The powers that be at Vogue are at it again, singing the praises of loathesome trends which, if they have their way, could very well take off. This time, it’s an earnest plea to resurrect a trend from the mid 2000s: the fancy top.
In this deeply misguided piece that ultimately means well, writer Emily Farra makes a tenuous case for the return of the Fancy Top as a corrective against the prevailing, Cool Girl, ’90s minimalism aesthetic, as seen on Instagram style bloggers and the like. She writes:
A friend recently asked me for a list of cool, actually stylish new people to follow, because everyone in her feed looked the same. “I’m so sick of Levi’s and slides and basket bags,” she said. Ditto!
So, I’m advocating for a new kind of ‘00s revival: bringing back jeans and fancy tops. I think it’s time to move on from the effortless, can’t-bother-with-more-than-a-T-shirt thing.
What Farra calls for specifically is the mid-2000s trend of throwing on a fancy, shiny, fussy top with a pair of jeans as an antidote to the dominant trend of now—vintage Levis, a Hanes white tee, simple shoes—that feel more like the last gasps of normcore than anything else. Turning to (what else?) the runway, she notes that women around the Vogue offices have been wearing printed blouses that, per another Vogue article, are made from dead-stock vintage fabrics and cost $625 to $750 a piece. “I won’t still be living in T-shirts on the weekends,” she writes in conclusion, “but for my 9-to-5, I’m ready for something a little more special.”
This sounds like a call to arms for women to welcome the daytime going-out top back into their wardrobe. Ready your bodies for gauzy, boho bell sleeves and unfortunate polyester florals. Clear space in your closet for all those long-sleeved lace blouses. Get ready to dry clean more than just your winter coat and maybe a sweater. Fancy tops are really just a going-out top’s more well-heeled, urbane cousin, and guess what ladies, they’re BACK.
While the current trend of occasionally-suffocating minimalism might be less aesthetically exciting, it’s way more egalitarian than anything else. If a plain white tee with unembellished jeans is the look that’s clogging your feed and you want to dress of the moment without spending an entire paycheck, a Hanes 3-pack will run you around $11. Fancy tops of the ilk that Farra is suggesting are high-end and expensive; their low-end, fast-fashion iterations can look bad and are often unflattering. Blouses are hard enough especially if you are blessed with substantial knockers. To roll over and comply with this trend for anyone with a healthy bosom means contending not only with buttons that strain against the pressure of your giant rack, but also finding a Fancy Top absent of any hideous furbelows, flourishes, ruffles, or pleats that, if positioned just right, lay at the apex of your bosom like passed h’ors d’oeuvres at a wedding.
Being angry that Vogue is suggesting we move away from comfort and affordability towards stiffness and luxury is like being mad that the sky is blue, I maintain that going-out tops are highly impractical, uncomfortable, and ugly items of clothing that do not need to make their way back into your wardrobe.