Pet Peeves

”There’s nowt so queer as folk” they say. I would disagree – “There’s nowt so queer as trends” I would riposte. For some trends are so inexplicably unattractive, so incredibly low on aesthetic value or grace that their existence is physically shocking. I last wrote of my sartorial prejudice in relation to summer clothing; this ‘outing’ of personal taste (and indeed distaste) has no excuse. It is an outburst, a volcanic eruption, likely caused by the bottling of emotions; bottle and carry anything effervescent around for long enough and it tends to explode.

Low slung jeans

I was launched into a state of exasperation and despair when I happened to see a considerable number of young men walking around with their jeans secured (barely) not at their waist, or even their hips or even halfway down their buttocks but at the very top of their thighs; the effect was that virtually all of their underwear was visible to any person walking behind them, especially when walking up the stairs. The jeans themselves are generally denim of an ordinary blue but, due to their odious wearing position, are utterly shapeless and overly full. They make the wearer look slovenly, even though he is likely to have taken considerable pains to maintain the jeans at this position and even more pains to keep his snow-white training shoes ‘splash free.’ The worst thing, a complete reversal of the logic of fashion, occurred when I saw one of the young men, self-conscious about the height of his jeans compared to his companions, push them down further – such conscious effort to make oneself look like public masturbator! Bizarre.

Puffa jackets

If there is one thing I can credit myself with, maturing from the age of brand-lust and trend obsession, it is that I finally began to recognise the importance of shape and silhouette. Puffa jackets are an abomination; the notion of wearing an overstuffed duvet has long baffled me. I do acknowledge that there is a practical purpose to filling the interior of a coat with goose down, but there are more elegant and better-looking ways of keeping the cold away. The lumpy puffa, with the squeaking sleeves, is one of the most disappointing sights; that it covers a human torso, a design of nature that should be accentuated and complemented, is a tragedy.

Trucker caps

Trucker caps, which an acquaintance names as “white trash toppers”, are one of the most irritating trends ever to dominate the accessories departments of clothing stores; that there are scores of better designed items of headgear, from talented, dedicated and tasteful milliners, that have never received the reassuring popularity of the humble baseball cap is bad enough but that the bastard child of the classic baseball cap the ‘trucker’ should figure so prominently, under tiresome, drolly named brands like Von Dutch is frankly mindboggling. The aesthetic itself is cheap and greasy and the value added to any ensemble is at most infinitesimal; but that we have come to this, the wilful worship of trashy personalities who pair overtly expensive French luggage brands with such fripperies of the most meagre irony is far more worrying.


  1. Stephen said:

    You just reminded me of the dreaded parade of offensive summer wear headed my way here in New England. The rancid flip-flops, cheap sportswear of undetermined material, tank tops revealing armpits and moles and yes, struggling fanny packs, mullet optional. Dear Lord. Some days I have to go home and wash my eyeballs out with soap.

    April 4, 2009
  2. Nicola Linza said:

    As always, you nailed this subject matter straight on the head, with examples that are perfection.
    PS Stephen, this line is genius “Dear Lord. Some days I have to go home and wash my eyeballs out with soap.”

    April 4, 2009
  3. Eric Sornoso said:

    My Top Fashion Pet Pevees

    Trendy Individuals

    (1) Currently, wearing Ed Hardy, Afflictions, or both.
    (2) Get your ear pieces off in public if you’re not on the phone.
    (3) Wearing your shades in the club. (It’s not sunny!)
    (4) Wearing Uggs in the club. It isn’t cold inside!
    (5) And Lastly, wearing only 1 brand for your whole outfit. You’re not a model, so don’t wear all the same items. Shoes/Shirt/Pants/Hat etc..

    Eric Sornoso

    April 7, 2009
  4. Melanthios said:

    I too find the trends of which you speak rather upsetting–most especially the low-slung jeans. Additionally, this years-long trend of men hiding in their clothes; it seems that while ladies are traipsing about wearing nothing but their underwear (again), men are hiding in tents. Even the shoes are made to look too small on women, or too large on men!

    Do not, however, get me started on ‘skinny jeans’. What happened to flares? Flares are rather flattering, I feel, and I know many dandies would disagree with me heatedly. And I don’t mind the aesthetic of Oxford bags, but even those were fitted in the hips and waist! Wearing baggy clothes is unflattering on any body type.

    Other pet peeves of mine, in fashion, make me sound rather like my mother:

    1. Underwear showing, or clothes made to look like lingerie.

    2. Straightened hair, that is ragged-cut and messily put up.

    3. Tans. This is a whole rant.

    4. The brand new idea that male models need to be emaciated (they are being told not only to lose fat, but muscle mass. MUSCLE MASS, DEAR GODS). I’ve already given up on the female fashion model.

    5. Clunky dress shoes with no heel. Also the squared-off toes. Perhaps this is the Regency and Rococo fop in me talking, but what happened to men wearing light shoes with pointed toes and heels? I don’t want to have to choose between clomping everywhere like an elephant, or looking informal by constantly wearing converse.

    6. Colour–rather, the complete lack thereof, of colour, in modern men’s clothing. This is an entire rant on its own, involving the argument that most people look awesome in pink.

    Anyway, I have read a few articles, having stumbled here while researching Bertie Wooster’s wardrobe, and I have to say that I greatly enjoy your writing style.


    May 3, 2009

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