It's practically an inevitability for one era's fashions to look utterly bewildering or disgusting to the next generation. It's true that fashion trends can make a comeback when nostalgia sets in, but there's always a period of severe uncoolness before that happens. After all, why would people move on to the next trend if the old one still looked good?
However, it's worth remembering that for every trend that hits a generation, there will be members of that generation who never liked it to begin with. And now, people of all generations will finally have a chance to vent about the fashion fads of their day that they simply couldn't stand.
Gen X: Sagging Pants
Sagging pants have proved enduring enough in street fashion that it's not necessarily fair to pin their popularity on one single generation. However, since they started to get popular alongside the rise of hip-hop culture that started in earnest back in the childhood and adolescence of Gen X, that seems like the most logical starting point.
It's true that there's a cultural context for sagging pants (it has roots in the prison system where inmates aren't exactly allowed to wear belts) that some of the style's detractors don't understand. That said, it's also fair to say that not everyone walking around with their jeans riding under their butts in the '90s understood it either.
Gen Z: Eyelash Extensions
Multiple Redditors complained about the popularity of false eyelashes nowadays, but they were particularly incensed by a specific type. As a user named LL37MOH described it, the real problem is the extensions that are supposed to make lashes look lush and youthful but end up making the wearer look like Lambchop here.
Another user said, "I'm all for wearing fake lashes, lash extensions, and whatnot, but some girlies are walking around with lashes that look like tarantulas." To put it mildly, it's certainly a niche aesthetic to look like a tarantula.
Millennials: Fast Fashion
Considering how much of the fashion industry exists under the umbrella of "fast fashion," the frustration people have with it doesn't come down to a particular style that doesn't look good to them. Instead, the issue is with the widespread business and manufacturing practices that fast fashion encourages.
These protesters in Berlin are challenging the labor conditions of a specific fast fashion brand, but both these concerns and the environmental harms that come from wastefully overproducing cheap, flimsy material are endemic to the industry. Of course, the fact that they are so flimsy and tend to tear quickly doesn't help in and of itself.
Baby Boomers: Ruffled Dresses And Tops
Back in the '60 and '70s, stars like Goldie Hawn looked very cute in ruffled clothing like this. And when her fans saw her rock this look so well, it was only natural to want to give it a try themselves. But as one person on Reddit explained, that was much easier for some people than others.
In the words of lemons_with_eyeballs, "None of those things look good on anyone who is not tall and very slim. Ruffles, in particular, really overwhelm anyone who is short or has a large bust." It's definitely a good reminder that celebrities who wear these things usually get them custom-made.
Gen Z: Lip Fillers
Although it would be severely unfair to say that the trend of artificially plumping one's lips started with Gen Z, that doesn't make the practice any less prevalent among that generation. And that popularity seemed to skyrocket after Kylie Jenner got them, as there is no shortage of people in the world who want to look just like her.
But while some people decry the results for making lips look full and pouty to the point of absurdity, others are more concerned about the effects they have on the body. As a Reddit user named XenoWoof said, "Removing the [stuff] they inject is also pretty traumatic on the lips too. Please keep it natural."
Baby Boomers: Polyester Leisure Suits
The polyester leisure suit of the '70s may have looked cool on John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever, but the ones people often saw in the wild often came in much funkier colors. It wasn't just that they were brown, green, and orange but that their manufacturers always seemed to find the most hideous shades of these colors possible.
As a Redditor named Fracture_98 added, "Compete for widest flair to the pants, the thickest soled high heeled shoes, and the lapels that'd make a pterodactyl envious." But there weren't just aesthetic reasons behind society's rejection of these leisure suits because they were also incredibly flammable.
Gen X: Rat Tails
Although some rat tails were more braided than the one shown here, this hairstyle existed somewhere between the mullet and the ponytail in a way that isn't exactly reputed to play to either style's strengths. As a result, it's a style that most people look at in retrospect and wonder why they bothered with it at all.
But while everyone (or their parents, depending on their age) had their own reasons at the time for embracing this hairstyle, one Reddit user named JustABasicBadWitch had a pretty adorable one. In her words, "I had one when I was in middle school cause I wanted to be a Jedi."
Baby Boomers: Animal Print
Around the mid-to-late 20th Century, it wasn't uncommon to see people wear leopard print coats and other outfits with similar design schemes. Even if they didn't use a leopard-based design per se, it was usually some exotic big cat.
And by the '70s, it wasn't unheard of for the interior of someone's car to look like that, too. But while a lot of people clearly liked this look, others at the time and especially since then just considered it tacky.
Millennials: Crop Tops
In the 90s, it became very popular among pop stars and other female celebrities to wear crop tops and other shortened shirts. And for them and others who tried to look like them, there was a sound logic behind them. What's the point of working so hard to get abs and toned stomachs if nobody gets to show them off?
Naturally, this trend attracted rebukes from people who considered them immodest. However, that's not the problem one Reddit user had in mind, and they were more frustrated with the lack of non-shortened options than making crop tops available. As they put it, "I get cold!"
Gen X: Pre-Ripped Jeans
Although ripped jeans were never the most practical fashion choice, it's easy to see how they would fit well with punk, alternative, and other countercultural aesthetics. And the '90s were certainly a time where that kind of rebellion was in.
However, that would turn out to be the problem. Because once the look got popular, clothing retailers came out with pre-ripped versions. As Reddit user cbrewer0 put it, "Jeans that have been torn before they're in the store and for some reason cost a lot more."
Baby Boomers: Hair Spray
The "big hair" look was immensely popular throughout the 1980s, and without the benefit of hindsight, it's not so hard to understand why the look caught on. So many pop cultural movements of that decade were all about not only looking radically different from the past but projecting a sense of power.
And since the '80s were prosperous enough for enough people that excess ruled, it makes sense that the "bigger is better" mentality would apply to hair as much as everything else. However, that look quickly went from inspiring awe to inspiring uproarious laughter when the '90s rolled around. And all that damage to the ozone layer didn't help either.
Gen X: Oversized Suits
Whether it was a genuine trend or just a sign of what kinds of suits were available at the time, the '90s had a way of putting people in bulky, oversized suits when it was time to look formal. From pictures like this, one might assume this was less a trend and more a sign of how hard it was for sports stars to find suits that fit them.
However, other pictures from the era make it clear that at least some people were doing this on purpose. As Reddit user pablo_the_bear said, "When suits looked like you were going to a wedding and all you had to wear was the oversized, baggy one you had to borrow from your older brother."
Millennials: Overly Long Fake Nails
While fake nails are nothing new, the last decade has seen people take the length to an extreme. And for those who aren't into the trend, it's hard to understand why that is. While they don't agree that they look good, the real point of confusion is that they also seem pretty cumbersome to wear.
In the words of Reddit user russellwestbrickell, "I'm all for nice nails, even ones that can be a little longer than normal, but those ones that are half the length of your finger?" If trying to grow nails of that length naturally would result in the nail curling inward, it's probably too long for fake ones.
Baby Boomers: Paper Dresses
According to the Victoria and Albert Museum, paper dresses emerged from Andy Warhol's pop art movement in the late 1960s as a way of trying a style or delivering a quick message with a dress people could throw on. Indeed, the latter use was picked up by the Richard Nixon campaign, which used specially branded dresses for promotion by female supporters.
However, there was a reason this idea was as disposable as the dresses themselves. They tore and creased so easily that it wasn't usually considered worth it to buy them after a while. But it's still easy to see how they would be kind of fun while they lasted.
Gen X: Stirrup Pants
Although stirrup pants are a practical part of effectively engaging in certain sports (especially the ones that involve riding horses), they didn't really become a part of street fashion until the '80s and early '90s. And for some, the legging trend couldn't come fast enough as a replacement for this one.
As Reddit user StuartPurrdoch wrote, "Lycra blends were not as good back then. The knees would get all saggy and bagged out after a few hours. Not a good look!" This person also noted that this use of stirrup pants in the '80s arose as part of a ski wear trend.
Millennials: JNCO Jeans
This inclusion may hurt for some because there are fond memories of JNCO jeans among older millennials, but it's nonetheless true that they're a common argument for why '90s fashion was so ridiculous.
As a Redditor named jeffro3339 wrote, "A person could fit in each leg. That's when I knew I was getting old- those jeans looked silly to me." While almost every questionable fashion choice can be described with the words, "You had to be there," jeans that could double as tents seem particularly hard to explain.
Millennials: Ear Gauges
Over the last decade, earrings that stretch out the earlobes and put a round "gauge" in their centers have become a popular look. Some gauges show a solid disc in the ear lobe, while others are hollow and make it look like the lobe has a large hole in it.
But for some people, the results are baffling, often smelly, and seemingly dangerous. As a Reddit user named co1lectivechaois said, "Yes, I never understood those rings people get in their ears that make their earlobes huge. IMO, it looks weird and painful and seems like it would be irreversible."
Gen X: Zubaz Pants
Although the 1980s were a big time for loud, eyestrain-inducing clothing, the '90s gave the decade a run for its money at times. And one prime example of the more ostentatious side of '90s fashion was these colorful, squiggly Zubaz pants.
And for Reddit users like magnetstudent4ever, the most bizarre part of seeing people go out in Zubaz pants was how serious they often seemed to be about it. In their words, "People would rock those Zubaz pants and strut around so confidently. Clueless."
Lost Generation: Hobble Skirts
Although nobody is likely to find anyone still living today who ever wore these, it's worth noting that bizarre and impractical fashion trends are neither new nor a phenomenon that started after the Baby Boom. Before the outbreak of World War I, some women wore dresses featuring "hobble skirts."
In this postcard, the man this woman is standing with calls this a "speed limit skirt" because it limits the wearer's stride and makes it harder to walk. Naturally, this makes it hard not to wonder why anyone would want themselves or their partner to wear such an obvious nuisance.
Gen X: Parachute Pants
Considering how famously MC Hammer is associated with parachute pants from all the times he wore and danced in them, one could be forgiven for thinking they were a stylistic choice unique to him. But by the time he became famous, people had been wearing them for almost a decade.
Although the popularity of these pants faded around the same time that Hammer's did, they seem ridiculous and impractical enough that it's a wonder they even lasted that long. If anything, Hammer deserves credit for finally finding a use for them.
Gen Z: Face Tattoos
Although it wasn't impossible to find people who had tattooed their faces before the last decade, recent years have seen the trend become far more commonplace. But while tattoos at large have become far more socially acceptable than they were even at the start of the new millennium, facial tattoos are still a bridge too far for a lot of people.
This is partially because they aren't often impressed with the tattoos themselves, but face tattoos just seem like a fundamentally bad idea to many people. Interestingly, a lot of the now-outdated concerns of tattoos messing up employment opportunities still seem like really real possibilities when those tattoos are on the face.
Although people have been cutting jeans to make shorts for decades, the term "jorts" usually refers to a specific style of jean shorts that hug the knees. Bonus points if they stick out in front of your kneecaps.
It's no secret that many people consider jorts dorky, but they nonetheless survived the '90s, pushed into the 2000s, and occasionally show up in the present day. It's also a possibility that the term "jorts" is just inherently annoying.
Gen Z: Yeezys
While Kanye West has always been a polarizing enough figure that some people wouldn't want to wear Yeezys out of principle, the musician's immensely popular line of shoes has remained in high demand. However, that doesn't mean they're a hit with everybody.
Indeed, there are aspects of Yeezys that would turn people off no matter who designed them. Their high price can often turn those who aren't the most dedicated hype beasts away, but the most common complaint is aesthetic. They're often compared to the clothing in sci-fi dystopias, and as one Redditor succinctly put it, "Yeezys look like actual trash."
Baby Boomers: Shoulder Pads
It's a hard trend to explain in retrospect, but women's fashion during the 1980s seemed to have a surprisingly large emphasis on large shoulder pads. Although it fits in with a similar mentality that encouraged big fashion statements and even bigger hair, that doesn't necessarily explain why fashion houses at the time expressed that sentiment with shoulder pads.
Nonetheless, it was a defining feature of trendy jackets during the '80s, even though it's almost universally ridiculed now. Maybe the appeal was to make people look more futuristic or powerful since science fiction characters and comic book heroes also tended to include shoulder pads in their attire.
Baby Boomers: Jelly Shoes
According to French magazine Le Point, plastic jelly shoes were largely worn by fishermen until the early 1980s when fashion designers Tony Alano and French Nicolas Guillon were inspired to make them more stylish and colorful. They weren't exclusively sandals, but they were among the most common forms of jelly shoes as the decade progressed.
And while they certainly caught on to a large extent back then, that doesn't necessarily make them all that aesthetically pleasing to everybody. Still, it's not so hard to find people who are still a little nostalgic for them. But there are just as many who never liked them.
Gen X: Glitter
Around the turn of the millennium, it became significantly more common to see people cover themselves in glitter to accentuate their makeup. And while this trend has a way of resurfacing from time to time, it seemed like a festive way to ring in the sadly short-lived optimistic spirit that took hold in the year 2000.
However, glitter's popularity has always had a pretty big downside for those who either wear it or come into contact with someone who does. Namely, it always seems downright impossible to get it off once somebody puts it on. It's easy to underestimate how annoying that is.
Millennials: Skinny Jeans
One Reddit user noted, "In the last decade, I have seen more and more men wearing skinny-fit jeans that end at the ankle." And while this person complained that they often look ill-fitting, like adults are trying to wear clothes made for children, that's not the only beef people have with skinny jeans.
Others described them as a marker of the hipster subculture, which tends to inspire criticisms of pretentiousness and self-importance. For others, it's just that they have seen so many people wear them over the last decade that they've gotten sick of it.
Greatest Generation: Tho-Radia
According to CNN, some treated the discovery of radium as the dawn of a new age where every aspect of people's lives could be enhanced by radioactive material. For Dr. Alfred Curie (no relation to Marie Curie) of the Tho-Radia company, this meant that a line of radioactive cosmetics had serious potential.
Tho-Radia's makeup products were supposed to improve circulation, reduce fat, smooth wrinkles, and firm muscle tissue. However, they didn't accomplish any of this. But while they seem like seriously dangerous products in retrospect, the level of radioactivity in them was too low to accomplish anything good or bad.
During the mid-2000s, Crocs seemed to appear overnight, and almost everyone seemed to be wearing them. And while they're not quite as ubiquitous as they used to be, they're still considered handy for medical professionals and gardeners because they're cozy and easy to clean.
That said, there are many people who do not miss the days when Crocs were everywhere because they're widely considered incredibly ugly shoes. As for their comfort factor, one Reddit user wrote, "I find them uncomfortable, and the ankle strap gives me blisters if I wear them for anything more than very light activity."
Baby Boomers: Mullets
Mullets are perhaps the most polarizing hairstyle in history. There are many types of mullet, but they're all united by the eternal catchphrase, "Business in the front, party in the back." And while they were widely beloved in the late '70s and throughout the '80s, they've made a comeback in recent years among younger generations. For some, that's great news because the mullet remains a fun, iconic hairstyle to them, no matter how many people make fun of them.
However, Reddit user Inner-Nothing7779 is among those who feel differently. As they said, "Mullets are the worst. We worked hard to ensure they were known as terrible. We ridiculed wearers. We did the Lord's work. Somehow, I'm seeing more and more young people wearing them."
Gen Z: Chinos With Loafers
It's worth noting that rather than tarring Gen Z writ large with this current fashion trend, people who roll their eyes whenever they see Chinos with loafers and no socks are picturing a specific type of person wearing them. And as far as they're concerned, that person comes from a wealthy family and has no end of entitlement about it.
As a Redditor named frogsntoads00 described it, "Chinos and loafers are a real big 'my dad is a lawyer, and he'll sue you' fit." Detractors of this style are typically of the opinion that it looks ridiculous to begin with, but that association makes it so much worse.
Millennials: Popped Collars
Although it's not a style that seemed to survive beyond the 2000s, it was an oddly pervasive trend to walk around with the collars of shirts (especially polo shirts) popped up instead of traditionally bedded down. There was even an Usher song about it in 2001.
And while it's a trend that hasn't appeared to make any real comeback, those who remember it largely think it looked more foolish than cool. As Reddit user jimmyjohn2018 said, "At least there is a little function to it. It is to keep your neck from getting sunburned. Still look stupid.."
Gen X: Sideways Baseball Cap
Reddit user Whayne_Kerr treated the world to a bold statement when they said, "Backwards/sideways baseball caps worn non-ironically. The only fashion statement that makes people automatically assume you're an idiot." At least, the backward part of that statement was controversial.
As some people see it, it can be practical to turn the cap's brim backward if the Sun is beating down from behind, and that's especially true for those without much hair. However, those commenters appeared to agree that turning it sideways isn't impressing anybody.
Millennials: Dresses Over Jeans
On one hand, it isn't so hard to see why so many young celebrities thought wearing dresses over their jeans was a good idea during the 2000s. It's understandable to want to combine the prettiness of a dress with the practicality of jeans.
However, that doesn't mean the look worked. The two garments just didn't match, and the experiment didn't turn out to be the best of both worlds it was cracked up to be. There's a reason that 2000s nostalgia has largely skipped this idea.
Gen Z: Vibram FiveFingers
Vibram's FiveFingers line of shoes has a unique design that gives each toe an individual pocket, which is supposed to improve body posture and balance during athletic activities. And while they do this enough to be popular, they can get sweaty quickly, can be difficult to put on and leave runners a little sore after their workout.
However, these drawbacks aren't why detractors like Reddit user _Norman_Bates seem to dislike them. Since this person didn't mention any aspects of actually wearing them, it just comes down to personal taste. And for some, that personal taste is telling them these shoes look weird.
Although rompers aren't the most comfortable attire and are incredibly inconvenient to work with when trying to go to the bathroom, that inexplicably didn't stop from becoming a major fashion trend in the mid-2010s. And while the trend seemed to start among Millennial women, it didn't end there.
By 2017, a company called RompHim got some viral attention by making rompers intended for men. And from the sounds of things, even the thought of joining the trend made Reddit user TheUnblinkingEye1001 uncomfortable. In their words, "I don't like being reminded what I am wearing with every step I take."
Gen Z: Moon Boots
An apparent echo of the ski wear fashion trend that arose during the 1980s, the new Moon Boots trend has seen gigantic boots that would otherwise look appropriate on the ski slopes repurposed for the fashion world. The most desired ones look like this and have "moon boots" embossed on them, but there are several variations.
Not only does this look not appeal to everyone, but those who grew curious about it were shocked to discover they'd need to drop about $300 to participate. So, as a Redditor named nineties_nostalgia wrote, "These stupidly expensive ugly...moon boots."
Gen X: Septum Piercings
It's hard to pin septum piercings down to a particular generation since they've maintained steady popularity ever since they first came to prominence. Although they were a feature of the punk subculture of the '80s, that culture was brought back into the spotlight in the '90s when alternative styles and music started to become embraced by people with otherwise mainstream sensibilities.
As stated, their popularity has not diminished and has arguably increased at times since then. However, that doesn't mean everyone is impressed by them. As a Reddit user named Swordbreaker925 said, "Most people getting septum piercings nowadays somehow think it's aesthetically pleasing, but I question how anyone with a sound mind could find shoving such an ugly piece of metal through your nose appealing."
Gen Z: Unnecessary Bulletproof Vests
In the early 2000s, rapper 50 Cent became famous for wearing a bulletproof vest on stage. However, this was more than a fashion statement for him because it served as a symbol of his rise to prominence and prosperity in the wake of a near-fatal shooting.
Yet when other artists like Drake and Meek Mill made similar choices 15 to 20 years later, that meaning was largely lost. Thus, WKRC reported that it's now not unheard of for a significant number to wear superfluous (and often non-functional) bulletproof vests for fashion reasons. And for their peers, the results often aren't as cool as they seemed in the wearer's head.
Millennials: "Dahmer" Glasses
In a vacuum, there's nothing inherently wrong with large retro-style glasses like the ones shown here. There are certain styles they can work well with, and there's always a place for vintage clothing in the fashion world.
However, a new common purpose for wearing them is leaving a bad taste in some people's mouths. That's because the inspiration for this trend is the Netflix series Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story.