Current Trends v. Practicality

This is a topic that’s been on my ‘Blog Ideas’ list for a little while, and I realized that as the seasons change, tackling it is becoming a now or never sort of thing. Time waits for no one. Soon enough, the trends I don’t like now will fade out and be replaced with other styles I find similarly distasteful.

Not that there aren’t trends I don’t like- I simply find a bemused feeling of fond irritation to be my natural element. And that’s how I feel about the obsession with hygge, so let’s begin.

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White Shoes
How do you keep them clean? It reminds me of this moment of my toddlerhood that no one will let me live down- an Easter morning when I threw a tantrum because the bottoms of my new white shoes had gotten dirt on them. Maybe I’m projecting. But from last summer’s white sneakers to this winter’s white block heels, it’s certainly a thing. And don’t get me wrong- I have a pair of low white Converse and I love them. I just feel white heels are too… focus pulling? high maintenance?
Deeper thoughts: Is this a status symbol? If you wear pristine white shoes it must mean you have enough money to replace them when they become too noticeably scuffed? You can keep yourself, so to say, well-heeled? I’ve heard this about a bunch of trends from the 1500s to the present. Then Europeans cultivated a delicate porcelain complexion to show they didn’t have to labor in the elements. Now many people cultivate a bronze glow to suggest that they don’t have to labor in a cubicle.

And the trend of draping your jacket or coat around your arms rather than on your shoulders like a normal person?- It subconsciously implies that you don’t need your hands to do anything.

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Hygge
This is a hard one, because I am all for comfort and coziness, believe me. I’m cold-blooded and run cold nearly all the time. As a result I adore a thick carpet of blankets on the bed as the next person, as well as a good pair of woolly slippers and flannel pajamas (which I change into as soon as I get home, no matter the time, no matter how short a time before I have to go back out again). I have burns on the backs of my legs from standing against my dorm radiator. Give me hygge or give me death.
BUT I don’t support the commoditization or monetization of a Danish cultural practice. Once you start thinking about ‘hygge’-ing your instagram (First, it’s making your instagram more hyggelig- essentially hygge-licious) then you’ve gotten off at the wrong bus stop. If you decide you need to buy a $200 candle because it was on a hygge gift guide, you got on the wrong bus to begin with. Just take a hot shower and then a nap, for goodness’ sake, no?

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Cold Shoulder Tops
It’s tops like the one above that make me think things like “Every day we stray further from God’s light.”
Anyway, funny story, I saw a woman in my dining hall wearing two different cut-out-shoulder tops two days in a row this week.  After the swarm for off the shoulder tops last summer (I preferred to count how many I could spot on a city block than wear one myself (through some combination of not liking the shape and not finding one that overcame that feeling, not hipster-ism)), the fashion world went into serious talks about how to milk what is essentially a summer style in the depths of winter. You know how it took many years for a new tradition in symphonies to begin after Beethoven? With people scrambling to find new artists like Berlioz and Brahms, etc. to fill the void? Well, that essentially what seems to have happened. Some editors are singing the praises of cut out shoulders (which always feel a bit contrived to me, where the off the shoulder blouse is all about this naturally slouchy insouciance) while others are saying it’s all about sleeve details (bows, cut outs, super long, bell sleeves, ad infinitum). But it made me hysterical to see an article (*cough* Who What Wear *cough*) asserting that the off the shoulder blouse is now out. After all, none had been seen at Fashion Week.
No shoulder-exposing tops were seen in New England in mid-February? You don’t say? I mean, good lord.
My prediction is that off the shoulder tops will return in the summer. Fashion editors will go back to praising them when they have a new crop of seasonally summer items to sell (rather than winter stand ins). And since last summer, I found myself a ruffled one shoulder top so I can join the frenzied and sharkish masses. I’ve even been wearing it out over a turtleneck and with leather pants.

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Mules
It took me so ridiculously long to understand what mules are. I only figured it out this year. And to be frank, I’m still not entirely sure I’ve grasped it. It’s a slide, right?
(I just checked Wikipedia, it is a backless shoe… so a slide… of varying heel heights).
I’m also guiltily realizing that my complaints haven’t been based so much on practicalities as on my personal prejudices.  Much to my chagrin. So here is where the practicality comes in, because better late than never, right?
How do they stay on? They’re like flip flops, yes? Except there isn’t anything that goes wedged between your toes. Do you just grip the sole with your toes all the time that you’re walking? This is a conundrum that was first revealed to me when reading about Garance’s struggles with them on her blog. And it didn’t help that the Gucci craze this past year was all about the completely ridiculous and impractical shoes (shown above) that the fashion industry has somehow brainwashed us all into… liking? Where has my sense of taste gone? My aesthetics? My integrity? They’re fur-lined flip flops!
And then about flip flops: I’ve been hearing that they’re out- fine with me, I haven’t worn them since middle school- but because the fashion press must always give a reason why a trend is being discarded and a new one is a vast improvement (besides “we need you t spend money on a new thing”), flip flops have been pushed to the shadows because of the negative effects they have on your feet. Which yes, studies show they do. But then the fashion press is pushing slides forward at the same time, which I can only imagine have very much the same physical effects. It’s some hypocrisy, I think.

Anyway, those are my big harrumphs. As always the answer is to wear what you like and what works within your life, but that’s no reason to deny yourself the fun of having definite (and sometimes negative) opinions on all and sundry. And lest you think I’m a complete churl, here’s a quick list of trends I’m pleased to see.

Stripes, ruffles, corset belts, trousers and suiting, hot pink, florals (for spring, groundbreaking), sleeveless sweaters, etc.

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