Five trends from our teens that we'd rather forget
Topshop is stocking scrunchies, Alexa Chung is wearing dungarees, Katy Perry and Shannon Woodward dressed up as Daria and Jane and the current stock of Urban Outfitters looks freakishly like my wardrobe the year I started high school. Postmodernism is alive and well in the world of fashion, as trends from the 90s and early 2000s get another airing, all in the name of 'retro'.
But not everything ages well, and I'm a bit concerned that all this nostalgia's going to go a bit far. Some trends need to be permanently buried, and the photographic evidence burned. Don't believe me? Here are just a few looks from my youth - modelled by music and Hollywood's finest - that really need to stay dead.
At the height of success for teen stars like Britney, Christina and *NSYNC, you were nobody without your customised denim. It wasn't enough to wear a pair of low-cut jeans. They had to be bastardised beyond belief. Mariah Carey was one of the first do this, when her stylist started tearing the waistband off her jeans and fraying the edge to show more flesh. After this, those waistlines just got lower and lower. It's no coincidence these super low-cut jeans became popular at the same time as the brazillian wax.
But a flesh-revealing hipster cut was not enough. If you really wanted to show off, you had to customise, add detail or go mad with the bedazzler. This rarely turned out well - see Raven Symone's GCSE textiles-esque customised nightmare. Britney and Christina were, unsurprisingly, the queens of the OTT denim. While Christina liked texture, Britney went for applique flames (as you do), and who can forget her and Justin's ill-advised attempt at couples couture? Double double double denim. ARGH!
This is a look that never should have crossed the Pond. While some of the more edgy US stars can pull off low-slung combats & cropped sporty tops, most British bands just couldn't. The style took off for the mainstream in the UK thanks to All Saints, right from their first song I Know Where it's At, but perhaps most obviously in the video for their cover of Under The Bridge, in a period where I was obsessed with copying Nicole and Natalie's amazing updos and had these trousers in burgundy (sorry).
All Saints were the queens of the combat, and made them look effortless. Unfortunately their subtle offering soon got the pop treatment, with the Hear'say girls, Girls Aloud and (of course) Steps all stepping out in huge parachute-style versions in primary colours. The results were not so good. From here, it just got ridiculous, when someone decided that the next logical step was to crop these combats (see Christina Aguilera, above) or ditch the strappy tops for bras and bodywarmers, a la Ciara. This look has not aged well.
'Boho' is another example of a trend that was passable when it started, but soon got ridiculous to the point where we'd all rather forget it. There are few people who look good in a gypsy skirt, and even Sienna Miller, postergirl for early 2000s boho, is struggling here. As for Michelle Heaton, when I look at this picture it makes me pine for the days when she went out in her underwear. The problem with this trend was that people (stylists) forced it. Sienna's embroidered scarf tied loosely over a skirt might just about work, but try the same thing with a silk scarf over jeans, add a corset top and hoodie and you look like you dressed in the dark (I mean you, Melissa Joan Hart). As for Ashanti, I don't even know where to start, the too-long trousers or the tablecloth top?
Oh, and I couldn't talk boho without featuring a video from Joss 'translatlantic' Stone.
Yes, she's even wearing a PONCHO.
Hankie Hem Tops
Hankie hem tops were horrible. They were fine if you had the abs of Beyonce or the friends-era figure of Jennifer Aniston. For the rest of us, they were essentially an arrow pointing right at your belly. Or, you know, the bit below. Magazines at the time talked about how they 'streamlined' and 'accentuated' curves. Whatever. They were horrible, but they were popular. And the problem was, along with hankie hem tops came hankie hem skirts, made of scarves or sarongs sewn together. And then came this...
Oh, Drew. Drew, Drew, Drew.
Extreme Visible Panty Line
When stars go out in their underwear now, there's no beating about the bush (no pun intended). There's no pretending it's meant to be classy. But there was a time when various celebs tried to make VPL an intrinsic part of the their outfit, by bejewelling it and showing it off. The most memorable of these was probably Kelly's Brook's ridiculous Julien Macdonald headline-grabber with matching pants, or Christina Aguilera's barely-there black lycra number with deliberately visible g-string. Elizabeth Hurley also tried it out, deliberately flashing her pants at a wedding (no, really). But nothing tops the inappropriate and inexplicable visible thong poking out from Gillian Anderson's Eduardo Lucero dress at the Vanity Fair Oscars party. Didn't someone tell her?
There are plenty of other trends from the turn of the milennium that are best left dead and buried, and I'd love to hear which ones you remember - either fondly, or with deep regret. Before I go, I couldn't resist showing you my all-time favourite WTF look from the popstars of my youth...
Samantha Mumba, we are not worthy.