Why are “ugly” clothes so incredibly appealing?

Let’s talk about this jumpsuit for a second.

Is it sexy?


Is it pretty, like a flowery dress or a ruffled blouse is pretty?


Is it practical?

Not if you consider that you have to entirely undress – I mean get in the BUFF – every time you want to pee – an awkward situation in public restrooms where the crack along the door hinge is a little too wide. I am speaking from personal experience.

And yet I paid full price for this little Isabel Marant unit from Le Bon Marche in Paris – something I rarely actually do – and I have not regretted it one second. It is one of my all-time-favorite pieces.

In general, I have noticed that over the last 5 or so years of my life, I increasingly gravitate towards clothing and fashion trends that my 20-year-old self would have found downright ugly. I like oversized clothing, masculine styles, strangely-angled cuts, clashing patterns and colors. The weirder the better!


Sunglasses by Stella McCartney, jumpsuit by Isabel Marant

Even worse, I find myself judging people who wear perfectly respectable clothing. I think, “how dare she strut around in those perfectly normal skinny jeans with that nice-fitting teeshirt? Doesn’t she know that she is making me fall asleep just looking at her?” I find myself shocked that extremely attractive women who wear form-flattering clothing attract such massive Instagram followings. I mean, you call that fashion? Aren’t we OVER being pretty yet? I want to comment on her post and say, “you could look really freaking cool if you just added some nerd-glasses and an oversized houndstooth jacket (you know, British-grandpa-style) to that cute little sundress you’re wearing.”

But the deeper question I have been asking myself is, where does this newfound love of ugly fashion come from? Have I been completely brainwashed by what the French fashion industry has told me to like (I’m looking at you Celine – with your baggy, masculine suits and scrunchy-in-all-the-wrong-places boots) or what Instagram influencers wear (I’m looking at you Leandra Medine, with your pattern clashing and socks-with-sandals)? Or have I, like any other true fashion diehard, just gotten sick of buying and wearing the same old things? Is the evolution of taste in all things fashion and art just driven by a raw desire for originality, so that once all of the good stuff has been done, we make and buy increasingly ugly and outrageous things and convince ourselves that they are cool, and most of all, that we know better than the people who stuck to the classics?

leandra weird  Celine  double3

Three of my favorite “ugly” looks, from 3 of my favorite bloggers/designers (from left) Leandra Medine (a.k.a the Man Repeller), Celine, and Reese Blutstein (Double3xposure)

The jury’s out on this one, folks, but what I do know is that I continue to buy and wear and love ugly and outrageous clothing.



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