It’s a funny old business, fashion. An item of clothing we wouldn’t be seen dead in one day is transformed into desirable attire the next or, rather, creeps up on us unnoticed until we find ourselves wearing legwarmers without shame. It seems if fashion commentators tell us enough times that something is ‘bang on trend’, or our eyes become adjusted to a particular look after repeatedly seeing it on perfectly proportioned models or famous people, we’ll soon be paying over the odds for it on eBay – no questions asked. The wholesale embracing of 80s-inspired styles, following two decades of pretending that the age of big shoulder pads and even bigger hair never happened, is an obvious example. Wearing leggings – previously beloved only by larger women who favour the white trash aesthetic – would have gotten you laughed out of Topshop until fairly recently; now they are nearly as ubiquitous as the humble jean.
But just how far does it go? Can the general populous be persuaded to wear anything no matter how unflattering or how ridiculous it makes us look? I’m sure someone far brainier than me has already answered this question in detail in some psychological study or other, but I decided it would be more constructive to compile a list of unlikely predictions that I would love to see fashion forecasters try to convince us are ‘bang on trend’ in the future. Some are long overdue revivals (by a few hundred years at least), whilst others might currently be thought of as specialist wear, and others still are purely fictional.
If you think my suggestions sound too far-fetched, just remember: they rehabbed the harem pant, an item of apparel that for twenty years was best known as Exhibit A in the substantial body of evidence that MC Hammer is a ludicrous man. You may also think the suggestions won’t catch on because of their obvious impracticality – but since when has fashion been about practicality, or comfort for that matter?
The items below are suggested as potential everyday wear (it doesn’t count if Lady Gaga wears it once):
1. The pirate hat (Sample editorial: ‘Arrrr me hearties! The pirate hat has made it to dry land and onto the discerning heads of the fashion pack. Get ship shape and Bristol fashion in this season’s must-have tri-cornered headgear…’)
2. The gimp mask (‘Slaves to fashion will be working up a sweat in this summer’s least-breathable fashion accessory…’)
3. The tabard (Beep, beep! These sleeveless wonders are busting out from behind the checkout and taking over the High Street…’)
4. The periwig (‘No longer the preserve of barristers, baldies or rich folk with nits from the 18th century, the white powdered periwig will be your crowning glory this season…’)
5. The straightjacket (‘You’d be mad not to add this modern take on the traditional back-tying jacket with overlong sleeves to your wardrobe wish list…’)
6. Underwear worn over trousers Superman-style (men only) (‘Fashion heroes are wearing their VPLs on the outside this season…’)
7. Medieval armour (‘Get blinged-out and battlefield ready in one of this season’s fiercest top-to-toe looks. A natural progression from last season’s love of military styles and all things metallic…’)
8. The sandwich board (‘Advertise your fashion prowess…’)
9. Snorkelling gear (‘You no longer need to be by the sea to make a splash in a mask, snorkel and swimfins…’)
10. Stilts (‘Walk tall with a pair of these attached to your feet and we guarantee you’ll be head and shoulders above the rest of the fashion pack…’)
If anyone fancies joining me in a stealth mission to get any of the above firmly established as a wardrobe staple, I’ll be in Peacocks trying to see how many slightly ‘off’ versions of this season’s key pieces I can get for twenty quid.