Trends are an inevitable influence on our lives.
This may sound daunting, but I personally enjoy being at the mercy of what is relevant. Call it sartorial Stockholm Syndrome, but there’s comfort in floating in the current of influence. Trends are the result of an ever-evolving society and outfits can convey growth, progression, and even revolution.
Tapping into the mood of the moment celebrates the present, and isn’t that what life is all about? Living in the now? We look back on the hippies of the ’60s and the flappers of the ’20s and marvel at the spirit of the times. We don’t judge the “hype”, rather we reminisce in appreciation at a moment captured.
On the other hand, the demands of staying current can be expensive, environmentally hazardous, and oftentimes forced. Fast fashion retailers have expedited the rotations of styles to a point of exhaustion, and the result is 15 million tons of textile waste. As the rotations of trends accelerate, living in the “now” has become costly, dire to the ecosystem, and unmanageable.
As an imperfect influence on our lives, trends should be handled with care. Blind consumption is fraught with danger, but basking in the moment celebrates the present, therefore a healthy balance is key when sifting through the noise. As someone who binges on fresh fashions, I needed practice in consuming less – to hone in on my intuition. On a scale that holds personal style on one side and trends of the moment on the other, the balance needed to be tipped on the former.
Removing influence is easier said than done. My thumbs are autonomous when scrolling through Instagram and people watching in sunglasses is one of my favorite hobbies. Even when I exert all the effort to remain unfazed, fashion will be in my peripheral view. Despite these undeniable truths, I can still put distance between myself and the noise.
To turn the dial, I began opting for clothes I wanted to wear in the present moment, clothes that aligned with my mood, the weather, my inclination to be comfy, stylish, and anything in between. I ignored the trend reports, my feed of influencers and media outlets, and opted for pieces that made me feel unapologetically myself. The feeling was akin to laying in savasana, where the noises and nuances of the day drip away and you’re alone with yourself in complete comfort.
Through this process, I uncovered the Magna Carta for my personal style.
While looking inward, I discovered soft button-down blouses are my unofficial uniform. Long and flared pants empower my stance and billowy knits bring me back to earth. Rich browns, mossy greens, and maroons are the hues of my personal color wheel and python print should probably be on there too. I love a cache of earrings lining my lobes and a matching necklace to boot. Speaking of boots, a 3-inch heel in one of the aforementioned colors gets me moving while a strappy kitten heel liberates my ankles in the best way possible.
These are the unofficial commandments I learned while standing still in fashion. I’ve been obsessed with trends for over 10 years and just now I was discovering my own personal style. I founded fundamental principles, open to negotiation as I continue to evolve, but strong in the present and unabashedly me. It was a return to my roots; a back-to-basics approach that aligned me both mentally and sartorially.
Eager to build on this sturdy new foundation, my new mission is to find interesting pieces that reflect and also challenge me. On the agenda are creamy caramel blouses with adventurous sleeves, my usual button-downs paired with a silk skirt instead of trousers, and matching jewel-toned earrings and necklaces. My newfound outfit recipe is as follows: add a base of yourself, pour in an enticing trend, and presto! You’re wearing python tights with zero regrets.
I reaped many benefits from standing still in fashion. My new selective nature helped me hone in on an aesthetic that’s been there all along waiting to be celebrated. Along with the confidence boost, it also helped me embrace quality over quantity, small-business owned over fast fashion, a reasonably happy checking account over negative digits, and an ecological footprint that can fit in size 5 shoes.
Fashion is an extension of life. You learn from your past, look forward to the future, and most importantly bask in the present. Now more than ever I know how to do that, and I can finally see myself between the influence of trends.