Taking Back Trends: Finding Your Style

Trends are precarious in nature and, more often than not, seem to be designed not to enhance style, but to make a quick buck on behalf of corporations like LVMH and Condé Nast. If you are a magazine reader, it is hard not to be seduced by the trendy
models, ubiquitous ‘it’ girls and flowing editorials, all of which champion the latest trend.

Looking back at my fashion past, I
cringe when remembering some of the trends that, in retrospect, should have
stayed on the hanger. My first experience with trend disasters was trying
to pull off Juicy Couture track pants. Emblazoned with various riffs off of the word
“juicy” on the back, these velour sweatpants were the it item
of my middle school days. 

I can still remember the many feelings I had when I
first laid hands on a pair of those gloriously trendy pants. After relentlessly begging my grandmom and what felt like hours searching for my size in Bloomingdale’s, I came across a
maroon pair and immediately fell in
love. 

Not only was I on trend, these pants were the first luxury item I had ever owned.
I might have had to push aside the feelings of guilt due to how much they were
going to cost, but I enjoyed the feeling of having something
everyone wanted and not everyone could have. But when I look back on those velour-clad days, I cringe. 

There are some trends, like Von
Dutch trucker hats and Ed Hardy rhinestone-encrusted tees, that
never deserve to see the light of day again. However, as any avid fashion
enthusiast can attest to, most trends are not eyesores, but flashier variations of common, well-respected and established styles. Recently, Vogue published an online article about
seven items that “are so last season.” 

Vogue is the premier fashion bible, but
after looking at the list, I couldn’t help but think how silly and over-the-top
trend lists have become. We plebeians receive one every season and every
fashion week. If you count that up, that’s a lot of ‘hit and miss’ trend-listing. 

Apparently, Vogue considers these seven items to be over the hill: statement
clutches, ear cuffs, simple ribbed knit turtlenecks, oversized proportions, Birkenstocks, edgy leather jackets and newsboy caps. I have a love-hate relationship with Birkenstocks, so
I’m okay with their inclusion on the list. But let’s take a moment to discuss newsboy caps: When have they ever been a trend?  And I have a bone to pick with the editors at Vogue who are too high up on their fashion horse to see that I’m
still in love with ear cuffs and will never part with mine. On another
note, motorcycle or ‘edgy’ leather jackets will never go out of style, period. 

So what does Vogue deem appropriate this time around? Good question. According
to the editors, polished leather sports bags are
it. Instead of ear cuffs, oversized
antique-inspired earrings are the new deal (as a collector of vintage earrings,
I’m not complaining). From now on, substitute fancy styles in standout materials
for those ribbed knit turtlenecks and replace those overworn and slightly
smelly Birkenstocks with a pair of ballet slippers. For all those newsboy cap-wearing
women, it’s time to buy some chic berets. 

And the problem arises. I cannot even get through that last sentence
without an eye-roll. I mean, chic berets? Aren’t they just newsboy caps placed
at a different angle? This wording change is just another example of the frivolity and pointlessness of trends. 

The one trend I can stand behind, though, is
substituting oversize proportions with feminine silhouettes. The feminine
silhouette style is nothing new, but it has recently seen a popular revival
under the names of ‘skater’ and ‘fit & flare.’ Such silhouettes work well on, and often enhance, all body types. 

This revival, and trend lists in general, have made me realize that what is most important in the art of dressing is the establishment
of a good personal style foundation. When you have a go-to collection of pieces
that speak to your specific brand of style, you will look confident and project what makes you you. Is that not the essential point of fashion? 

Patterns, cuts and
materials come and go, but you will look a little lost and unsure until you learn your own style. When you have an unshakeable foundation, you will always be able to stand strong against those trendy
threats—and hopefully learn to use them to enhance your individual look.

Chabrina Bruno PO ’15 is a religious studies major with a minor in studio art. She loves to collect vintage clothing and jewelry. 

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