Sunday, January 8, 2017

2016 Fashion — In Emojis!

Every year, as I compulsively consume every fashion article I can get my hands on, I make a note of the trends and file them based on whether I like or dislike them. Here's my take on what the clothing and accessories world had to offer us in 2016. This year marks an interesting change, as it's one of the first years in which I've been able to try several of the trends while they're still hot (as opposed to the next year, when they're usually still popular, but just lukewarm).

Almost all the trends I took note of in 2016, I appreciated, with the small exception of two broader, overarching themes I found disturbing. Let's get those out of the way first.

Androgynous clothes 😒

There has been a pervasive undercurrent in the fashion blogs for quite a while: dressing "ugly" on purpose. No one ever comes out and says it as such, but that's got to be the basis behind normcore, cavalierly mixing prints, and draping oneself in such baggy clothing that the body is completely obscured. It's no secret that I like looking like a princess, and that I have nothing good to say about the selection among men's clothing. Therefore, women dressing androgynously has to be one of the biggest threats to my love of fashion! For the sake of all that's fun and feminine, please make it fashionable to look like a girl again!

I hesitate to post any example pictures of this style, because my "androgynous" might be another woman's "super-sexy," and I'd hate to offend anyone, but suffice it to say, the word androgynous has been thrown around an awful lot in relation to what's fashionable.

Combining athletic clothes with nice clothes 😠

Since athleisure is the biggest trend since sliced bread, it's unsurprising that athletic clothes are getting crowbarred into a lot of outfits. Unsurprising, but unappealing. I don't like the look of sneakers with pretty skirts. I don't like the look of ugly T-shirts stuffed under beautiful dresses. Sometimes combining a nice item with a dressy item can slightly tone down the dressy item so that it's more appropriate to the situation. But if the two garments are at such opposite extremes, I don't think it works. If you're going to go fancy, go all the way—don't throw on some running shoes or a sweatshirt and call yourself edgy.

Slip dresses 👍

One of the main reasons I've been especially conscious of the ugly-pretty-juxtaposition trend is because throwing an ugly shirt on under a silky slip dress has been quite the thing to do this fall. If my memory serves me correctly, slip dresses started getting promoted heavily over a year ago, but they haven't lost any steam! Without an ugly turtleneck underneath, I am quite fond of slip dresses—so simple yet so elegant, and so much less fuss than your standard bodycon. Quality slip dresses are expensive, so I don't have any (I won one on an eBay auction for 6.64$ once, and the seller canceled the order!). But if I ever find a cheap alternative (that isn't really an actual slip, which are in abundant supply at the thrift store) I would still love to give it a try.

Flared and wide-leg pants 😃

Two years ago, I noted there was really no style of pant that was completely off-limits – and that hasn't changed – but 2016 definitely marked a turn towards the bottom-heavy end of the spectrum. While most authorities assure us that skinny jeans remain a "wardrobe staple," there's been a distinct decrease in the number of "mom jeans" on the market, and we're counseled that if you really want to look fashion-forward, you should slip on a pair of flares. And I'm not talking those conservative boot cuts—I mean back-to-the-70's bellbottoms and palazzo pants you could swim in. I'll always be a die-hard lover of wide-leg pants. My favorite pair of flares is the crazy-colored ones I wore to finish off my Z look last month, but on Friday, I scored a ridiculously huge-legged pair of flared jeans for 9 dollars, and they're going to be my next "big" thing!

Chokers 😎

I freely admit that choker necklaces are probably not the most flattering style, but that doesn't stop me from loving them. I had a go at the ribbon choker in the summer, and just finished constructing a classic black velvet one today! Although I really enjoyed the statement necklaces that dominated our jewelry choices for the last several years and can't wait for them to come back bigger and better than ever, I feel like a choker is an interesting enough alternative to keep me happy.

Lace-up necklines 😀

Around this time last year, you couldn't look at a fashion site without lace-up tops jumping out at you from everywhere. I loooooooved it (of course! "Anything with laces" is part of my Lookbook profile)! The craze has died down somewhat, but it's not so dead that I was stopped from making my own lace-up neckline from a hoodie drawstring in December. The lace-up flood was fun for a while, but I think it might have gone too strong and burned itself out.

Lower heels 😌

Yes, for as long as I've been an Unfashionista, I've been obsessed with heels—the higher the better! But just as last year when I acknowledged that maybe it would be OK to not have huge platforms on everything, this year I've fully learned to embrace the low heel as a potentially fun alternative. Apparently other fashionistas have, too, because lower heels are having a moment. I haven't found many in my price range (I don't think they've fully caught on yet among the non-blogging crowd), but by this time next year, I expect I'll have added a few to my collection! Kitten heels may be part of this wave, but I still strongly favor a sturdy block heel. (Also pictured, shoes with pom poms, which were a trend this year that I fully expect to be a flash in the pan).

Velvet boots 😍

Speaking of shoes, hands-down my favorite trend this year was the velvet boot, even though it's most frequently found in quite a high heel (some habits are hard to break). This style seemed to appear like magic early in fall and totally captured my heart by mid-December. I love it in the ankle length and the thigh-high; I love it in all imaginable colors; I'm especially crazy about it in the crushed variety. Velvet in general was a trend this year, but the velvet boots take the cake. I've seen so much of them that they will surely be passé by the time I can afford a pair, but at least I managed to snag a sort of consolation prize in the form of a similarly styled sandal.

Off-the-shoulder 👸

Although I already mentioned it earlier this year, I would be remiss if I did not include 2016's biggest breakout trend in my year-end review. The off-the-shoulder top was unquestionably the most fashionable item to be seen in all summer. I love it in theory, but can't wear it in practice, since I have this hangup about my shoulders (not to mention strapless clothes give me the heebie-jeebies). Fortunately, the slightly more flattering and less precarious cold-shoulder top came in a close second, and I'm more than happy to pick up / make a few more shirts like this if the style stays "in."

Bell sleeves 😊

Reigniting my childhood princess fantasies in a much more achievable way than off-the-shoulder tops, bell sleeves are an old-fashioned look that I've always admired but rarely been able to find. My gold velvet top is my only one that meets the description, and even so, its sleeves are only moderately flared. However, flared sleeves (and, in fact, statement sleeves of all sorts) had an ongoing moment in 2016, so I foresee some of them eventually hitting my closet before the trend totally fizzles. (You'll notice that half the bell-sleeved tops pictured also have an off-the-shoulder fit!)

A look at the past and the future

Every year, my fashion review gets a little longer and wordier (as I have more years to reflect on and revisit)! So get ready for a long look at my predictions and predilections of years past!

In last year's year in review, I expressed my love for several fashion items that I didn't have, but would love to have. Well, since then, I manage to acquire a significant number of the items on that list. I've bought two tutus (the perfect number), though neither are quite as fluffy as I'd hoped. I made my own below-the-knee pencil skirt, but it never fit right, and I scrapped it after two wears. I also constructed my own crop top matched set, purchased a pair of lace pants with a shorter liner (that I have yet to wear) and a sheer skirt that I'm still trying to make a shorter liner for, worn my hat on the back of my head (it didn't work as well as I'd been hoping), and got a pair of open-laced shoes (though it still sits unworn in my closet). On the whole, I did very well in making my dreams into reality. I never really jumped on the jumpsuits train; I did buy one for 10 dollars, absolutely hate it, and ultimately decide there's no reason to wear an awkward one-piece when you can just wear a two-piece matched set. Apparently the whole world hates my jumpsuit as much as I did, because almost a year later, I'm still unable to sell it on eBay, even new with tags. Shaggy fur vests were another style I still haven't managed to attain. Although I purchased 2 thrifted vests to try and fill the void, the shaggy fur and overall length were completely lacking. I feel like this trend has already passed its prime, so I don't know if I'll ever get one for myself, even though they're finally approaching my price range (under 10 dollars). Never got a dress with a cape either, and I'm pretty sure I'm over it.

Last year, I expressed my dream for cargo pants to make a resurgence. That didn't quite happen yet, but I hear tell that cargo pockets were a big motif on the spring runways...which means I may still get my wish! Corsets, my other hopeful contender, didn't really become popular, but I decided not to let that stop me, wearing them for everything from Halloween (in a repeat of last year's costume) to a night out dancing! I decided corsets are timeless and too interesting to miss out on.

I don't have a specific wish this year—2016 was so full of trends I could actually sink my teeth into that I didn't have time for too much wishful thinking! All I can hope is that 2017 is just as exciting!


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