Friday 20 April 2018

Spring into fashion for 2016 - big knickers are back

'Stear clear of anyone in a hat'. Photo: Deposit
'Stear clear of anyone in a hat'. Photo: Deposit
Brad Pitt sporting the 1940s look. Photo: Getty.

Big knickers are back, skinny jeans are out, stilettos are so over, men are doing all sorts with their hair, there's fringing everywhere, and a strong chance that you'll end up looking like a hooker from 1970s New York. Pat Fitzpatrick takes a look at what's hot for 2016, with essential tips to help you avoid any fashion faux-pas and news on what the celebs are wearing as we leave winter behind and head towards spring.

The Hat

A good rule-of-thumb in this life is to steer clear of anyone in a hat. Particularly when you are in Galway. Life is too short for even one conversation about crystals.

A disturbing new hipster trend reinforces this rule. The trend is in man-hats, and it's called helixing. It involves wearing your beanie towards the back of your head, with your ears sticking out. The idea being that warmth is mainstream and you are too cool for that. That's what passes for an idea these days. Helixing says a lot about a man. Particularly if he is over the age of 21, where it screams, "Sorry, I don't get it; self-awareness, what's that again now?"

The only good thing about helixing is that you can't wear a flat cap at the same time. (This doesn't mean the hipsters won't try.) If you are approached by a man in a flat cap in a city, we recommend you do a legger. Otherwise, you'll just end up talking to a hipster who doesn't realise that the flat-cap is done, and it's all about the porkpie hat these days. (Flat cap is literally old-hat.)

The one thing sadder than a hipster is a hipster who isn't even in fashion. So make a run for it. He'll never catch you in his leather hobnail boots. (Nobody told him he should have made the switch to Oxford brogues. The poor eejit.)

In other hat news, there is still no getting away from the fedora, below. It's hard to resist. The fedora promises to turn you into a cross between Marlene Dietrich, Humphrey Bogart, Sarah Jessica Parker and Frank Sinatra.

It might work in other countries. Not here. Wear a fedora out in Ireland and people will reckon you're a property developer or involved in the racing game. Either way, they'll think you crooked. So keep it for a fancy-dress party.


If you think this has something to do with the latest fashion in safety pins, then there are still a few places left on our introductory social-media course, which is called 'Everyone is laughing at you on Twitter'. You will have plenty time to attend if you just stop logging into Myspace. Seriously, move on.

Pinterest is really where it's at in social media. Facebook is good for stalking, Twitter is good for knob-ends, but Pinterest can be great for fashion ideas. The 'can' is important here.

It works like this. You are browsing the internet at night when you see an article about shoes that you like. You don't want to waste your time reading it there and then, because who reads stuff at home when they could read it at work? So you bookmark it to your Pinterest account and there's most of tomorrow morning sorted. This way, you build up a selection of things that interest you under categories known as 'pin boards'. You can see other people's pin boards; they can see yours.

It's a handy way to get fashion tips from industry legends. Or a colour-blind teenage boy from Ohio. So make sure you know who you are dealing with. It will also suggest content based on your web searches. Bear that in mind when you google "female traffic warden in bondage gear" for entirely legitimate research purposes. Particularly if you still live at home and share an iPad with your mammy. You don't want to find a Post-it on the back of the device saying, "Would you ever just get married?"

The final point about Pinterest is the main one. People have actually disappeared into Pinterest. It makes Facebook seem as addictive as cod liver oil. There is no point in being up with the latest fashion if you never get to leave the house in your new clothes. So maybe just keep an eye on what people are wearing on the bus and take your inspiration from there.

The Denims

You know the way you feel sorry for people wearing flares and boot-cut jeans because they obviously come from the country? Well, now they're laughing at you. In your low-waisted skinnies. It's got nothing to do with your builder's crack. It's because you're bang out of fashion.

Take a look at the fashion runways during the shows for spring 2016. Skinnies were extremely thin on the ground. A bit like any model who slipped and fell, says you, wondering how the jeans stay up at all.

The word from the fashionistas is that you are allowed to wear skinnies as long as you go for a high waist. This sounds like the kind of arbitrary thing a seven-year-old girl would say. Maybe the kids who make your jeans in China are designing them now as well. Don't think about that for too long, it will only wreck your night out.

A lot has happened since you last wore flares. Here is a brief reminder of some rules. Don't wear them if you are under five feet six. You'll just end up looking like a wigwam. (That's what large tents were called before the travel industry realised they could charge 500pc more if they called them a yurt.)

Don't think it's OK to remedy any lack of height under your flares with platform heels. Bono barely gets away with it, and we tend to give him a lot of leeway on the fashion front.

Don't rush out and buy a new pair of jeans in Ireland. That's very 2012. The cranes are back up around town. Fly to New York and buy a suitcase full. We are so back.

Hair for Him

Fashion-forward men are going for a 1940s look. You might look at one such man and say he reminds you of the guys out of Australian World War II drama The Sullivans. This means two things. You are well over 40. And therefore too old for a trendy haircut.

Brad Pitt, above, can get away with this retro-style haircut, because women remember him when he was hot. You, on the other hand, might as well get 'mid-life crisis' carved into your frankly ridiculous-looking beard. (Don't do it. Even the hipsters won't appreciate the layers of irony in that one.)

This throwback 1940s hairstyle is known as the 'fade'. It is basically clean-cut around the neck, with all the action on top of your head. Aston Villa's Jack Grealish is a prime example. People were surprised that Jack opted for a fade. It's unusual for a Premiership footballer to have much going on up-top. A quick note on the new trend for side-partings. There is no point in being fashion-forward if you remind people of Hitler. Enough said there.

The other style we need to talk about for 2016 is the 'man bun'. Fashion-forward people call it the 'mun' because they don't have time for two syllables. They wouldn't have the brain either, says you. The man bun is where you grow your hair a bit longer and tie it up on top. It is popular with men who want to look like David Beckham, but end up looking like that guy Gary who dropped out of school and is now working on reception at your local bowling alley.

Evidence now shows that the man bun can give you a condition known as traction alopecia. This is more commonly known as baldness. Or 'serves you right for trying to pretend you are Harry Styles'. The message is simple. Put down the hair and nobody gets hurt.

Hair for Her

Sitting down? Good. Women are giving hairdressers actual cash-money to put glitter on their grown-out roots. It's not for charity and it's not some kind of bet. We can only assume it is the latest attempt to get back at their mothers for having them in the first place. It would be nice to think we could stop this, but it's already a thing on Pinterest, so that's the end of that.

Here is the lowdown on glitter roots. If you are old enough to afford it at the hair salon, you are too old to wear it out in public. There is a thin line between keeping in touch with youth culture and looking like you've been attacked by a toddler at a make-and-do play date. Don't cross that line.

In fairness, the glitter thing can look stunning, even if it is difficult to understand. A bit like Cheryl Fernandez-Versini, right. Which brings us to braids. Cheryl is one of many celebs who will keep braids in the limelight this year. Obviously, you will want to copy this, because only good things happen when you pretend to be someone from the telly.

There are plenty 'how to braid' videos on YouTube. Having looked at a few of them, here is our two-step guide to better braiding. 1: Become a famous pop star. 2: Hire someone to braid your hair every day because could you be bothered? (No.)

There is one more hair trend we should cover. A lot of people are talking about Rihanna's top-knot as an inspiration. If you'd like your daughter to copy one thing about Rihanna's appearance, this is probably the way to go. Unless you're a big fan of the sentence, "You're not going out in that." Or, "Does anyone know why there's a gang of 16-year-old boys gathering outside our front door?"

Bags of Fashion

We'll start with the backpacks. They are very, very in for 2016. So are elaborate beards that could make a fella look like he might be from the Middle East. These are nervous times. You can see where this is going. Frisking. Lots of it. This isn't necessarily a bad thing. It can be a lonely old world out there if you're not getting the swipe-rights on Tinder. A bit of a feel-up from a security guard on the way into a concert is better than nothing.

But anyone with an active love life (or even a tactile aunt) will probably want to make a choice between the beard and the backpack. The word on the street is that 2016 is beard backlash year. You could wake up one morning and find you are further off-trend than a Volkswagen driver at a Green Party fundraiser. So we recommend getting rid of the facial hair. (That goes double for you, ladies.)

Handbags? The mini-bag craze -as seen here on Laura Whitmore - is tipped to continue well into 2016. All the designers have bags that measure around six inches by four inches. Don't be the one to point out that's just a purse with handles - nobody likes a smartarse. Trust us, you won't be calling it a purse when you see the price. (The Fendi Peekaboo Micro for €1,200? You'll have no money left to put in your purse with handles.)

Let's face it, the rise of the mini-bag is great news for men. Research shows this could shave 18 minutes off the time it takes their partner to get out of the house. That's due to the reduced search area for keys, lipstick, phone, a packet of mints from 2011 and another, smaller handbag, for reasons that aren't immediately clear.

Shoes for Her

Look at that one in her stilettos. It's like she popped straight off

the runway. From the 2012 Urlingford Fashion Show. Which is a roundabout way of saying that block heels are in. While also having a pop at the fashion scene in north Kilkenny. If there is one.

The return of block heels is good news for anyone who has had to endure the walk of shame in stilettos.

It's hard enough to keep your balance when you know people are judging you. One slip on the ground, and they could also be judging you for losing your knickers. Talk about pressure.

Over-the-knee boots - as seen left, on Pippa O'Connor - are also very hot this season. Comfortable, practical and stylish, it's hard to imagine a better way to attract creepy men on a night out. (Except for maybe a 'Young Fine Gael' sticker on your lapel.)

There is a debate raging as to how high up the thigh you can go before men stop you on the street and ask, "How much for a happy ending?"

We don't want to be prudish here. But if you find you need to take your boots off when you go to the toilet, there is a good chance you have gone too far.

A quick word on wedge sneakers. No. That was quick. They were a thing there for a while. Unfortunately, those young ones in America who write fashion blogs when they should be doing their homework, have decided that wedge sneakers are the new Nokia. (They are so, so over them.) So you'd better do what you are told.

These same young ones have decided you should be wearing Normcore-style, plain white sneakers. This contradicts other fashionistas, who say that Normcore is over. Talk about a crisis.

It might be best to stay indoors and keep an eye on the internet until they sort this out. Otherwise you might end up wearing something that is so over. Imagine!

Shoes for Him

Bad news, guys. Suede shoes are here to stay for a while. This is fine for southern European types, who live in countries where human beings can expect to live a meaningful life outdoors. Design a shoe for life up here on the soggy rock, and it would look like a cross between a welly and a flipper.

We're just not ready to take that on board. There is something irresistible about a pair of desert boots in a dry, warm shop.

It's almost as if they whisper, "Wear me and get away with making outlandish passes at hot women, because that's Italians for you." As against the truth, "You'll be back in next week to buy another pair when the suede gets discoloured from the rain."

There is no point in fighting this. Just buy the shoes, and keep an eye on the weather. You'll still need something comfortable for your holidays next year. Which brings us to some shocking news from the States.

Wearing socks with sandals isn't just a thing. It's a good thing. The trend was started by professional athletes who suddenly started wearing the dreaded combination in public. Apparently they are highly influential trendsetters. So soon it will be OK to take buckets of drugs in order to do your job properly.

A lot of models were socked-and-sandaled at the fashion shows last year. So you're next. Here is what you need to know. Sandals and socks look interesting on a 17-year-old Austrian called Rutger who had four cigarettes and a triple vodka for breakfast. You are a different matter. You won't just look like a tourist. You'll look like a German sex tourist. So give it a miss.

Stay in the 1970s

You'll have noticed that a lot of people have been taking their fashion lead from the 1970s recently. This ranks up there with taking relationship advice from Kerry Katona. But it's not your place to question these things. So just buy the brown zip-up jumpsuit and get over it.

Judging by the catwalk trends, there is a slight twist on the 70s theme going into spring 2016. The good news is that suede and minis are all in. The bad news is you'll look like a hooker in Kojak. Still, you'll be a trendy hooker, so you'll get asked to the best parties.

If you're stuck for conversation at this party, you should talk about crochet. It was all over the New York shows for the summer 2016 collections. (It was certainly more popular than underwear, judging by the photos we've seen.)

One word of warning on the crochet front - don't call it knitting for lazy people. That's an immediate red card. You can't laugh at something when it's in fashion. Wait until crochet is about as popular as Normcore and then get stuck in. (Normcore was that brief moment in 2014 when everyone dressed like an accountant from Thurles. It won't be back. For a while.)

Another boho 1970s trend to watch out for is fringing. This remains hot in 2016, even if it does sound like a gay sex act that wouldn't be for everybody.

Fringing is, in fact, decorative tassels hanging down from your clothes or accessories. It was very popular with American Indians in the old westerns, along with mascara and always getting beaten in the end.

Taylor Swift is seen here wearing spangly fringing on her world tour last year. So prepare to spend 2016 looking like a Christmas decoration.

Lingerie and Underwear

The things LIFE does for its readers. We looked up lingerie trends on Google, and now the internet thinks we're a pervert. We can't even browse our favourite websites without someone popping up photos of a gorgeous young one in her knickers. It's virtually impossible to get any work done.

Anyway, lingerie. A thong is so wrong. But then it always was. Big knickers are back in, apparently. They've even been given the seal of approval by Elle Macpherson. She has her own underwear line. That isn't a private line she uses to dry her knickers because the guy next door is a bit of a perv.

Or maybe it is.

A word of warning for the ladies. Don't wear big knickers in the hope that your man friend will think you are some kind of Elle Macpherson. He'll just be reminded of all the times you made him sit through Bridget Jones's Diary. That's unlikely to end in sex.

In other news, designers want their lingerie to be worn out in public. And not just by English rugby teams on a night out in Temple Bar. The slip-dress and baby-doll minidress were all over the Paris runways recently, along with the tongues of any straight men in the front row.

So if you see some ladies out in satin slips, you know the kind of people they are. Fashion-forward. And freezing.

Some news for men. If you feel the need to buy new jocks (ie you just got divorced), you should know that performance boxers are still all the rage.

This has nothing to do with sex. Performance boxers are what middle-aged men wear while doing an extreme marathon before breakfast, in the hope that young ones will give them the eye. So maybe they have something to do with sex after all. Or the lack of it.

Sunday Indo Life Magazine

Style Newsletter

Stay on top of the latest fashion, beauty and celeb gossip in our Style newsletter.

Also in this section