5 Trends that Need to Stop

It’s always fascinating to me which fashion trends catch on with the general public. While the fashion and entertainment industries introduce hundreds of cutting edge looks each year, only a handful are adopted by the masses.

Sometimes, they’re good.

More often, they’re bad.

And, unfortunately, are often adopted by people who bare little resemblance to whomever originated the trend. Yet people of all ages and sizes quickly copy the look, often with questionable results.

That’s what’s I’ve been thinking in recent weeks, after seeing the same poorly-executed looks again and again. Here are five trends that need to stop NOW, in my opinion:

Unnatural Hair Color

Peacock. Lavender. Burgundy. It’s cutting edge on Katy Perry and Kelly Osborne; no so much on the “average Jane.” Yet I keep seeing unnatural color hair on women all up and down the east coast. And frankly, it looks bad – because 95% don’t bother with the upkeep. Weird hair color is jolting enough, but weird hair color with obvious roots? Tacky.

Blue hair

Leggings as Pants

I wasn’t fond of leggings the last time they were popular in the early 90’s, but at least most women had enough sense back then to wear tunics or sweaters to cover their bottoms and thighs. That filter is long gone. Which means you can’t help but see every nook and cranny – and on some, it’s enough to make you lose your lunch.

Leggings as pants

I was walking behind a heavy-set woman who was wearing black leggings with wide, lime-colored vertical stripes. With every step, her thighs jiggled and swayed so much that those vertical stripes looked like slithering snakes. It was creepy. Not to mention inappropriate.

Easter Egg Colored Nails

Pastel colored fingernail polish is nothing new, and peach and light pink have been around for decades. But light green, sky blue, and lavender haven’t, and when you paint each nail a different pastel color, your nails look like Easter eggs. Which is cute when you’re 10. Not so much when you’re 30. How do you conduct serious business with a woman whose fingernails look like a child’s? You don’t. All you wonder is what other child-like behavior she’s going to bring to the table.

Pastel Fingernails

Unshod Feet

I danced en pointe for five years, and it ruined my feet for the next ten. I refused to wear open-toe shoes until all the callouses were gone because I didn’t want to offend anyone. Sadly, most others couldn’t care less – and now nasty feet seems to have become a trend. Unsightly nails, cracked heels, hair on toes – how is this fashionable? Or is it just laziness?  I don’t get it. But I do know that if they can’t be bothered with the grooming they show in public, I don’t even want to know what’s going on with the grooming they keep private.

Unshod feet

Spray Tans

For centuries, a tan was the sign of the working class, because only laborers toiled in the sun. Then, when Coco Chanel stepped off a yacht in the South of France sporting a tan in the 1930’s, it became a sign of the leisure class, because only those with money had time to bask in the sun. By the 1970’s people were slathering themselves in baby oil and laying on reflecting mats to “catch some rays.” By the 1990’s, they were wishing they hadn’t as skin-related cancers skyrocketed.

Today, most people recognize the dangers of tanning and stay away from it. Like smoking, it hasn’t been fashionable for years. So what’s up with the renewed interest in spray tans? And orange, no less? Hardly anyone looks good in orange.

Spray tan

We were sitting at a stoplight a few days ago when my 16 year old daughter started giggling.

“What?” I asked.

“See the woman next to us?”

I looked. It was a woman in her 40’s who had burgundy hair, false eyelashes, a spray tan, and fake fingernails.

“What about her?” I asked.

“I was just wondering what kind of deep conversation you could have with someone that shallow.”

I’ve been thinking about that comment for days.

Because it’s profound.

It shows an insight most people don’t grasp in a lifetime.

Yes, the woman may very well be smart as a whip and sweet as sugar.  But all the artifice speaks to a fascination with the superficial, not scholarship.

And first impressions tend to be right.

Because how you look and act conveys so much more than you realize.

There’s nothing wrong with following trends; in fact, in business, it’s vital to be seen as current instead of out of date.

But you have to be careful which trends you follow.

  • Crazy colored hair and nails are off-putting in most business situations.
  • Unkempt grooming says you’re not into details.
  • Trendy but unflattering clothes implies you’re desperate to fit in – and that you’re a follower, not a leader.

Once you learn how to “read” others using their manners and dress, you’ll save a lot of time and trouble.

There’s a scene from Up In The Air (2009) where George Clooney’s character is schooling Anna Kendrick on how to quickly get through airport security lines. It’s about as politically incorrect as it gets, but it’s startlingly accurate:

That stereotyping he does? That’s what others do to you all the time, whether they say it or not.

Those five trends I listed:

  • Unnatural Hair Color
  • Leggings as Pants
  • Easter Egg Colored Nails
  • Unshod Feet
  • Spray Tans

All have one thing in common: they’re off-putting to others. Because we look at the trend instead of the person wearing it. It becomes a barrier.

If that’s what you want, by all means, drive people away.

But if that’s not your goal, think carefully about which trends you follow. It will make a huge difference in how people respond to you and ultimately impact your bottom line.

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Diana Pemberton-SikesDiana Pemberton-Sikes is an image consultant and creator of Signature Style Blueprint, an ecourse that shows women how to create a signature style using their best features and favorite accessories.  Want to be as memorable as Audrey Hepburn or Jacqueline Kennedy?  Signature Style Blueprint will show you how.

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18 Comments

  • Patti Walls

    Reply Reply August 1, 2014

    Great article. I couldn’t agree more.

    • Diana

      Reply Reply August 1, 2014

      Hi Patti – Thanks! Glad you enjoyed it!

  • Norma Van Horn

    Reply Reply August 1, 2014

    I’d like to add to that list: Pierced noses, lips, or eyes and tattoos!

    • Diana

      Reply Reply August 1, 2014

      Hi Norma – Yes, those can all be distracting and off putting…

  • Nancy

    Reply Reply August 1, 2014

    I’ve heard that many 20-something women in a nearby small town are mistaking black yoga pants with dress slacks, and wearing black yoga pants to job interviews. It’s not easy to get a job, but wearing yoga pants to an interview makes it quicker to decide not to hire you.

    • Diana

      Reply Reply August 1, 2014

      Hi Nancy – Sadly, I’m not surprised. Twenty somethings have been wearing club clothes to work for over a decade thinking it’s okay. Sad.

  • Valeria Martin

    Reply Reply August 1, 2014

    A Facebook friend posted a photo of fingernails embellished with a “collage”. I wrote a comment about how this can be a hindrance to getting a job. A woman whom I did not know responded condenscendingly that not everyone is looking for a job in the corporate world. Did not respond to that comment. You have a pick your battles. I don’t work in the corporate world, but it’s still important for me to look presentable.

    • Diana

      Reply Reply August 1, 2014

      Hi Valeria – I have nothing against a beautiful set of nails, but I DO take issue if they’re distracting or prohibit someone from doing her job. And you’re right – you do have to pick your battles. Some people just don’t want to hear anything.

  • Della DeYoung

    Reply Reply August 1, 2014

    Pull up those pants!

  • Linh

    Reply Reply August 2, 2014

    As a millennial in her mid 20s I’ll add this one: sheer tops. I’ve been trying to find nice tops for both work and personal for the past year and I keep coming across blouses with such thin material that the entire thing is just see through. I asked a sales associate helping me at The Limited how I was supposed to wear the tops they were selling in the store to work, and she says everyone just buys camis to wear underneath. Ugh! So sick of thin/see through tops.

    • Diana

      Reply Reply August 2, 2014

      Hi Linh – It IS a challenge to find such tops; both of my teenage daughters complain about it all the time. Try Banana Republic, Piperlime, Zappos, or even Amazon.

  • MEL

    Reply Reply August 2, 2014

    And speaking of details: “Unkempt grooming says your not into details.”
    Wrong form of you’re! Your is possessive.You’re is a contraction for you are.
    “Your unkempt grooming show that you’re not into details.”

    • Diana

      Reply Reply August 9, 2014

      Oops! I’m typically into details, but occasionally have trouble proofreading my own stuff. 🙁
      Thanks for the catch! It has been corrected!

  • Claudia

    Reply Reply August 4, 2014

    I would like to add ultra-heavvy make-up worn by certain “celebrities” on reality shows. Their appearance is often followed by Youtube tutorials or magazine articles on how to do that kind of trompe l’oeil on your own face. Nobody bothers to mention that what works on camera, where shoots from wrong angles can be edited out, will never work in real life because people will not limit themselves to looking at your face straight on. You end up on “People at WalMart” with that camouflage-like piebald light and dark face.

    I loved your article. For years I have been wondering why people choose trendy over pretty. In Germany, a few years ago, dark roots were a trend: A lot of very light highlights combined with a regrowth of an inch or so, often purposefully left dark by the colorist. When I asked my hairdresser, she sighed and said: “I kno, I know, it is ugly, but it’s trendy!”

  • Marian Rothschild

    Reply Reply August 13, 2014

    I thought I was the only one who was bothered by these five trends. Thank you Diana, for nailing the truth. When I see a woman wearing leggins outside of the gym, I want to whisper in her ear, “Oh, you forgot to put on a skirt!” She would probably roll her eyes, cuss me out, or slap me. And I know it’s popular, but I can’t put green or blue on my nails…maybe I’m old school, but it seems gross. The unnatural hair color, if it’s done sparingly it can be cute. It’s a personal statement, I get it. Unfortunately, personal grooming has taken a nose dive in this country in the last twenty years. So sad.

    Marian
    (www.marianrothschild.com)

  • Julia

    Reply Reply August 21, 2014

    For me, if I never see another pair of Ugg boots (or their lookalikes) again it will be too soon. They make me go ‘Uggg…h’. How they can ever have been a good idea is beyond me.

    In a classic winter climate in the city full of dirty rainwater and dirty melted snow their suede finish, must soon get ruined, and they are hardly summer attire – though, that said,I have seen on a 30C+ day in the UK someone in Uggs (or lookalikes), skimpy denim shorts and a ‘show your middle’ tied off summer top – what was the wearer thinking?. I often see examples where the backs have sagged down around the heels from behind and they just look plain sloppy. For me they are always a trend that should never have seen the light of day.

  • Anonymous

    Reply Reply April 22, 2016

    My mum’s a doctor. She says blue nailpolish makes you look dead and yellow like you have liver failure…

    • Diana

      Reply Reply April 23, 2016

      LOL!

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