Before arriving in Paris I had the impression, as most of us do, that the French capital is a shining beacon of fashion. This may be true. As long as it’s a rather homogeneous and conservative style you’re after, usually in black. Or black. And definitely nothing shorter than an inch above the knee. Anything more daring is kept strictly to the catwalks and magazine pages.
So, somewhat ironically, living in Paris gave me a whole new appreciation of London’s fashion scene. I looked forward to visiting London, where the occasional short skirt on a night out doesn’t garner disapproving head shakes, and where the individual has the freedom to use clothing as an expression of personality.
Don’t get me wrong. This doesn’t mean I’m a fashion aficionado. Far from it. I would not usually be able to tell you what the latest fashion trend is, much less who’s currently wearing it. And especially since my move to Paris, the latest must-haves in London feature, hmmm, nowhere on my “important things in life” list.
And yet, following a recent conversation with a couple of girlfriends over brunch (you know who you are, girls!), I feel impelled to write about this very topic. In the space of a couple of minutes, I felt my previous respect for London fashion melting away (not to mention my respect for the friends in question!) as our discussion turned to their latest must-have item… a onesie.
“A onesie? What are you talking about? You mean those things for babies?”
“Yes. But they’re not just for babies. They’re for adults.”
“No, that’s not possible. How could any self-respecting adult wear one of those things???” (Insert increasingly incredulous tone.)
“Well, they’re really comfortable. Great for lounging around the house.”
“And that makes up for them being, I am sure, horrendously ugly not to mention extremely unflattering?”
As I swallowed the news of the onesies trend, at this point thinking it was confined to the female population, my mind turned to the poor men of the world. How many boyfriends and husbands had come home from work, looking forward to seeing their girlfriends and wives, only to be met by the unimaginable? Their beloved dressed up in babies’ clothes!
As I was wandering along the street, trying to come to terms with the apparent replacement of the humble pyjama, the unspoken truth that my friends had been too afraid to reveal hit me in the eyes. Londoners are wearing these things in public!!! My shock was absolute. I physically halted in my tracks and stared after the “stars and stripes” onesie that was disappearing in the opposite direction.
I have never liked the idea of fashion trends. I have always wondered who on earth these people who work in fashion media think they are, prescribing what we should wear and how we should wear it. And I find the fashion victims who follow their every word even more baffling… don’t we all have independent minds,people? Not to mention eyes??? These things are hideous!
Yet somehow, a large dose of marketing spend, a decent whack of media time and a few celeb spottings later, and the onesie is a THING. Apparently to the extent that Asda have stocked up on 1 million of them in time to meet Christmas demand. And that’s only one retailer. Add two behemoths of our society together… the cult of the celebrity and the power of the media… and we’re like putty in the marketers’ hands. Ah, how easy it is to convince us all that we desperately want something for which we have absolutely no need.
Do we all remember double demin? Fluro leg warmers? They were bad ideas. Crocs? There’s another with similar justifications. “They may be ugly, but they’re really comfortable.” Nooooo!!! Dressing in something that makes you look like a baby, or a young child at absolute best, is simply not OK, no matter how comfortable it is. Be an individual and buck the trend, my friends. Help me restore my faith in London fashion. You’ll be thanking me a couple of years from now when photos of your friends dressed in these monsters are circulating the internet with ridiculing captions deriding the onesie as the worst fashion faux pas since the mullet!
* Image courtesy of Asda’s Christmas shop