The world of fashion has had its ups and downs over the years, and anyone who’s been around awhile had had to bear the brunt of far too many style blunders as they come and go. Yet try as we might, sometimes we just can’t help but fall victim to our own vanity, choosing what’s popular over what’s flattering or, in some cases, what’s healthy. Here are some particularly heinous trends that should never have been and are thankfully over and done with for good…we hope.
1 / 13
Ever wondered why cultured women were throwing their hand across their brow and fainting so much in the 18th and 19th centuries? In most cases it wasn't because that's what cultured ladies of the day did, it was likely due to the extreme constraints of the corset. Laced and tightened around the upper waist to extremes, women often experienced broken ribs, internal organ damage, shortness of breath and inability to eat or digest food, all for the sake of fashion.
2 / 13
Donned most notably in the late 1980s and early 1990s by the likes of Billy Ray Cyrus, Jean Claude Van Damme and the late George Michael, the mullet remains one of the most regrettable haircuts of all time. Business in the front, party in the back, and an eyesore all around.
3 / 13
Not only are they ridiculously unattractive, they're also ridiculously impractical. You can barely see through these faux sunglasses, which don’t really block the sun from our eyes. What begun as a gag in the ’80s became a fashion trend in the 2000s when celebs like Kanye West began to sport the ghastly glasses during concerts and fans quickly followed suit. Thankfully, the brief resurgence didn’t seem to last long.
4 / 13
MC Hammer pants
We can thank MC Hammer for this ridiculous look that took the 1990s by storm. Featuring tapered ankles with a tremendous excess of material in the crotch that sagged down to the shins, these pants looked ridiculous on anyone brave enough to wear them — which, during the height of this trend, consisted of far too many people.
5 / 13
The rat tail
The only hairstyle that could give the mullet a run for its money in terms of sheer awfulness, the rat tail was simply a single, nasty little scrap of hair dangling at the bottom of an otherwise decent haircut. During its heyday in the mid-’80s to early-’90s, the rat tail was seen as a more rebellious look than the mullet. While you can still see the look sported on the occasional toddler and, not long ago, Shia LaBeouf, this is another hair don’t we’re glad to see the tail end of.
6 / 13
Safety pins as jewellery
The punk rock movement of the 1970s often went a little too far. Self-mutilation, for example, was a key way of demonstrating your cred as a tried-and-true punk. Safety pins and other items designed to fasten clothing were instead pierced into the face, ears, nose, mouth and various other body parts. Painful trends like these should have stayed where they belong — in the sewing basket.
7 / 13
Madonna’s 1980s look
Massive earrings, fingerless gloves, a mini skirt on top of coloured leggings, plus 800 rubber bracelets and bangles topped with crazy makeup and giant hair bows. While the look may have made a star out of Madonna, it was not a good fit on the thousands of imitators who tried to look like her, and instead ended up looking like a flea market threw up all over them.
8 / 13
Everyone loved to hate those Jersey Shore goombahs who got the chance to play harder than the rest of us, while turning themselves all shades of orange to attract the opposite sex and, one would presume, the occasional Oompah Loompah. Thankfully, the trend of applying Day Glo orange fake tanning cream to the face has become passé for everyone other than America’s 45th president.
9 / 13
Jumpsuits for men
At some point in the 1970s, it became briefly popular for men to don one-piece jumpsuits, typically boasting ridiculously wide lapels and worn atop a turtleneck (or worse, a dickie!). Thankfully, this trend didn’t last long.
10 / 13
Tight, baggy or ripped, no matter what way they were worn, we just couldn't look good in acid-washed jeans. Most people with their finger on the pulse of fashion had at least three pairs of these chemically treated crimes in their closet. No one was really sad to see this trend fade away.
11 / 13
Uninspired, shabby, colourless and just downright boring, the grunge trend is not one of the most exciting eras of fashion. Much like the music of the time, grunge was an anti-fashion, down-with-the-man movement. Faded jeans filled with rips, moth-eaten thrift store sweaters and more plaid flannel than you’d think would be humanly possible to cram into a single decade — that was grunge. While we kind of miss the music, we were glad to see grunge fashion hit the skids.
12 / 13
Sweater tied around the neck
Was there a more pretentious style trend than that 1980s Yuppie affectation of tying a sweater around’s one neck instead actually, you know, wearing it?
13 / 13
If looking like Old MacDonald was your thing in the ’80s and ’90s, then you probably owned at least a few pairs of denim overalls. Comfortable, yes — flattering in any way at all? Heck no! When it comes to fashion, these frumpy, one-piece monstrosities should be worn only when baling hay or shovelling out a stable.