he history of fashion is stitched with regrettable trends.
The top hats of the late 1800s. The disco suits of the 1970s. The pointy brogues and parabolic wallet chains. The parachute pants and double-popped collars. The Crocs and Ed Hardy T-shirts. The spray-on trousers and puffy vests over bare chests. The mishmash blur of tie-dyed neon metal grommet polar paisley rayon sartorial atrocities that haunt us still.
There is no word in the English language to describe the trauma that comes from gazing at old photos. No term that captures the blinding shame in seeing yourself grinning exuberantly in a jacket with lapels the size of Boeing wings and periwinkle jeans buckled up at your nipples.
To be fashion forward is to have regrets when looking back.
You looked fantastic at the time. At least, you thought you did.
So allow me to address anyone who is thinking about buying a spacesuit. Yes, that’s right.Spacesuit. The intergalactic garment young Anwar Hadid is sporting on the current cover of Teen Vogue. The pumpkin one-piece Cara Delevingne wore in an Instagram post. The item trend spotters say is “taking off” this summer, as if our town squares are about to resemble Cape Canaveral in the mid-’90s.
You will regret this.
I’m starting to think many so-called trends are just bored designers and cultural arbiters screwing around with the rest of us: “Hey, let’s see if these mooks will splurge on jumpers. We finally got the last dummy to switch to plain-fronts, so is it time to bring back pleats? Wait. I know. Spacesuits!”
One of the great things about aging is your photo archive starts to benefit from a historical sweep, from the way each and every tailored misstep is preserved in 2D. The younger you becomes a cautionary tale the present-day you gets to silently interrogate. You work together on retail queries such as, “How will we really look in that?” and “Where will we wear this?”
This is the reason young people look so ridiculous.
They don’t have an older them to nix watermelon hair.
How will you look in a spacesuit? Well, if you’re not actually about to rocket into space, you will look like someone who has long conversations with potted plants. You will frighten schoolchildren and stray dogs. You will look like you escaped from prison and then robbed a NASA crest store. You will become the talk of your neighbourhood, your HR department, your social circle, your recreational sports league and your local watering hole, especially after it denies you service and threatens to call the cops.
A spacesuit for everyday wear? What’s next? A beekeeper suit for the gym? A haz-mat suit for formal functions?
I started to worry about this disturbing trend last year after reading think-pieces about “astronaut chic” and hearing about companies with names such as Final Frontier Design that are manufacturing “garments for the future of space travel.”
Now that space travel has moved from sci-fi to imminent reality, these capitalist ventures make sense. But only if the garments are wornexclusively in space. Teleport the esthetic down to Earth and suddenly you end up with the ghastly futurism of this year’s Met Gala, where an interplanetary bounty hunter possessed the body of Lady Gaga and Rita Ora looked like she was reverse-engineered from the DNA of metallic waterfowl on the Planet Zergot.
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At least that was a special event for human celebrities.
If Zayn Malik arrived minutes after grafting the Terminator’s arms onto his torso or Tyga appeared to be relaying Intel back to the Mother Ship via transponders in his chain mail bolero jacket, it doesn’t matter because they don’t live in the real world.
For the rest of us, astronaut chic is street-level shriek.
Before you click over to the Alpha Industries online store and pony up $79.40 (Canadian) for an “Adult NASA Astronaut Flight Suit — Orange,” at least think it through.
What’s going to happen Monday morning when colleagues seriously ask if you’ve just come from a table reading for The Martian? How is your Tinder date on Friday night not going to avert her eyes and pretend she’s someone else when you stroll into the Keg looking like Buck Rogers?
Then there are the functional concerns. Ambulating, sitting, sprinting for the bus, parent-teacher meetings, breathing normally, mowing the lawn, using public restrooms — everything becomes more labour intensive and shockingly conspicuous in a spacesuit.
That’s because a spacesuit isn’t clothing. It’s a cry for help.
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We have enough trouble with terrestrial trends. We are not ready to boldly go where no fashion crime has gone before.