From Thongs to Wellies—These Controversial Trends Are Dividing Fashion Editors

November 28, 2020 at 06:00AM

The act of getting dressed in 2020 has become a little, well, bland—as jogging bottoms, puffer coats and sturdy boots have become the unofficial uniform of winter 2020 and many of us have prioritised comfort over experimentation. You’d be forgiven for thinking that this would mean trending items have become a little bland this winter. Of course crowd-pleasing loungewear sets, duvet coats and slippers are the items selling out at lightening speed currently, but there are also some trending items that have our editors divided.

Maybe it’s all that time spent in leggings, but there are a number of micro-trends and styling tricks we’ve been spotting bubbling up this month that are fabulously creative and innovative. And like anything new and out of the ordinary they are bound to create a reaction and divide opinion—and the following trends have certainly received plenty of reactions on our team Slack channel. Keep scrolling to see seven of the trends our team is divided on. 

Eighty percent of our team is so into knitted vests, that not only do we include them in almost all of our stories, but you’ll spot at least one in any Who What Wear Zoom call.  But there’s one person who isn’t convinced—editor-in-chief Hannah Almassi has always said this is the one item that makes absolutely no sense to her, as practically you need a jumper to be warm, not sleeveless. She does have a point…

Bottega Veneta is one of those brands that in recent years has been creating items that divide opinion as soon as they step onto the runway. This year the polarising item is certainly its £500 rubber cropped wellies, that come in acid green and bubblegum pink. None of our editors are sold on this one, but they are (like most Bottega Veneta items) almost impossible to get a hold of. 

Our UK team were all unsure of all the arm warmers currently stocked on Zara, however our colleagues over in LA and New York are really getting into this trend, as three out of five included a pair in their recent Zara wishlist. Perhaps the California weather lends itself more to a half-absent jumper?

Jacquemus is another brand that is often behind divisive, but agenda-setting trends (such as the micro bags that barely fit in a £1 coin), and this year the autumn collection included a pair of ribbed beige stirrup leggings. Other brands behind this 80s leggings trend include Isabel Marant, Burberry and Maryam Nassir Zadeh. Personally I’m a little too scared to try this one, but Elinor Block in our team says this is the one type of leggings she is tempted by—”It shouldn’t work but I think the reason it does is that the style looks so good with heels, making it appear less workout and more high fashion.”

Ties were another trend we saw bubbling up in the autumn collections, such as at Dior and Prada, typically worn with a white shirt and with a knitted vest over the top. This trend is perhaps a little too formal for a winter spent in lockdown—but I have a feeling this won’t be the last season we’ll see this trio styled together. “I’m usually all for turning traditionally gendered clothing on its head, but there’s something about the tie trend that doesn’t quite sit right with me,” says Shopping Editor Joy Montgomery. “Perhaps it’s the fact that it’s so overtly decorative—not that all clothing must be practical, but a tie just seems particularly self-conscious in the fashion spectrum, in the same way that berets do (I tried, but I just couldn’t). Or maybe it’s because they have such strong connotations with school uniform and office wear that I’m unable to shake off.”


Katie Holmes really did start a whole movement when she hailed a taxi in her Khaite cashmere bra-digan, and a year later there’s no shortage of impractical bras made to be worn as tops or layering pieces. Personally I love the knitted bra and cardigan look, and want to try it this winter—but am not sure I could pull off wearing one on top of a shirt or a top, as many are styling crystal and rhinestone bras this winter.  

Visible thongs are making a quiet comeback currently, thanks to the likes of Emily Ratajkowski and Bella Hadid and a roster of cool up-and-coming labels. London Fashion Week designer Supriya Lele created trousers with a fake thong strap over the top of trousers for SS21, and explained to Vogue: “I like to show sexual confidence in the clothing and I wanted to make more of a statement of that this season because I felt so tired of wearing joggers for months.” Central Saint Martins graduate Nensi Dojaka also creates lingerie-inspired ready to wear, such as Camille Charriere’s visible G-string above. A year ago I would have said this is a trend that should firmly stay in the 2000s with Christina Aguilera, however I do like the subtlety of the thinner strap in the above outfit. 

Next up, see our guide to the key trends for autumn winter 2020. 

Author Emma Spedding | Whowhatwear
Selected by CWC

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