A fashion victim is a person who does not dress in a way that is flattering to her. This can be because she does not pay attention to fashion and, therefore, wears old-fashioned or out-dated styles. It can also be because she doesn’t understand what works for her body type and lifestyle and ends up dressing in unflattering clothes. It might also be because she follows every fashion trend indiscriminately, without regard to whether the trend is sensible for her lifestyle or even attractive on her. Regardless of the cause, a fashion victim’s attire and appearance are unattractive, inappropriate, or both.
The term originally referred to a person who was slavishly devoted to fashion trends — someone willing to wear unflattering styles simply because the style was “in.” These people often spent considerable amounts of money to ensure that their wardrobes included all the most recent fashions. Such “trend-hopping,” however, creates a lack of personal or signature style. This category of fashion victim also runs the risk of attaching themselves to styles that never catch on, despite a designer’s best attempts.
Eventually, the term evolved to include anyone who is fashion-challenged. This includes people who do not jump on every new fashion trend, but simply do not know how to choose cuts and colors that flatter their own figures and features. These people may think they are disguising a feature they dislike when they are actually accentuating it. For example, a woman may wear baggy clothing in an attempt to hide extra weight, but this can actually make her look bigger when a more tailored cut would make her appear slimmer.
Other fashion victims simply ignore style all together. They wear whatever is comfortable, inexpensive or easy, without regard to appearance or garment quality. They may not consider whether the colors or patterns on various clothing and accessory pieces go well together and may have no interest in whether their clothing is flattering to them or not.
The term "fashion victim" is said to have been coined by noted designer Oscar de la Renta. Versace also is quoted as saying that a fashion victim is a women who changes her look too often based on fashion trends. It has become a commonly-used term on fashion and style shows to indicate someone in need of a fashion intervention. Expert advice usually focuses on finding the style that is right for the individual, rather than adopting specific fashion trends.