I’m good at some things: tripping up over nothing, spilling smoothie on my top when I’m trying to have a ‘healthy’ day , oh and then eating chocolate right before dinner…. but one thing I never considered myself to be any GOOD at was fashion.
A great way for someone to learn this about themselves is to flick through those fashion mags when you’re at a supermarket checkout, which I did, and was gifted immediately with the confirmation of something I always suspected, which is that fashion is hard.
But only if you let it be, that is.
In my tween and teen years (god forbid those photos EVER resurface) I cared too much about what people thought. Thought I needed to be turbo on-trend, to the detriment of my bank account, figure and just general sense of worth. I didn’t. The key to all of this, of course, is knowing what you like, and wearing it with confidence. No matter what it is. Wear some goddamn lederhosen if it makes you happy.
Now, as I approach my shimmering quarter-of-a-century, I give little to no fucks about what people think of how I dress, and one look at my After-5-fatpant-hoodie-pink socks combo will quickly validate this.
I care about how I feel though. About making an effort. About quality. About wearing things I like, and which delight me, and which look good, and will last. I love a good chain store purchase, H&M, Glassons and Zara do some great stuff, but investing in coats, shoes, dress and bags – a uniform of sorts – pays off. The whole cost per wear blah blah blah, things that spark joy etc etc etc.
Investment buying needn’t be dull though. H to the ELL no! Get your white shirts and black pants from a chain store all the way! No, no you gotta invest in the stuff you LOVE, colours that thrill you, stuff that makes you feel happy, and instill a bit of chin-to-the-sky walking on sunshine when you wear it. The kind of stuff you might wear on your birthday, to mirror those feelings of joy and elation. (Or, boost them if you’re feeling sooty.)
After all, it’s perfectly legal to have fun getting dressed. Life is short! Wear a friggen lobster already! Or a cockatoo! Or rainbows and unicorns! Or Marilyn Monroe! Live it up!
It’s not all novelty and nostalgia, though. You need balance, and some classics. You need balance, and you need some staples in that wardrobe girlfriend. They compliment the zingy pieces like a fine wine. There’s the skirt, black trench coat, an elegant linen shirt dress, classic high-waisted crop jeans and snuggly grey cashmere sweater, and a few ladylike blouses for that fancy-casual 9-5 or night out. My ideal outfit pirouettes between jubilant and elegant.
A brief word about what makes me tick before I move on to this delicious buzz word called a ‘trend’: I like my sweaters and t-shirts either over sized, boyfriendy and tucked in, or slightly cropped to sit over high-waisted jeans. My classic black pants always work wonders with a pop of pink, patterned and perplexed. My shoe collection is the exclamation mark at the end of my fashion! memoir. And I’m a sucker for a good beret in the winter and floppy hat in the summer.
“Now, what’s a ‘trend’ dear Danielle” I hear you ask. I’ll let The Devil Wears Prada answer that one:
“You think this has nothing to do with you. You go to your closet and you select, I don’t know, that lumpy blue sweater, for instance, because you’re trying to tell the world that you take yourself too seriously to care about what you put on your back. But what you don’t know is that that sweater is not just blue, it’s not turquoise. It’s not lapis. It’s actually cerulean. And you’re also blithely unaware of the fact that in 2002, Oscar de la Renta did a collection of cerulean gowns. And then I think it was Yves Saint Laurent, wasn’t it, who showed cerulean military jackets? I think we need a jacket here. And then cerulean quickly showed up in the collections of eight different designers. And then it, uh, filtered down through the department stores and then trickled on down into some tragic Casual Corner where you, no doubt, fished it out of some clearance bin. However, that blue represents millions of dollars and countless jobs, and it’s sort of comical how you think that you’ve made a choice that exempts you from the fashion industry when, in fact, you’re wearing the sweater that was selected for you by the people in this room from a pile of stuff.”
Slightly aggressive, yes. But the thing with a trend is that it’s unavoidable no matter whether you HAVE to be the first in line for the $500 price tag or love a good bargain bin for $5. It trickles down and it’s really unavoidable. How do you think clothing chains make the coin? Let’s delve deeper shall we?
Fashion week is where it all blossoms. You have the fashion forecasters, the trend forecasters and the influencers.
Fashion and trend forecasters slam the hammer and call the shots. They predict what will be trending years in advance, while celebrities and influencers – with millions of followers on social media – always have increasing influence.
Your OG players of new collections are still the big fashion houses like Channel and Dior, but the power of the celebrity and blogger in their online reach is where it’s at. They call the shots on what’s hot and what’s a must have. With some followers often exceeding 50 million, their persuasive influence makes it easier than ever before for a trend to pick up steam across the digital landscape and send it flying irrespective of the $$$.
With fashion, technology and social media coming together like never before, it’s really not surprising that trends are changing faster than we can say BOO. This is how that creative process generally works.
A trend generally has five stages; the inspiration, the discovery, the rise, the fever and the fall. As designers so often look to the past for ideas, it’s not surprising that fashion is cylical, which is why you see certain trends repeating themselves over time.
Then there’s also:
The classic– like a trench coat. Ain’t no way that baby is ever leaving the wardrobe of its beloved anytime soon.
The seasonal– Hello spring time, hello floral. The first hint of sunshine and the floral patterns bloom into wardrobes.
The revival– Of recent? The flared jeans. Are you game enough to become one of ABBA’s backup dancers?
The fad– like a pair of boho clogs. Ergh.
For value in your money. Stick with the classic and spice it up with the seasonal. You may as well set your credit cards on fire if you buy into revivals and fads. They’re out just as soon as they’re in.
YOU DON’T HAVE TO DRESS LIKE A HIPPIE. But by all means go in all guns blazing if it’s what YOU want to wear. Fashion is dear to our hearts, and has been a form of creative expression and identity for centuries. So don’t try so hard to fit in when you were born to stand out. Get out of bed in the morning and rock your outfit with sass, flare, and a pinch of pixie dust.
Anyone can do fashion, but the style comes within you, darling.