Flop Era – A slang term used to describe a time when an artist, typically a musician, only produces flops. On the interweb, ‘Flop era’ is used to justify fashion faux pas, questionable beauty choices and even relationships where multiple red flags had been ignored. At one point or the other, we are all wading through rough waters of a Flop Era, blaming our ‘fails’ on just the times. When it comes to beauty, flop-era stories can get heart-wrenching (hilarious for the listeners, though!).
I have spent my early teens thickly lining and over-lining my eyes with the OG Lakmé Eyeconic Kajal. My inspiration was Geet from Jab We Met, but on a sweaty, sunburnt 13-year-old 9th grader, the racoon eyes were the opposite of ‘Hot Stuff’. Smearing the creamy kajal all over my lids to emulate Joan Jett’s smoky eyes, it’s a miracle I didn’t end up with premature crow’s feet after years of abusing my lids. Shoddy bangs, spending your 20s with over-plucked eyebrows, or washing your face with St. Ives scrub; beauty flop eras see no limits. Here’s a looksie into the anecdotes that Team ELLE has to share. FYI, for the purposes of protecting human rights, we will not be sharing picture evidence of the same!
1. Sukriti Shahi, Beauty & Health Editor
My Beauty Flop Era was when hair highlights, popularly known as streaks back then, were a thing! The trend was to dye a small section of hair on each side of the head and thus, called streaks! I was in grade 10 when I went to a local parlour aunty like an enthu-nut to get burgundy streaks – yes, the past was definitely embarrassing. I had shoulder-length hair, and the parlour aunty took my hair as her experiment ground. She gave me three dyed streaks, one on each side and the third one in the middle of the crown area. I looked like an overripe melon with different colour stripes; imagine black hair with three burgundy-hued hair sections on each side of the head. I think that was the time when I decided to avenge beauty trends by shunning them as a beauty editor.
2. Shaeroy A Chinoy, Jr. Fashion Editor
As flawless as I may think I am, we all have had our tryst with fashion faux pas, especially as teenagers. Sometimes we individually or as a group think highly about all the fashion choices we sport, almost as if we are the Regina Georges’ of our times. However, these very overconfident moments contribute majorly to the ‘flop era’ of our lives. A middle parting could be pretty questionable for a boy at an impressionable age but did that ever stop me from making a fool of myself at school as a head boy. Add a purple satin shirt – this makes for the perfect fashion disaster. Images that can make your eyes water and question my very existence in the world of fashion. Those images leave a mark on your formative years and should never be revisited.
3. Komal Shetty, Fashion Assistant
I’ve always been super experimental when it came to my hair. You name it, from coloured hair to heavy bangs, and I’ve tried it at some point. I’ve had a handful of flop-era moments in my life. Still, the first image that popped in my mind when my colleague asked me about it was the 12-year-old me with side-swept bangs slapped across my face, posing for every picture that entire year with a tightly pressed smile and raised eyebrows that you couldn’t miss. Of course, back then I thought I was too cool for school but looking back at it now, that could easily pass off as my flop era moment.
4. Aliza Fatma, Editorial Assistant
Back in school (especially hostel days), haircut faux pas was not always made up of bad decisions. Sometimes they include a lot of snack bribes and trust falls with friends who promise to leave you enthralled with a ‘trendy’ look. Like any other teenager, you say yes!
My dear friends decided to ‘shape my face’; hence, bangs were the way to go. I don’t particularly remember how we decided to go ahead with cutting my hair from the roots right where the hairline starts but we did. It was done. It was SO BAD. Damage control: cover up the front by parting your hair from the right to cover the hairline that had been shifted a few centimeters back. I spent the rest of the year with this ridiculous hairstyle, a crime I was not responsible for. Some baby hair grew back but not all of it. Little did I know, I will have to live with a partial bald spot for the rest of my life. I made peace with it but the reminder and memories will stay forever. Shoutout to my friend Seerat, who I adore to this day!
5. Sakshi Sharma, Jr. Digital Writer
My beauty flop era would have to be the time I used to make a hideous puff EVERY. SINGLE. DAY in middle school. But my puff wasn’t like the others; it was diagonal! I used to comb my grown-out bangs towards the back and pin them on the right side of my head. Combine this with some kajal on my waterline (only halfway) and colour-changing Baby Lips by Maybelline on my lips, and I was ready to take on the world!
6. Ruman Baig, Sr. Digital Writer
I don’t just share my birth date with Shahrukh Khan; we had mirroring haircuts for the longest time when I was a kid. No jokes, he would change his haircut for a film every year, and my parents would get me an identical haircut because my hair would grow like a boy, and that was the only salvageable solution. I have pictures as proof, but they will go with me to the grave. P.S – I still remember the men’s salon they took me to, and the barber never misses to wave at me when I pass by; I guess besides our birthdate and haircut, I also got his charm.
7. Isha Mayer, Digital Writer
As a kid, shows like Ugly Betty and Jessi Jaisi Koi Nahi were trending. So I always wondered what it would be like to have that nerdy look. But they also say be careful what you wish for. I was blessed with a pair of glasses and braces in the sixth grade during my Diwali break. So when I returned to school after a week-long holiday, all my classmates were shocked and couldn’t even recognise me. While I did take a while to accept myself during this time, I eventually let go of my inhibitions and learnt to love myself in a time when this look was considered to be a ‘flop’.
8. Mansi Shah, Digital Editor
At some point when I was growing up, frosty lips were the look and I feel terrible for anyone with eyes because we managed to look like the most hideous versions of ourselves. Because I am not the kind to half ass it, I fully committed to the trend, going out there and buying the most outlandish colours the brands had to offer. Silver, frosty pink, I picked them all up and put them on my lips, convinced I was the main character in a dance video. I am just surprised my parents let me out of the house looking like I had engaged in a lip lock with cake frosting.