Sunday list: The ASOS game

My dear friend Fi and I have been playing a game for some time now. I say game in the loosest sense possible. Our friendship is based on shared amusement of this video and a habit to click on ASOS pretty much every thirty seconds. Now, ASOS, like any other clothes website that sells many brands of clothing, is bound to have something a bit weird on it fairly often. But every once in a while, something TRULY HIDEOUS appears, and it is our game to find it, post it on the Facebook wall of the other person and then laugh a bit that someone thought it would be a good idea to create in the first place. It’s a great game. As a result of obsessively reading our wall-to-wall, I would like to share:

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TOP TEN UGLY ITEMS OF CLOTHING THAT SHOULD NEVER HAVE EXISTED, AND YET THEY DO.

10. “River Island Multi Flower Alice Band”

River Island is a shop that has always bemused me. I live near Oxford, where the shop has been totally revamped. It used to be a bit like the Leaky Cauldron Pub: my eyes slid from the smoothie shop on one side straight to the Claire’s Accessories on the other without noticing the shop in the middle. I could only see it if it were shown to me by someone who already knew it was there. This summer, though, it moved into a NEW SHINY STORE, with massive great windows that are super cool and shiny and new but also a slightly weird clash against the Oxford aesthetic of old beige stuff. The clothes have got better too – I’m no longer ashamed at the RI things I own, but then there are items like this that make me wonder if I should be.

I really liked the flower headbands that came out this summer. I couldn’t wear one – I have masses of blonde hair and would look like a hippy who hadn’t bothered to pick the bits of greenery out of her matted hair after sleeping in an abandoned garden, but my friends and the random festival people in my friends’ photos look excellent in them. They’re a great mix of being pretty, delicate, bohemian and quirky as well as obviously from Topshop. Win win, I can appreciate that.

But what happened here River Island? You had so much potential in your revamp, and this is what you came up with? Really? The model is not looking down seductively as much as she is trying not to think about how a flower fairy has vomited on her head. I can’t even explain why these flowers enrage me so: the flowers themselves are fine, but they are so TALL. It’s like four mickey mouse ears or a giant ugly crown. Bad fashion move, great hilarity.

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9. “ASOS Leather Panel Neck Collar”

Well now this one, I hope, should speak for itself. It has the word collar in the title, as if it’s like a shirt collar (that doesn’t look like a word anymore. collarcollarcollar ugh) and no big deal. This, however, appears to be what should really be recognised as a homonym of that collar. The bit of a shirt around your neck that you button and the things that dogs wear may use the same word, but they should not be confused. Here, Zooey Deschanel (I would be willing to bet money on the fact that the nation’s massive girlcrush on Zooey is the reason that this item SOLD OUT. YES, AS IN PEOPLE BOUGHT EVERY SINGLE ONE FOR £30 A POP. And yes I do realise it isn’t ACTUALLY her) appears to be wearing a dog collar with an impractically short lead. It looks like it’s made from darkly painted light switches. The only thing that suits this to the NECKLACE section I found it in was the fact that the weird bits of glued together leather scraps is the big gold rings that tie it together. Juuust in case she tries to escape.

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8. ASOS Layered Chain Thigh Harness

If you want a laugh on ASOS, just search harness in the search box. This little number is now out of stock (whaaat) but at the time of writing there are thirteen alternatives. They also sell hand  harnesses, which are essentially ugly bracelets with more chain than there should be.

But this one? A THIGH HARNESS? Google suggests the following when one searches for “Define: Harness”:

“A set of straps and fittings by which a horse or other draft animal is fastened to a cart, plow, etc., and is controlled by its driver.”

Exactly.

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7. ASOS Genuine Leather and Metal Harness

And on a similar note…

I particularly like the title of this one. IT’S GENUINE LEATHER. GENUINELY.

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6. River Island Poppy Print Palazzo Trouser Set

Oh River Island. Twice mentioned in so little time. Despite the fact that I don’t read any fashion magazines to find out what skinnier people than me are wearing right now and what I should mimic, it is impossible to avoid the fact that there are lots of ugly 70s clothes around at the moment. I’ve just had a fringe cut in and when I wear playsuits I look like a Charlie’s Angel. This is why the 70s are great. Palazzo pants are pretty much the whole reason why the 70s were a bit wrong. They don’t really suit anyone as far as I can see – even the tall and leggy look like they aren’t tall and leggy. But River Island thought of this. The designers, terrified that the leggier amongst us wouldn’t buy palazzo pants for fear of looking a bit thighsy, decided to do away with any optical illusions and just make the trousers see-through so the real size of their legs would be a mystery to nobody. SEE-THROUGH. Surely that’s not sexy? SURELY.

But this outfit is so much worse than that. It’s not just seethrough trousers, it’s a SET. You get a little bit of ruchy fabric to match. AND OH HOW THEY DO MATCH. The fabric looks a bit like the the kind of primary colour messes I used to make at playschool with potatoes. I was a bit young to be cutting out exciting stamp shapes, so I’d cut a hole in the middle of the potato, splodge an exciting mix of three colours on them, occasionally excited about how they’d mix and form green, orange and purple but probably unable to name the colours that it made, and then I’d slam it on a bit of paper. I’d bring the paper home and my parents would express their great pleasure at my abilities before understandably and rightfully throwing the bit of paper away. Also I’m pretty sure I had this outfit for my barbie in c. 1994.

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5. Guest entry: Satin Stripe Peplum Dress by KTZ** (Sold by Topshop)

So, while we traditionally go to ASOS for our weirdass clothing fix, Topshop does come up trumps occasionally too. The stripes are bad enough, but the bits of bin bag and barbie-raincoat-material attached in what can only be described as a haphazard manner just make me squeal a little bit.

The thing is, there’s something I rather like about shamelessly ugly clothes. Perhaps that’s where this whole ASOS game began. When I was about 12 or 13, my feet stopped growing, and to me that suggested a world of possibilities. No longer did I need to buy new shoes every year. I could start buying shoes now, and even if I didn’t have a chance to wear them at this point in time, surely I would wear them when I had grown up, because my feet would be the same size and I would have a grown up heel-wearing career. This led to a collection of amazing and totally ugly heels that I am old enough to recognise that I will genuinely never wear, especially not for a heel-wearing career, and they will only be outed for outrageous and ugly fancy dress themes. One pair of shoes particularly stand out to me as wonderfully gruesome. I bought them as a 16th birthday present for myself:

Sorry that this is the only photo I can find and it’s teeny – they’re yellow and blue Irregular Choice heels with tartan-y bits and a massive green bow. OH YES. This photo doesn’t really capture how totally bizarre and unwearable these shoes are, and yet I refuse to throw them out. They are kind of wonderful at the same time. This dress is the same. I sort of want it because it is shameless in its ugliness. It understands its ugliness and it embraces it. This is something that ugly humans are never encouraged to do, so it’s nice that the dress can.

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4. Pearl & Ivy Kylie Hat

I love hats. The loss of the hat for casual occasions (or even smart ones) is something I lament pretty much every time I see a hat in a shop. People who have only been shopping with me once don’t mind this lament, sometimes agreeing before joining me in a putting-on-hats session. My poor sister, who has probably been going to the shops with me since I was born, may have heard this lament a few more times.

I look great in hats. It is seriously a waste. I watch that scene in My Fair Lady and reckon I could top Audrey Hepburn’s hat wearing AND speak in RP without training.

But this isn’t a hat. Surely a hat covers your head. Isn’t that what the point of a hat is? This is like the direct opposite of a hat. It’s got a big hole where the hat goes. It’s like a Black Swan tutu that got stuck on her head, like she was trying on fancy dress that was too small and had that DO I STEP INTO IT OR PULL IT OVER MY HEAD debate that we girls always have and she went for the head and then left it there because it’s trendy. IT’S NOT TRENDY, IT’S MISSING THE HAT PART OF THE HAT.

Though I am super impressed with the sheer height of her hair. IT’S SO TALL.

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3. ASOS Triple Station Skinny Bangle with Hanging Chain

Now that is a liberal use of the word “Bangle”.

Sometimes when I look at dresses or tops that are off the shoulder in a deliciously wonderful and 80s way, I look at them and go mmm off-the-shoulder-y and then I buy them and add them to my collection of clothes that continue to surprise me in their irritatingness to wear. Off-the-shoulder clothing forces you to become the girls off those Impulse spray adverts from the early 00s, in which a girl was presented with an emergency that she couldn’t solve because she couldn’t raise her arms, presumably because the smell and sweat patches underneath were so terrifyingly awful that it would destroy the entire world. Anyway, she would awkwardly prance about with her elbows glued to her sides in the same way we have to with off the shoulder tops, because as soon as one raises their arms then the sleevey things pop up and have to be adjusted.

While I may fall for off-the-shoulder tops pretty much every time I go shopping, I WILL NOT FALL FOR THIS ONE YOU SNEAKY “BANGLE”. If her pointy little elbows weren’t at that strategic angle (I’m bitter, she has great arms) surely it would keep falling down. I’d have to keep holding my arm in that awky way with my hand on my hip, so you’d better hope I’ve worn my Impulse spray when I wear that thing.

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2. ASOS PREMIUM Flower Detail Hat

The old lady synchronised swimming team called. They want their hat back.

How did this ever sell out? Even the model is like “Seriously.”

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1. Blaak Rainbow for ASOS Half Catsuit

As I said before, I love a good playsuit. I love feeling like a Charlie’s Angel. I love the fact that I get to wear opaque tights but I could kick someone’s ass if I needed to. Literally kick and I wouldn’t flash anything. They let you run around and they totally suit their name – when I wear playsuits, all I want to do is PLAY. But this isn’t a playsuit, it’s a catsuit, and nobody but Michelle Pfeiffer can wear them, really. The ASOS description of it is equally disturbing:

“Stripe half catsuit by Blaak Rainbow for ASOS. Featuring a tonal stripe print finish with a scoop neckline, sleeveless styling, a placement print to the chest, a high cut leg illusion and cropped half cut legs with a low open back and stretch bodycon fit.”

Is that a scoop neckline? And surely no sleeves is not “styling” but rather just a lack of sleeves. You can style sleeves if they’re there, but nobody can style the lack of them. I didn’t even notice the “high cut leg illusion”, which basically means there’s an ugly seam along the same horrific and kind of terrifying Baywatch cut that all 80s leotards have. Brilliant. It’s cropped, too, to make the wearer look short.

Half my degree was in Theatre Studies, so I read a lot of wishy-washy rubbish during my degree. Lots of things around the subject of “IS THIS A PERFORMANCE?” No, it’s not, was usually the answer, for future reference. Anyway, my alarm bells went off when I read the blurb about the company who designed this interesting outfit. Apparently, the creators were “Inspired by ‘non-colour’… the duo based their label around “contemplation on the emotions around the colour black.” ” ughhhh

But the bestest news of all is that it’s still in stock, so if you fancy going as Beetlejuice to Halloween, at least you’ll have something to wear.

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On a side note, it is blog posts like this which are why I have put an apology in my ‘About’ section that some may find my blog vacuous and boring. This is my second post, so it is not the time to be ranting and earning enemies, but let me say this: clothes are wonderful pieces of artwork, designed to create sometimes unbelievable optical illusions of our shape or our colouring and to me that is something quite fabulous. I like colours, I like patterns and I think fabric is pretty. My only knowledge of fashion is from looking at pictures of clothes almost daily – I don’t read fashion blogs or obsess over styles. The best fashion advice I’ve ever been given was from the Guardian, which said something along the lines of – if you like something, buy it and then wear it until you don’t like it anymore. The most empowering thing I can say about clothing is that enjoying it should not be embarrassing or an example of vanity. Appreciate the artwork and craftsmanship. But not of the clothing above please.

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1 Comment

Filed under Sunday Lists

One response to “Sunday list: The ASOS game

  1. Liz

    I really like the Topshop dress… it’s a bit dandy highwayman and I find this appealing.

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