2008 fashion goes under the microscope

The hits and misses are revealed, then dissected

The fashion choices of 2008 ranged from bouncy skirts and charming jackets to prison-inspired garments and plastic footwear. While every individual has the prerogative to create their own definition of “style,” there are some trends that should probably just disappear. Here’s a look at this year’s fashion best and worst:



Pencil and voluminous skirts:

This year, it was all about the right fit and a sense of balance. Pencil skirts, when paired with a loose-fitting, soft top, lent an air of sophistication. On the other end of the skirt spectrum, voluminous, high-waisted skirts in lengths ranging from mid-thigh to right below the knee were a throwback to an earlier time. The look became modern when paired with slim blouses, simple belts and a heavier shoe.

The leather/lace effect:

Some of the best looks of 2008 were mix-and-match. The most effective pairing? A feminine texture or style with a rougher, more masculine one. Vibrant floral dresses toughened up when topped with leather coats and lace blouses looked great with tuxedo-style jackets. Motorcycle boots were the easiest way to incorporate the trend, especially when worn with lighter dresses and girly colors.

Cropped or shrunken jackets:

Shrunken jackets in materials ranging from leather to cotton to wool not only warmed us up, but they extended the functionality of outerwear to more than a mere something to check at the door. These coats worked with jeans, skirts and even evening dresses, proving that size really doesn’t matter.



If one wanted to observe the fashion trends of a jail, one would watch “Prison Break” on television. Not only were jumpsuits not flattering, they were also far from convenient: Does one really want to remove an entire outfit to be able to go to the bathroom? Onesies look good on one kind of person - and that person spends the first two years of life in a diaper. Fashion-forward or not, taking sartorial advice from a baby is not wise.

The maxi skirt:

If it doesn’t look good on Kim Kardashian and Jessica Simpson, it’s probably best not to approach the trend. Floor-grazing, ill-fitting skirts were all the rage this year and although nobody loved the (no) underwear-flashing craze, sometimes less really is more. These skirts made tall women look Amazonian, made short women look like dwarves and gave everyone a general look of slovenliness and desperation. Or maybe that was just Jessica Simpson.


A jewel here or there is one thing, but looking BeDazzler-happy is another. Statement jewelry was all the rage in 2008, but most people didn’t realize that they needed to decide what kind of a statement they actually wanted to make. Once again, Mom’s advice rang true: Always remove one accessory before leaving the house. Wearing Lanvin’s Grasshopper Head pendant with David Yurman doorknockers and carrying Prada’s jeweled satin purse might have been saying too much.



The metro guy:

Ignore the other men who poked fun; they’re just jealous. The “metro” trend was the best look of the year because it made men look something that they haven’t for a long time: neat. Button-up cardigans, pressed slacks, plaid shirts and even dorky glasses contributed to the look. Man-bags were optional.


Ed Hardy:

Either get tattoos or don’t. Stop indulging macho fantasies in a shirt that is no longer cool now that my 15-year-old brother, 38-year-old uncle and 59-year-old neighbor simultaneously own it.


While these didn’t come out in 2008 or even gain popularity this year, the fact that grown men (and women) still wear them to social events is perplexing. Wear them while gardening, put ‘em on your poor children - heck, indulge a culinary fantasy and pretend to be the orange-Croc wearing Mario Batali. Just please stop wearing them to supermarkets, baseball games, malls and dinner parties.

Male makeup:

Sometimes a woman will feel like going au natural and skip all makeup. Said woman will then run into another, done-up friend of a friend at the grocery store and will immediately regret that decision. However, this year, women had to look out for some new competition - men. Artistic freedom is great and so is Fall Out Boy, but for the love of Johnny Depp in “Pirates of the Caribbean,” stop it! Dear men: Stray eyebrows need grooming? Fine. Have a bad pimple and need some cover-up? Go for it. But truly, women don’t want to have to fight a man for the last stick of MAC’s limited edition Metal-X eyeliner. I’m talking to you, Pete Wentz.