We’ll be honest – plastic has never been at the forefront of our minds when we think about office-appropriate outfits. The plastic fashion trend first blew up on the runway in late 2017, thanks to brands such as Balenciaga and Chanel. The next season, adventurous street style stars were spotted donning the trend with gusto when Fashion Week came along.
However, even before that, there was one pioneer in the world of plastic fashion: Park Jin Young (a.k.a JYP), the founder of JYP Entertainment. In 1994, JYP wore a pair of transparent plastic pants, solidifying his place in pop and meme culture for years to come. All this is to say, plastic fashion has always had a reputation of being “out-there” – quite the opposite of being office-appropriate.
The easiest way to wear plastic fashion to work is to incorporate it into your accessories and bags, instead of attempting to make a vinyl raincoat work for you. Take Staud’s Shirley bag for instance, which has a sophisticated and sleek silhouette that satisfies most, if not all who are looking to dabble in this trend.
Conversely, the worst way to wear plastic fashion is on your feet – remember how off-putting Kim Kardashian and Kylie Jenner looked with their plastic heeled boots? Even millionaires can’t escape sweaty feet. Spare yourself the pain, okay?
If clear (or translucent) plastic isn’t your cup of tea, you can swop it out for vinyl. Yes, clothes made from vinyl will inevitably sound squeaky and possibly irritate whoever’s sitting near you in the office. However, we think that being able to relive our early 2000s Matrix-esque dream is a good bargain. And instead of a full-length clear raincoat, try wearing a sheer vinyl jacket. Keep the rest of your outfit simple, preferably with a muted colour palette. This will help prevent your overall fit from looking theatrical and possibly incurring the wrath of HR.
But if all these options are still too much for you, consider investing in a pair of clear acrylic earrings or glasses. They’re low-commitment choices perfect for anyone who wants to try out the plastic fashion trend in a low-key manner.
Click on to shop some of our favourite plastic fashion picks.
Remember what we said about picking sheer jackets over full-length raincoats? This version comes in a romantic shade of pink — and pink is pretty much a neutral these days — making it easy to work into your existing wardrobe.
This tote bag is perfect for anyone who has too much to carry at all times. If you’re worried about the world getting all up in your business, try putting your belongings into interesting pouches, and then place those pouches in the tote bag.
4. Rectangular acetate glasses, US$234 (S$321), Saint Laurent
Clear acetate glasses are a hit or miss for many; some people think it reminds them of lab goggles, while others love its retro feel. We’re firmly in the latter camp. This one from Saint Laurent is chic enough to trick others into thinking we’re smart and stylish.
Remember how every other It-girl was obsessed with Cult Gaia’s Ark bag? We don’t blame them, for the brand does put out covetable and interesting designs. This one’s reminiscent of Shrimps’ Antonia bag without being an outright rip-off, and is perfect for the beaded bag trend popular amongst fashion folks these days.
7. X Betina de Luca perspex hoop earrings, US$163 (S$224), Wai Wai
You can never go wrong with statement earrings, even if the rest of your outfit screams basic. This pair of perspex earrings features clean lines, with multi-coloured gem insets to keep things interesting.
The one-sided orange tip on this pair of clear earrings really did it for us. Not only does it give the illusion that a little orb is trailing your lobe as you move your head, but also satisfies our desire for quirky asymmetrical earrings. Nevertheless, this pair is a little more low-key, so for all you Phoebe Philo stans out there, this one’s for you.