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As anyone who tries to stay on top of the latest trends can tell you: fashion is about as constant and stable as a celebrity marriage. We may fall in love with a certain style that’s all the rage right now, only to look back in a few years and ask ourselves, “What was I thinking?!” Honestly, it happens to the best of us.

We review the craziest, most atrocious fashion trends of the past few decades – as well as what to wear to turn a style sin into a stylish win.

Creepy Peepers: Ultra-Thin Eyebrows

Stylists are of course constantly looking for new interpretations of beauty… but who came up with the idea that nearly invisible eyebrows were the way to go? Around the late ‘90s and early 2000s it became all the rage to almost erase your natural eyebrows and effectively pencil them back in – minus about 80% of the width. It goes without saying that eyebrows are important for framing the face, enhancing the eyes and expressing emotion, so when they practically disappear, it’s not a good thing.

What To Wear Instead: Breathe a sigh of relief: today the prevailing trend is the opposite of the barely-there brow. We’re seeing bold, beautiful, bushy eyebrows everywhere, with emphasis on the natural shape and tone. Don’t pluck too much – just maybe the occasional stray hair – and respect the natural arch of your eyebrows as much as possible. Alternatively, treat yourself to a trip to a stylist or dedicated eyebrow bar, where a beauty professional can help you enhance your natural brows with techniques like microblading.

A Coiff-tastrophe: ‘80s Hair

Remember those extravagant hairstyles full of crazy curls, crimps, fluffed-up fringes and over-the-top volume that were so popular in the late ‘80s, when women were apparently totally okay with pumping their hair full of products and walking around looking like Alf? Glad those days are gone!

What To Wear Instead: Thankfully, the hair looks of today are all about avoiding extreme treatments or out-there hairstyles, and instead geared towards nurturing and embracing your natural hair – whether you have a head of tight curls, stick-straight tresses or tumbling waves. In terms of specific trends, we’re seeing more and more bob cuts, as well as bangs worn straight down the forehead – rather than standing at attention, à la Alf.

Fashion Frankenstein: Sneaker Heels

Do we really have to explain why this trend is so bad? Though the fad now seems to be on its way out, it was a hit about five years ago, an apparent attempt to bring a sporty (yet feminine?) style to streetwear. Brands like Converse did it in a more modest way, integrating a wedge heel into their sneakers, but Nike jumped the shark and slapped a full-on stiletto heel onto their sporty shoes. We can appreciate that the fashion industry is a creative one, always innovating and experimenting to offer products for all tastes and styles, but this may be one (very tall) step too far.

What To Wear Instead: Choose sneakers or heels – this is an ‘either or’ situation. The casual look is very in right now, so a pair of beautiful, flat white sneakers will go perfectly with almost anything.

An Indecent Descent: Ultra-Low-Rise Jeans

Surely you recall the image of very thin, athletic pop singers from the early 2000s, like Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and Jessica Simpson, wedged into tiny, tight jeans that barely reached the hips. This particular look wasn’t for everyone: if you didn’t have a washboard belly and 3% body fat, you ran the risk of looking like a marshmallow stuffed into a straw. Besides, we didn’t really need to see everyone’s thongs peeking out of their trousers. A trend that definitely deserves to be burned at the stake, never to return…

What To Wear Instead: …And yet, it’s threatening to make a comeback. This is one trend to resist – reach instead for more comfortable styles that will keep your Victoria’s Secrets a secret, like the popular ‘mom jeans’: wide, straight-cut, high-waisted and oh-so comfy.

Before The Fall: Saggy, Baggy Trousers

Men were not immune to the low-hanging trouser trend, either: we’re talking about that iconic urban style from the ‘90s that saw guys emulating their favourite rappers – and, later, their favourite skaters – with ultra-wide-legged jeans worn low on the hips, crotches sagging and boxers showing at the top. Not particularly flattering.

What To Wear Instead: You don’t have to wear parachutes as trousers in order to be comfortable – there’s always room for sophistication. Go for straight-legged, boot-cut jeans, preferably slim fit to accentuate your form. Bonus: This is a style your mom won’t mind.

A Monster Of A Trend: Crocs

Lightweight! Waterproof! Comfy to walk in! They may be multifunctional, but as soon as Crocs appeared on the scene more than 15 years ago, they became synonymous with bad taste, quite criticised among fashionistas. After all, it’s a synthetic shoe shaped like a clog with holes in it. It was never going to become a fashion favourite, though brands such as Balenciaga and British designer Christopher Kane have tried to make it a thing, with controversial designs such as Crocs with platforms and prints. There is a time and place for Crocs – on the beach, on a boat, in your own backyard – but we can all agree they’re best relegated to only the most laid-back of occasions.

What To Wear Instead: If you’re looking for comfy flat shoes, the best options are (real) clogs or mules, a versatile and lightweight style that pairs well with everything from skirts to trousers and dresses.

An Open-Toe Terror: Socks And Sandals

What started as a fashion faux pas perpetrated by clueless tourists around the world has become a staple of urban style in trendy cities like New York or London, where denizens dare to wear more provocative fashions. While we’re all for experimenting and originality, we tend to draw the line at having to look at people’s socks. Anyway, what’s the point of wearing sandals – specifically designed to give your feet some air – if you’re just going to put on socks?

What To Wear Instead: There are endless options for beautiful and comfortable sandal styles; choose a design that you like and show off your feet with pride. Need to give those tootsies some TLC? Check out our easy pedicure guide.

Scary Comfy: Uggs

Warm, protective, stylish: boots will always be an inevitable cold-weather classic. In 2005, however, it somehow became a thing to wear Uggs, which had all of the comfort but none of the style of traditional boots. The worst part: it became trendy to wear them with miniskirts in the middle of summer! Slouchy, shapeless and, ironically, not the best boots for bad weather, Uggs – as well as their knock-off counterparts and increasingly furry spin-offs – make anyone look like they forgot to change out of their house shoes before leaving home – and don’t even care.

What To Wear Instead: Want to make your legs look great, even in winter? Go for classic calf-high or thigh-high boots. Alternatively, cowboy-style boots are especially in at the moment.

Creature Claws: A Nail Art Abomination

Nail art took the world by storm a few years ago, replacing the classic French tips with daring and colourful nail designs. But not all novel nail trends are keepers: case in point, the early 2000s fad that saw extra-long nails extending several centimetres from the nail bed, and making everyday tasks close to impossible. Add bright enamel colours, glitter and decorative rhinestones… and you’ve got some sort of fashion Freddy Krueger nightmare on your hands!

What To Wear Instead: This season, the minimalist trend has dethroned the more ornate designs. Monochrome nails in pastel or neon tones, or tie-dye looks and simple printed nails are the trends of the moment among celebs. Oh, and the length of the nail is short to medium. Read: simple and elegant.


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