An Ugly Truth 

The year — in style? Help stop global leg warmers

Wednesday, Dec 27 2006

There is a crisis no one is talking about, an inconvenient fashion truth. Hipsters have been mining vintage shops, thrift stores and resale outlets, tapping the ’80s vein at an alarming rate. If the trend continues, there will be no skinny jeans, no Care Bear T-shirts or even pastel bangles left in our lifetime. Why? Because this year, looking bad was hot, and no other decade can rival the ’80s in unattractive fashion. Ugly was the new pretty in 2006, a year when even TV undid the glam and turned Ugly Betty into a breakout hit. Hipsters citywide craving the ironic I-just-can’t-look-bad-no-matter-how-hard-I-try style have left store shelves empty: American Apparel can’t seem to make leggings fast enough and Urban Outfitters can’t replicate enough ’80s-sitcom T-shirts to quench the needs of the L.A. scenester. Mismatched outfits, bad eyeglasses, bad hair — the more fucked up you look, the cooler you are, because you don’t care, and nothing is cooler in Los Angeles right now than not caring about how you look .?.?. ?or at least looking like you don’t care.

But there is hope for our ’80s fashion supply. To save it and leave some for our children, we need to do something drastic. We’re not saying we should all stop looking ugly, we just need to get our ugly from an alternative trend source. We need to bring back .?.?. grunge. I mean, now that we’ve had some distance, what’s uglier than grunge? The word is synonymous with grubby and dingy. A ’90s resurgence will come as no surprise to those with an ear close to the fashion ground — they’ve already heard the lowand steady rumblings. Pearl Jam released a new album, Throwing Muses went on tour, black nail polish has already become reddish black nail polish, which we all know is basically the ’90s classic Vamp. Half of blond Hollywood has gone brunette — Diaz, Spears, Richie and Lohan are just a shade or two higher onthe Clairol scale from a Duff or Kennedy black. Plaid is on the rise, and so are platform shoes with thicker heels. Can you feel it? A ’90s comeback on the whispering wind.

It is time for a fashion coup. Be brave —you can make a difference. Together we can save the ’80s from played-out oblivion. We can look to the era of the O.G. Gulf War, a different place in time, “a thousand points of light” different. “Read my lips” different.

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Music in clubs will change — instead of Wham! or Like a Virgin–era Madonna, we’ll have Hootie and the Blowfish or the Spin Doctors, maybe some Jesus Jones, “Right Here Right Now.” To be really nostalgic and ironic, someone will put Ace of Base on the turntable. If The Cobrasnake really wants to shock, he’ll wear flannels and trim his signature beard into a goatee.

We are witnessing the ebb and flow of fashion at an accelerated rate. ?Yes, fashion goes in waves, but there has never been as sharp an increase in the abuse of one particular decade of clothing in a single year. Call it the year of the ’80s hurricane. There were more ’80s-era clothes worn this year in Los Angeles than throughout the entire 1980s themselves. It’s time to tell the hipsters to move on. It’s time for them to let go.

Meanwhile, here’s a quick reference guide of fashion items destined to be “so last year” with some tips for what’ll be hot in 2007.

Cease and Desist

Dressing like Punky Brewster


Leg warmers

Polka dots (except classic ? black or navy and white)


Rainbow stripes


Wide elastic belts


Plastic jewelry

Neon sunglasses

Oversize Dynasty ? sunglasses

Members Only ? jackets

Anything evoking ? Miami Vice

Trends We Wish Hipsters Dared to Revisit for the Laugh Factor

Shoulder pads: Boobs, butts, cheekbones — of all the things getting augmented, shoulders ? have yet to make the grade.

Big bangs: We’ll always be in awe of metal hair and Joan Cusack’s Working Girl look, but ? looking like a Staten Island secretary might be a hairstyle history won’t repeat.

Frosted lipstick: Pearly silvery pink made everyone look jaundiced.

Perms: When it comes to hair, people always say we want what we don’t have. We realized ? too late, perms weren’t the answer.

The tuck and roll: Remember the daily ceremony we did with our jeans? First you ? tucked, then you rolled. This time around we skipped the tapered-leg look.

Reebok hi-tops: They will forever remind me of Seinfeld, RIP.

2006 Styles That’ll Stick Around ?(At Least for a Little While)

Skinny jeans: These will probably hold on for ? a bit into 2007, because they happen to look ? good on a small number of people, and those ? people know it.

Flats: Once you get a feel for comfort, it’s hard ? to go back.

Long bangs: They take years off.

’90s Trends You’re Likely to See in 2007


Baggy ripped jeans


Knee socks

Dark lips

Dark-short-hair girls

Greasy Kurt Cobain locks

Baby-doll dresses

Platform Mary Janes

Wide-legged pants

Knit beret hats

Grunge Stuff We Hope Is Not Exhumed

Doc Martens

Janeane Garofalo’s ? Reality Bites bangs

Heroin chic

The androgynous ? perfume CK One

Reach the writer at limmediato@laweekly.com

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