Tribune senior correspondent
December 9, 2011
Wouldn't it be great to banish all the bad of 2011?
Of course, we can't wish away the lousy economy, the housing slump or those extra pounds.
But how about a more modest goal? Let's bury for good some of the worst fashion trends of the year.
Not too long ago I made a detailed argument about why capes are idiotic. Many of you agreed, although some (misguided) readers thought I was way off base.
After my cape rant, I invited you to tell me your favorite style "don'ts" of the year. So, with your help, I've put together a 2011 top 10 list of fashion flops we don't want to see again.
Platform stilettos (Readers' No. 1 pick for Stupid Style of the Year): The bane of podiatrists and a blank check for orthopedic surgeons, these silly things aren't just ugly, they're dangerous.
"From Frankenstein's closet. … Regardless of what they look like, they all appear to be utterly impossible to walk in," says Fran O. "I can't help but think of the historic Chinese foot binding and the shoes that severely limited a woman's ability to move and essentially crippled her and made her helpless."
"Was this a ploy by sociologists and other students of Western culture to determine a new gullibility factor for women?" wonders Leslie H.
"Hooker-heels with platforms and rounded club-foot toes…are only good for sitting down. I look at them and think: sprained ankle, falling down the stairs or tipping over," says Mary Ann J.
I look at them and think: Imagine running for the bus in these cripplers. You've got to be kidding.
Fur vests: Not even the skinniest model looks good in these hairy beasts. Fur-real or faux, you still look as if you're wearing the top half of a gorilla costume. And who among us needs to look 20 pounds heavier?
Shorts with tights: "Shorts in winter? Forget it. People who do that, well, quite simply, I worry about their IQs," writes Barbara K. "Seems like it's less effort to just wear long pants," writes J.W. I completely agree. Would you wear a wool sweater over a heavy tweed bikini? I didn't think so. So why try to make a summer staple into something it's not?
Leggings (without a tunic or long top): "Cover your crotch and butt!" says Marilee P. No matter what your age, weight or income, here's my unshakable ruling on this topic. Repeat after me: Leggings aren't pants! Leggings aren't pants!! Leggings aren't pants!!!!
Toning sneakers: I'll grant you this much, if wearing these shoes makes you walk more, that's a good thing. But they look really strange. And regular exercisers are making fun of you behind your back. These shoes scream, "I'm not serious about a fitness plan. I'm looking for a shortcut." Even if that's true, why advertise it?
Skinny brim fedora: Enough. These potent symbols of hipsterdom have run their course. Doubt it? Check the crowd at any music festival. Time to find some new headgear.
Infinity cowl scarves: The scarf that ate your head. And remember the good old days when you had a neck? Yes, you can have too much of a good thing. These scarves need to go on a diet.
Peep toe boots: These make no sense at all. Protecting the foot is the very essence of the boot. A hole in the toe? These little piggies need a coverup.
Distressed, holey jeans: Let's me see if I've got this straight: You're paying top dollar for brand-new pants that are already worn out? Common sense says this is a terrible idea.
Capes, again: I've already said they're impractical for anyone who carries a purse, groceries or a baby. Or wants to stay warm. "I think these garments were perfect for the days of footmen, maids and muffs," writes Claudia P., a very wise woman, since she agrees with me.
But there is another point of view. In the spirit of this season of peace and good will — even though I disagree with her — I'm giving Mary Lou C. the last word. "I have been told many times I look 'regal' in my long cape. …The cape goes with everything and is great to take when traveling."