Ugly cute or just ugly?

Oh, fuck it. The 90s are back. I live in a college town; all the little co-op residents are walking around in crop tops and high tops. Just in the past week I’ve seen more braids and scrunchies than in my first grade class picture.
So now, because the stores are full of ugly things, I’ve had to ask myself: Is it ugly cute, or just ugly?
Help me decide.

English nanny booties?

Lenses: bigger and geekier and not chic-ier.

Geometric prints?


Plaid minis?

The floppy vacay hat?

The 1994 satchel?

–By Tara Cavanaugh

Say Yes to the Dress

Other titles considered for this piece: I Hate the 90s; Why Do Designers Want Us to Die a Slow, Starving Death?

2010 has been a mean, mean year. Fashion designers are mad, very mad, and they’re getting revenge on us. What we did, we don’t know, exactly. But we must have done something to deserve this onslaught of leggings, jeggings, bodysuits, jumpers and rompers. And whatever it was that we did, it must have been bad. Because leggings, jeggings, bodysuits, jumpers and rompers truly look good on… preteens with eight percent body fat, which those of us with purchasing power and credit cards are not. I mean, could they be more obvious about how a healthy body is completely undesirable? Oh, right:

(Thanks for making it clear, Urban Outfitters.)

And it’s not just jeggings etc. It’s the resurgence of the 90s. Yes. Look: Hipsters are doing it. It’s so confusing. I don’t even know how to define the 90s. (Probably because I was I dunno, busy being in 4th grade and wearing GapKids.) To me, it was this strange time of cropped tops, grunge, short angular haircuts, shoulder pads, flannel, and high-waisted jeans that gave 90210’s Brenda a behind of elephant proportions.

The way I’ve seen this 90s business manifest itself again is with tucked in flannel button-downs, loose bright white tops, ripped jeans, and high-waisted short shorts that are distressed with the pockets poking out from underneath. And Keds. Basically the horrid Halloween costume the otherwise stunning, statuesque Mischa Barton has donned for two years: a New Kids on the Block hobo who weighs thirty pounds more than the emaciated Mischa actually does.

There IS one reprieve, and I’ve seen it everywhere in spades: the dress. The summer dress. I’ve seen it patterned. Plain. Bright. Neutral. Whatever. It is one of the most universally complimentary and comforting items to wear right now. And incredibly versatile. You can wear one to work with a cardi. You can wear it with a jean jacket for cooler nights. You can wear it with a long necklace for the weekend, as a bathing suit cover up, and other (happier) etceteras. [And note to this poor American Apparel girl featured up here on the right: Honey, if I was wearing that ensemble, and my legs looked like that in those jeans (which they would), I’d be making that face too.]

But most importantly, unlike jeggings etc., you can eat carbs whilst wearing dresses in public and not feel like people are judging the size of your thighs. Dresses highlight and enhance the waist. They play up and support cleavage. And they hide the curvier lower half that we often would like to pretend does not exist. And in 80-plus degrees, dresses give you a BREEZE.

So class, in conclusion, say yes to the dress. Coz it looks like, for a while, it’s the only defense mechanism we have.

–By Tara Cavanaugh