The New Fashion Faux Pas You Should Never Commit

Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
This post was originally published on April 14, 2015.

We stand by this: The kind of people who like to lay down the fashion law aren’t the ones we’re going to text from the fitting room. Yes, there are plenty of folks in the world who still believe that wearing black and blue together is a mortal sin, or that socks and sandals are the paragon of bad taste, but then again, there are people in the world who still believe that ice cream gives you nightmares or there’s only one right way to love. This group isn't particularly inspiring or supportive of anyone else's style joie de vivre.

The savvy among us know that the entire concept of fashion faux pas is fairly dicey, but that doesn’t mean there aren't certain items that elicit totally justified side-eyes. These are the fashion faux pas of 2015 — and while they might not look all that bad, they’re definitely a bad look.
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Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
You know what they say: Never try to stick a square peg into a round hole. If a trend doesn't feel "you," there's no reason to buy into it just because it's been deemed "cool," or "of-the-moment." Instead, let the bandwagon pass without jumping on it: You're better off staying true to your own aesthetic than forcing something that doesn't feel natural.
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Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
When you've put together a really great outfit, it makes a statement (whether it's about who you are, what your deal is, or why you're the most interesting person in the room). Clothes that literally spell out a statement, on the other hand (say, on a graphic tee), make for some of the worst outfits. If it's a simple moniker or phrase that holds special meaning for you, great — but if it's something your inappropriate uncle might say after five beers, your shirt might actually just be saying, "I'm an idiot."
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Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
There are many reasons for wanting to wear sunglasses when there's not actually any sun in your face: to hide tired eyes, to appear aloof, or so they can act as an invisibility cloak because you just can't even. But, as a public creature (and adult, for that matter), you've entered into a social contract to be civil, lawful, and respectful of others. Leaving on your sunglasses flies in the face of that unspoken agreement and makes it seem like you can't even look at the people around you. It's not patently offensive, but it definitely sends strong "please, you're not worth my time" vibes. And, if you really, truly, utterly cannot even deal with the world, maybe you should just take a sick day?
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Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
If you live your life in a way that ensures you have at least an arm's length between you and any other person at all times, this does not apply to you. But, if you're routinely packed like sardines into subway cars, crosswalks, tiny elevators, and even lunch spots, it's good to be mindful that your clothes aren't inhibiting anyone else's ability to be. A fuzzy sweater and wide-legged pants are totally fine — a jacket with six-inch shoulder spikes and certain Comme des Garçons archive pieces are not.
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Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
If you've worked hard to cultivate your own personal style, and you notice that someone semi-close to you somehow ends up with the same exact pieces you own, a week after she sees you in them, without ever mentioning that she's using you as her style guidebook...welcome to the club. There's nothing wrong with taking inspiration from other people, nor is there any reason not to buy something you loved on another person. What is wrong is creepily SWF-ing someone's look without so much as a nod or acknowledgement. Plus, talking about the clothes only makes fashion more fun. It pays to communicate!
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Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
Athleisure is an undeniable trend, but if you're using its popularity to wear sweatpants, sports bras, hoodies, and sneakers to everything, it might be time to reevaluate. There's a reason you're the only one in the boardroom wearing leggings and a sweatshirt, and it's not because you're more fashion-forward. Athleisure elements can help you get more creative with your professional and formal wardrobes, but treat it as an opportunity, not an excuse.
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Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
You want to look good in your clothes? Totally fair, but you shouldn't pursue that even at the expense of — you know — moving good. Clothes that only let you go from the car to a couch are going to be a major drag. Sure, those heels spoke to you, and that below-the-knee pencil skirt was on your mood board all season, but unlike mannequins and 2-D models, you actually have to get around. Clothes that don't help you with that are a waste of closet space.
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Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
The line between original and "inspired by" is a very blurry one these days, and trends are trickling up as often as they're trickling down. Only extreme fashion purists (and the extremely wealthy) could ever possibly stigmatize a copycat item. But, literal knock-offs — the illegal products you find in a back alley somewhere that contribute to an international network of crime — are always tacky.
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Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
In many instances, being your loud, proud, show-off self is empowering. And, not just for you: Seeing someone else truly loving her own outfit is inspiring, and infectious. But, there are other times where looks come second: when you're at work, or any time clothes should adhere to a certain environment's decorum and propriety. Wearing clothes that are aggressively flashy — not to mention anything that actually lights up or makes noise — is like leaving your high-beams on in traffic. Kinda rude.
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Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
No matter what your ethics are, you should be mindful that your opinion isn't the only one out there. It's important to stick to your moral code, whether it has to do with animal cruelty, sustainability, or feminism. But even if you have a very solid reason why your mink stole is good for the world, it's not entirely appropriate to wear it to your vegan friend's gallery opening. Nor is it okay to wear white to a buddy's wedding who explicitly told you that she's worried about someone upstaging her. And, your favorite Public Enemy shirt that's filled with expletives might not be the best thing to wear when you watch your sister's kids. Whether or not you agree with anyone else's expectations is one thing, but courting controversy at inopportune times is unnecessary.
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Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
The saying goes that the very best things in life are free — the second-best things are very, very expensive. When it comes to style, we'd argue that that's not the case. An item's merit comes from a variety of different things, some of which may contribute to a high price-point, sure. But, if you're basing your shopping decisions entirely on what's most expensive, you have your blinders on.
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