The Chicks’ Fashion Faux Pas

To celebrate the release of Lisa’s newest book, Fashionably Late, we’re talking about our own personal fashion faux pas. (Fun fact: “faux pas” is spelled the same for both singular and plural, although it is pronounced differently so you don’t get the two confused.) Tell us yours in the comments below!

 Lisa Q. Mathews

CotC Word balloons

I have a closet jammed with stuff but wear the same, comfy go-to outfits all the time, mostly to save the “nice” clothes for all those very special occasions such as date nights and tropical vacations and movie premieres when I simply MUST look my best. I also have my own personal Clinique-Estee Lauder-Lancome-Sephora store in my powder room, filled with those little samples you get whenever you buy a lipstick. But do I actually wear makeup? Of course not (but if you see me at a writers conference I’ll be halfway put together on Friday and completely over it by Sunday). My co-sleuths the Ladies Smythe & Westin take after me (or is it the other way around?). Summer is a packrat of pretty, shiny things she can never find when she needs to (or else they snag on an Uber door or she spills cranberry martinis on them). Seventy-something Dorothy is a practical but stylish dresser—but she does have a special reindeer holiday sweater Summer wishes might accidentally go down the Hibiscus Pointe incinerator chute. How was I qualified to write about the fashion world in my latest book FASHIONABLY LATE? Well, I did work very closely with Ford Models (NO, not as a model—but thank you for asking) on a supermodel book series once.

 Cynthia Kuhn


Growing up in the 70s and 80s, it was actually quite difficult to avoid committing fashion faux pas. Here’s a list of my true-life mistakes (the ones I haven’t blocked from my memory, anyway): bell-bottoms with matching jean jacket, both embroidered with some sort of futuristic cityscape; color-blocked blazers with huge shoulder pads; leg warmers and ripped sweatshirts a la Flashdance; and rainbow toe socks with Dr. Scholl’s. #stylin


Marla Cooper

CotC Marla Cooper

This summer I went to a traditional Hindu wedding. The clothing was spectacular, with everyone in bright, colorful saris. Even the bride was colorful, with a brilliant red and gold dress. Somehow I ended up in a conversation with a woman in the ladies’ room (actually a luxury porta-potty). I was admiring her sari and how beautiful everyone looked, and she told me that everyone wears colors because black and white were considered bad luck. I looked down at my dress — mostly black but with some pink flowers — feeling bad because clearly I had doomed the marriage with my choice of clothing. The woman started reassuring me: “Noooooo, no, no, no, you’re fine because it’s flowered. As long as you’re not wearing a little black dress or something.” Right then, another woman stepped out of one of the stalls. And of course, she’s wearing a little black dress and a horrified expression. Thank God for those pink flowers!

Kellye Garrett


I grew up in New Jersey in the late 80s/early 90s. Think big hair and even bigger pants. If you went to my middle school, then you owned a pair Z Cavaracci pants. Imagine a dressier version of MC’s Hammer’s parachute pants and you’d have Cavaraccis. I wore the full pants in the winter and even had a pair of shorts for the summertime. (A girl needs options after all.) You couldn’t tell me anything when I had them on—especially after I saw Danny from New Kids on the Block wore them in a concert. If only Danny and I had more in common than our wonderful taste in fashion.

Ellen Byron


I’ll be honest. I feel like everything I put on these days is a fashion faux pas. My daughter literally threatened to submit me to the TV show, What Not to Wear. But I’m going to go with a faux pas that I’m committed to. I found a pair of drawstring pants at Target that fit me, were comfortable, and not too unflattering. I went back to pick up another pair or two and couldn’t find them. I asked a clerk where they might be. She checked the skew number, gave me a strange look, and said, “These are men’s pajama bottoms.” To which I replied, “Point me to ’em!” I now own five pairs of these “pants.” (And you’re welcome for that link.) I’ve worn them to jobs, the gym, social events – even the occasional meeting. You know how people say they wish they could go to work in their pajamas? I do it all the time.

Readers, ever have a wardrobe malfunction? Or show up at what you thought was a costume party — but wasn’t? Tell us about your fashion faux pas in the comments below! 

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22 thoughts on “The Chicks’ Fashion Faux Pas

  1. I grew up in the 80s. Too many faux pas to mention.

    I worked for years in tech where the clothing de rigeur was jeans and some kind of shirt. I’m still in tech, but now mostly at home. What am I wearing right now? Yep, my pajamas. 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  2. I was utterly mortified when my law partner and I walked into an afternoon cocktail party, for which we both had dressed in dressy pantsuits and high heels. Everyone else was in jeans and t-shirts. We lied and said we had somewhere else to go.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. I have to say, these posts from my fellow Chicks were a blast to read. The eighties seem to take the cake for fashion faux pas, but they were great for me because I didn’t have to wear jeans as much. I’ve never found a pair that was truly comfortable.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Well, I grew up in the sixties, when everyone had long hair parted down the middle and wore T-shirts and Levis and desert boots (remember them)? And so–at least when I’m at home–I still dress the same way, these days (though the hair has changed).

    But my biggest faux pas was definitely sporting the bright red and white Coca-Cola bell bottoms I won during a radio contest at the Santa Monica beach back in the late ’60s. Oh, boy…

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Y’all are beautiful AND stylish! Sorry I missed the fun today — author stuff. Cynthia, there’s nothing wrong with bell bottoms and matching denim jacket. And I have a perfectly gawdy Christmas cardigan (that I have actually worn), if anyone wants to borrow it!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I maintain that it is not a fashion faux pas if it was fashionable at the time. We may cringe now, but we didn’t then, so that makes it okay.

    That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.


  7. Like Kellye, I grew up in the 80’s and had very big hair and listened to hair bands. Ans like Lisa, I now have stylish outfits in my closet I only wear on date nights or at writing conferences. I much prefer my yoga pants!


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