I’ve noticed that many women our age can develop a real aversion to trends. Either they don’t want to be seen as fashion victims or as if they’re trying too hard to look young, or they feel that maintaining a classic and “timeless” style means eschewing trends altogether. Some even refuse to buy or wear something they otherwise like but perceive as trendy.
No one wants to look like everyone else or as if they have no inherent style sense of their own. (Ok, maybe some do, but for the sake of argument I’ll assume if you’re reading this blog that isn’t true for you.) But trends can be made to serve us rather than the other way around if we learn to look at them as tools and incorporate s e l e c t i v e l y.
Breathing new life your wardrobe. Even the most well-curated wardrobe needs a pick-me-up sometimes (and so do we!). Adding a few well-chosen pieces in a current color or style can make everything look fresh again. Accessories can be a great way to bring some currency without reinventing the wheel. I’ve noticed that even those discriminating, neutral-loving Parisiennes will add a scarf, bag or even shoes in an of-the-moment color. On our last visit to Paris in April 2012, it was notable to me how many women had “gotten the memo” about floral prints for spring, but were mostly wearing it in the form of scarves.
Stocking up on favorite styles. Love a block heel, fisherman sweaters, rose gold or ankle boots? When certain styles are on-trend, the selection goes up exponentially. It doesn’t mean you have to stop wearing after the trend has passed, either. (Remember, every “classic” was once avant-garde.) But if you’ve been waiting out rounded ballerina flats in favor or pointy toes, or are a fan of moto jackets or anything cobalt blue, right now you have lots of options and can be discriminating.
Trying something new. Always wondered whether a peplum would work with your body type? Whether you might want to give a longer skirt a try? Trendy items quickly work their way to lower-priced retailers these days (or may even start there), so you can often test drive for a song. (And then once you’ve found a style or color that sings for you, look for an “investment” option.)
Keeping your look current. This is related to #1, but for those of you in the workplace, there can be certain value in giving the impression that we keep up with what’s going on in the world. Older workers can often be assumed to be “out of touch” with new processes and technology. Ageist, yes, but it’s there and while there’s no substitute for actually staying current with developments in your field, first impressions matter. That doesn’t mean you need to hop on every trend that comes down the pike, but avoiding looking as if you’re stuck in a time warp certainly can’t hurt. I think this is especially true if you manage people, give presentations or deal face-to-face with clients.
If you’re worried about an item looking dated quickly, remember that the most extreme expressions of trends will usually lose their currency bloom more quickly. But nowadays, many trends seem to have a longer shelf life, and different seasons’ trends can peacefully co-exist. In general, I’d caution against wearing a head-to-toe trendy look or mix of trends. Trendy or not, no one style is right for everyone, so we need to be discriminating. And remember, even the most classic pieces can look dated after a few years…cuts and details change (e.g. wide vs. narrow lapels, soft vs. structured shoulders) so it’s worth checking with a tailor or dressmaker to see if favorite wardrobe items can be updated.
Also, take heart: every trend we hate will eventually loosen its death grip on the market…five inch heels, I’m looking at you!!
How do you feel about trends? Do you have any favorite current trends, or items that began as trendy and have become your classics?