I’m usually pretty decisive when I shop for clothes. I know what I like and what likes me, but once in a while I fall into a fashion rut. When everything in my closet bores me I know it’s time to take a whirl at a new look or style of clothing. The fashion industry thrives on change, after all if fashion didn’t evolve why would we buy anything new? So the designers, retailers and magazines offer us “au courant” looks to love, and women all over the world go shopping for them, including me. Sometimes trendy clothes looks silly, but often I’m pleasantly surprised when I try a new style. Here’s how I do it.
Step 1: Learn about new fashion trends
The best way to see whats “in” at the moment is to look at fashion magazines and blogs. High fashion images are often very fanciful and do not reflect how women actually dress or what’s available and affordable at retail, so I check out my favorite personal style and street style blogs to see more practical approaches to the new looks. Trendy clothes can also be seen on the street and in stores. So read and look and watch! Once you’ve gotten an idea of which trends you like the next step is to find pieces you like.
Print Mixing: A fun trend to try right now
Fashion trends fall into three categories: color/texture/print, shape/silhouette, and era/feeling. Recently the world of fashion has become enamored with mixing different prints together in one outfit. This is a good example of a trend in the color/texture/print category. With some experimentation anyone can incorporate a couple different prints into one outfit. One of the nice things about this trend is that it allows us to be creative and combine older pieces in our wardrobe in new ways.
Pastels: They’re in again. Are we surprised?
Fashion is cyclical. Certain colors and patterns will be “out” for a few months, and then come “in” again. Pastels for spring? Nautical in the summer? Tweed in the fall? It happens every year like clockwork. This year pastel colors are more trendy than usual so if you like them, or if you’re thinking about investing in some soft colors, now is the time to go looking.
Step 2: Try on the trends
The woman standing in front of me looked great. The dusty pink trench and pale pink jeans complimented her complexion while the trim shape of the jeans and belted jacket flattered her figure. Yet I didn’t like the way she looked. The woman was my reflection staring back at me from the dressing room mirror at Zara. The clothes were very pretty, very soft, and they were very NOT me. For many women those pale pink garments would be totally normal, but they fell outside my comfort zone. I felt like I was looking at another woman.
If you want to update your look, really update your look, you must go out and try on clothes. This does not mean you have to buy anything. This does mean you must spend some time rifling through the racks and pulling out clothes you wouldn’t normally try. You should try on all sorts of clothes, even those that you think might look terrible, because until you look at yourself in the mirror wearing the new styles they will look odd, strange and scary.
Once I looked at myself wearing a pastel outfit I become more comfortable with the look, and then I became more confident that I could pull it off. So although I didn’t buy the pale pink outfit at Zara, a few weeks later I bought the pale green coat I wore here.
Bohemian: A look that is almost always in vogue
Some fashion trends never really go away. The bohemian/hippie look, for instance, has been recycled, reinvented and updated almost every year since the early 1990′s. A good example of a trend that falls into the era/feeling category, 1970′s inspired “hippie” looks can be seen yearly at the Coachella music festival and currently includes peasant blouses, floppy hats and cut-off denim shorts. If you like the look you can confidently invest money in it because it’s probably never going to vanish entirely from the fashion scene.
Neon: It’s in all the stores now but will it be out before we know it?
Every time I’ve walked past JCrew this month the siren song of neon pink calls to me. I have to remind myself that these ultra bright colors might be a flash in the pan. The last time I saw this much neon I was 13 and it was the middle of the 1980′s. The era that was known for shoulder pads, high-waisted skirts, power suits and neon colors is back in fashion, so perhaps the neon trend will last. Still, I don’t think I’ll be investing more than a few dollars for some crazy green nail polish this time around.
Step 3: Invest in the trends that look great on you
Some fashion trends are no more than fads. They last a few months at most, and then disappear. Some trends, like skinny jeans, are in fashion for years. It’s hard to tell what’s going to be ”in” one day and “out” the next, so I only buy clothes that look good on my body type. As much as I like how some trends, like short-shorts, look on other women I know they’re not for me. I love fashion but I really don’t want to be its victim. When I buy clothes that look great on me and are somewhat practical for my lifestyle it’s a good investment.
The Ladylike Look: A refined trend that flatters everyone
Lace: A trend worth investing in?
I adore this Dolce & Gabbana advertisement. It’s been on my inspiration board for a few months. The looks is both sexy and ladylike. Lace, like pastels, is a trend that I’m wary of because it feels too “girly” for me. However it’s another fashionable textile that never really goes away so it I think it’s a worthwhile investment. So far I haven’t had any luck finding lace pieces I feel comfortable in, but I know if I keep looking, and trying on, I’ll find a beautiful lacy garment that’s just right.
Step 5: Buy a few pieces that work together to form a single outfit
Once I’ve decided on which trends I’ll be focusing on I try to buy a whole outfit that looks good together. Recently I purchased a new pair of skinny cropped white jeans, a fitted pale lime green denim jacket and a large-scale floral print blouse. All the pieces are trendy on their own, but if one item won’t work with other pieces in my closet I know I can always wear them all together. I try to buy a whole outfit when possible because I’ve learned the hard way that a single piece might not want to play nice with my existing wardrobe.
Step 6: Wear it!
This seems too obvious, but the last step in making something that you’ve purchased yours is to wear it, and wear it a lot! At first it will seem new and a bit unfamiliar, but eventually you’ll be old friends.
How do you incorporate new trends into your wardrobe and what trends are you considering this season?