'Ugly' fashion is here to stay: 6 of our favorite trends

Kami Phillips, CNN Underscored
Thu September 12, 2019

"Ugly" fashion trends are everywhere recently, and they're showing no sign of slowing down for the fall season. Be it the recent revivals of Birkenstocks and Uggs or the rise of "dad" fashion and athleisure, the fashion world seems to be throwing the rulebook out the window.

What's behind the staying power of ugly fashion? Some say it's a reaction to decades of oversexualized women's clothing, from high heels to bustiers and form-fitting styles. Or in an era of Instagram influencers and selfies, it's just another way to stand out in the feed or make a statement about nonconformity. It may be practical -- some ugly fashions are pretty comfy -- or a sign of a growing collective confidence with women wearing what they want. Whatever the cause, if this fashion shift is giving women license to express individuality once deemed "unfashionable," we're game.

This fall's ugly fashion trends are taking on texture, shapes, and silhouettes in unique ways -- from bedding-inspired quilting to utilitarian-style lug-sole shoes to ultra-baggy denim. So, if you're ready to give these looks a try, we've picked out six must-have "ugly" fashion styles and 18 pieces that are sure to keep you on trend this season.

Square-toe shoes

If you love fashion and Instagram, it's more than likely that you've seen fashion influencers and stylish celebs wearing ultra-structured square-toe shoes. Bottega Veneta's square-toe mules have reigned all summer, and women can't get their hands on them fast enough. Luckily, there are plenty of boots and sandals available that don't cost thousands of dollars. Try pairing them with a baggy jean, a sleek trouser or a tailored suit for a fierce look.

ASOS Design Rivet Leather Square-Toe Lace-Up Boot ($87; asos.com)

Jeffrey Campbell Mr Big Heel ($125; revolve.com)

Topshop Hartley Leather Boots ($170; topshop.com)

Baggy denim

Denim trends seem to change faster than the seasons, and this fall, baggy denim is making a major comeback. As seen on celebrities like Bella Hadid, Kendall Jenner and Hailey Bieber, the baggier the jean, the better.

Topshop Ripped High-Waist Dad Jeans ($80; nordstrom.com)

BDG Baggy High-Rise Straight Leg Jean ($69; urbanoutfitters.com)

Agolde Baggy Oversized Jeans with Pleats ($168; revolve.com)

Quilting

Stay in bed, but make it fashion. One of this season's biggest texture trends is quilting, and you'll find it on everything from clothing to shoes to handbags and more. Fashionistas have already been seen rocking Bottega Veneta's quilted leather mules, pumps, and clothing all over Instagram.

Pixie Market Olive Quilted Miniskirt ($89; pixiemarket.com)

Anine Bing Andy Bomber Jacket ($299; shopbop.com)

Tory Burch Fleming Quilted Nylon Tote ($298; toryburch.com)

Utilitarian boots

Since a resurgence of '90s fashion a few seasons ago, grunge-inspired styles have been influencing designers' runway collections, and they're a huge trend this fall. The punk-rock style can be found mixed with romantic details such as lace, frills and ruffles, as well as one of the season's biggest shoe trends -- utilitarian boots. Think lug soles, combat-style boots and chunky platforms.

H&M Platform Boots ($39.99; hm.com)

Jeffrey Campbell Czech Platform Combat Boot ($164.95-$165; nordstrom.com)

Aqua Loren Platform Ankle Boots ($139; bloomingdales.com)

Prairie dresses

Prairie-inspired dressing is one "ugly" trend that can be hard to pull off without feeling like you're in costume. The high-neck silhouette is often accompanied by exaggerated ruffles and puff sleeves. To pull this look off, pair your prairie dress with utilitarian boots or sexy pumps in order to offset the home-on-the-range vibe.

Farrow Chantal Long-Sleeve Dress ($46.99, originally $118; needsupply.com)

Urban Outfitters Jill Balloon Sleeve Babydoll Dress ($79; urbanoutfitters.com)

Topshop Animal Print Long Sleeve Prairie Dress ($95; nordstrom.com)

Boiler suits

Boiler suits have been around for decades. Inspired by military flight suits, today's boiler suit fashion trend is arguably one of the hardest "ugly" trends to wear. Meant to be worn somewhat roomy and oversized, these trendy jumpsuits look ultra-cool worn with sneakers, gladiator sandals or mules.

Free People Lee Union Coverall ($138; freepeople.com)

BDG Urban Outfitters Victory Twill Jumpsuit ($65.98, originally $110; nordstrom.com)

Current/Elliott The Penny Denim Boilersuit ($348; bloomingdales.com)

Note: The prices above reflect the retailers' listed prices at the time of publication.