Unexpected, Therefore Fashion

What does this riddle of a title mean exactly? Well, it’s actually pretty simple. When an outfit has an unexpected twist, it leaves the realms of the everyday and becomes stylish, becomes a statement. Breaking the mould is easier than we think.

Take the recent trend of buttoning shirts up all the way to the top. Whereas the preppy Ralph Lauren 3 buttons undone look was once favoured, shirts fully buttoned are now a go to look for women everywhere. This was a new, unexpected twist on the shirt. Unfortunately said look has become so widespread that is no longer falls under the heading ‘unexpected, therefore fashion’. It has had its day, as most trends inevitably do. Fans of this look can keep it up however, simply add a statement gold necklace over the shirt to give it some interest.


Some looks fall into this category even though they shouldn’t be allowed. These are the ones that go too far into the ‘unexpected’ idea. A prime modern example: ugly shoes à la Kane SS’12. Why? Just why? I get what they’re trying to do; by wearing ugly shoes the wearer is breaking the preconception of what is feminine and what is masculine. It is the ultimate foray into the androgynous look, one of the original unexpected ideas in female fashion. But really, it’s just not nice.


Some ‘unexpected, therefore fashion’ looks have staying power, probably because you need to have the stature of a model to pull them off so they never get the chance to become widespread and common. Prime example: cropped cigarette trousers or wearing a tuxedo to a party rather than a dress. Yves Saint Laurent championed this look a long time ago, and thankfully, it has stuck around. There is a growing popularity for it too, which is great to see.

ManRepellerMan Repeller works the Tux look

Tonal dressing is a great way to take an everyday outfit to the ‘unexpected’. Wear a cerise top with red trousers. Wear 3 very similar but slightly different shades of purple together. Forget what you’ve been conditioned to think about colour combinations entirely and try something new. A yellow mohair jumper and orange wool trousers? Why the hell not?

Tonal Dressing

This trend even shows in the most prominent models today. Take BFA Model of the Year Cara Delevingne and her recognisable eyebrows. Or Lindsey Wixson and her bee-stung lips. The most successful girls all have their trademark weird feature.



So go out there and buy something which is unexpected in shape. An easy way to start is with a boxy jumper that’s a bit too shapeless and a bit too short. Pair with a pencil skirt or skinny cropped trousers and you have a winning look.

N.B. This rule does not apply to brightly coloured tights which have never been, and will never be, acceptable. If you do want to change up your tights, try something along the lines of those showcased on Tuesday night at the Chanel Métier d’Art show; tartan print tights are where it’s at.

Chanel Tights

images from Terry Richardson, Vogue and Man Repeller


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