Fashion Police Glossary: Shell suits


When we posted about the UK's Worst Fashion Crimes yesterday, a couple of you said you weren't sure what "shell suits" were – and, of course, you wouldn't as these were mostly a British phenomenon, with the US being mercifully spared the worst of it, as far as we're aware.

The Shell Suit came to fashion prominence in- when else? – the 80s and is so far one of the few trends from that decade that has yet to be revived by over-enthusiastic fashion designers. This is something we're really, really glad about, because as the image above shows, Shell Suits were nylon-coated track pants and zip up tops, usually designed in the most garish colours possible (this one is actually quite tame) – well, it was the 80s, after all.

(Note: the image above is actually fancy dress costume, which tells you all you need to know about shell suits. The suit itself is an accurate representation of what they looked like, though.)

Although technically "leisure wear", shell suits were worn for more or less everything during the 80s, ideally with neon mismatched socks and, if you were female, a pony tail placed right on the very top of your head. Sometimes as ysterday's survey indicated, they were tucked into socks. No matter where you went, you'd see gangs of people walking around in nylon suits: they were like the Crocs of the 80s, and they were almost breathtaking in their ugliest, but, like Crocs, that didn't stop lots of people buying and wearing them.

It's been a long time now since shell suits were a common sight on the streets of Britain, and long may it remain that way. We can only assume thaht their presence in the "Top 10 Fashin Crimes" list is an indication of how deep the scars left by these items still run. Try not to have nightmares, folks…

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