12 looks that defined this year

A year in lewks.

by James Anderson
03 December 2018, 8:15am

Spooky shell suits, kooky headscarves, kinky fabrics, dinky sunglasses, and chunky sneakers. 2018 was a year packed full of trends either so ironic, or so beyond-irony, that no one knew or even cared anymore if a look was post-fashion or pre-fashion or anti-fashion, or just good ol' fashioned FASHION!

That western shirts thing
Dressing like country music stars became quite a popular pastime. The more garish the equestrian motifs and the more full-on the fringing, the better. Western shirts, in particular, were an ultra-versatile look, a wearable complement to the patterned carpet at your local Wetherspoons, for example, or ideal attire for a night slumped on the sofa, slugging whisky, yelling 'Yee-hah!' to no one in particular, while sobbing over Brokeback Mountain.

That boys-with-bleached-hair thing
Any trend-focused young man wanting an inexpensive-yet-dramatic hair switch up during the past 12 months found the answer in a cheap home bleaching kit from the corner store. More often than not, the lazy sod couldn't be arsed to do it himself, though. So, if some hottie you got with on a Saturday night out didn’t ask you to help him bleach his hair –– having chugged a few bottles of Sierra Nevada –– were you even alive in 2018?

That overzealous blush thing

Whether you were using powder or creme, Mac, or Maybelline, blush had to be extremely thickly applied across your entire cheek and jaw, to achieve the desired maquillage du jour. Result? A facial-convergence of dozing off on a beach in Shagaluf and getting sunburnt and spinning around the 70s Slovenian disco in the VFD basement.

That boys-wearing-granny-scarves-on-their-heads thing
Maybe that fashion-loving A$AP Rocky is to blame for kicking this one off, but the sight of geeza-lads out and about on the streets all scarfed-up like some Ye Olde Lady Fortune Teller was a thing of joy and quite possibly i-D's favorite look of the year. Please can this trend never end?

That gloriously-tacky PVC thing
Latex’s cheap and nasty cousin cast-off its suburban-kinky niche-wear rep to instead achieve Best-Selling Mainstream Trend Status, in the blink of an eye, in a plethora of un-sexy colors, flogged from all manner of fast fashion outlets. Sometimes it tried to be a bit 'classy' — by pretending to be patent leather — but few were fooled. It provoked much poignant self reflection: am I a dominatrix or am I addicted to shopping at Missguided.com?

That also-gloriously-tacky neon thing
Fluorescent brights a-la 80s aerobic workout videos were unleashed by all 'n' fashion sundry. From Burberry to Balenciaga, from the humdrum aisles of Tesco Metro to the never-ending queue outside Berghain. An easy way to be hi-viz without appearing to try too hard, the neonista could literally glow under UV nightclub lights while boasting to their long-suffering fashion friends that they bought an overpriced Prada Linea Rossa crossbody bag with a broken zip on eBay last week.

That hackers sunglasses thing
A continuation of last year’s Matrix Sunglasses trend but taken to new extremes of how small can sunglasses get, before they’re actually just a sliver of metal across your face? More reminiscent of the specs worn by Acid Burn and Crash Override in Hackers as opposed to Morpheus and Neo. Adopted in recent months by achingly-cool early-noughties' electroclash revivalists (who secretly only listen to Rihanna) and who'll accidentally stamp on your toes at a Yves Tumor concert because you got in the background of their Instagram story.

That dad sports sunglasses thing
Supposedly for sports and hitherto only ever worn by dads, usually while on family holidays or when driving their sensible dad-cars. In more recent times, however, they become the hallmark of @uglyworldwide impersonators, who’d just bought a Namillia T-shirt and might typically upload videos of themselves squatting at the gym, and doing speed in a Mayfair nightclub, all within a 12-hour period.

That I.D. badge wallet thing
Usually favored by corporate drones and employees of maximum security prisons, the most in-the-know style disruptors began displaying their cards and valuables in ID badge-style wallets, clipped onto jacket pockets. Perfect for keeping your Mum’s 'borrowed' credit card handy, or even for showing off a fave celebrity mugshot. (i-D at various times throughout the year spotted a fair few Britneys and Marilyn Mansons, several Courtney Loves and, puzzlingly, one of that bloke who presents BBC's Bargain Hunt).

That perfectly contrived-messy make-up thing
The secret was to make it seem as if you did your make-up in five minutes in the back of a moving car, when really you took hours carefully painting, smearing, and daubing colors across your face, with a break for Instagram stories, and further touch-ups on the DLR from Bow to Bank. Usually spotted in the New Romantic room at Slimelight or on the faces of those who post Vogue Runway screenshots every few days of John Galliano’s most recent Margiela Artisanal collection, captioned with alternations of, ‘Ugh his mind…’ or ‘LIVING’.

That 80s shell suit thing
Maybe you bought the real retro thing from a charity shop (complete with authentic sweat stains of yesteryear)? Or one of the considerably more costly designer updates from the likes of Gucci? Shell suit style –– with all its foisty-nylon, slightly shapeless, nightmarish-Jimmy Savile-used-to-wear-them associations –– made a rustling return to the frontiers of contemporary UK-wide trendsville, in 2018, not seen since the last time they were kitschly revived, by cooler-than-thou fashion types in certain Shoreditch hotspots circa 1999.

That chunky trainers thing
A modern reboot of the brothel creeper shoe, trainers with over exaggerated stacked rubber soles and bulky silhouettes continued to be seen all over the place — the most popular styles c/o Buffalo, or the ubiquitous Fila Disruptor; there were even metallic leather and rhinestone incarnations by Gucci and Margiela. These would often be paired with calculatedly contrasting Lolita-esque frilly socks, nude fishnets or even a secondhand American Apparel tennis skirt. Lots of people are, admittedly, still rocking these clomping specimens of questionable shoe-ery, but, alas, many others are now reaching for a pair of flats, stifling their yawns and declaring them to be “O.V.E.R.”

Additional research by Honor Cooper-Hedges

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This article originally appeared on i-D UK.

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