In the world of fashion Ñ and for that matter, anyplace personal expression plays a role Ñ the fact that 'anything goes' doesn't mean that it should.

And although I try to have an open mind about what's new on the fashion scene, sometimes trends come along that are simply mistakes. I prefer to think of them as aberrations of nature, like a sixth digit or a vestigial tail: phenomena that are not particularly becoming but mildly fascinating Ñ on someone else.

Questionable trends include, but are by no means limited to:

• The ubiquitous velour tracksuit that J.Lo made popular Ñ again. (My mom and your mom wore one in 1974). As a general rule, tracksuits should be worn only by track coaches and Olympic athletes.

• Leg warmers didn't look good Ñ or serve any real purpose Ñ the first time around.

• Orange and black worn together spells 'H-a-l-l-o-w-e-e-n' no matter how you slice it. (OK, game-day exceptions will be made for Oregon State University fans.) A yellow and black ensemble? Only if you are playing a bumblebee in a school production.

• Skunklike hair highlights are harsh and aging. Remember Anne Bancroft as Mrs. Robinson? She was 36 when she made 'The Graduate,' but her hair (and, OK, her cigarettes) made her look 50.

• Dresses worn over pants. I know 'everyone's doing it,' but I can't get past the fact that this combo makes no sense. Whether it's architecture, automotive design or fashion, the best form follows function. Make up your mind, already!

• I cannot make this up: Leggings are coming back. Need help with your resolution to avoid the trend this time around? Post a photo of yourself on the fridge, circa 1989, wearing leggings with a blazer or long sweater. Enough said.

• Superpale lipstick. The hypothermia look peaked on Carnaby Street in the late '60s, when even Twiggy couldn't make it look good. Ditto for purple lips. The idea is to be more attractive, remember?

• Glitter nail polish is way too whimsical for anyone over 15.

• Dressed-down cargo pants will get you nothing but drafted. Sex it up by replacing the sneakers with high heels, and the T-shirt with a sexy top.

• The Dixie Chick haircut. The group made this look popular a couple of years ago: shortish with a spiky, sea urchin nape, courtesy of megahold hairspray. The band's moved on to a softer look, but the rest of the world hasn't Ñ and should. Hair should invite touch, not repel it.

• A bare midriff. Unless one is wearing a bikini or running a marathon, there is no reason to inflict one's stomach on an unsuspecting public.

• Leather pants on a woman of a 'certain age.' A general rule of thumb: If you can remember what you were doing when you heard that the Beatles had broken up, you might consider wool.

• The same rule applies to miniskirts, a trend best left to those who are experiencing it for the first time.

• Finally, tattoos may reflect one's youthful exuberance, but they cannot keep gravity Ñ and the need for employment Ñ at bay. If there was ever a trend to wear judiciously, this is it.

Contact Jill Spitznass atThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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