Getty, Bauer Griffin, Zappos.com
The realm of fashion don’ts is a fickle one. Just when you think it’s safe to say things like “never wear socks with sandals,” Alexa Chung struts by wearing frilly ankle socks with open toe clogs. Still, there are certain don’ts I can confidently identify as contraband without fear of an unexpected trend reversal or expiration date. Read on for the fashion missteps you should avoid at all costs.
1. Crocs in the Workplace. Don’t pretend this is coming as a surprise. They're shoes that look like the Whack a Mole game at Chuck E. Cheese’s. Do you really want to wear shoes that make people want to hit you? Yes, the mini kids’ versions are less offensive, and it’s slightly more acceptable to wear them if you’re a doctor, or a chef, or you’re gardening—or you’re a doctor delivering a baby in a chef’s garden—but it still doesn’t make it right.
2. Uggs Anywere Outside a Chalet. The name really does say it all. Unless you're in a Swiss Alps ski lodge, or you are wearing the slipper version and promise never to leave the house in them (they’re just so damn cozy), these fuzzy offenders do not put your best foot forward. And do you know when they are most not okay? When they are worn in L.A., paired with denim cutoffs, some slightly tinted party glasses and in a Coffee Bean. Not sure why, but it’s true.
3. “Hip” versions of Birkenstocks. General rule of thumb: Be wary of any “hip” versions of things that are not hip, but classic. Birks are not the most flattering shoes, but when styled in the right way, on the right hippie, I can get behind them. What you should not endorse however, is a Birkenstock that pretends to be some sort of strappy sandal, yet is still laden down with an EVA plastic sole. Do they think we can’t see that chunk of copolymer? They underestimate us.
4. Logos. If it's small, and if it's on your purse, on your jeans label or on your sunglasses, it's allowed. Otherwise do not go there. Any questions, girl with the Armani Exchange T-Shirt, FCUK zip sweatshirt, Ed Hardy mesh-back cap and Juicy Couture sweatpants? No? You sure?
5. Second Skins. I'm about to get all controversial up in this joint: I’ll say it, I’m not a fan of fur on humans. Because it’s mean, yo. All that aside, even if I was, I’d feel the same about this don’t: Don’t wear any animal material that covers more than 50% of your body—be it a full length fur coat or a leather jumpsuit—or risk hearing people hum “are you a man or a muppet?” as you pass by.
6. Things With Ears. Ask yourself the following questions: "Am I at Disneyland?" "Is it Halloween?" "Am I under the age of 5?" If the answer to all three questions is "no," you should not be wearing things with ears on them. Nope, not even that snow hat that looks like a polar bear.
7. Theme Dressing. I understand. I also went to the army surplus store and high-fived about the BDU shirt I found there. I raided Sheplers for my last pair of Frye boots. And I'm mad about Repetto ballet flats. But wear these articles of clothing in isolation, in tandem with things like skinny jeans and threadbare T-shirts. Do not pair them with cargo pants and combat boots; with checked shirts and stetsons; or with tights and tutus. Unless you're going to a costume party, then it's okay.
8. Jean Imposters. Jeans are the miracle drug of fashion. From skinny to wide-leg, hipster to high-cut, Levi’s to J.Brands, there is really nothing they cannot do. Which is why you must never, ever count on something else to do what they do: Not Jeggings (to be clear, I'm talking about the leggings with drawn-on pockets, not the jeans that are cut to fit tight like leggings), not Jogg-Jeans (a hybrid of sweatpants and jeans) and—excuse our language—not Pajama Jeans (no explanation needed).
9. Merch Table Chic. It has never been, and never will be cool to wear the team’s jersey to their game, or the band’s T-shirt to their show, no matter how winning the team or cool the band, unless said items are vintage versions of the above. And we are talking seriously vintage—like 1977 Led Zeppelin, not 2011 Hot Chip. Yes, we love Hot Chip too.
10. Rollerblades. Unless you are currently appearing in Starlight Express.