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Britain's 10 worst fashion faux pas


1st Jan 2015 Fashion & Beauty

Britain's 10 worst fashion faux pas

Shell suits, Crocs, Uggs and ‘mullets’ have been named as the most unforgivable fashion mistakes of all time in a survey of 2000 UK adults. What's your biggest fashion faux pas?

Originally intended for sports use, the shell suit emerged in the 1980s but rapidly became ‘lounge wear’. It topped the list of fashion faux pas above tattoos, flares, Crocs, fake tan, platforms, oversize jeans, Uggs boots, tracksuits and ‘bell bottoms’.

The poll of 2,000 UK adults, commissioned by anCnoc Scotch whisky, found that the infamous ‘mullet’ hairstyle was voted 11th biggest fashion mistake, ahead of corduroy, ‘sagging’ and ‘low-rise’ pants, camouflage wear and Hawaiian shirts.

According to the survey, 56 percent of us wear items now that they would never have dreamt of wearing in the past.

Almost half of us keep items of clothing in the vain hope that they will eventually come back into fashion.

Here are the 10 biggest Brit fashion mistakes:


1. Shell suits

Clothes don't come much more synthetic than the 100% polyester disaster that was the 1980's shellsuit phenomenon.

Shellsuits moved from the tracksuit of choice for sporting stars, to a popular look for breakdancers and musicians. They were worn by everyone from Rod Stewart to Elton John and Missy Elliot to Jimmy Saville.

For some reason, the style was predicted to have a big comeback in 2009—thank goodness that never materialised! 


2. Tattoos

Love/hate tattoos

A controversial entry at number two, tattoos are a bit of a marmite accessory; love 'em or hate 'em. 

The popularity of shows like Channel 4's Tattoo Fixers, however, suggests there may be more of us living with tatts–gone–wrong than we're willing to admit…


3. Flares

Flared jeans roll back into fashion every five years or so, and every time they seem to roll back out just as fast.

In the 1970s however, they captured the world's fashion consciousness, with a little help from the infamous designer Mary Quant who incorporated the flare into her collections. Everyone wore them with pride: rock 'n' roll stars, football hooligans, businessmen—everyone. 

We're fans on the flare, and are hoping for that 5-year resurgence to come about soon.


4. Crocs


The world is divided into two sets of people: those who wear Crocs, and those who irrationally despise them. 

Tim Gunn, fashion consultant to Time magazine, described the footwear as resembling "a plastic hoof. How can you take that seriously?"

The shoes aren't without their fans. When Prince George was photographed wearing a pair at a charity event in 2015, sales of the shoe reportedly increased by 1,500 percent


5. Fake tan

When fake tan goes well it should leave you with a natural, sunkissed glow. But when it goes wrong you risk being left decidedly more orange.

The average woman will spend a month of her life applying fake tan, according to research compiled by Superdrug, so it can't be that unpopular. 


6. Platform shoes

Both male and female disco fanatics of the 1970s wore their platforms high and proud. The more fabulous styles could even feature flashing lights, or live aquariums built-into the platform. 

The Spice Girls brought the platform back in the 1990s, and with the UK currently in the midst of a 90's resurgence platforms and flatforms are  indeed making a comeback. Looks like the risk of sprained ankles isn't a deterrent to yet another generation of platform fans. 


7. Oversized jeans

The '90s heralded the inexplicable popularity of trousers with wider legs than waistbands.

Flared jeans looked tame compared to these designs, which were often so baggy their wearers were constantly having to pull them up.


8. Uggs

ugg boots

Ugg boots first became popular with surfers in Australia during the 1970s. After movie theatres in Sydney banned Ugg boots and ripped jeans, the style became synonymous with rebellion, and so of course, even more cool. 

Their popularity has declined in recent years, and the style is now rarely associated with fashion. In fact, speaking to The Telegraph, Australian stylist Justin Craig said, "The only people who get away with wearing them are models, who give out the message: 'I'm so beautiful, I can look good in any cr*p.'"

"Anyone else should go back to stilettos. In my opinion, uggs have only one future: as the best form of contraception imaginable." Ouch. 


9. Tracksuits

In the early years of the noughties, every celebrity worth their salt was spotted in a pink, Juicy Couture, velour tracksuit. Kim Kardashian, Paris Hilton, Britney Spears, Coleen Rooney, you name them, they wore it. 

This lounge-wear-turned-fashion-statement style was so popular, that it is now enshrined in the Victoria and Albert Museum, which is probably where it should stay. 


10. Bell bottoms

Another guilty–jean rounds off the survey. Bell-bottom jeans were tight from the waist to the knee, at which point they flared out dramatically to the floor. 

During the 1960s they were adopted by hippy counter-culture, but the popularity of Sonny and Cher brought them back to the mainstream in the late 1970s. 

Bell-bottoms made a comeback in the 1990s and 2000s under the guise of 'boot cut' jeans. The more subtle flare would dominate women's fashion for the next 10 years. 

Feature image via Capetown My Love