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  • Writer's pictureAlyssa Chen

Ugly Chic

Updated: May 8, 2021

I can still remember how my mom used to scold me for wearing red and green together. “It’s tasteless and cheesy,” she said. Indeed, there seems always a rule referring to being fashionable and beautiful. I have so used to these rules and applied them in my work, and passed them on to countless corporate training.

Gucci Cruise 2018 ©Getty

With the rising of ugly chic in the fashion catwalk, however, all the rules seem to be reversed. Designers create their catwalk pieces that break every rule you’ve ever read about. The reaction of public is normally ERRR or WTF yet they occupy the social media accounts (specifically Instagram!) of those “cool girls”. The previous uncool now looks so cool. The used-to-be-negative terms- “nerdy” “garnish” “unflattering”- now stand for fashion-forward. Ugly is having the moment and seems become new beauty now. What makes it interesting is the huge media exposure of these styles brainwashing the public and turning opinions from disgust to must-have gradually.

Ugly chic is not a new thing. Miuccia Prada builds her business on it since the 90s. It is just that this trend becomes more and more intensified and penetrating in the fashion world through the success of Alessandro Michele’s Gucci, and Demna Gvasalia’s Vetements and now Balenciaga. Of course, one would say: beauty is in the eyes of the beholders. Therefore, let’s just be open-minded and enjoy the fun brought by this unconventional and interesting fashion trend.


No one would deny that Crocs and Birkenstock had nothing to do with fashion. Be aware- now the bedazzled version totally becomes fashion darling since Christopher Kane’s Spring Summer 2017 collection. One would win bonus ugly points if wearing it with socks. Yet the most striking award goes to the Frankenstein sandal boot hybrid of UGG and Teva in 2016. It is called the “ugliest shoes ever.” The fur-lined version is even joked “perfect for going to beach in Alaska!”

Mom/Dad/Boyfriend Apparels

It is sort of a common sense in styling doctrine that we wear clothes to flatter our body. However, when those apparels named after your familial relationship (mom jeans, dad hats, boyfriend tees..etc) rise and become KOL’s (such as Bella & Gigi Hadid, Kendall Jenner) daily wear on Instagram, all those rules are ditched to the trash bin. These familial-named apparels generally stand for loose-cutting. Thus, the comfort is definitely unbeatable when wearing these pieces.

Nerdy and Granny Glasses

How can one forget a pair of massive frames to replicate the nerdy style promoted by Michele’s Gucci? In addition, the chunky eyewear chain straps that used to belong to grannies have also been introduced officially on the catwalk.

Garish Colors Clashes

What’s the new rule under this can’t-let-your-mom-see-it trend? The more striking, the better!


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