Coat Hangers: The Off-Shoulder Cult

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Way back when, we would’ve been forced to wait a week in order to see black and white print photos of the latest fashion week shenanigans. A pressing thought to those of us immersed in the digital age, but times have changed and we have at our fingertips, fashion on the go.

I wonder if I’m the only poor soul fearful of fashionistas catching the common cold for the love of style, or lack thereof. Let’s be frank ladies and gents, it’s cold as ass outside, fashion or no fashion. We all know this, we all accept this and yet there are still those of us who choose to deny Mother Nature and her plans to chill our fingers and toes to the bone.

I frequently rack my brain as to why so many fashion savants and fashionistas alike, wear their coat half adjust, dangling at the elbows. Is that how to wear a coat? I ask. Perhaps I’ve been doing it wrong all along and fashion is here to teach me how to do things right just in time for fashion weak. Yes, weak. Each fashion week I sit and scroll through umpteen images of relatively fashionable people snapped in the streets and then some. Oh how stylish, I think. Oh how I’d love to rock those shoes, I’ll mutter, but for goodness sake, the fucking coats.

I’m not entirely sure when the trend emerged, I just know that every fashion week since the dawn of street style photography, consisted of people forgetting how to pull a jacket or coat on correctly. I mean surely it’s something we were all taught as children. I for one greatly remember trying to pull off my coat to just under the shoulders and posing in the mirror like that of Naomi Campbell. All the while sucking in my cheeks for that extra cheekbone because hello, model. To which my mother would later give me that look and tell me to stop [fucking] playing around with my clothes. My reign as supermodel and fashionista to the mirrors would only last so long. At the very least, London and its temperamental weather meant that ok, puffa coats look pretty cool off-shoulder, but it may not stop the rain from seeping into your garments, contracting the flu virus and having your parents scream, “well I told you so didn’t I?” Hardly worth it. HARDLY. WORTH. IT.

We’ve all been trailing NYFW this February I’m certain, it’s inspiration from the style gods and we greatly submit to their will. We’ll soon follow PFW, MFW and LFW and to be completely honest anything involving a new collection because it’s ingrained in us. We’re compelled to watch, copy and or complain, because we can’t help but be submerged in the beauty of new garments and accessories. It’s the artistry, it’s the excitement and nothing beats that rush, not really.

Then I saw it, the mother of all coat offences. Picture it, an incredibly well dressed man with shoes and accessories to match, even the outerwear is perfect. Clean cut, a mishmash of brown, beige and khaki hues, the definition of chic really. So why on earth had he missed his arm entirely?

Outside the shows at #nyfw – photo by @leeoliveira

A post shared by New York Times Fashion (@nytimesfashion) on

There it lays, dangling amongst the breeze and his arm exposed to the cold. Neglected. Alone. Without an arm for comfort. A clear misuse of such a beautiful sleeve. I can almost imagine the looks his mother gave him when leaving the house that morning, or had I just become that mother?

To this very moment I remain a little offended and yet, I feel as though there’s a story behind the image. There’s more than meets the eye, there must be. What do we know thus far? Well, perhaps this young man had just gotten a cast removed after having a broken wrist. Fearful of placing his left arm back into to tight compartments, he’s still yet to adjust and so.. just doesn’t. Or, perhaps, he just has an overwhelming fear of having both arms in his outerwear. I mean, perhaps it’s a curse. Perhaps he’s had a hex placed upon him that states, should he place both arms in a coat, his entire family will have a swarm of locusts feast on their dangling flesh. Sure, I’m reaching a little here but all of these explanations combined make far more sense that just style, I’m certain.

Though of course he’s not the only offender, he’s just the catalyst. The final piece of the angry bomb we’ve been weaving and waiting to unleash. People of the fashion commune, we’d really like the answers to our questions. It’s high time someone let us in on the off-shoulder cult secret.


Follow Lauren on Twitter @lawrenrae_