Are Ruffled Tops Actually The Worst Summer Fashion Trend?

This week, as my friend and I sought refuge from the million-degree humidex, it dawned on me: summer clothes might be terrible.

Correction, they most certainly are terrible. And as we roamed around two malls looking for anything we could possibly wear without wanting to crawl into a freezer and stay there for the duration of June, July, and August, we looked at each other and decided that summer style might be . . . bad.

Which I know is controversial. It’s controversial because I like denim cut-offs and old t-shirts and whatever you see worn in Dazed and Confused or Reality Bites as all of us do, and it’s controversial because summer is supposed to be a reprieve. It’s supposed to be the season where you can just wear the outfit without worrying about coats or jackets or scarves or hats or whatever else you wear to complain about windchill (while I stand atop a hill during a snowstorm, cackling). You can’t really get summer style wrong–you literally just wear whatever’s available, and most stores have figured out how to make the whole thing relatively pain-free.

Until this year.

At some point, someone decided that 2017 would be defined by one of two options: ruffles (no, absolutely not), or shirts with absolutely no shoulders at all. And that’s all. Shirts with no shoulders. Or ruffled tops. And also ruffled tops with no shoulders.

2017 is a cruel mistress.

So I riddle you this: which trend is worse? Ruffles, as we know, are impossible to yell in. Should you need to confront somebody for any reason, it will be infinitely harder when you’re wearing ruffles. “Imagine having to scare somebody in ruffles,” another friend and I pondered recently. “Imagine having to really yell at a person with so many additional layers.”

And I can’t. I can’t imagine it because the more ruffles I wear, the more I feel less like a #fashionista and more like a portrait of Alexander Hamilton circa 1791. Ruffles connote fanciness. A type of delicateness. They exist in their own microcosms, adding texture that nobody necessarily asked for and volume that manages to hit me in the wrong place, always. Some of us just can’t wear ruffles. Leading me to my next point: none of us should wear tops with the shoulders cut out until we understand why any of this happened in the first place.

At some point, shirts had less fabric, taken from the one place nobody asked to have fabric removed from. Why don’t any of the shirts this season have shoulders anymore? Where did the shoulders go? Who just wanted their shoulders tanned? Is this trend about space? Is it supposed to look spacey? Are we supposed to look like futuristic astronauts, still somehow embedded in the style norms of the early 2000s? Why did this happen? Who is responsible for this? Is it the aesthetic reflection of the year so far? (Read: seriously messed up?) Who–specifically–is trying to make us suffer?

And I mean, the other clothes this year are fine. They kind of have to be, particularly when compared to the two trends that have made shopping impossible in the year of our lord 2017; clothes that somehow deprive us of the joy that normally corresponds with walking into the mall and deciding that this will be the day you buy something you do not need. Now, I just walk around depleted, wondering where all the shoulders went and whether they were maybe used to make the ruffles found on every possible item. I wonder whether it’s personal–that maybe I said something bad about another trend and the industry heard me and decided to drag me in a very round-about way. I wonder if I could yell at somebody while wearing ruffles, and then try some on and realize I can’t even yell at myself to take it off. I wonder if the no-shoulder trend has anything to do with that scene in Mean Girls where Regina George wears a cut-out tank top. And then I wonder if I’ll ever have that type of power.

So I riddle you this: which trend is worse? Knowing time is closing in–that at one point I will undoubtedly have to make a choice and compromise everything I believe in because the sale price is just too good–I ask that you make me feel a little less alone. These trends are bad, right? I’m not alone in likening ruffle tops to the cronut? I’m not alone in wondering who took our shoulders away? Am I screaming into the void? Are we human? Are we dancer?

Or are we all just very aware that I will be in ruffles come November because my winter look is Victorian Ghost.

Tags: Anne T. Donahue, Fashion, shopping, style, topstory, trends

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