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Pop-up stores, 'retro,' platform shoes -- enough already!

Looking back at 2009, it's time to say goodbye to some well-worn trends.

December 27, 2009|By Adam Tschorn >>>
  • RETRO:, Brooks Brothers' exclusive "Mad Men" edition suit. Perhaps it's time to let bygones be bygone?
RETRO:, Brooks Brothers' exclusive "Mad Men" edition… (Associated Press )

When it came to noteworthy trends, 2009 did not disappoint. We were bitten by the vampire craze, found comfort by returning to familiar brands such as Pendleton, Woolrich and Red Wing, and couldn't stop talking about what Michelle Obama was wearing.

Men's designers went mad for "Mad Men"-style suits -- as dapper as Don Draper's, favoring shades of gray and old-school Prince of Wales checks. Women did the time warp too -- but stopped in 1985 with animal prints, accented shoulders and thigh-high boots. Both sexes marshaled a martial vibe, with a battalion of epaulets and military braids, armor and chain mail.

We watched "mass-tige" (a mass-class mash-up) become the message, fashion collaborations gain even more currency and the denizens of the blogosphere and Twitterverse move into the front row at the runway shows.

But, as we bid adieu to the current year, there are a few things that have overstayed their welcome: overwrought ideas, overused verbiage, overplayed trends and overexposed celebrities. They're the kind that make us cringe -- even though we in the media know we're as much to blame as anyone for making "Kardashian" click-worthy. Take a look at this list of pet peeves we've taken the liberty of compiling and see if you'd care to join us in saying: enough already.

Pop-up stores

In the beginning, the temporary retail spaces that "popped up" unexpectedly -- and for a limited time -- were welcome novelties that helped cut through the cookie-cutter shopping landscape, attract new customers and test new retail concepts and products. But the recent proliferation of pop-ups has made the strategy more the rule than the exception. And when one retailer pops up elsewhere in the same city, and another hosts serial pop-ups in the same location (Gap, you know who you are), it's clear the concept is starting to lose its snap and crackle.


Correctly used, it refers to someone or something that causes a fundamental reassessment and rewriting of the script. Unfortunately, overuse has changed the game for using game-changer. The housing bubble, Twitter and Bernie Madoff? Total game-changers. The world's largest cruise ship and Manny Ramirez? Not so much. Off to the sidelines.


Champagne doesn't come from Napa Valley, and the phrase haute couture isn't a synonym for "high fashion." Strictly defined by French fashion's governing body, the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture Parisienne, and protected by French law (like the term "champagne"), couture refers to one-of-a-kind, custom-made pieces from member fashion houses. Therefore, Chanel, Jean Paul-Gaultier and Givenchy can create haute couture, whereas Juicy Couture, "Project Runway" alumni and Affliction's Xtreme Couture cannot (that mixed martial arts champ Randy Couture worked with them on the line is a technicality).


Not the man who buys the flowers after you fight, but the adjective that refers to the slouchy, oversized clothes you steal from his closet. We all understood what "boyfriend jeans" were, and we think calling the white, oversized button-front Oxford a "boyfriend shirt" even makes sense. But when the boyfriended bunch blossoms to include boyfriend belts, boyfriend hoodies and even boyfriend maternity jeans, it's time to break up.


On the color spectrum it's neatly bounded and clearly defined -- you can point to it right there between yellow and blue. But when it comes to describing the environmental impact of a product, especially apparel and accessories, pinning down green is as difficult as nailing vegan gelatin to the wall of a yurt. Does it refer to "carbon neutral," "organic," "sustainable" or some combination of the three? And what takes precedence? We touched on the topic of "greenwashing" in April and agree with model-author-environmental activist Summer Rayne Oakes, who said the fashion industry needs transparency -- a way to show the consumer a product's effect on people and the planet at every step in the manufacture of a garment. Until that happens, the descriptor green should be put out to pasture.


The concept of curated retail started with the best intentions;it referred to a thoughtfully edited selection of products that spoke to a certain aesthetic or point of view. Stores such as Colette in Paris and Moss in New York were pioneers in the curated movement. More recently, the J. Crew men's-only shop in the former Liquor Store bar in SoHo also pulled it off brilliantly, showcasing Globetrotter luggage, Red Wing boots, Timex watches and Thomas Mason shirts alongside the J. Crew product. Whether or not you wanted to be him, you understood who the J. Crew man was supposed to be. But as of late, "curate" seems to emphasize the picking and choosing part of the equation and less the thought process behind it. Rule of thumb: Art collections and exhibits are curated; iPod playlists, flea market booths and Facebook friends are not.

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