What’s Hot & What’s Not?

You’ve heard of “street-style” blogs, right? Like Ottawa Street Style  where they go around photographing regular people on the street who are stylin’ a cute or funky or “interesting” look. I like to look at sites like this because I am a fashion maven like to see what people are wearing and more importantly how they’re wearing stuff.

So, I was kind of excited to run across a blog called The Man Repeller , which is nice and rude and highlights so-called “man-repellent” looks both on the street and on celebrities and claims that “getting photographed by a street style photographer is code that your outfit is man repelling.”

Really, the outfits this blogger is showcasing are just plain repellent, never mind “man repellent”. I’m pretty sure most women wouldn’t want to wear them. Also, I think most women know that it’s always a mistake to wear something primarily because you think it will drive men crazy with lust. Because most of the time that means you’re wearing something really uncomfortable – clothes that are too tight or have parts of you falling out of them; shoes that are too spiky and make you fall down; underwear that’s scratchy and burrows itself into places from which it is difficult to retrieve in mixed company.

Also, men or women trying to look sexy usually just end up looking ridiculous. Because I think most of what’s sexy about a woman (or a man) isn’t about the clothes. It’s attitude. They have to look comfortable in their own skin; which means they have to be comfortable in their own skin. And in order to be comfortable in your own skin you have to be comfortable with your body and you have to feel good inside – strong, healthy and positive.

Then, whatever you’re wearing will look good. And you won’t be desperately trying to disguise yourself with flamboyant finery.

Personally, I think the single most attractive item of clothing mankind ever invented was the blue jean — invented in 1873 in America by German immigrants Jacob Davis and Levi Strauss. There aren’t many people who don’t look their best in a pair of good, well-fitting, comfortable jeans.

Sure, men can look great in a tuxedo and women can look spectacular in a beautiful evening gown.

And a man or woman in a business suit can look very fetching.

 But in my books, nothing beats a plain, soft pair of jeans with a casual shirt.

But since this post started off talking about street style and what is definitely not sexy, here is my list of  7  Top looks for grown-ups that I find unsexy: (Note, I said “grown-ups”. I don’t even want to get into some of the crazy ugly stuff the young folk are wearing)

On Men

  • Short-sleeved button down shirts – especially when worn with a tie.
  • Shorts. (I’m not saying they shouldn’t be worn, just that grown men don’t look sexy in shorts)
  • Ball caps/trucker hats (unless you’re playing ball/trucking)
  • Sweatpants, especially without underwear
  • An undershirt without a real shirt overtop
  • Sweater vests
  • Fanny packs

On Women

  • Yoga pants (unless you’re doing yoga) 
  • Poncho shawls or ponchos in any format 
  • Running shoes (unless you’re running)
  • Sweaters with holiday motifs
  • Capri pants
  • Anything fleece (I know it’s warm and made from pop-bottles, but it’s really not flattering in any way)
  • Fanny packs


*** A word about fanny packs: There is no legitimate reason to ever wear a fanny pack. Tourists think they’re clever by concealing their money, travel documents and camera in this pouch and wearing it close to their bodies where no one would dare rob them. In fact, wearing a fanny pack is like wearing a neon t-shirt that screams “I am a naive tourist and therefore easy pickins.”

 Also, try not to refer to your fanny pack as a fanny pack in English-speaking countries other than the US and Canada. In North America, fanny means “bum”. In other English-speaking countries fanny means “vulva.”

Also, if you’re in the US and you see someone wearing a fanny pack, do not laugh at them. They might be wearing a specially manufactured “conceal carry” pouch designed to look like an ordinary fanny pack.


26 responses to “What’s Hot & What’s Not?

  1. Fanny packs are so convenient! Until I discovered what I call the “travel purse” which is smallish and has a very long strap to wear crosswise across your body, I used a fanny pack because when I am doing any sort of walking around and drinking beer type activity, I need to be hands free and able to lean over and move around. No way am I going to balance a strap on my shoulder. I also think men with great legs look good in shorts and tiny petite women can pull of capris quite easily. I have to admit that about 98% of women look hideous in capris. And probably 80% of men look hideous in shorts.
    How on earth did you leave out midriff baring tops on women? And tank tops on men? Yuck!

  2. Yeah they tried to bring the “fanny pack” back(we call it a bum bag because as you rightly point out a fanny in the UK is your vagina and no amount of times of hearing fanny pack will stop a UK resident from loudly guffawing). Top designers had them all over the place in London fashio week.

    Sometimes I think that haute couturiers like to play little practical jokes on us every so often.

    As for Man Repellent- I have a feeling I might have been unknowingly sporting man repellent clothes all through my Uni career. Doctor Marten boots, anyone?

  3. Dr. Monkey – Poor Sarah. I heard she was voted least sexy woman in the world, which I think might be a little harsh. I’ve never seen her in action, so I don’t know what’s so unsexy about her. She’s a little horsey around the face, but otherwise seems like a perfectly normal woman. What’s up with Sarah?

    Geewits – I haven’t seen a lot of bare midriffs on grown-up women. Even the young girls seem to have stopped doing that in the last year or so, but I agree it’s not a good look for most people. I’ve never seen a woman yet that looks good in capris. Some of the “cropped pants” that are just a couple of inches shorter than normal pants can look good if they’re narrow, but those just below the knee capris? Nah. They’d at least look sporty if they wore shorts. And ya, some men have nice legs for sure, but the best shorts can do for them is make them look cute. Mind you, soccer players can look kind of sexy in their shorts.

    Misssym – I heard that a bunch of designers were trying to bring back the fanny pack. It’s obvious that they all hate us. I’ve known it all along with some of the crap they come out with for us to wear. And Doc Martens can be sexy if worn with the right stuff. With a floor length hemp skirt, no.

  4. In the Big City, not so much. But ball/trucker caps are mandatory attire in Northern Ontario. Especially if you hunt/fish or drive or partake in any activity that involves a 2-stroke engine of some kind.

    For women, I find the tent-sized jeans-overalls unattractive. They’re meant for little kids, not grown women.

    If you’re a 35-year-old Mom wearing such a canvas tent, it just screams “I’ve already bred, and I’m no longer participating in the mating game”.

  5. Um…I wear capris all summer long. No one wants to see me in shorts or short skirts…trust.

    It gets worse. I also wear Mephisto’s every chance I can too. Yes they are far from fashionable but they are soooo comfy.

    It’s a wonder I have friends! It must be because fanny packs repulse me.

  6. Uh Oh, I just bought two pairs of capris after realizing that shorts are not a good look on me anymore. But have you noticed that men have started wearing capris? For me that is a total woman repellent. Way too metrosexual for me.

    Another thing I don’t like is a lot of cleavage at work. This seems very common now, especially for women in their 20s. Though maybe I am just jealous as I have none that I could show off even if I wanted to.

    MM, what are Mephistos?

    I personally love the jeans and casual shirt look too. It’s such a classic and friendly look.

  7. On Men
    Short-sleeved button down shirts – especially when worn with a tie.
    Shorts. (I’m not saying they shouldn’t be worn, just that grown men don’t look sexy in shorts)
    Ball caps/trucker hats (unless you’re playing ball/trucking)
    Sweatpants, especially without underwear
    An undershirt without a real shirt overtop
    Sweater vests
    Fanny packs

    On Women
    Yoga pants (unless you’re doing yoga)
    Poncho shawls or ponchos in any format
    Running shoes (unless you’re running)
    Sweaters with holiday motifs
    Capri pants
    Anything fleece (I know it’s warm and made from pop-bottles, but it’s really not flattering in any way)
    Fanny packs

    The only things on your”unsexy” list that I agree with are sweat pants and holiday sweaters. (Ech!) Everything else is good to me.

    Also-I wear a ‘travel purse’ around my waist and sneakers every day. You said ‘comfort is sexy’, well running shoes are comfy and my waist pack frees my arms, so I’m not struggling with straps all day.

    P.S. When travelling, I carry a thin, travel waist pack that I hide under my clothes. 🙂

  8. Friar – Even in the big city, men seem to be inordinately fond of their ball/trucker caps. I guess it helps to disguise their receding hairlines and shadows their faces enough to give the illusion that they’re handsome. I don’t know. As for the overalls – I can’t see I’ve seen those much since the mid-1980s…probably the worst decade in the history of the world for fashion.

    MM – I own capris, too and wear them when shorts just seem too casual. Usually in the summer, I’ll wear a skirt or dress if not shorts. And I’m sure you look just lovely in a skirt – it doesn’t have to be a long skirt. I usually like them about knee-length ..maybe a teensy bit below or a teensy bit above. As for the Mephisto’s, I’m all over those. I wear my Birks all summer long, too. I have to be able to walk in my shoes and those flimsy sandals just won’t do.

    Finola – Young girls all seem to have enormous bosoms these days. I don’t know why. And they’re proudly displaying them at every opportunity. I reckon they have about 10 good years with them before they get all crêpey and stretchmarky and saggy and they have to live with constant back pain, so why not let them have their fun for a little while. We normally endowed women get to actually enjoy ours for so much longer.

    Pauline – Well, I’m not petitioning to make these things against the law or anything. It’s just my personal opinion. When you say “sneakers” do you mean the flat canvas type? Because those are okay, I just don’t see why people have to wear full-out white vinyl or leather running shoes just for every day wear. There are plenty of comfortable shoes to walk around in that actually look nice. I won’t say anything more about the fanny pack thing.

    OCDriver2010 – Kewl Beenz on the inspired post. As for the fanny pack…well…let’s hope you’re happily married.

  9. If a fanny pack is preventing me from meeting a member of the opposite sex, I expect I would not want such a person in my personal space even if I did manage to get to know them. They would likely be significantly attached overly focused on meaningless and superficial aspects of the material world.

  10. Coming from a less sophisticated and far windier part of Canada the choice is either shave your head, wear a ball cap or always look like squirrels are running around in your hair..

  11. When I’m not wearing my helmet and I’m outside, I’ll wear a cap to keep the sun away from my eyes. At night, I’ll wear the one with LED lights in the brim because it often comes in handy, like when I’m dumpster-diving.

    I also wear button-up short-sleeve shirts, but I never, ever do up the top button–much less wear a tie. Ties and patterned shirts are wack.

    For women, I disagree on the running shoes. If she can’t take a comfortable walk/bike, is she expecting you to carry her? Pfft. Carry your own, girl.

    Everything else on both sides, I agree with.

    – RG>

  12. Somehow I missed the tennis shoes part. They are my favorite shoes on everybody. Best man outfit: jeans, white leather tennis shoes and a polo shirt or cool design T-shirt.

  13. OCDriver2010 – I don’t know. I would presume that people choose their clothing and accessories with some sort of motivation – either they think it makes them look good, or they’re trying to hide behind it, or they’re just trying to be as practical and comfortable as they can be, or whatever. In any case, what a person is wearing will tell me something about them or, at the very least something about what they want the world to know about them. Don’t pretend you don’t make judgments about people based on the way they choose to present themselves. Emphasis on the word “choose”. The stuff you can’t help is one thing, but the stuff you decided would be what you’re going to bedeck yourself with I think is perfectly legitimate stuff on which to make judgments about you. If I happen to have some sort of dislike for fanny packs and think there’s something goofy about people who wear them, then I might not be as receptive to you as I would if you weren’t wearing one.

    Glen – I think the “tousled by squirrels” look is very fashionable. I’m pretty sure people spend a lot of money at exclusive salons around here to achieve that very look.

    Grouchy – There are many, many comfortable walking shoes on the planet that are attractive and versatile – and unlike running shoes – are also often weather-resistant. No comment on your ball cap.

    Geewits – Tennis shoes are one thing – I’m talking RUNNING shoes. You know those big things with the thick sole and neon racing stripes and the toes that point up. A nice tennis shoe can be very attractive.

  14. XUP, like I said, if someone stayed clear of me because I choose to use a fanny pack for it’s entirely practical value, I expect that would be a very good “added value” of wearing the fanny pack. I don’t have much time or interest in overly impractical people.

    For example, I have no comprehension for women who wear high heels. I also find it hard not to respond to a woman (wearing high heels) when she says: “My feet are killing me.” with anything other than: “Duh, no kidding, you are wearing high heels, what did you expect?”.

    Thus, you are correct, I do pass judgement on people for their impractical clothing choices.

  15. I love the gratuitous Antonio Banderas… thank you.

    As for your lists, I agree with everything with the exception of capris. There are certainly the elastic-waisted polyester capris that my grandma buys direct from the Sears catalogue, and then there are slim-fitting low-rise denim capris with a bit of bling on the pockets and a fit that makes your full-length jeans blue with envy. Throw those babies on with strappy high-heeled sandals and a pretty pedicure and a tank top and you are ready for the world. 🙂

    And Allison? I agree with geewits. In any other outfit I might look twice, but this one makes me want to order ice-cream from him. 🙂

  16. I pretty much agree with your entire list. Though, I used to know a dancer who wore yoga pants all the time. She definitely looked sexy in them. But then again, that was me looking at her as a female. Maybe men didn’t find her equally sexy 🙂

    Personally, I like the jeans and white t-shirt look on a guy the best, but all dressed up can do it for me too.

    As for baseball caps, I think sometimes that they actually cause the balding.

  17. re: skye and balding men

    Along time ago I remember reading about the heredity link to baldness, but it never struck home until I saw a family photo containing 15 people (brothers and sisters) where the majority were male. You could clearly see the youngest to oldest men just by looking at the degree of baldness. I suppose in rare cases wearing a ball cap could cause problems connected to hair loss, but I would be willing to bet genetics is 99.99% of the cause.

  18. How could you overlook socks in sandals?
    I would also be interested in hearing/reading your thoughts on Crocs.

  19. Allison – It’s great that you think your man is hot and that you’re turned on by this outfit and by a yellow fun fur fanny pack on him.

    OCDriver – There you go. It’s a good thing we don’t all find the same things appealing and attractive.

    Geewits – I knew we shouldn’t get into the fashion stylings of the younger set. They definitely have their own ideas on what’s hot/cute/cool. And lots of times they’re right, but other times we’re too old to get it, I guess.

    Susan – There is never anything gratuitous about Antonio Banderas. But you’re welcome. It was my pleasure. Really. You’re probably right about the capris. I own and wear a couple pair myself. I’m not sure if they turn my full-length jeans blue with envy, but they’re okay. There’s a big difference too in the length of the capris. The ones that come mid-calf or just below the knee are usually pretty goofy. The ones that come somewhere below the calf and just above the ankle can be very hot. I don’t think they call those capris anymore though, do they? And they have to be snug, not flopping around at the ends. I’m sure you’d look hot even in the Sears catalogue capris though. You have the attitude to pull it off.

    Skye – That’s funny, I often think the same thing about ball caps. Is it a coincidence that the baldness is all under the cap with hair still growing outside of the cap? A fit body can look pretty sexy in yoga pants, as long as there’s no camel toe. Camel toe is pretty difficult to avoid in yoga pants. And camel toe just isn’t sexy at all. It’s as unsexy as men in sweat pants without underwear.

    OCDriver – I think you’re probably right. (Just this once. Lol)

    Bob – Goes without saying that crocs should never be worn in public. I have a pair I wear as slippers which the cat loves to chew on and which are now a frayed, tooth-marked mess. The socks and sandals thing I did a whole post on before, if you remember. I can’t even say across the board that it’s unsexy, because I posted some pretty sexy socks and sandals photos in that blogpost. But you’re right, generally S&S are not sexy.

    MM – Ya, uniforms can be pretty hot – especially the dress uniforms. Everyday fireman or policeman uniforms not so much. Red serge? Rrrwoow.

  20. i’m not a fan of the fanny pack either, or anything else that make me look like a tourist. i’m guessing i’m a list somewhere, but nothing as silly as what’s on the websites you linked to.

    i can’t stand when men where too tight shorts with no underwear, in the summer and their stuff hangs out. it’s completely unattractive.