On Trends And Personal Style

Casual outfit with long tweed jacket, fuchsia bag, metallic boots. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

fragrance | jacket |  scarf | earrings |  watch | tee | bag | nails | boots


Are Trends Still Relevant?

I’ve planned to write a few posts on fall trends, and how we might incorporate them into our wardrobes. For some people, the word “trend” is anathema. So as a disclaimer: I’m not suggesting anyone follow any style dictates but their own.

Some might contend that at our age, we should ignore trends. “Just wear what you want!” Well, yes. I don’t believe in being a slave to trends either, but think it’s helpful to be aware of them. I’ve come to regard trends as opportunities to find a better selection of the pieces I’d want to wear anyway. Trends can also inspire me to try something new, or wear something I already own in a different way.

Some seasons may have nothing that appeals, and that’s OK too. I don’t believe we should feel compelled to wear a style just because it’s on-trend. And I also believe we shouldn’t avoid wearing something we like out of fear of looking trendy.

In this era of Individual Style, the concept of a trend has become much more amorphous. Go shopping this week and you’ll be able to find long dresses, short dresses, wide-leg pants and slim-leg pants, sharply tailored or overflowing bohemian looks, small structured bags or large slouchy ones, and so on. Many different trends run concurrently and have a much longer shelf life than even a couple of decades ago. Look how long skinny jeans have hung on. Once considered a trendy style, they’ve continued to be popular and are now considered a denim staple, along with straight leg, bootcut and others. So I no longer worry whether something I really like is considered “trendy.” (And let’s face it, most of us aren’t running out to buy the most extreme runway looks anyway.)

One fall trend that I’m happy to see is the return of longer jackets and “toppers.” Yes, you could always find them here and there, but this season they’re much more prevalent. Whether a menswear style or something softer, they tend to work well for my proportions and with my preferred long-over-lean silhouette. After many seasons of navigating around ubiquitous boxy, cropped jacket styles, I’ll be on the lookout this fall to add a couple more of these longer jackets to the mix.

Are there any fall trends that have piqued your interest? Any you’re curious about but not sure how to wear?

Stay in touch.

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  1. Nancy
    August 29, 2017 / 3:15 am

    Here I go again looking for that elusive perfect black jacket…. crepe or a fabric I can wear most season, looks like a long blazer..a bit tailored style with a collar (not a kimono or duster look, not that flowy), avail in a size 14 or 16 and under $200.00…..does such an item exist?

    • A.M.
      August 29, 2017 / 4:56 am

      Have you tried Banana republic? They have a longer ponte blazer available up to a size 16 for $148. Wait for the weekend and there will probably be a sale

      • Nancy
        August 29, 2017 / 6:03 pm

        Thank you , I will look on their site.

      August 29, 2017 / 6:15 pm

      I’ve had some good luck with online resale shops – Vestaire and The RealReal.

    • September 1, 2017 / 1:16 am

      I’ve had success with Eileen Fisher washable crepe jackets. On sale they come in well under your budget. Worth watching out for.

  2. Lydia
    August 29, 2017 / 4:10 am

    Good morning! Must share…searched for a pretty winter coat in a color that popped! Closet full, never discard great coats, of black. So, I found a terrific raspberry llbean duffle on eBay. Beautiful coat at $30! Off to the cleaners we go! Thanks for your tips to brighten and bring fun to our wardrobes!

  3. August 29, 2017 / 4:28 am

    I wish the word “trend” had a more positive connotation. Staying modern, by incorporating modern elements into your wardrobe, can help women of a certain age stay visible. Plus it’s a lot of fun! Those silver booties!!

  4. Michelle
    August 29, 2017 / 4:38 am

    I’m loving soft trenches this season (coming into spring here in the southern hemisphere). I admit to owning more than two – favourite is in blush pink, other in a beige (or some fancy colour that basically is that!!). Perfect for long over lean with some movement in the layer. Can wear it over a sleeveless silk tank with skinny or cropped jeans, and heels for date night, or with a tee and flats or sneakers for shopping. Or with black pants and a suitable top for work. My other favourites of the season are square silk scarves tied around the neck. So chic!!

  5. August 29, 2017 / 5:20 am

    Oh, I’m so with you Sue. I love to watch the trends. And sometimes love it when something becomes trendy again and I’ve an excuse to haul a well-loved jacket or skirt out of storage. I agree that sometimes a trend makes available a style that I’ve always loved and not been able to find. Years ago when I bought a chocolate brown leather biker jacket I dreamed of wearing it with boots and a dress that fell to mid calf. But it was just a dream because that darned dress did not exist except in vintage shops. Until recently. Sigh. Still haven’t found one though:)

  6. August 29, 2017 / 5:35 am

    One trend I’ve noticed is the blend of sweater and blazer. It’s cut like a blazer but it’s a soft fabric like a sweater or even a more casual jacket. I’ve bought several already b/c there are so many out there this fall and plan on showing them off on my blog soon! And I like to add some trendy items just b/c it keeps you fresh and paying attention to what’s going on in fashion.


    • Susan B
      August 29, 2017 / 7:25 am

      Yes, I love those, and have nabbed a couple of them too!

    • Maggie
      August 29, 2017 / 9:33 am

      Yes, I love this trend as I find blazers to be so constricting as well as hard to fit!

  7. Pamela Gleason
    August 29, 2017 / 8:06 am

    So agree with you re the longer jackets/blazers. I covet the Navy one you purchased during your travel and love the way it has some shaping. Very flattering.

    • Laura Hendrix Hansen
      August 30, 2017 / 6:40 am

      As soon as I saw it, I jumped on EBay and found one like it for $19.99~ Score! Thx Susan: )

  8. Sally
    August 29, 2017 / 8:08 am

    I love my tweed sweater jacket from EF from 2 years ago but it’s heavier in weight than a cashmere or merino wool cardi–for travel. I’m focused on lightweight layers right now for my Europe trip in 2 weeks.

  9. Kathleen Ludgate
    August 29, 2017 / 8:24 am

    I am so excited to bring two jackets out of the back of my closet. One is a longer length navy double breasted with gold buttons in lightweight wool. It was always too nice to send away. The other is a yellow and black plaid, longer length jacket. Was always so proud of how perfect I made this jacket. Every seam matched. I trimmed the collar and picket flaps in black suede. Again another item too nice to send away when the trend was shorter jackets. Looking forward to wearing these two jackets this fall and winter!

  10. August 29, 2017 / 8:32 am

    The thing about trends is that they influence what is available for sale in stores at a said moment. So if you are lusting for a velvet jacket and they are not trending, then good luck finding one. I remember fighting against the descent of waistlines and finally being unable to find anything at all that was high-waisted or even at normal waist. We can aim for classics, but unless we can sew everything ourselves, we have to accept what’s in the stores.

    • Susan B
      August 29, 2017 / 9:28 am

      Yes, exactly!!

    • September 1, 2017 / 1:26 am

      So true. Worth taking advantage of a trend if it coincides with your style and getting or replacing those wish list items while they’re around! While I don’t *need* another jacket, that Tara Jarmon one is on my mind. I had a similar brown jacket years ago, no idea where it disappeared to….might be time for an update!

  11. wendelah1
    August 29, 2017 / 9:19 am

    I used to follow trends even if I didn’t wear them very often. The world is in such a state of affairs that nearly all of my reading time now goes to news and my pittance of spare cash to charities and organizations that are attempting to preserve our democracy.

    I’m tall so I’m happy to see the longer jackets in style. I have heavy calves–even at age 18, five foot eight and 120 pounds, they were heavy for my overall proportions. (I’ve never found a pair of knee high boots that I could zip up.) So skinny jeans look awful on me–too tight in the calves, too loose in the thighs. The ones with enough stretch to be tolerable start falling down after a couple of hours of walking. I can get away with a straight jean–Eileen Fisher used to make a good cut for me–but really, the most comfortable, flattering jean is boot-cut. So that’s what I wear, fashion be damned.

  12. August 29, 2017 / 9:49 am

    Oh my goodness. I’m so out of it. Where are those Sweater jackets? How did I miss them. Susan I’m waiting for you to show the way. This is what happens when you take a break. Please lead the way. Waiting.

    • Susan B
      August 29, 2017 / 10:07 am

      Hey Sandra! I showed a few of them in last week’s post HERE. One of my faves so far is the J.Crew open sweater jacket HERE. I’ll be featuring that one in an outfit post soon.

  13. Daniella Karo
    August 29, 2017 / 11:13 am

    You hit it right! Personal style is definitely more important than trends, yet trends keep you relevant regardless of age!! The trick is on how one applies it, i.e. a longer blazer may burry a short person or one with heavy legs, etc….Being “Chic” is always “in” regardless of trends!

  14. Nancy
    August 29, 2017 / 11:18 am

    I agree about trends. I am a frequent/obsessive shopper at a certain store and the stylists always want to get me into the latest trends. i believe we all have a style that works for us after so many years and are comfortable with. I love adding a pop of color but stick with good fit and things that look good on my body type. I do appreciate your tips on travel clothing although I haven’t quite gotten down to the 12 item packing list. We go for 2 to 3 weeks and I like variety. I can’t deal with black on black on black. I take beige, navy, and black on trips and then mix and match to make it work.

  15. Til
    August 29, 2017 / 12:45 pm

    Hi Susan,

    Just discovered you, and just retired, so I’m looking for ways to NOT look like a banker any longer! Love the Chanel nail color in your 8/29 post. Looks kind of taupe, at least on my screen. Can you tell me what color that is?

    Thanks! I look forward to getting to know you better!


    • Susan B
      August 29, 2017 / 1:04 pm

      Hi Til, welcome! The nail color I’ve used here is called “New Dawn.”

      • Til
        August 31, 2017 / 9:08 am

        Many thanks for the fast reply!


  16. August 29, 2017 / 4:00 pm

    Susan, all your likes are my likes, too. I’m also happy about the return of longer, boxier, even oversized jackets. To my eye, these go great with both slim-fit and wide-leg jeans / slacks / pants of any lengths.

    One of my best protips (to myself) these days is simply to be style/fashion courageous — to wear what I want to put on every morning. Some days, I go for chic. Other days, I go for functional. And sometimes, I go for weird. My new personal style is: Whatever I’m in the Mood for Today!

  17. August 29, 2017 / 4:03 pm

    Nice post. I’m not one for following trends, but there are certain trendy nuances that I’ll sometimes incorporate. For instance–the semi-trend of wearing a graphic tee under a blazer. I am digging those tees and they are fun. And the skinny jeans no longer being a trend, but I love the torn jeans look. What it comes down to is, and you’re correct–personal style. I wrote a recent blog post where I christened my style “style mutt” and that about sums it up. A little bit of this and a little bit of that!!

  18. Nicole K
    August 29, 2017 / 5:56 pm

    Agree with Sarah (above) that keeping abreast of (but not slaves to) trends can help us stay visible. Can you tell me why I’m inevitably drawn to the most expensive item you curate? 🙂 Thanks for another excellent post.

    • Susan B
      August 29, 2017 / 5:58 pm

      Thanks, Nicole. It’s a curse. I do the same thing. 😉

  19. Jan
    August 29, 2017 / 8:31 pm

    Susan, can you point me to some more information on your long-over-lean silhouette? I think that is how I *attempt* to dress, but I would love some pointers. Thanks!

  20. Caroline
    August 29, 2017 / 9:25 pm

    “Do not be into trends. Do not make fashion own you. You decide what you are, what you want to express by the way you dress and the way you live”. – Gianni Versace

    • Susan B
      August 30, 2017 / 6:36 am

      My point exactly! 🙂

  21. August 29, 2017 / 11:52 pm

    Agree. I bought two long blazers for the fall, and had been looking for many seasons. There are so many available now that they’re trendy. It makes for a good selection of choices.

  22. August 30, 2017 / 5:55 am

    Nice post. Have not worn a jacket for a while now. Might go back to them.

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