I want to call for some anti-mermaid realness.

Words by

Bianca O'Neill

Flipping through my Flipagram is equal parts inspiring, entertaining and frustrating – but nothing is more annoying than when a magazine announces that vomit yellow is the new black, or backwards shirts are the new frontways shirts. 

On a side note: NO. THEY ARE NOT. The only people to ever pull off backwards clothes were Kris Kross. You are not Kris Kross.

And now Mashable tells us that mermaid crowns are the new flower crowns – as if we really, truly needed a replacement for the hoard of off-brand Lana Del Rey alt-sticks in fake flower halos sourced from Spotlight. Or worse, Sportsgirl. 

Yep, the festival fashion nightmare is about to get a whole lot worse (because no one has ever had an eye taken out by a silk flower in a mosh pit). Hey, those pointy shells are asking for trouble – and you’d better believe I’ll be pissed if I get my nail clippers confiscated at the airport on the way to Falls, while Knifey McStabShell walks through scott free.

However, there’s a whole other concern emerging from the newfound obsession with the word ‘mermaid’. Since when did certified dress-ups become actual fashion? When did #reallife style stop being so stylish?

The exposure of fallacy in fashion and social media is a closely documented topic: from Kylie Jenner’s full face of makeup and artificially pumped up lips, through to allegations that Miranda Kerr digitally alters her Instagrams to make herself look thinner. From self-confessed ‘fake’ bloggers like Essena O’Neill, all the way through to the ones who simply won’t admit it, and OOTDs and streetstyle inspo filled with clothes that no one actually owns.

Now, on the surface, it may seem like these two things are unrelated – but there is one obvious thread running through everything on social media at the moment: escaping reality through the elevation and adoration of the fake, the unreal. 

I see it all the time – even on my own account. I wrote a tongue-in-cheek article about trying KJ’s makeup routine and the piss-take selfie got more likes than any of my real life posts. It’s really no wonder we want to escape reality, dye our hair blue and become a mermaid. TBH, peddling ‘reality’ on Instagram these days sucks. There are no likes to be had.

Is being a Gucci-clad Lana Del Rey clone that great anyway? And how is being a land mermaid any better?

Let’s look at the evidence: The Little Mermaid lived ‘happily ever after’, married to a man who thought he’d hit the jackpot when he found a mute hottie washed up on a beach naked. Meanwhile, she had to choose between life in a lilac shell bra and a fairly ‘80s-inspired pink ballgown with balloon sleeves that did nothing for her slim shoulders.

Stylish life inspo? I think not.

Life is not a dress up party – and I caution those who think that showing up to work in a backwards men’s shirt, fur lined loafers, and a crown of shells will earn them style cred. I’m telling you now: your boss WILL think you’re crazy. Unless, of course, you work at Vogue. Then you’ll probably get a promotion.

I want to call for some anti-mermaid realness. Some outfits that I could legit wear in real life - not fashion week life – accompanied by real faces lacking in makeup. I’m not asking for much, just, you know, shoes that aren’t lined in fur. Because, pls.

Who will take up the #reallife challenge? Who will join me on my bare-faced, frizzy-haired, cheaply-purchased clothing crusade?! 


Yeah, I thought so.

Follow Bianca’s makeup-free, mostly-owned clothing journey, featuring absolutely zero mermaid crowns at @_thesecondrow

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