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Scaring up the biggest modern fashion oddities

You know about foot binding and corsets and creepy bird masks of yore.

But fashion didn't suddenly stop being odd centuries ago. In fact, you could argue it has only gotten stranger. The current culture teems with Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj, adult onesies, Pajama Jeans and general pantslessness. It's all fun to watch, but when average people attempt weird fashion, a carnival sideshow ensues. Here are the oddest fashion frenzies we've seen the past few years.

Too much tanning: A healthy glow never hurt anyone. A little color, from sun or spray bottle, aids in slenderizing, toning and overall hot-making. But in the past decade, people decided the skin tone du jour was extreme orange. Not apricot, not pale peach. Orange, the hue of a Tropicana bottle. It has wrought a nation of Oompa Loompas with streaky elbows and eyeballs like demonic white marbles.

Butt-crack jeans: Many a grouchy old politician has cried foul at men who wear their pants on the ground. But at least they're wearing underwear! When the low-rise jeans phenomenon swept the stores amid Britney Spears' glory days, you couldn't go to class at community college without seeing a dozen Roads to Perdition. Brazilian designer Sanna's even created a pair with a built in denim thong. Maybe we should be thankful for that.

Doctor haircuts: The blame starts with George Clooney. In the 1990s, America's sexiest salt-and-pepper physician cut his hair in the shape of a shallow bowl. Bangs! He had bangs! Pretty soon, all the dudes on your block looked like Roman dictators, adding streaks of bleach, fading up the sides, smoothing down the top. Years later, the Caesar would dim in favor of the cascading curls of one Patrick Dempsey, a.k.a., Dr. McDreamy on Grey's Anatomy.

Ugg boots with mini skirts: Logic and reason tell you that suede boots lined with shearling are best suited for steering a line of sled dogs through an Alaskan snowstorm. So how they became the preferred footwear for young ladies in mini skirts and tank tops is a mystery. No doubt the pillowy Ugg boots are comfortable and cozy, but when the temperature is pushing 90, isn't it time for sandals?

Eyebrow toupees: Bad enough guys have to worry about losing hair. Now there's pressure to have luscious caterpillars crawling above their eyes. This dirty little secret came to light in October at the Republican presidential debate. A hairy little fellow appeared to slide down the face of candidate Ron Paul. His rep denied fake eyebrows, yet the product exists. A site called eyebrowz.com sells "human hair eyebrow wigs in three styles," priced around $30. Glue included!

Temporary lip tattoos: You move in slow for the kiss and … OH, HOLY! If she's wearing a temporary lip tattoo, her pucker is coated in faux denim or leopard print or, yes, even tiny pink breast cancer ribbons. They come from a company called Violent Lips, which is what we imagine happens when you paint the spots of a wild cat on your mouth and attempt a smooch.

Armadillo shoes: The late Alexander McQueen unleashed platform heels so odd, they attracted the attention of Her Odd Majesty, Lady Gaga. They were called armadillo shoes because they were shaped like the animal, cylindrical and long with a spiny tail for a heel. They topped out at an alarming 12 inches tall. Insert roadkill joke here.

Elaine dresses: In 2010, hip chicks sauntered about New York dressed like Elaine from Seinfeld. Somehow, the drab floral dresses, white socks and clunky loafers sported by Julia Louis-Dreyfus in the 1990s became retro cool, even high-fashion. Unfortunately, the women looked more Aunt Ethel than avant-garde.

Scaring up the biggest modern fashion oddities 10/27/11 [Last modified: Thursday, October 27, 2011 1:35pm]

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