Summer's fashion crimes

From super-short shorts to Tango tans and muffin tops, The IoS offers its guide to the seasonal sartorial disasters that must be avoided

It was bad enough when the old maxim that hemlines rise with the mercury applied to just half the population. Now that men have got in on the act – thank you Cristiano Ronaldo – global warming is indeed a phenomenon to be feared. The sight last week of a holidaying Rio Ferdinand in crotch-hugging, faux denim shorts teamed with what can only be described as a man bra was enough to make anyone wish for the perpetual winter of Narnia.

But, hideous as they are, super-short shorts are not the only fashion crime of midsummer. Sadly there are many more, as we reveal here. As well as the old chestnuts such as VBSs (visible bra straps) and Tango tans, we take particular umbrage at a black bra under a white T-shirt or, on men, white socks and sandals. As for socks and Birkenstocks, where do we start?

Not so the maxi-dress. Around for the third summer on the trot, it's one we've had enough of. And so has Stacey Duguid, executive fashion editor at Elle magazine. "It's so look-at-me and so terribly WAG. Why does the maxi-dress wearer also come festooned with high street jewellery? Arms full of clattery wooden bangles painted different colours; just add gold sandals and faux tan to finish the look. Ugh."

Men be warned: she takes a dim view of T-shirts with slogans, beige cargo shorts to the knee, and trainers. "Terrible," she says. Shorts also come in for a lambasting from Joe Phelan, contributing editor of Esquire. "The right shorts are OK but anything you could swim in is not. That's just chavtastic gone wrong. Never, under any circumstances, should shorts be three-quarter length. Or board shorts. Unless you're 22 and fit and holidaying in Rock." Katie Germein, fashion editor at Red, thinks that bikinis in the park, even if it's scorching hot, are also just plain wrong. As is a bikini top instead of a bra.

Next time the sun gets his hat on, pop yours on too – but not a cowboy stetsen – and heed the words of the great Beau Brummell: "To be truly elegant, one should not be noticed." Even if it's hot.

Visible bra straps

Who'd have thought that Amy Winehouse was such a summer icon? What? She's not? You wouldn't know it from the number of women keen to flash their bra straps, à la Ms Beehive, at the first hint of a sunny day. Be they black, red or – tackiest of all – see through, cover them up ladies. And yes, that means you!

Male cropped tops

We don't care whether he was on the beach on holiday. He could have been on the moon, if he liked. Rio Ferdinand just needs to know that wearing a cropped top, man bra or whatever else you want to call it is just not on.

Socks with summer shoes

It's that old Y chromosome fashion crime chestnut: the white socks that pop up as soon as the sun pops its head out. Yes, Leonardo DiCaprio, we know summer shoes can rub a bit. Even Birkenstocks. But next time, try a plaster.

Flip-flops away from the beach

Blame it on the Brazilians. If they hadn't invented such comfy flip-flops no man alive would don a pair anywhere but the beach.Sorry, Zac Efron, not even your cuteness buys you a get-out-of-jail-free card.

Tango tans

Tango orange is not a good look. And, says last week's Grazia, the natural look could be making a comeback. Bear that in mind, Paris Hilton, next time you miss a bit.

Dark bras and white T-shirts

There's something cheap about showing the world what bra you're wearing under your white summer top. It's flesh-coloured or nothing. That means you too, Daisy Lowe.

Showing tan lines

If you must wear a strapless top, or, worse, anything asymmetrical, spare us your white tan lines. Especially if you're a bridesmaid at your brother's wedding, Zara Phillips.

Cowboy hats on men

What works on a Texan ranch doesn't work down the British boozer. Don't men know they're channelling Peter Andre, of all people? Wrong, wrong, wrong.

Muffin tops

Lily Allen has since learnt the lesson of not wearing low-rise jeans that show the layer of flab that hangs over the sides. Shame the same can't be said for other women.


It may be the thinking woman's mini-skirt but that doesn't make it any less WAGtastic. There's a place for billowing tents and that's at a campsite, thank you Alex Curran.

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