-have’ lists & ‘IT-item’ galleries of fashion publications everywhere.

It, schmit – in my humble opinion, these wardrobe items should be avoided at all costs! And so I am here to help you avoid falling into some fashion pits this season.

Oh, I know how they reel you in – with promises of comfort, ease, and photos of underweight models and celebrities who almost look good in them, especially when they cleverly combine them with a sexy shoe or skinny jean to distract you from the travesty at hand by having you think, ‘Oh, well, that bit is slimming, so the big thing with it won’t hurt, surely?’ Oh, but surely, it will.

The other danger is the fact that most women like to wear these things and we think other women look kinda cute in them (myself included!). But there is a fine line between comfortable and just plain unattractive, and I’m afraid that these babies all hail from the wrong side of the tracks.

I also want to say: forget about whether you are dressing to feel attractive to whatever sex it is that you are attracted to, I am going to assume that you are dressing to look stylish and to feel attractive, full stop!

So if that’s how you want to dress, the bottom line is this: if it doesn’t do anything for your figure AND rates highly as one of the biggest passion crushers of all time (novelty print flannelette pyjamas, I’m talking to you), then there is something wrong with this picture. Or these pictures.

Okay, here they are.

Oversized jumpers

photo: www.style.com
photo: http://www.style.com

The very word ‘oversized’ should be enough to give this one away, and yet, every few fashion cycles, these tempting little numbers make a come-back and try to insinuate themselves onto the racks of otherwise reputable and/or trendy retailers.

How to spot them: Cable knit, roll-neck, sloppy & off-the-shoulder jumpers or even cardigans that shroud your upper torso in acrylic (or some kind of wool blend if you are lucky), and end somewhere south of your booty.

Why I would avoid them: They are shapeless, they make your butt look enormous, & they only look good on chisel-jawed men in aftershave commercials. Next.

You can check out some more examples on Style.com: www.style.com/trends/fashion/2014/kate-moss-best-oversized-sweaters. And can I just say that la Kate’s ankle boots are hot, hot, hoooot.

Long flowing skirts with flat shoes, esp sneakers

photo: www.thesartorialist.com
photo: http://www.thesartorialist.com

Another insidious item I remember fondly from the 80s. This time they’re being cleverly combined with the tricky sneaker trend, no doubt in an effort to really push that comfort aspect whereas in reality it will just make you look even shorter and wider than you could ever, ever hope to be. And beware the clever street style snaps – this shot is so awesome & the subject so sassy that it almost makes the combo look good!

How to spot them: A line, striped, plain, pleated, wotevs – it’s a long, flowing or pretty much shapeless skirt that shoots straight out from the waist & ends somewhere in between your calves and your ankles. Not to be confused with the calf-length pencil skirt that can also be supremely difficult to pull off when combined with sneakers, but at least they show off your figure.

Why I would avoid them: Short, wide – are these adjectives that you want to spring to mind when describing yourself in your fetching ensemble? If you are brave or up for playing with proportions & want to try it with heels or have the chutzpah necessary to attempt this look, then go for it. But if in doubt, turn side on & look at your silhouette in the mirror. Thought so.

‘Ponchos’

photo: www.whowhatwear.com REX USA/Rex
photo: http://www.whowhatwear.com REX USA/Rex

I put this one in adverted commas i.e. advisedly because, well, to call this particular item a poncho is to be just a tad misleading when what we are really describing is essentially an … um … blanket. A. Woollen. Blanket.

How to spot them: Pretty hard to miss. Looks like you left home wearing a blanket.

Why I would avoid them: Are you a horse? Shivering over a campfire in les Alpes? I thought not.

If you don’t believe me, check out some shots at Who What Wear: www.whowhatwear.com/burberry-poncho-wrap-coat-fall/. I mean, if SJP, Olivia Palermo et al look like they’ve dragged themselves off the couch to make a quick dash to the pharmacy for more cold & flu tablets, what hope do the rest of us have?

Ok so that’s the hit list – for now! To be fair, I think I need to follow up this rant with some more stylish alternatives to these fashion horrors – so stay tuned!

Meanwhile I hope you find your comfort from other, more attractive sources. (Hot chocolate anyone? Make mine a vin chaud)…

Happy transeasonal styling!

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