At its best, fashion is subjective and anything goes. One might argue that in 2022, people were doing their own thing more than ever before.
Yet some of the most persuasive fashion criticism comes in the form of worst-dressed lists—a franchise created by critic Richard Blackwell. There’s value in curating the “Worst Dressed List,” not for mockery, 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 populated by those he considered the “worst dressed”. One might argue that 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 reached out to stylists to explain why these looks just weren’t working for us.
Meet the critics
Beverly Osemwenkhae is a New York/London-based style expert and founder of ProjectBee Wardrobe Consulting. Its corporate services are uniquely designed to build an individual image and develop a personal style.
Chelsea Volpe is a fashion and still life stylist from Manhattan, known for her distinctive combination of vibrant colors and images. 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 bouncing around New York’s nightlife scene on ultra-luxe sunny days is staggering,” Volpe told HuffPost. “Is the dark not dark enough for you? Wearing Balenciaga sunglasses to the local dive bar in Bushwick is not chic and frankly practical, darlings.’
2. The Y2K aesthetic
Osemwenkhae is not a fan of glitter, hearts or bow ties 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 the cool factor that this trend stems from millennial pop culture, but there’s nothing flattering about dressing like a Bratz doll unless you’re under 21.”
3. Floral dress a la Beach Grandma
The coastal granny look was having a moment this summer, but Volpe found the flurry of florals to be downright basic, and not in a good way. “Wearing grandma’s wallpaper in the bathroom in your clothes is so out of date. Shall we trade the archaic Nantucket floral print for something more interesting? He suggests choosing solids instead.
4. Low rise jeans
Low-rise jeans are back this year, but why? “Low-waisted jeans accentuate the wrong parts of your body,” noted Osemwenkhae. Showing cleavage or a sassy thong isn’t empowering, she argued. Style is of course subjective and so are the feelings of empowerment associated with it. But as far as Osemwenkhae is concerned, the first time the trend caught on with the aughts, it had shock value attached to it. Twenty years later, showing off the thong trend feels a little empty in terms of making a statement.
5. Cargo Pants
Another trouser faux-pas that made waves in 2022 was the proliferation of cargo pants, which in Volpe’s opinion cast a silhouette that looks ill-fitting. “Wearing cargo pants the size of a parachute is not cute.” When your pants look like two garbage bags joined in one tragic nightmare, that’s a problem.”
6. Platform flip-flops
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 ’90s, 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 finds the trend “a little bulky and heavy on the foot,” and he added, when you’re styling your resort wear this winter, opt for something more tasteful.
7. Brands that do not take responsibility
Conscious consumerism was a staple of Gen Z, quick to use purchasing options to let brands know when they did something disgusting, or worse, offensive and inhumane. “Carrying a walking billboard for anti-Semitism is not a fashion trend, love. Tsk, tsk, Adidas for settling for the Kanye fiasco.” Volpe is referring to the outrage people felt over why it took Adidas so long to cut ties with Kanye West after a barrage of hate speech and anti-Semitic remarks. She added that “major brands need to take responsibility”. This December, Balenciaga released two campaigns that fueled accusations that the brand condoned child abuse. TikTokers responded by destroying Balenciaga merchandise on their feed.
8. Micro miniskirt
How short is too short when it comes to minis? For Osemwenkhae, it’s all about wearability. “There’s a point where it’s so mini that it’s impractical to wear.” She said she’s ready to retire the mini and bring back the slip midi skirt instead.
9. Underwear as evening wear
Volpe noted that after two years of no formal wear, “it’s so easy to wear a sexy corset top or slinkys that barely have a negligee on them for the evening.” But she says underwear belongs 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 the cut is “proportionally flattering, especially for a pear shape.”