Welcome to the world of women, where chokers choke, skirts morph into shorts and nude bras somehow make nude miraculously unappealing. When did phrases like “mom jeans” become common vernacular, and how do we as a human race continue to passively condone the lingering UGG boot? Women wear seemingly incomprehensible things mostly for three reasons: 1) Because they’re comfortable, supportive or expressive. 2) To keep on-trend with the female fashion frenzy. 3) Dare I say, to attract you. But for the seriously baffled, let’s go over a few major question marks…
1. Chokers What you might be thinking: That’s a neck brace. It’s uncomfortable to look at… and sometimes makes me short of breath. Purpose: Like flannels, Doc Martens and denim jackets, chokers are a comeback of the ’90s—a decade recognized for grunge-, punk- and hip-hop-inspired minimalism. The ’90s are responsible for the first supermodels like Cindy Crawford and Naomi Campbell and the rise of fashion icons revered today. It was the Perry Ellis Spring 1993 Grunge collection that got Marc Jacobs fired but launched his career. Chokers and other grungy styles are a nostalgic tribute to our much cooler yesteryears.
2. Mom Jeans What you might be thinking: Most moms won’t even wear mom jeans anymore because they give you a straight-up fupa. Purpose: “Mom jeans,” the official retail name for these high-rise denim throwbacks, have little to do with moms. Most Gen Zs and millennials wear them for their magical booty-rounding powers. And hip-huggers are a heck of a lot snugger than their low-rise, here’s-my-vagina, sure-to-get-plumber’s crack precedents.
3. Sheer Chiffon with Built-In Granny Panties What you might be thinking: That’d be a lot sexier sans granny panties. Purpose: Sheer skirts, maxis and pants are gaining popularity with the rise of leisure lingerie—you know, those totally unsupportive but usually lacey and sometimes sporty boob contraptions women keep wearing as shirts and sometimes even over shirts. The more lingerie becomes fashion-forward—and the good old-fashioned slip becomes less and less a thing—the more women flaunt undergarments rather than hide them.
4. Cone Bras What you might be thinking: Boobs should not be pointy. Purpose: These date back to the ’50s when Marilyn Monroe, a feminine fashion icon across the decades, made pointy bullet bras look fine as hell. Then, in the ’90s, Madonna’s Jean Paul Gaultier conic bra from her Blond Ambition Tour became her most memorable, signature look. Today’s versions pay homage to these lovely legends—donning one feels like channeling our inner-bombshells.
5. Nude Bras What you might be thinking: Any other color would’ve sufficed. Purpose: Pure practicality. Even a white bra will show face through a white T-shirt.
6. High-Waisted Bikini Bottoms What you might be thinking: Why’d you wear a diaper to the beach? Purpose: They’re not only trending, but they’re also a more secure alternative to the string bikini and sun tan-friendly alternative to the conservative one-piece. Plus, they cinch at the skinniest part of the waistline so we can bloat on beachside Bloody Marys all day.
7. Tent Dresses What you might be thinking: Is that a potato sack? Purpose: We wear tent dresses for a lot of reasons: We’re post-binge and don’t feel like buttoning pants (or can’t). We’re on our periods and don’t feel like buttoning pants (or can’t). We’re hung-over and entertaining the idea of putting on pants is exhausting. It’s hot and we sweat. Tossing a sack of fabric over the head gives the feeling of nudity in all its blubbering, ventilated glory, without offending the masses.
8. UGGs What you might be thinking: Human-turned-woolly mammoth. Purpose: They’re warm and easy to slip on.
9. Skorts What you might be thinking: Skorts are the party poopers of skirts. Purpose: They’re fun and flirty from the front but deceptively functional in the back. We can do lunges around the office if we freaking want to, dance on bars without creeps staring, ride our bikes to the drycleaners because we can and manspread on the subway like champs.
10. Boyfriend Jeans What you might be thinking: Are they from the men’s department? Purpose: These fall into the trending category. Simply, they’re a good chunk of what’s available in stores these days and they’re easy to throw on with a T-shirt if/when we’re forced to face the outside world on Sundays.
11. Jeans Under Dresses What you might be thinking: Pick one. Purpose: There sometimes comes a day when we want to wear a dress but didn’t shave our legs. Or we’re feeling pasty. Or we’re on our periods. Or it’s windy outside. Or it shrunk just a little too short because we should’ve had it dry-cleaned. Regrettably: the jean-dress combo.
12. Heel-less Heels What you might be thinking: Alien. Avatar. Creature of sorts. What’s happening there? Purpose: These fall into the expressive group. Even our girlfriends might think they’re awful, but a woman’s shoes speak to “her person,” her character, her eccentricity. Never have I ever put on a pair of quirky shoes and thought, the men will love these. Nor have I ever put on a pair and assumed my friends would adore them as much I did. Always, however, do I put on a pair of totally wild shoes and think, shit, these are rad.