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Fashion & Style

Kate Middleton: Style Icon Or Drab Duchess?


10 Things Women Shouldn't Be Caught Dead In

by Sarah Powell
25 February 2013 45 Comments

Even if you don't consider yourself astute when it comes to fashion, there's no excuse for not following these very simple rules...

What are your top fashion faux pas? Here’s my top 10:


Some women who are over the age of 5 and do not genuinely work on a farm wear dungarees. Dungarees. The one-piece of doom, a pair of jeans that just carries on going. Ever heard of double-denim being a disaster? I thought so, dungarees is no exception. You WILL look like an overgrown child. Some may think that by not conforming to fashion, trends and all things normal you can wear dungarees. Well you can’t. Ever.


Why do women continue to do this? I was watching an American show recently, and a character who is a mother of two had her hair in pigtails. Seriously, sack your stylist. Pigtails are for cute school girls, and anyone under the age of 9. When you get to an age of double figures you cannot justify this hairstyle, so you most definitely can’t justify it when your 25.

Leggings as trousers

Trousers are trousers. Leggings are leggings. The two combined? Disaster. Honestly, I have never come across someone who thinks wearing a pair of leggings, with a top that doesn’t cover up the backside (and more importantly, the front side) is a good idea. You can be Kate Moss and it would still be one of the worst things you could do. This is simply because even on the peachiest of bums leggings aren’t complimentary. Yes, they are the epitome of comfort, and yes, they are the best item of 80s clothing to be resurrected. But to wear them as a trouser, don’t do it girls. It’s almost as bad as going out in a pair of tights, but it’s probably less flattering.

Everyone has good and bad underwear in the drawer, but what constitutes as bad underwear doesn’t quite cover a pair of flesh coloured knickers.

Flesh-Coloured Underwear

Nothing, I repeat nothing, says unsexy quite like a pair of undergarments which matches your skin. Everyone has good and bad underwear in the drawer, but what constitutes as bad underwear doesn’t quite cover a pair of flesh coloured knickers. Note this piece is what women shouldn’t be SEEN dead in, so if you are going to wear your finest fleshies, try not to do it in a Bridget Jones manner and get caught wearing them – avoid that red-faced moment at all costs.

Football Shirts

The thing about a football shirt is, actual football players wear them and its fine – it’s allowed. Then men wear them to support their team, which is also acceptable, but also comes with the inescapable connotations of drinking excessively and showing lots of emotion whilst shouting at the TV. Let’s face it, you don’t look at a man who is wearing a football shirt and think about him ways that you probably shouldn’t. So think about all those things, and place that shirt on a woman. Women wearing a football shirt shouldn’t happen. Call me a snob if you like but honestly it is not a look we should be going for. If you want to wear one, wear it to bed. A place where the lights are off and everyone is unconscious.


The world of the shoe is a big place, so therefore the world of comfortable shoes is a big place. So I am putting it to you, that if you don’t want to wear your not-so-comfortable heels to work, instead of wearing a pair of white clumpy trainers, get yourself down to Primark and get some comfy flats for fiver. Just as comfortable, less hassle and quite frankly less ugly. Trainers are for running, the gym and any form of exercise, they are not for everyday use and to wear with skinny jeans (that was aimed at Cher Lloyd). Just like a football shirt, a man can wear trainers in his everyday life and get away with it. Women can’t.

Bum Bag

Ah, the bum bag. The accessory that was born and lost in the 80’s. Where it should stay, forever more. However, I have seen many a woman wearing the bum bag as a serious item of clothing and not show an ounce of shame. I must offer a sincere word of advice, and say if you want an accessory that requires minimal effort or general holding, invest in a messenger bag. It sits on your shoulder quite comfortably, no aggravation, no fuss. And it looks nice, which is a significant improvement on a bag that sits around your waist.

Just like a football shirt, a man can wear trainers in his everyday life and get away with it. Women can’t.

Kitten Heels

The kitten heel. I know, even the name makes vomit literally rise into your mouth. Well I hope it does anyway, because this is the shoe which is universally looked down on by most women. Key word: most. In 2010 a high fashion magazine reported that kitten heels were bang on trend for the autumn. Why? That is literally the only word that goes through my head. Luckily it wasn’t a trend that caught on too well, because kitten heels are buried deep, deep into the fashion closet, where they should stay for the rest of time.

Tie Dye

All I can say about tie dye is this: we’re not in 1969 and we are not at Woodstock. Fun for the kids, not fun for a grown woman (or man, in fact) to wear.


Ah, the hair band of the 90’s, last seen on Kelly Kapowski in Saved by the Bell. Yet still sold on market stalls all over the country, do people buy them? I hope not. Quite possibly the worst form of hair tie ever created, hopefully never to be worn again. Especially the velvet ones, remember them?

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Howard 10:12 am, 28-Jan-2012

In 1989 I remember being surrounded by girls wearing bum-bags, allstars, dungarees and pigtails who looked incredibly attractive. Mind you, everything looked incredibly attractive on £25 pills, so you are probably right. Agree with you about the leggings though.

Dick Ritchie 4:03 pm, 28-Jan-2012

Who's the Doris in the picture, please?

griff 4:08 pm, 28-Jan-2012

ok, what are kitten heels exactly. this seems like a good time to ask.

MC Gayshed 4:10 pm, 28-Jan-2012

Adriana Lima

merv the perv 4:15 pm, 28-Jan-2012

you defeated your own argument with that photo *wanks*

Seamus (from the Vengaboys) 4:24 pm, 28-Jan-2012

You read my mind, Dick Ritchie!

Tony 6:06 pm, 28-Jan-2012

You've a lot to learn about men....It just reinforces my opinion that women NEVER dress for a man, they dress primarily for other women. Mostly men don't give a shit what women do or don't wear. The rest of the time its for the bedroom so anything goes.

sarah 6:45 pm, 28-Jan-2012

Well I suppose it's a good thing this wasn't aimed for those women who dress for men then.

Well weapon 10:17 pm, 28-Jan-2012

It saddens me that this site can feature an article in which the wrong your/you're is used.

Des 11:28 pm, 28-Jan-2012

The comment about football shirts is spot on,i'm a big football fan but i've not worn a football shirt since i stopped playing they look like sausage skins even over the most svelt of bodies,and just plain awful on women.

Tut Tut Tut. 2:46 am, 29-Jan-2012

Sarah Powell, don't you know that proof reading is the pinnacle of a fine piece of writing?

Kayleigh 11:41 am, 29-Jan-2012

As this isn't Facebook, I can't 'like' things, however I 'like' Well Weapon's comment. Agree on kitten heels, horrible things.

Charley 11:44 am, 29-Jan-2012

What a Brilliant Article. Spot On! Next Time I See a Girl/Woman With a Scrunchie Or Leggins As Trousers Etc... I'll Consider Stopping Her And Reading It Aloud!! Haha. Well Done On The Article. Amazing Job!

Sarah Powell 12:19 pm, 29-Jan-2012

Tut Tut Tut, you are right. Silly typo by me, thanks for reading anyway and noticing such an error.

Gemma hill 12:32 pm, 29-Jan-2012

I have to agree with almost everything written here apart from the kitten heel! I am a tall girl and cannot wear heals without feeling like the giant from Jack and the beanstalk. Heels are great with that going out dress to make your legs look long and lovely but what about the working mothers who have to push a pram on the school run before going to work in their black fitted work dress. Do we really have to wear horrid flat shoes that make us look like we are about to do a 12 hour shift on a hospital ward? Next do a lovely range of work shoes with kitten heels that make look smart and yet pratical so we don't look like complete wallys trying to walk in high heels with a pram!

FLaming8ball 12:52 pm, 29-Jan-2012

The one constant about fashion? Everything comes back in at some point, the resurrection or 'inspired by' clothing is the foundation of it all. To condemn items which you have a personal dislike for and are just not 'in' at the time is closed minded to say the least. Not just that but getting on a soap box and shouting about stuff you hate is massively boring! I'd be far more interested in things you like and find fashionable? No one wants to hear your problems, what are your solutions to these fashion faux pas? Stop moaning woman...

Jade m 1:46 pm, 29-Jan-2012

Well done sarah very proud of u love ya loads xxxxx

Natasha 3:05 pm, 29-Jan-2012

Sorry, but this article is just bad. Yes there are things that are not flattering on any girl but you name a few out if your own taste and different people have different tastes. If you don't look good in leggings and think it is the same as wearing tights maybe you are buying bad quality ones instead of the Jil Sander and Calvin...

cav 12:28 pm, 30-Jan-2012

piss off - trainers ! wtf are you on about - born and bread in liverpool and its my BIRTHRIGHT !

cav 12:30 pm, 30-Jan-2012

piss off - trainers ! wtf? im Liverpool born and bred - its my BIRTHRIGHT !

micky 11:59 pm, 31-Jan-2012

i don't agree with everything in this article but enjoyed the read and some things made me laugh. Everyone has a right to have an opinion so i don't see why everyone is being so negative and rude, if u don't like it then be as brave as this young lady and write an article so everyone can comment on it. well done miss Powell look forward to your next article

Gemma hill 9:39 am, 1-Feb-2012

Well said Mickey! Sarah you wrote a great article outlining some issues facing everyone no matter where they come from regardless of their birth right??! Trainers in women should not in my opinion be worn over the age of 17/18 max or those still in further education!

cav 12:45 pm, 1-Feb-2012

freedom of expression and freedom of speech are everyones right - i dont see how my comment somehow makes me "not as brave as miss powell" i actually enjoyed the article and rather FOOLISHLY thought that a tongue in cheek response was ok - (wow was i wrong jeeeeeezus ) however i think we can ALL agree - that leggings as trousers is NEVER acceptable !

cav 12:50 pm, 1-Feb-2012

ps bum bags are BACK apparently !

Adam 1:49 pm, 7-Feb-2012

Football shirts are just that FOOTBALL shirts be it male or female. Footballers wear them for WORK , Even the knobs that do wear them and frequent GREGGS wouldnt be seen dead in a greggs shirt would they ????? @ Howard , I feel ya man . I once apparently , in the ,spent about 2 hours Chatting up a poster of Sasha , in The Tunnel Club Glasgow , with his flowing locks !(I dont do bumfun but , not got a problem with it either!)

Jimm Leaf 7:43 am, 15-Feb-2012

Had to stop reading when you said you thought it was alright for men to wear footbal shirts, it isn't !

Hads 5:13 pm, 20-Feb-2012

I agree with everything Sarah wrote, dungarees/ pigtails/ leggings/FC underwear/ football shirts/ trainers/ bum bags/ kitten heels/ tie dye & scrunchies should all burn in hell.

bumbulus mcdoodle 12:43 am, 2-Mar-2012

awful sexist article that reads like a 15 year old's failed attempt at GCSE creative writing

Michael 11:07 pm, 18-May-2012

Ahh Howard, I just let out the biggest giggle sitting here alone in my room. Well played sir, £25 are indeed the fucking best.

Liv 9:49 pm, 25-Feb-2013

dungarees, velvet hair scrunchies, bumbags, trainers, leggings... you have exactly described the uniform of any hipster girl walking along any high street anywhere. the 90s is currently a huge trend - your 'rules' of fashion are basically irrelevant.

ali 10:02 pm, 25-Feb-2013

Do the football kits count if they are painted on ? surely not

RB 10:05 pm, 25-Feb-2013

In general agreement for the most part, with the following exceptions: Bum bags? Does anyone REALLY wear them any more? Puffball skirts would have been. Better option. Some girls can get away with pigtails into their twenties, but only if they're very, very pretty. The second you get your first laughter line, loose 'em. Why stop at dungarees. Let's be honest - most girls do not look good in jeans. The ones that do have perfect - and I mean PERFECT - legs. In any other case they make your ass look fat or your legs look skinny - If you in any doubt, don't wear them.

Iz 11:23 pm, 25-Feb-2013

Had this article been funny ( it wasn't) then it would have had a purpose - to make people laugh. Without jokes it was futile. As a woman - I really think we should lay off other women's dress sense and allow people to wear what the hell they so choose. If someone wants to wear leggings, and trainers, whilst their hair is in pigtails with a scrunchy holding up each side, then jolly well let them. However 'big' their arse may be. Yes, fashion can be pointless, granted, but if someone chooses to follow that then it's at least a sign of their self expression. Women's mags are constantly telling us what we should and shouldn't wear - I don't want the same from the ST!!!!

Mave 2:28 am, 26-Feb-2013

I do like a women in a nice pair of 70's/80's adidas trainers though...or even those Fila boots they used to wear to the raves circa 1990 and I think a lot of other fellas do

Chris 12:52 pm, 26-Feb-2013

To be honest, most of the girls i see in a tie die t-shirt, trainers, bum bag and leggins look great. The rest = no way.

Carlton Whitfield 12:45 pm, 27-Feb-2013

those hats with ears are pretty disturbing. i always see those grown women and asume they are primary school teachers who still want to be be daddys little girl. oh and shoes that are clearly uncomfortable or ill fitting are nasty too.

Lucy 12:48 pm, 23-Mar-2013

clearly written by a woman who lives around a bunch of fat women in tie dye cropped t-shirts and see through leggings with massive dog-chewed trainers and greasy hair up in a scrunchy + bumbag. Could actually be most American tourists. I'm sure you would have us all walking around in grown up outfits completely devoid of nostalgic fun. -nude underwear is a must if you are going to wear white, and although men are visual- women with confidence and an amazing body are sexier. -Dungarees actually do look good on a few girls- maybe not youuuu- but we can't have everything. -Pigtails-can be fun and sexy! Look at the image used- she's amazingly stunning. -Unless you want to have ridiculously ugly bunions from walking to work in your £5 uncomfortable shoes and loosing one when you run for the train- then wear trainers. -If you are going to wear a slight heel, Kitten heals-add a little bit of elevation and from talking to most men- they hate women in flat shoes- apparently legs look better with a slight heel? Who knew! -Making tie dye stuff- is a lot of fun. Like the t-shirt that changed colour when it was hot- admittedly you get back circles around your armpit- but who cares! You're having a laugh and reliving memories. -Bum bags are useful if you are a car parking attendant or a hipster around Shoreditch. I never understood scrunchies after the age of 10- so I will let you have that one. Point is- just relax and enjoy it.

Sehena 10:34 am, 17-Apr-2013

I'm sorry but I will continue to wear what I want no matter what anyone says. This includes and is not limited to tennis shoes and pig tails. Perhaps even tie dye. What I do agree with you on is the overhauls, leggings in general (ewww!), and bum bag. I'm guessing that's what we in America call a fanny pack. I absolutely hate those. They look ridiculous and absolutely are, in my book, a fashion don't! As for overhauls I haven't worn them since I was at least ten years old. They were adorable with little flowers on them. Now if I was going for comfort I would totally wear a pair of them now. I usually wear my none cutesy comfort clothes around the house so no one would see me in them anyway.

Ford 4:41 pm, 21-May-2013

Can't believe i've just been told I can't wear trainers cos i'm a woman. My classic adidas samba rock and there is nothing worse than those horrible tiny slip on shoes which expose toe cleavage and look like they cost about 50p from the market

Lucy 4:06 pm, 10-Jun-2013

So wrong. I bet you any money Candice Swanepole would look hot in leggings, or dungarees and pigtails for that matter. I guess if you're ugly it's harder to look good so you have to start making lists of what not to wear...ho hum.

SP 11:24 pm, 22-Jun-2013

Blimey - this has escalated. Where's the fun without a little controversy, eh?

Felicity 9:54 am, 5-Apr-2014

This is an extremely sexist article! Everyone has their own tastes in fashion and they can express their views strongly, but this is just a load of ignorant waffle. I hate it when some people say women can't pull of an item of clothing that is seen as a 'masculine'. Maybe its just you who can't pull off wearing a pair of trainers or a football shirt. Not everyone is as insecure as to always want to look like they stepped out of a fashion magazine every time they leave the house. Sometimes I just lose faith in my gender. Why should we dress the way men want us to? Is this the way we use the freedom that the women of the past have struggled to give us?

Becks 10:47 am, 18-Apr-2014

Awful article. Football shirts can be for both men and women to wear. What's the point in football and supporting your team if there's not a shirt to wear to show off the pride. As for dungarees and leggings etc. let a woman be. If she wants to wear these then she can. Too many people judge these days. Really bad article.

Andreas Landgren 8:06 pm, 8-Jan-2015

This maybe the worst thing I've ever read haha.

Guinut Aloïs 2:21 pm, 19-Jan-2015

Some of you might wanna google isabel Marant kitten heels... Worn by all the Vogue crew! Still not convinced? Check out my how to wear kitten heels without looking mumsy outfitspirations

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