The Problem with Trends

This post was first published on the Fashion Takes Action website. See it here.

I used to be addicted to trends. Each new season in the fashion calendar, I would scourge glossy fashion magazines and my favourite style blogs to find out what was going to be hot on the latest fall, spring or resort runway.

And I took these reports very seriously. Never was this more apparent than in the autumn, when I would earmark a full day to switching over my closet for the season. Part of that exercise involved ‘making room’. I took advice from fashion columns that told me that if it doesn’t fit, if you haven’t worn it for more than six months, if it makes you feel any less than a billion dollars,out it goes. The current minimalist trend of, ‘if it doesn’t give you joy, toss it’ was a part of my fashion lifestyle from way back.

And the reason for this shedding of all things ‘so last season’? To claim that real estate for new, trendy pieces. And when you’re runway obsessed without the budget to match like me, that usually meant that I’d follow the trends by filled by closet with cheap, throw away garments that would actually be fit for the trash can before the trend has faded. For most of my adult so far, this is the way I’ve approached seasonal dressing. But all that changed with the peplum trend.

The Peplum Trend

Around 2012, peplum hit runways (and correspondingly high end, mid-range, and budget clothing shops). The folds of fabric that start at the waste and flounce down to the hips were on everything: tops, dresses, blazers, even skirts. And I bought into the trend big time. For two full years if I found a peplum top that flattered (which was many of them), it was mine. I’m not entirely sure what it is about the shape: on paper it sounds like a disaster. But maybe because of its faint period drama associations or maybe because the peplum is supremely flattering on me, I was (and am) absolutely enthralled with it.

However, as 2014 turned into 2015, those same magazines I loved so much began to tell me that peplum was over. It had been done to death and it was time to move on. The ’80s were out! The ’70s were in! And so I began the cycle of cleaning out my closet once more. Only this time, I couldn’t bear to part with my peplum. These were some of my favourite pieces: a blush top with embossed black velvet florals and the perfect flounce. A royal blue blazer with a zip up the side that made me feel so…powerful.

So this time, instead of donating them away like I always have, I started a clothing archive. I thought that it would be a way to pack them away for the next time peplum is in. Or, barring that, for a future niece or daughter who finds vintage pieces just so cool. And then they’ve stayed, in the back of a closet.

Slave to Trends No More

But about a year ago, I discovered and embraced conscious fashion. And with a new perspective on clothing and the fashion industry, I’ve realized that trends are bunk. Why would I pack away beauty, flawless pieces that make me feel good just because they’re ‘out of style’. Why would I take some of most treasured garments out of rotation just because a magazine told me so?
With this realization, I remembered all those pieces I’d hastily given away on the advice of a magazine that I wished I had back. The wardrobe basics that I hadn’t worn in awhile — the priceless gems that I would have loved to wear again.

So I’ve decided to let go of my attachment to trends, and maybe become less of a slave to fashion. There’s a part of me that is always interested in the latest in fashion, and I will probably always go a seasonal closet switch over (if only because the weather is changing). But with these realizations, I’ve become more thoughtful about which trends I buy into each season. I’m also a more meticulous shopper: now I’m choosing clothes that I now I love and that I will love no matter which trends come and go.

How do you feel about trends? Do you follow them or try to dress in a way that makes you feel a certain way? Let me know all your thoughts and reasons in the comments below!