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Fashion conscious Brits think wearing socks & sandals is more of a summer fashion faux pas than sunburn

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by Cancer Research UK | News

13 July 2010

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Cancer Research UK and ASOS team up for summer campaign to combat crimes against fashion and dangerous sunburn.

FASHION-LOVING Brits have denounced ‘socks and sandals’ as the ultimate summer fashion faux pas, in a poll released today (13th July) to celebrate the launch of ‘Fashion Forecast’ from Cancer Research UK’s SunSmart campaign and fashion retailer, which provides tailored online fashion advice to help people be stylish while avoiding sunburn this summer.

For the majority of people, it seems there is no greater crime against summer fashion than wearing socks and sandals, with a third of people (33 per cent) sticking by the cardinal fashion rule as a combination to avoid at all costs. But the look – recently given a chance of revival by style icons Kate Moss and Chloe Sevigny – has got some fans, with one in 10 owning up to having ever sported the long out-of-favour look for themselves. The dreaded ‘muffin top’ – a result of wearing trousers too tight so that skin bulges over the top – claimed second place, with almost a quarter of the vote (24 per cent).

While showing us which looks to completely avoid this summer, the light-hearted survey has a serious message behind it. Only four per cent of people said sunburn (which often results in red, painful blistering or unsightly peeling skin), is the biggest summer fashion faux pas, suggesting a worrying acceptance of unhealthy sunburn and tan lines as a fashion norm.

To help people avoid making these and other unnecessary fashion faux pas this summer, Cancer Research UK has teamed up to create Fashion Forecast, which provides up to the minute expert style advice for any occasion. Not only does it give all the style direction you could possibly need, but Fashion Forecast also has a range of versatile looks to help people work their wardrobe with all style and no sunburn this summer.

Caroline Cerny, SunSmart campaign manager at Cancer Research UK, said: “It’s been fun to see which looks are a definite no-no in the summer style stakes. And, while it may seem predictable to see the likes of socks and sandals topping the list, it’s worrying to see that sunburn and tan lines rank so low. It makes you wonder whether the nation might have become immune to seeing people with red or peeling skin, and that’s a real concern when skin cancer rates are constantly on the increase.

With so many people seeming to accept sunburnt skin as a summer fashion accessory, it is perhaps no surprise that over two thirds (34 per cent) admit to having ever sported the potentially dangerous sunburnt look for themselves, with that figure rising to almost half among people aged 18-34 years (44 per cent). This is particularly worrying as getting sunburn is a sign that the skin cells have been damaged and increases the risk of malignant melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer in later life.

Cerny added: “Who says it can’t it be all style and no sunburn? Why can’t you do both? There are a few simple things that people can do to protect themselves this summer, including spending some time in the shade between 11 and 3, when the sun is at its strongest, and applying at least factor 15 sunscreen when there’s a chance of sunburn. Using clothes to cover up is another great way to protect skin from too much UV, and that’s why we’re working together with ASOS to show how easy it can be to be SunSmart and stylish at the same time.”

The poll also showed that though female celebrities such as Cheryl Cole and Beyonce have been spotted wearing this summer’s short shorts in their usual stylish manner, the same cannot be said for men. Cristiano Ronaldo might think he rocks the tiny shorts look, but even his footballer’s body failed to persuade the nation, with 10 per cent giving the revealing look the biggest thumbs down.

Despite Katy Perry’s memorable revamp of Russell Brand’s favourite team’s kit earlier this year, wearing a football shirt on a night out is still deemed the biggest summer fashion faux pas by almost one in ten respondents (9 per cent).

Terri Westlake, head of media at ASOS, said: “We’re delighted to be working with Cancer Research UK to promote the positive message for young people that looking good and staying safe from the sun are two things that can go together hand in hand. The stylish cover-ups and hats you’ll find on Fashion Forecast all offer great protection from the sun and mean that we can all enjoy the weather in style.”

To try out Fashion Forecast for yourself, visit Simply select the kind of occasion, weather and skin type, based on the options provided, and it will suggest fashion-forward outfits for looking good and staying safe in the sun.


For further press information contact the Cancer Research UK press office on 020 7061 8315