Worst Minnesota Fashion Trends of the '00s

Fashion trends emerging from the runways of NYC and the streets of L.A. take their sweet time before landing in the Midwest. In the Twin Cities, a few people get on the bandwagon early when trendy fashion pieces plucked out of the pages of magazines are brought into local boutiques and department stores. They are coveted for a few months and then pushed aside to make way for the next big thing.

However, for the average Minnesotan outside any "scene", trends have a much different lifecycle. Most of us are taught never to waste anything: There are poor people in other countries who would be lucky to have gaucho pants! These last-season looks take on a groundswell of local support and wear out their welcome. The '00s will be over in a few short weeks, but these trends will always remind us of the most regrettable fashion moments Minnesotans embraced during the decade.

Trend: Low-rise jeans
Spotted: From Albert Lea to Duluth

When did flaunting your muffin top become a good thing? At some point during the decade, jeans migrated from belly buttons to butt cracks. Suddenly, it became the norm to see a stranger's thong hanging out while shopping for books at Barnes and Noble. If anything, this trend was the one that tossed good old-fashioned modesty out the window. The silver lining is that low-rise jeans provided the opportunity for ladies to proudly display lower back tattoos. Without this trend, who knows if the term "tramp stamp" would have taken off. Then we'd all be short a few chuckles.

Trend: Knock-off designer bags
Spotted: Outer-ring suburbs

We've all heard the horror stories about knock-off designer bags made by little children in sweatshops, but that didn't stop people from donning Guggi bags or Prado wallets. On the contrary, in some regions of the state, if you carry a real Louis Vuitton bag it's considered frivolous. Why would you drop thousands of dollars on a purse when the kiosk at the mall has something that looks identical? That was a hard argument to win and therefore this trend ran wild. Today, designers are cracking down on replicated goods and the hey day of finding a good knock-off is over. Word to the wise: if you haven't done so already, it's time to do away with the Coacher bag and downsize. Everyone knows.

Trend: Over-designed men's shirts
Spotted: Downtown Minneapolis, Block E

Ed Hardy started something he couldn't finish and now we are all left to suffer -- and badly. One of the worst trends in the last few years has been tattoo-style t-shirts. This trend didn't stay solo for long; it spread the wealth and jumped onto trucker hats, jeans, jackets and the worst of all: dress shirts. Typically, a men's dress shirt should be crisp and low-key but some people felt that it needed spicing up and added embellished dragons that snake around sleeves, sides and shoulders, visually hissing at passersby. Guys, let's start fresh this next decade, shall we? 

Trend: Platform flip-flops
Spotted: On vertically challenged women under the age of 25

There is a time and a place for flip-flops. Rubber shoes were never intended to be worn away from the beach but here in Minnesota, people simply won't abide by that rule. When platform flip-flops hit, it was the saving grace for sandal lovers -- especially short ones. The thing they didn't understand is just because Old Navy, Gap, J-Crew and other chain retail stores busted out "fancy" flip-flops in a variety of colors for $2, it doesn't make it right.

Trend: Head-to-toe velvet sweat suits
Spotted: Coffee shops, strip clubs off-hours and nail salons

A rule of thumb is if you wear it to bed, you shouldn't be wearing it outside of your house. This theory went out the window when it became fashionable to wear velour jumpsuits like the strung-out reality T.V. stars getting Starbucks at 3:00 p.m. in Los Angeles. Don't get me wrong, being comfortable isn't a bad thing. The main reason this get-up makes the list (aside from the fact that it's not flattering on anyone) is that these outfits carried with them brands and slogans that screamed Juicy, Angel, Brat, Princess etc. from buttocks around the state.

Trend: Using animals as accessories (i.e. mini dogs in purses)
Spotted: Lake Calhoun

If you get as far as buying or adopting a mini-pootch, please realize that they are living creatures, not accessories. Don't take their dignity by dressing them up to match your outfit and tossing them in a purse that barely allows for their tiny little head to poke out into the real world. Your keys belong in your bag, not an animal. Paris Hilton and Sharon Osborn can be blamed for starting this trend, but we took it too far. If you use your animal as an accessory, then recognize that your dog is the laughing stock of the dog park, and guilty by association, so are you. 

Trend: Over-sized sunglasses
Spotted: Inside of dark bars

Like many of the regrettable trends on this list, I have subscribed to the over-sized grandma shade club, and it felt so good. This trend spread like wildfire when it was determined that it didn't matter what your butter face looked like. No one could see what you really looked like in these head covering goggles. Suddenly the walk of shame looked brighter when neighbors couldn't see your runny makeup and regretful eyes. This trend took a turn for the worse and you could feel control slipping away when girls wearing big-ass sunglasses left them on inside and kept them on all night; always have to ruin a good thing.

Trend: Chunky highlights
Spotted: The smoking section

Taking inspiration from our favorite exotic animal, the zebra, women marched into salons across the state and demanded two-toned color. Lighter color on top, dark on the bottom and chunky strips everywhere was a look that 2 in 5 women owned during this hey day. Not only were chunky highlights an eye soar, the grow-out period was frightening. Thankfully, softer, more natural color is in today because back then, looking like a punk rocker on top and wearing Abercrombie & Fitch on the bottom just didn't jell.

Trend: Crocs and Uggs
Spotted: Small towns and college campuses (respectively)

There is no reason to explain why Crocs made the list - it's fairly obvious that they are an eyesore and a dumbfounding trend. Uggs, on the other hand are a catch-22. We live in Minnesota where it is frigid for 6 months out of the year. Wearing furry boots not only feels comfortable on your dogs, but it's one of the best ways to fight the elements. On the other hand, Uggs used for any other reason besides sheer necessity is a fashion no-no. We could have slid under the radar if not for the college girls who wore Uggs with mini-jean-skirts in the middle of summer. Now this cold-weather gear is categorized into the worst-trend-of-the-decade list. Thanks.

Trend: Fanned out popped collar in a Rainbow Bright variety
Spotted: The Library, Dinkytown

During the time when most guys were wearing t-shirts with slogans like "Why Am I So Thirsty Today, When I Drank So Much Last Night," there was another trend emerging from the shadows for men who wanted to take their look up a notch. This was the fanned-out popped-collar phase also known as douche bag uniform. How one can wear three-plus collared shirts in the middle of summer is beyond me. This look usually accompanied a gallon of AXE deodorant and a spot of jewelry.

So next time your Minnesota guilt prohibits you from tossing out the neon pants you had to have a few months ago, just let go. You'll be a lot better off in the end and the Goodwill will graciously accept your bad trends.

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