Fashion Faux-Pas –Friend, Foe or just Frantic?

By Tana Corporon:  With fashion trends changing throughout the seasons each and every year, sometimes it’s hard to know exactly what’s in, what’s out or what’s staying for awhile.  Breaching fashion etiquette is easier than one might think.  It’s not just what you wear or what people initially see, but the many layers that go into dressing on top as well as underneath.

We all know we’ve made them…those clumsy little fashion-gaffes, or should I say “goofs” that bring embarrassing attention to us in one way or another.  How many times have we frantically run around our bedrooms, rummaging through drawers, ripping through clothes, shoes and accessories, only to see that we’ve accomplished nothing but generate absolute anarchy in the closet and on the floors?  I know I have, and on more than one occasion!

One would think, however, that after trying on 7 different shirts, 10 pairs of pants, 4 scarves, 2 belts…and a “Partridge in a pear tree,” you would have lost at least 5 pounds!  All I get is a backache, my makeup smeared to one side of my face and my hair (that I spent curling for two hours) messy and laying flat from the aerobic exercise that I just performed – Frantic? “FOE”-sure!

It’s hard enough to find the right clothes to fit my stature.  I don’t want to worry about looking dumb wearing them, or add to the “temporarily speechless” out there.  So goes the litany of questions in my head:  “Umm, what season is it again?  Can I wear white, even though we’re in winter?  Should I wear my pants tucked inside of the boot, or wear them over the boot?  Is animal print still in style?”  Do you find yourself contemplating these same questions year after year, or filtering through past year’s fashion no-no’s from your favorite style magazine?

Well, STOP!!  Fashion Faux-Pas have been occurring, and inspiring, for centuries.  Today’s fashion blunderer could be tomorrow’s au couranttrend setter!  Believe it or not, the fashionable well-to-do, in the 18th century, committed a frightening faux-pas as they skinned the fur of mice, shaped them into eyebrows and glued them on.  Sound crazy?Perhaps!  But as the old saying goes, “There’s a reason for everything.”  Perhaps skinning mice and wearing their fur as eyebrows never became the fashion-forward trend.  But, what if it was the idea and/or inspiration that led Silent film movie producer, D. W. Griffith, into creating the very first pair of false eyelashes way back in 1916?  Who would have ever thought weaving human hair through tiny pieces of gauze and gluing them to our eyelids would become a “fashion trend?”

Unless you’re clashing a navy pair of pants with a solid black shirt, wearing a patchwork of color and texture (which is a petite no-no!), or recreating the crevasses of the Grand Canyon through impressions from your undergarments, some fashion faux-pas can be friendly.   It amazes me each season the recycling that I see in design and style from past years, even though some were considered unforgettable faux-pas.  The difference? A simple tweak, here and there, to the outfit.

For example, some believe leggings should have stayed in the 80’s and 90’s, “where they belong.”  But clearly, leggings have gone through the fashion rebirth canal several times dating all the way back to the14th century during the Renaissance period!  They became fashion-forward in the 60’s when women wore them with little ballet slippers. Undoubtedly, leggings have become both, the fashion friend and foe.  The rule of thumb here is to never wear leggings as pants.  Always pair with a nice tunic or long shirt.  As a petite, you’ll want to be sure to wear the right shoe with your leggings to help elongate your legs.  Lengthen your body by wearing long necklaces with your v-neck shirts and blouses – this adds not only a sexy vibe, but creates the illusion of a longer torso!

The truth of the matter is this: The majority of people who see you on the street really don’t know if you’re a walking fashion faux-pas-fluke, or if you’re the next fashion trendsetter working for Vogue or Harper’s Bazaar!  Besides, given the history of some of the wildest fashion faux-pas committed throughout the years, evidently, they have a way of working themselves out…just give it time!

Whether fashion is your friend or foe, don’t be frantic.  Be creative!  Just be you, and give it a GO!


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16 thoughts on “Fashion Faux-Pas –Friend, Foe or just Frantic?”

  1. What a GREAT story! As a petite, I got a ton of helpful tips to make me feel and look taller! The pictures were great.LOL I cant believe what some of the stars wear! OMG! It makes me laugh! So true though, silly today is the new big thing tomorrow!!! Thank you for a wonderful read and BellaPetite Rules!

    1. I agree — Bellapetite RULES!! I'm so glad you were able to get some helpful tips. It's always nice to be able to go to a place on the web and feel confident that you'll find what you're looking for — that's what you can expect from Bellapetite. I hope you'll continue to enjoy all the articles featured. Have a great day!

  2. Consumerism at hand. Make people feel insecure about what they wear, when there are more important things to worry about, that is my insight. Plus, you can save money recycling, and I really enjoyed this article 😀

    1. Hi Francine – I think you make a good point about "consumerism," but if we didn't have that, we wouldn't have fashion or other things that, fortunately & unfortunately, make this world go round. One aspect to having nice things to wear, being in the "now," or getting tips as to what a petite can wear is, it's a fact that when we "feel" pretty on the outside, it lifts our self-esteem, which releases endorphines, which then makes us more productive…etc., etc., lol. I LOVE your terminology about "recycling" to save money. It's always nice to have "comfort" clothing that you KNOW looks good on you, and then add a new scarf, belt or jacket for that season to enhance what you already know looks great!! Thanks for your comment.

    1. Hi Regina — thank you for taking the time to comment. I know you & your girls are sweet, petite and gorgeous — hope this information will only add to your beauty!

  3. Wow, did people really kill mice and use their fur for eyebrows? That's weird, but interesting. I think I'll appreciate false eyelashes from now on, LOL! I never thought of the v-neck shirts making my torso look longer with the long necklaces. Now that I think of it, that makes a lot of sense. And I had to laugh about the closet floors becoming a giant mess after being "frantic" as you say, about what I'm going to wear. I had to laugh out loud about your makeup, that happens to me all the time. Thanks for the tips and love your radio show!

    1. Can you believe it? I thought I was reading a prank or something when I first read about that! LOL! However, tis very true. I love thinking that it indeed inspired the false eyelashes, which I'll never take for granted, lol! Thank you for validating (and admitting) the same about the closet floors — YIKES! My husband has learned to "look away" over the years, lol…bless his heart! Thank you for commenting and finding your "Petite Secrets" here at

  4. Frankly, I've never followed the so called "fashion trend," I wear what I want, what my mood is, and how I feel that particular day. I don't care what people think of me or how I dress. I agree with Francine Bay's comment about consumerism, but I still want to know what goes with what since I'm petite (5'2). I don't want to look dumpy. At first I thought I was reading a typical expert opinion fashion story, but you caught my attention with the closet scenario because I can relate. My husband grumbles all the time about my crazy behavior of trying different things on before leaving the house. The mice fur trend was cool, never knew that. Thanks Bellapetite for a great read. 🙂

    1. I think, especially as a petite, it's important to look presentable whether it's for yourself (which it should be), or for your husband, wife, work, etc. I absolutely LOVE when I go out for the day, someone (usually a women, which counts more) will compliment my outfit, my shoes, even my hair – it makes me feel on top of the world (especially at my age, lol) — it's so nice to know that people ARE looking, and apparently caring enough to say something. It's unfortunate that we have stereo-types and as a society we judge one another (just a fact), so it's always very good when we (people) can turn it over and do the positive thing as well! Thanks for reading the article — please checkout the other great features as well as the archives! You'll find great "petite secrets!"

  5. This Section about leggings is SO TRUE. Even my straight college-age brother agrees with THAT fashion advice, he's already forbidden me from ever going out in public wearing Tights-as-pants, otherwise known as tightasspants, its just wrong.

    1. Jaclyn…you have made me LAUGH-OUT-LOUD!! Too funny, and too true! Hey, my hay-day was in the '80's and if their were fashion police, I would have gone to jail! I had the BIG hair, the skinny, skinny body…the BIG jackets, LEGGINGS (YIKES!), belts and all the wrong things. Although, back then..they weren't the "wrong" things — one live & learns, lol! But gosh, leggings have been around the block so many times, in so many ways (good & bad). I adore them now…now that I know how to wear them. Geez, come to think of it, I used to date a GUY (yes, he was a rocker-dude) who wore them as pants…I think that memory is what inspired that paragraph…OH THE HORROR!! LOL! Please be sure to tune in often for "Petite Secrets" and more information for the Petite woman! Thanks for the support!

    1. Thank you kindly for your comment! I had a lot of fun writing it. I hope you'll return often and learn more about who Ann Lauren is and what she and Bellapetite represents for Petite woman everywhere! Take care.

  6. I'm 5'5, so its so hard to find clothes. some say i'm not petite, but others say I am. I like that you actually are a human person responding to such comments. can we ask questions? Do you have a column where someone can ask questions about fashion or even girl advice? I've never heard of the mice fur beforel that is so funny. Like jaclyn above, my family has forbidden me to go out in public with leggings but now that I understand better how to wear them I will try it again. Thanks Tana for the read.

  7. I'm so happy to have found Bellapetite. The articles are worth reading and you actually learn something. I love anything history and reading your article Tanna made me laugh but in a fun way. I like how you're not afraid to tell your readers about the real you or the things you go through as a woman and petite. I would be embarrassed to admit my closet looks like a bomb hit it, but it does. And my husband is always telling me to move my stuff over so he can get in there lol. Do you have a blog somewhere or more of your writing? You're funny. I saw your poem on facebook. That was phenomenal and it made me cry. I'm a business woman by day and very shy, so I love reading about others and all they do. Keep up the great work! I will spread the word about Bella Petite.

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