Bad Fashion Idea: Springtime of Despair

Went to the mall for a little while tonight.  Went to the mall and HOLY HELL, what in the name of mercy is going on with women’s clothing this season?  I wasn’t shopping for anything in particular; I just wanted to walk around a bit after a big dinner.  And thank God for that because ladies, this season…

We have been punk’d.

Let me make it clear that all of these pictures were not taken at stores called Grim Fashion or Soul Suckers.  No, they were all taken in the anchor stores at my local mall (you know who you are), the smallest of which only has locations in five states, and two of them are in all fifty.  And they were all taken in the general, Misses’ Sportswear section.  No Junior, no Women’s, no “This is that weird corner where I shop for my Grandma” sections.  Straight-up, on-trend, non-clearance, Misses’ sections.  And a significant portion of the pictures were taken of clothing placed prominently, on high-traffic corner mannequins or 6-foot feature tables that faced a main walkway or were front-facing on tall center racks.  It started here, and I don’t usually take offense to embellished shells, but this one seemed confused.  Take a look again at that detailing…

It's a sweater! It's a shell! It's got horizontal stripes! With a Cleopatra collar!

Let’s get a better look at that embellishment, shall we?

It's island-happy! It's work appropriate!

Ladies, repeat after me: No one shirt can do all things.  But in all seriousness, even though I think the shirt sucks, it isn’t THAT bad. Then I looked around.

Feel free to click on all of the photos for enlargements, so you can get the full grasp of the shopping horror.  It will enhance your viewing experience like no other thing.  And I digress.

Oh, good. Khaki and dusty coral; perhaps the only way in the world an orange tone can be made lethally dull.

Holy crap. I’ve always looked forward to spring fashions; they’re generally light and cheery, and remind us that we’re moving away from heavy clothes and won’t have to wear shirts that remind us of gloomy days or drudgery.  But not this season.  Horizontal stripes, flaccid colors and poorly-planned and/or executed design surrounded me, as far as the eye could see. If you need proof that there is a war against women, you could start right in the stores.

Because nothing says "women's fashion" so much as a shirt that helps you fade into the twilight, topped with the open-knit sweater vest of a twelve-year-old.

I’ve taken the liberty of adding commentary directly to some photos, as I saw fit…

It’s only marginally less unappealing in fuchsia.

But still, ultimately, poorly designed and executed.

In keeping with the “shapeless” trend, I give you the following:

Ersatz tiger print? Check! Voluminous tunic? Check! How can we make this little beauty even less appealing..?

Check. In fact, check AND mate.

While we’re looking at ill-conceived sweaters, let me direct you to Freddy Krueger’s sweater, reimagined as a deconstructed cardigan.

You doubted me, didn't you?

 And a plethora of stripes, stripes, stripes.

Garbage bag, muffin top, however you choose to describe it, it will poof out in all the unsexy places.  Once you move past lilac/buff/taupe/peach/and what I can only describe as “burnt magenta”, please feast your eyes on the woeful return of the parachute material.

This shirt also signals the start of an unfortunate run of pale-yellow-and-white stripes, which perhaps more than any other -and-white combo just looks like it’s trying so damn hard to be interesting, but fails miserably.

This just gives me a sad.

As though slapping the necklace on the mannequin on the left can add any sort of spark of life or interest.

At least they don't even try and pretend to zazz these li'l numbers up.

Wide cut shirts + dusty colors all over make for a dirty-looking, dismal display. Leopards are begging for their print to be returned to them.

Seriously, I dare you to find all the things that are wrong with the above set of shirts.

This is probably my favorite of the “horrific horizontal stripe” set, though there are so many legitimate and qualified contenders.

I’ll reserve my ultimate favorites for later.  Now, we move on to shoes.  Because it seems that for all the melancholy that has been sewn into women’s attire, they’ve gone batshit crazy with shoes, especially if they’re some kind of flat.

Khaki and dusty coral = no more appealing when done in patent leather. And the red patent/snakeskin treatment is just giving me the finger.

Here’s more wrong things to do with snakeskin on a ballerina flat:

And this shoe looks like it’s been used by tree frogs as a repository for their egg sacs.

Don’t believe me?

Told you.

But my favorites for this season, the clothes that I think bear the most impact, are the ones that help the potential buyer lose all sense of hope or joy, the ones that push the light right out of their eyes.

Like a central-main-entrance display comprised entirely of "I give up" clothing.

If these mannequins were people, they would be standing in the “greeter” position in the store, handing out complimentary copies of No Exit and  mimeographed rules for Russian roulette.  These aren’t clothes that make you think, ooh, I want to shop here!  These are clothes that make you think, well…wearing this beats getting arrested.

My boyfriend says, in his eternal quest to try and understand the ugliness that inhabits the world, that maybe–just maybe–shirts like this are showing this season because more and more people are in the medical field, and they’ve gotten used to wearing scrubs.  And I say that if that is the case, if we can’t break people from the habit of wearing things that people bleed and explosively poo and boogie all over, then it is certain that all hope is lost.

By the looks of things, I’m fairly sure that if one of us is right, it’s me.

We can witness the debilitating effects that occur when you combine shapelessness and colorblocking in the next dress:

I actually think to fully grasp the misery woven into the very fibers of this dress, you need to see it from a slightly different angle:

Pasty color, designed to pooch out right over a notorious trouble spot for ladies.

Because I, for one, can’t wait to appear in public looking like a refugee from a prison gym class, with a torso covered in putty.

For all its magnificent anguish, however, this dress still doesn’t win my award for most dismal piece of attire I managed to come across in one infernal evening.  That award, without reservation or hesitation, rests firmly in the patent-lined collar of this next pair of shoes.

Multitudes of wrong. Discuss.

Now, this shoe.  I’m not sure if it’s the (ONCE AGAIN!) combination of khaki + dusty coral, or if it’s because the designer tried to lighten the mood by the hot pink toecap and blue-and-green heel cap.  But.  This is bad.  This is what clown shoes would look like if a clown had to stop clowning and get office work.  These aren’t vibrant.  These aren’t energizing.  These are the shoes of a sad, lost clown, with a bad haircut and a big flowery brooch that doesn’t shoot a single drop of water.

Wanna know what’s creepy?  These shoes?  Go with that dress.

Maybe the Mayans were right.

17 responses to Bad Fashion Idea: Springtime of Despair

  1. Amy

    I was only snickering until “Natural unfinished grosgrain ribbon does not go with either” and then I lost it right through the fish eggs. And then I squinted through tears until “sad, lost clown” And then I lost it again. I commend you for facing your fear and really looking at these clothes. When sprinting through these stores with my head down on the way to the Verizon store once every few years, I cannot even deal with looking around. Everything just says “I hate my body and I want to die”. For God sakes, plentiful YELLOW? Thank you for this in depth piece on the devastating effects of large chain lowest common denominator clothing. Brave journalism like yours might help one day empower people to….keep not shopping there (I think that’s what happened. Stylish people simply gave up and quit going to malls and now shop online–what choice is there??!).


    • beyondpaisley – Author

      Well, the snakeskin/grosgrain shoes are a travesty. And the abundance of yellow (especially pale yellow), also a travesty. Isn’t fashion supposed to represent…something? We got practical in the ’30s, when times were tougher. These aren’t practical clothes, they don’t represent ingenuity and forging forward to a better tomorrow. They’re the fashion equivalent of sucking at air just to stay alive.


  2. Amber

    Oh my word! This had me cracking up! I totally lost it with the frog eggs! Ok but seriously, I’m all for earth tones, but holy cow!! I don’t thing there is a single woman designer out there today, if these are our choices. And the buyers for these stores should probably seek employment in a different line of work. Thanks for the heads up on the dismal fashion front!


    • beyondpaisley – Author

      The buyers made some consistently terrible choices, this is true. But, this also speaks to the need for stores to have competent window and merchandise trimmers, which I know is a position that is among the first in line to go if there’s ever a hint of a cutback. And I know because I was a trimmer once, and…you can get the rest, I bet. But. There were other clothes in the store that potentially could have made for better displays, and there were accessories that theoretically could have been used to liven things up. Alas, we have seen the results.

      Though the egg sac shoes are bad no matter what. 😉


    • beyondpaisley – Author

      Ha ha no! XO Though I will say this–I would have preferred the thought and effort that went into a) deciding to cut the sleeves off your T-shirt; b) taking the initiative to cut the sleeves off your T-shirt; and c) choosing the right pair of Tevas to go with your cut-off T-shirt, to the entire display of “I give up” clothes which offer no indication of thought or hope.


      • Garzilla

        That first example, the horizontal stripe sweater… would have been rejected as “unfashionable”… by 1973 standards, fehrr fook’s sake! That is saying something.


      • beyondpaisley – Author

        LOL! Yeah, it’s pretty dismal. And that’s not the worst of the lot! That’s what really gets my proverbial goat. There were so many things I encountered that were just so much worse.


  3. jp

    Oh, this is just so depressing. Because I need some f*cking clothes, and these are the choices? Gah.

    I have never seen such terrible colors in my life. I can’t even find words for the decorative sweater-vest trend.


  4. Amber

    Ok, so I liked this so much I posted it on my facebook page. One of my friends read and commented. We messaged back and forth and then she said she had already read it some place else. You are getting popular! You go girl! (just thought you’d like to know) 😉


  5. All I can say is, “Yiiiiiiikes.”. It’s like really bad/bland/offensive fashion got sick + threw up all over the place leaving remnants of horribleness!!!!!


    • beyondpaisley – Author

      A friend of mine went to the mall recently and she said, “Surely, Terri was exaggerating, it can’t be that bad,” thinking I had targeted the worst fashion for comedy’s sake. And then? She was back, telling me how it WAS that bad and she just couldn’t believe what she saw. Indeed, my friend. Indeed.


      • Such despair!!!!!!! That post really pained me to look at those horrid clothes + shoes. I almost wanted to throw acid in my eyes.


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