How to Make the Latest Fashion Trends Yours

Polka dot dresses in a Clarks advertisement – Lucky Magazine, May 2012

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.  The latests fashion trends 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

Mixed Prints in American Vogue – March 2012

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?

Pastels in American Vogue – March 2012

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

The Bohemian Trend in American Vogue – April 2012

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?

Teen Vogue Cover March 2012

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

American Vogue, March 2012

The Ladylike look burst on the scene with the popularity of “Mad Men”. The show inspired numerous designers who incorporated all sorts of full skirts, nipped waists, and other retro touches into their collections.  Perhaps it’s also a reaction to sleazy shows like “Jersey Shore” but whatever the reason for this trend I couldn’t be happier about it. I can’t afford the clothing shown in the photo above, but the look is easy to achieve with items already in my wardrobe.  Kitten heels, knee-length skirts, little jackets, elegant purses, and up-do’s will make you feel feel feminine, refined and elegant, leading me to believe this is a trend we can all love.

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: Make the latest fashion trend your own. 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.

Mixed Floral advertisement in Lucky Magazine May 2012

How do you incorporate new trends into your wardrobe and what trends are you considering this season?


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42 Responses to How to Make the Latest Fashion Trends Yours

    May 4, 2012 at 9:09 pm #

    This is such an amazing post! IFB LALM worthy, for sure.

    Sometimes I struggle with #2 because I know that if I go to the mall just to ‘window shop’ and ‘try things on’ I will end up spending money that I don’t have! I guess it’s all about self control! 😉

    Good luck finding lace that suits you and your style. I’m sure you’ll find it.
    THE-LOUDMOUTH recently posted..Look :: After the RainMy Profile

    • Heather Fonseca May 5, 2012 at 6:40 pm #

      I hear you on how window shopping can become real shopping! If I don’t want to buy anything, or if I’m trying to save money I I wouldn’t go try on the new trends. I would stay clear of stores altogether. I only do these big shops when I have the money to spend.

  2. Sylvia
    May 5, 2012 at 5:09 am #

    Great article. As you know I have bought myself a whole new wardrobe capsule in very bright colours. I bought it cheap so I could buy various pieces and check how it felt on me. Safar so good. It’s a lot of fun wearing these bright colours!
    Sylvia recently posted..Dressing Your Truth course review and resultsMy Profile

    • Heather Fonseca May 5, 2012 at 6:38 pm #

      Your wardrobe capsule post really inspired me. I still haven’t quite figured out the capsule concept but the single outfit with pieces that could work other ways is a shopping strategy that always works for me.

  3. DressCode:HighFashion
    May 5, 2012 at 5:35 am #

    Great post!

    Have a nice weekend, dear.

    Hugs, Jen
    DressCode:HighFashion recently posted..The Return of Matching Shoes & Bags S/S 12 (2/2)My Profile

  4. A Brit Greek
    May 6, 2012 at 12:06 am #

    I agree totally IFB material and also v inspirational – you’ve said what I always think when I’m manefesting some ideas in my head!
    A Brit Greek recently posted..Kate Moss, Mert Alas & Marcus Piggot collaborationsMy Profile

    • A Brit Greek
      May 6, 2012 at 12:18 am #

      Ooh, that was really weird, I hadn’t finished typing and the comment posted… woops.

      Having worked in fashion for more than a decade I’ve seen all the trends roll by and come back again in some translated version or another and it’s safe to say I’ve invested in the key pieces that work for me and has longevity, although it wasn’t always like that with my shopping purges!

      I was just reading your conversation about capsule wardrobes, which reminded me of how I used to be pretty much guilty of having way too many clothes and probably not making the most of them. It’s ideal to have capsule wardrobe consisting of a few great stylish pieces (your step 5), which you can then update by adding a few pieces from the next season and gradually build it up from there.

      I love lace but also didn’t find something til just recently – 50’s midi black lace skirt from asos and it was a bargain! Hope you find something lovely!
      A Brit Greek recently posted..Kate Moss, Mert Alas & Marcus Piggot collaborationsMy Profile

      • Heather Fonseca May 6, 2012 at 11:54 am #

        I’m still working on the “capsule” concept. I think this is mostly because I just can’t find enough pieces that I like in one shopping trip. I can usually find one great outfit though! Good for your for finding a great lace piece. I went looking again last night but still didn’t find. Sigh.

  5. Alexis Grace May 6, 2012 at 2:02 pm #

    I love that you say to go out and try things on. It is funny how that step gets forgotten, or avoided when our nerves/frustrations/preconceived notions get the best of us.

    It is so important to figure out what works for your body. Certain trends don’t work on me, and that’s okay! Because there are plenty that do. One thing I have discovered is that when a trend seems to be universally flattering (or at least across a large portion of people), it tends to last longer.
    Alexis Grace recently posted..A GetawayMy Profile

    • Heather Fonseca May 7, 2012 at 6:05 pm #

      I agree with you Alexis. Remember last year’s harem pants? They look great on a very small portion of the population, and they didn’t last long. I also think there are a lot of women who really don’t like trying clothes on, but then I don’t blame them. I have an enormous amount of stamina when it comes to shopping, but it’s exhausting. It’s also funny how I’ve become attached to stores that have nice dressing rooms and helpful salespeople. I’d rather spend a little more and enjoy the experience.

  6. Mary Jo
    May 7, 2012 at 7:21 am #

    Such good advice Heather! I just came back from a trip with a whole short list of things I need to round out my wardrobe–nothing like traveling to make you realize the holes in your wardrobe. A good lace blouse would be a great investment, you’re inspiring me to look for one. Hope you have been good–it feels like ages since I’ve seen you, would love to get together soon!

    xo Mary Jo
    Mary Jo recently posted..back from berlinMy Profile

    • Heather Fonseca May 7, 2012 at 6:02 pm #

      I’d love to see you soon too! I agree, travel really reveals what isn’t in one’s wardrobe that should be there. I think you would look great in a lace blouse! Still looking for the right one. Actually I’ve been looking for over a year. Wanted one last spring too. One day…

  7. Noree May 7, 2012 at 10:02 am #

    Great post! Appreciating all the research that went into this!

    • Heather Fonseca May 7, 2012 at 2:03 pm #

      Hi Norree, I’m so glad you like my article. Thanks for visiting and leaving a comment!

  8. Anne May 7, 2012 at 6:34 pm #

    Very good post! These tips are useful reminders of ideas that I often forget to try. I especially have trouble with #2, trying on things that you wouldn’t normally try. I do think it’s important to do that from time to time.
    Anne recently posted..Visibly thrifted: A top for springMy Profile

    • Heather Fonseca May 8, 2012 at 2:58 pm #

      I’m sometimes amazed when I try something I would normally never try. I’ve found some fabulous pieces that way! So glad you like the post.

  9. Adventures in Dressmaking
    May 8, 2012 at 10:35 pm #

    Great post!
    I actually just Googled that Clarks ad and those polka dot dresses today, and found your post. Perfect timing!
    Adventures in Dressmaking recently posted..You guys–check me out on FaveCrafts Radio. Sweeeet!My Profile

    • Heather Fonseca May 11, 2012 at 10:29 pm #

      So funny – I noticed someone had googled the image and you left a comment too! Thank you. I hope you come back again soon.

  10. Charlie May 9, 2012 at 1:11 am #

    I totally agree with this. Invest in the trends that make you look great. Because it is always It important to figure out what works for your body. Not all body looks great on brighter colors, polka dots, we should first determine your body and what it needs. There are trends that won’t work for my body as well but that is okay. This is a Try and Try basis as well.

    • Heather Fonseca May 11, 2012 at 10:26 pm #

      Hi Charlie. I think its I portent not to limit yourself by what you think might or might not look good. If you like a trend try it! You might be happy with the outcome.

  11. Stacey - Total City Girl
    May 9, 2012 at 6:53 pm #

    I’d like to try some colored jeans this season. Not sure how far I’ll go with the neon 🙂
    Stacey – Total City Girl recently posted..Spicy Tortilla SoupMy Profile

    • Heather Fonseca May 11, 2012 at 10:24 pm #

      Oh do try! It’s a fun look and it looks good on everyone. Plus your girls will love It I’m sure.

  12. DeltaCIA May 12, 2012 at 6:16 pm #

    Step #3 is the best, when it comes to trends I always try to make sure that I pick trends that look good on me and regardless if they are in or not I still feel good, sexy, pretty, whatever.

    • Heather Fonseca May 14, 2012 at 3:22 pm #

      Thanks Delta. Glad you like my tips.

  13. Emily Ulrich May 15, 2012 at 4:36 am #

    Sometimes, I feel lost in the sea of trends… It’s more important to me to buy what my mind is instinctively drawn to rather than to follow fads. When I feel that boredom with my clothing that you described, though, of course I look for inspiration. But making sure the “trendy” piece is in code with my own taste is most important.

    • Heather Fonseca May 16, 2012 at 12:26 pm #

      I used to be very particular about which trends I would try, but now as I’ve gotten older I’ve found that I need to venture out of my comfort zone a little. I really thought skinny jeans would look horrible on me, but they actually look pretty good! Now I just try out trends to see how they look. If they look bad I don’t buy, but sometimes I’m pleasantly surprised.

  14. Christina-Lauren
    May 16, 2012 at 11:47 pm #

    Congrats on Links A La Mode! Great post.

    Inspirations & CELEBRATIONS
    Christina-Lauren recently posted..City ChicMy Profile

    • Heather Fonseca May 17, 2012 at 10:01 am #

      Hi Christina. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

  15. Joy Ella May 31, 2012 at 3:19 pm #

    This article is the best I’ve read on how to wear incorporate trends into your wardrobe. I am a manager/buyer for a women’s fashion boutique and I am printing this out and posting it on our “trends” board for my colleagues/employees. You articulated the [sometimes arduous] process of staying up with current trends while staying true to your self so very well! I see women falling victim to fashion trends all too often simply because fashion trend reports forget to add the disclaimer: “Warning: Do not attempt to wear all trends at once. The maximum number of this season’s trends that should be worn at one time is 2-3 without the expressed approval of a professional). Please note, not all trends will work for every individual. It is okay to pick and choose the trends that best fit in with your style and for your body type, skin tone, etc.” Thanks for the well thought out, informative, streamlined tutorial! Kudos!
    Joy Ella recently nautical nails. details to come (gotta get to work!)My Profile

    • Heather Fonseca June 2, 2012 at 10:25 pm #

      Thank you Joy! So glad you liked the article. It was fun to write and came directly from a recent shopping excursion.

  16. new fashion trend December 28, 2012 at 1:47 am #

    Hi Heather!
    This is an amazing post. I gotta try your advice soon. I always attend conventions and really had a hard time on figuring out what I will wear. I always end up wearing the most convenient outfit in my closet, I’m also afraid to try something new. I hope you can also write a post on that. Hope to read more posts from you. Thanks!
    new fashion trend recently posted..Another collection of Isabel Marant to hit Zara storesMy Profile

    • Heather Fonseca December 28, 2012 at 12:48 pm #

      Hi there! I’m so glad you found the article helpful. Honestly, when I attend conventions or client meetings I usually rely on a few standbys. Profession venues are always a bit difficult to dress for I think.

  17. New fashion trends June 27, 2013 at 11:36 pm #

    Yes I agree with that 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.


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