At best, fashion is subjective and anything goes. It can be argued that in 2022 people were doing their own thing more than ever before.
Still, some of the most compelling fashion criticism comes in the form of worst-dressed lists – a franchise coined by critic Richard Blackwell. There is value in putting together a “worst dressed list”, not to make fun of it, but rather as a barometer of our times and a gauge of what’s working (and what’s not) for us when it comes to pop culture.
It should be noted that Blackwell also published a list of “Fabulous Fashion Independents” which was often filled with what he considered to be the “worst dressed”. Some would say you’re not really considered cool until you grace the worst dressed list.
In that spirit, HuffPost picked the 10 worst fashion trends of 2022, and we tapped stylists to explain why these looks just don’t work for us.
Meet the critics
Beverly Osemwenkhae is a New York-London-based style expert and founder of ProjectBee Wardrobe Consulting. Her company’s 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 colors 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 hopping around the New York night scene in ultra-luxe sunrooms is staggering,” Volpe told HuffPost. “Is the darkness not dark enough for you? It’s not chic, or frankly practical, to wear a pair of Balenciaga sunglasses to the local dive bar in Bushwick, dear.”
2. Y2K Aesthetics
Osemwenkhae is not a fan of glitter, hearts or butterflies when it comes to dressing up. “There are a few things that should stay in the early 2000s like the Y2K aesthetic. Yes, there’s a cool factor to this trend coming from millennial pop culture, but there’s nothing flattering about dressing like a Bratz doll unless you’re under 21.”
3. Floral dresses a la seaside grandmother
The coastal granny look was having a moment this summer, but Volpe found the array of floral patterns to be downright basic, and not in a good way. “Wearing your grandmother’s bathroom wallpaper as a dress is so outdated. Let’s replace the archaic Nantucket floral print with something more interesting, shall we?” He suggests opting for solid foods instead.
4. Low waist jeans
Low-waisted jeans are back this year, but why? “Low-waisted jeans highlight the wrong parts of your body,” Osemwenkhae noted. Showing the cleavage of the buttocks or a sassy thong is not, she argued, empowering. Of course, style is subjective, as are the feelings of empowerment associated with it. But as far as Osemwenkhae is concerned, the first time this trend became popular in things, it had shock value attached to it. Twenty years later, showing off the thong trend feels a bit empty, pointed.
5. Cargo pants
Another trouser faux pas that made waves in 2022 was the prevalence of cargo pants, which, according to Volpe, create a silhouette that looks untailored. “It’s not cute to wear cargo pants the size of a parachute. When your pants look like two garbage bags merged into one tragic nightmare, that’s a problem.”
6. Flip-flops with a platform
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen the rise of platforms in footwear – the style has been around 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 is back in 2022. She told HuffPost that she thinks the trend is “a little bulky and heavy on the feet,” and added that when styling your resort wear this winter, opt for something more tasteful.
7. Brands that do not take responsibility
Conscious consumerism has been a mainstay of Generation Z, who are quick to use purchasing choices to let brands know when they’re doing something uncool, or worse, offensive and inhumane. “Carrying a walking billboard for anti-Semitism is not fashion, love. Ck, ck, Adidas for being smug about the Kanye fiasco.” Here, Volpe mentions the anger people felt over why it took Adidas so long to cut ties with Kanye West, following a series of hate speech and anti-Semitic remarks. She added that “big brands have to take responsibility.” This December, Balenciaga released two campaigns that fueled accusations that the brand condones child exploitation. TikTokers responded by trashing Balenciaga’s merchandise in their feed.
8. Micro mini skirts
How short is too short when it comes to miniskirts? For Osemwenkhae, it’s all about carrying capacity. “There’s a tipping point when it’s so small it’s impractical to carry.” She said she’s ready to retire the mini and bring back the sliding midi skirts instead.
9. Underwear as evening wear
After two years of closed salons, Volpe noted, “it’s so easy to throw on a sexy corset top or a tight negligee for a night out.” But according to her, underwear has a place in the bedroom, and evening wear needs to have a little more substance in 2023.
10. Skinny jeans
Painted pants are passé. Osemwenkhae noted that 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 cut is “proportionally attractive, especially for a pear shape”.