Get it together, Austin! or: FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, LEGGINGS ARE NOT PANTS

Fellow Austinites, what’s wrong with y’all? Just when we start getting more publicity in fashion magazines, we have to spoil it with fashion faux pas that some of you call “trends.”

Like this trashy but popular number:

Dear people who are doing this: why won't you go away?

Leggings aren’t pants! And they look especially silly with Ugg boots on warm winter days. Also, don’t even pretend you’re Audrey Hepburn in your ass-cleaving leggings and ballet flats. Get yourself a pair of cigarette pants or skinny jeans and skip the leggings.

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Gap + Valentino = Ruffle vomit

I know high-fashion models are supposed to look miserable, but take a look to the left. I don’t think she has to try very hard.

She looks like she’s wearing a peacock costume for Halloween. Or, in the case of the pants, like she needs a bikini wax. This clothing is terrible. It represents exactly how high-falutin designers feel about the mall-goers of America: you vant a taste of my style? HA! I vomit ruffles on you!

This is the widely celebrated collaboration between Gap and Valentino. Yes, that Gap. You know, the place you go when you want a good pair of jeans or a well-fitted t-shirt.

Gap is basic, classic, and kind of bland, the place that is safe for young moms who don’t quite want to go the Eddie Bauer route, and for young women who have graduated from Forever 21.

Gap is vaguely trendy at best. Gap tried to be REALLY trendy a few years ago: I walked in looking for a cardigan and walked out empty-handed and confused. I was surprised at strange cuts, holes in clothing and random appliqués. I was pleased when eventually all that crap ended up on the sale rack and Gap returned to its regularly scheduled programming of bland.

But Gap is at it again. It obviously wants to be J.Crew, which has successfully turned into some kind of pseudo-designer and jacked up its prices. J.Crew used to be a slightly higher-end version of Gap, but then it decided to mix in trendy pieces with its classic staples, and to charge $350 for a feather tippet. WTF a feather tippet is, I don’t really know.

J.Crew did this successfully because a) its customer was always a bit more wealthy and b) it showed you how to mix trendy with classic, so you’ll only be half-embarrassed when you look at photos of yourself twenty years from now.

Whereas these photos….right now…. are making me blush. And I’m not even wearing the crotch-ruffles!

–By Tara Cavanaugh

FUGLY ALERT! Cargo leggings

The leggings-are-not-pants argument goes lots of ways. They don’t offer any structure. They leave nothing to the imagination. They’re cold. They couldn’t be any less flattering, since they leave all of your jiggly bits free to ripple in the wind. And they don’t even have a place to stick your chapstick.

But I underestimated the fugly power of leggings. Turns out, they CAN be even less flattering whilst offering a place to put your keys. Enter: cargo leggings.

Because cargo pants were so long ago (hello, middle school), we seem to have forgotten how incredibly unflattering wide-leg khakis with large pockets can be. Because leggings are so prevalent now, we’re no longer surprised at how unflattering they can be. So designers decided to put the two together, in a brilliant marketing plan to both make leggings seem “new” again and to provide fodder for them to laugh at us endlessly while we jiggle not just our booties, but the change in our pockets.

I promise you, unless you’re a size zero, leggings do absolutely nothing to flatter your body. Leggings are really only relatively cute on girls whose thighs don’t touch (hate you, btw). But cargo leggings? Please. They’ll make even the leanest of women look like they put their knee pads on the wrong way before going rollerblading.

–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