Fads | Dumb Fashion Fads, Crazes, and Trends
by Kathy Batesel
Somewhere along the way, I've crossed the line. I'm just not cool anymore, I guess. I once loved decking out in few fads that raised eyebrows and an occasional snicker.
Alas, the girl who sported the first pair of parachute pants among the four thousand students at her school, who was a bit Goth before there was such a thing, and who paired camouflage with stilettos long before it was stylish has become decidedly unvogue.
Before I give you the wrong idea, let me emphasize that I'm not exactly a fashion plate. I don't spend hundreds of dollars each month for new clothes. In fact, I'd just as soon wear blue jeans and a stained t-shirt most days.
Nonetheless, I still love being able to craft the right look for the occasion. Something that's not just "appropriate," but instead makes me stand out among the crowd. I admit it was a lot easier when I weighed thirty pounds less, but what the heck, individuality is still important to me and I can make the most of what I've got, right?
I think that's the idea behind today's fashion crazes, too. So why do I hate them so much? Take a look at these crazes and tell me your opinion. Am I crazy for disliking them with a passion, or would the world be better off waving goodbye to these newer fashion staples?
Gauging Ears - Ear Gauges (aka Ear Gages)
Ear gauging is the process of stretching a piercing to accommodate different styles of jewelry. Early in the process, most gaugers use plugs or tapers, but there are a variety of styles:
- Plugs - just what they sound like - a cylinder that is usually flared at the back and front
- Tapers - as seen in this image
- Flesh tunnels - rings that line the piercing and leave a hole. Sometimes other jewelry is inserted into the tunnel, such as hanging a chain or dangle earring on it.
- Expanders - swirl-shaped jewelry that works similarly to a taper.
A standard ear-piercing is about a 20-gauge size. As the piercing is stretch, the gauge uses smaller numbered gauges to create bigger holes. A "2" gauge measures 6mm and a "0" gauge hole is about 8mm. I'm sure there's a good reason for this backward measurement, since it's a system that has been in use for many years in industry, but it's a system I've never been able to get my head (or ear lobes) around.
Sample of Gauge Sizes
What do YOU think?
What is your opinion about ear gauging?
Ear gauges make me think of toddlers. They're cute as can be when they're small, but as they get bigger, the cuteness factor wears thin and morphs into something... different. Still unique, but nothing I want to get close to! In fact, sometimes the result is entirely unattractive, which is what I think of larger gauges.
I remember rolling my eyes and thinking my parent's generation was ridiculous for thinking my life would be traumatized by having five piercings in my earlobes, and you know what? I was right. In fact, the only time it affected me at all was during my service in the Army, when I was limited to wearing one pair of simple stud earrings.
Now I find myself wondering if I'm the one being ridiculous when I see a young adult with a hole in his head the size of my arthritic knuckle. I can't help but think that I'm looking at a person who doesn't appreciate or value themselves much, and I've learned to avoid and mistrust people with low self-esteem.
What do you think? Am I being too hasty in my judgments? Or do you think that we're making ourselves look more third-world with every hole we put in our heads?
How Much is Enough?Click thumbnail to view full-size
Quiz: What do you know about cosmetic surgeries?
view quiz statistics
Botox and boobs. Cosmetic surgery may be today's version of "Adults Gone Wild." This looks like it's more than just a passing fad, which I find disheartening.
I understand that we all want to look our best, and I've considered having cosmetic procedures myself. I wouldn't mind just a teeny bit of nip and tuck!
Breast lifts, implants, tummy tucks, face lifts... they can help fight the effects of aging and help us prolong the fun we had "back in the day," so to speak, but c'mon, already! The sheer number of things a person can have done is surprising. Docs operate on butts, brows, ears, nose, foreheads, cheeks, lips, entire faces, legs, arms, thighs, and even the labia.
Is it just me that thinks women today look alarmingly like cartoon characters? When I see some of the Hollywood starlets, I almost expect Daffy Duck's voice to come out of their mouths.
How much is enough? People with Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) might say, "There's never enough." These are people who obsess over their body's perceived imperfections. Although BDD affects only 1-2% of the world's population, about 15% of patients who visit cosmetic surgeons and aestheticians suffer from the mental disorder. Symptoms of BDD intrude on a person's life, sometimes impairing their ability to maintain friendships or function on the job.
With Hollywood leading the way, cosmetic surgeries have become de rigeur these days. I knew a beautiful young woman a few years ago who had gotten a breast enlargement purely because she worked for Hooter's and thought it would help her make more money. She confided in me that she didn't particularly like sex at all, but that she used her looks to get men to buy things for her.
This craze now has children going under the knife so they can fit in better with their peers. In an extensive article on USA Today, Heather Locke looks back today and realizes that the breast enlargements she obtained as a teen cheerleader were probably unnecessary, but she'd gotten them because she felt "stressed" at being flat-chested among her fellow cheerleaders. She's one of the 160,000 - 205,000 children each year who have undergone surgery to look better, according to statistics cited from the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.
This fashion fad makes me wonder if our society has developed a deep hatred for who we are and the things that truly make us unique as individuals. What's your opinion?
What's Your Opinion?
Do you think cosmetic surgery is a craze that has gone too far?
Tats - Body Ink
Tattoos are a fad that fascinates me. They always have. I remember wanting one as a young girl when I first saw one on a man's forearm: a Navy anchor with a ribbon and an inscription. Later, my mother married a guy who had a skunk tattoo below the word "Cappy's" on his upper arm. It caught my eye, too, but when he explained that Cappy's was a bar he liked to hang out in, it lost its appeal and I saw it differently. I noticed how his tanned skin had a weathered look that made his tattoo look sort of tired.
By the time I was a young adult, I knew I would one day purchase a tattoo for myself. After giving it a lot of thought, I designed the one I wanted. I drove to a tattoo parlor near the Army base where I was stationed and shelled out a few hundred bucks to have it embedded in my skin. I'd post a picture of it, but due to its location and content I doubt HP would allow it.
Few people realize I have a 4-inch by 5-inch tattoo. It's only visible to outsiders if I'm wearing a bathing suit, because shorts cover it. It has never kept me from getting a job, but it raised an eyebrow among men I've dated.
"Why would you do that to your body?" is one of the comments my husband made when we started dating.
I suppose my answer is just like the young men and women today who get ink all over their bodies: I thought it was a great way to express something about myself.
The only problem is, I'm not the same person today that I was when I got it. It no longer reflects my beliefs and values very well. I'm glad it's hidden!
Now I see young people getting tats that cover their arms - full sleeves, as they're called - and all-over body tats. Two of my daughters have jumped on the bandwagon and gotten around half a dozen each. Most of theirs can be covered, fortunately, but it still worries me.
There are practical reasons for avoiding tattoos:
- Increased risk of infections, even when extreme care is taken
- Limited job opportunities / quicker to be "let go" if a company downsizes
- Effects on the way others perceive you
- Can mask symptoms of illnesses or make diagnosis difficult
- Tattoo inks aren't necessarily manufactured to sterile conditions. Severe problems have been tracked to four brands of ink that can permanently harm health.
- Tattoo artists aren't all great artists - you can't predict how that photo will look on skin
- They make mistakes, too. If this video wasn't enough, check out these tat fails!
- TATS ARE PERMANENT!
Think about it. There aren't too many things a person will love forever. How many people get married believing it's going to last forever? And how many of them actually get there? The truth is, we're all going to be a different person twenty years from now. Our values and beliefs will change, but our tats won't.
I'm not against tattoos, per se. I still find them fascinating. Cultural marks that help us identify with our heritage and commemoratives that remind us of the birth or death of a child, parent, or sibling are things we will probably never outgrow. I'm on the fence about lifestyle tats like Harley Davidson logos for bikers. I generally think they'd be better off using clothes or knick-knacks to show homage.
But when I see young people adorned with tribal designs they don't understand, animals they've never seen, and names of past loves, I roll my eyes and question their judgment. I couldn't help but laugh when a friend of mine who runs his own tattoo parlor showed me the ink he did for his wife on her leg. He misspelled a word!
Sure, tattoos can be removed for a few thousand dollars and a series of painful treatments, but wouldn't it be better not to face that?
I hope tattoo removal becomes more affordable and less painful in the coming years. I have a feeling a lot of people are going to need it.
Your Thoughts Matter!
Please share your thoughts on these fashion fads. Do you think they affect individuals? Society as a whole? Like 'em, love 'em, hate 'em? I want to hear what YOU think!