Current Style Trends: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

A hobble skirt, the perfect thing for dubious domestic duties.

Pencil skirts – How can a fashion essential, every wardrobe’s tall drink of water, be a new trend, you ask? Did you see Sarah Jessica Parker in this month’s “Age” issue of Vogue? Looking divine (and disturbingly airbrushed for an issue on “Age…”), she was photographed by Mario Testino in various domestic settings with Matthew Broderick and her kids wearing Marc Jacobs, Chanel and Proenza Schouler’s mid-calf length pencil skirts. While the mid-calf lengths were a trend for Spring 2011, seeing them in a more streamlined silhouette is new. Last time we saw a long, tight garment with a narrow enough hem to impede the wearer’s stride we called it a “hobble” skirt. So while it remains anathema to modern-day practicalities for most of us—anyone other than SJP evidently—damn straight if they’re not the sexiest cocktail party entrance you’ll make this year.

Peplums—Practically an addendum to the pencil skirt trend, peplums—the short ruffle attached at the waistline of a jacket, dress or skirt—are big news right now. Seemingly running counterintuitive to one of women’s greatest figure fears (i.e adding additional width at the hip), their ability to minimize a thick trunk is almost as magical as Harry Potter’s ultimately loyal Elder Wand. If your tastes run to the more casual, pick up a skirt with pronounced hip pockets for the same waist-whistling effect.

Cropped Pants—Pedal pushers, Clam Diggers, Culottes, call them what you like, but brightly colored, cropped, flared (or tapered), high waisted pants have re-emerged for the coming seasons. I know what you’re thinking: Anything that cuts the leg in half can’t look good and ordinarily I’d agree. Yet, the evolving feeling for ’70s romanticism, which is so compelling this coming winter, makes them worth a second look. Forget the exaggerated styles that everyone thinks of from that decade, instead reframe in jewel-colored silky, crepe de chine for a look that is a genuine tribute to the heady, avant-garde, Roxy Music-saturated sensuality of that time. I’ll be wearing mine – when I find the perfect vintage pair – with the highest heels and sheer black tights.

Facial Hair— Suddenly, it’s everywhere. On men, I mean. Looking around as I write this, there is not one clean-shaven man in the café where all the cool art directors grab their triple shot macchiatos in San Francisco’s multi-media gulch. Sprouting from the hipster/Amish unkempt beard look and the greased mustaches on bartenders that are now as de rigueur as the small batch American whiskies served by the coolest bars in town, its a trend that’s experiencing a sudden growth spurt. A recent issue of Marie Claire magazine reported, “Women rate men with full facial hair as more courageous, dominant, trustworthy and confident than clean-shaven men.” With male-dominated politics going the way it currently is, I say, bring on the hairy.

Feet Gloves— Have you seen people wearing them yet? Brace yourself, because chances are you will soon. Designed to provide minimal support for barefoot runners, these skeletor-looking shoes are going mainstream and being worn to the office, the supermarket and even the red carpet. Vibram’s FiveFingers brand of feet-glove shoes are churning out one creepy looking design after another, including a green renewable merino wool choice, and Fila’s versions are not even promoted as running shoes, supporting the notion that more consumers would like to go “barefoot” in their everyday lives.

So which trends do you think represent either the good, bad or downright ugly? It really is up to you. After witnessing a couple of stylish looking ladies this week pulling off some seemingly crazy looks—one wearing polka dot pedal pushers, the other a pleated skirt, straw hat and the dreaded feet glove shoe, I kid you not—and looking absolutely fabulous, I’ve had a fashion epiphany. One thing is for certain, anyone, with their head up high, shoulders back and a twinkle in their eye can look stylish flaunting as far-out a trend as they desire. But let’s leave the facial hair for the guys, okay?

Rowena Ritchie

Rowena is EcoSalon’s West Coast Fashion Editor and currently resides in San Francisco, CA.