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At its best, fashion is subjective, and anything and everything goes. One can argue that in 2022, people did their own thing more than ever before.
Still, some of the most compelling fashion criticism comes in the form of the worst dressed list — a franchise coined by the critic Richard Blackwell. There’s value in curating a “worst dressed list,” not to ridicule, but rather as a barometer of our time, and to gauge what’s working for us (and what’s not) when it comes to pop culture.
It should be noted Blackwell also published a list of “Fabulous Fashion Independents” which was frequently populated by those he deemed “worst dressed.” Some would argue that you’re not really considered cool until you’ve graced the worst dressed list.
In this spirit, HuffPost curated the 10 worst fashion trends of 2022, and we tapped stylists to explain why these looks just didn’t work for us.
Meet The Critics
Beverly Osemwenkhae is a New York- and London-based style expert and the founder of ProjectBee Wardrobe Consulting. Her company services are uniquely designed to build individual images and develop personal style.
Chelsea Volpe is a Manhattan-based fashion and still life stylist, known for her idiosyncratic combination of vibrant color and imagery. Clients include Bloomingdale’s, Estée Lauder, Highsnobiety, Hypebeast, Paper Magazine, Vogue and Women’s Wear Daily.
1. Sunglasses At Night
“The number of 20-somethings I’ve seen bopping around the New York night scene in ultra luxe sunnies is astounding,” Volpe told HuffPost. “Is the darkness not dark enough for you? It is not chic, or frankly practical, to wear a pair of Balenciaga sunglasses to your local Bushwick dive bar, darlings.”
2. Y2K Aesthetic
Osemwenkhae is not a fan of glitter, hearts or butterflies when it comes to dressing. “There’s a few things that should stay in the early 2000s like the Y2K aesthetic. Yes, there’s a cool factor that this trend stems from millennium pop culture, but there’s nothing flattering about dressing like a Bratz doll unless you’re under 21.”
3. Floral Dresses a la Coastal Grandmother
The coastal grandmother look had a moment this summer, but Volpe found the barrage of floral patterns completely basic, and not in a good way. “Wearing your grandma’s bathroom wallpaper in dress form is so dated. Let’s swap the archaic Nantucket floral print for something more interesting shall we?” She suggests, instead, opting for solids.
4. Low-Rise Jeans
Low-rise jeans made a comeback this year, but why? “Low-rise jeans highlight the wrong parts of your body,” Osemwenkhae noted. Showing butt-cleavage or a cheeky thong is not, she argued, empowering. Of course style is subjective, and so are the feelings of empowerment associated with it. But to Osemwenkhae’s point, the first time this trend saw popularity in the aughts, it had shock value associated with it. Twenty years later, showing your thong trend feels a little empty, statement-wise.
5. Cargo Pants
Another pant faux-pas that made waves in 2022 was the prevalence of cargo pants, which cast, in Volpe’s opinion, a silhouette that looks untailored. “Wearing cargo pants the size of a parachute isn’t cute. When your pants look like two garbage bags merged into one tragic nightmare, it’s an issue.”
6. Platform Flip-Flops
This isn’t the first time we saw the rise of platforms in footwear ― the style has lingered since the 1970s. In the 1990s we saw platforms on everything, from Mary Janes to sneakers, but the most offensive, according to Osemwenkhae, is the platform flip-flop, which returned in 2022. She told HuffPost she found the trend “a little bulky and heavy on the foot,” and added when styling resort wear this winter, opt for something more tasteful.
7. Brands That Don’t Take Accountability
Conscious consumerism has been a mainstay of Gen Z, quick to use buying choices to let brands know when they do something uncool, or worse, offensive and inhumane. “Wearing a walking billboard for antisemitism is not fashion forward, loves. Tsk, tsk, Adidas for being complacent with the Kanye fiasco.” Here, Volpe references the outrage people felt over why it took Adidas so long to sever ties with Kanye West, following a barrage of hate speech and antisemitic remarks. She added that “major name brands need to take accountability.” This December, Balenciaga released two campaigns that prompted allegations of the brand condoning child exploitation. TikTokers reacted by destroying Balenciaga goods in their feed.
8. Micro Mini Skirts
How short is too short when it comes to minis? For Osemwenkhae, it’s all about wearability. “There’s a cutoff point where it’s so mini that it’s impractical to wear.” She said she’s ready to retire the mini and bring back slip midi skirts instead.
9. Lingerie As Evening Wear
After two years of lockdown loungewear, Volpe noted, “it’s so easy to throw on a sexy corset top or slinky barely there negligee for a night out.” But according to her, lingerie belongs in the bedroom, and evening wear needs to have a little more substance in 2023.
10. Skinny Jeans
Painted-on pants are passé. Osemwenkhae noted it’s time to trade in your skinny jeans for a pair of “relaxed straight jeans. It’s a style that’s easy to wear and really flatters the body.” She added that this fit is “proportionally appealing, especially for a pear shape.”