POSTED ON JULY 4, 2007:
Trend or Foe?
Today's big thing is tomorrow's faint memory
recently, items from the 1980s have become popular trends again.
Personally, I get squeamish about a trend. It's the fear that something with so much potential is going to be ruined. Trends typically start at the highest echelon of modern society, with the celebrity.
Celebrities pick up the trend from one of two places: they either take the look from the runway or begin their own trend by wearing a kooky item.
Either way, the trend can easily be deciphered into where its origins came from. The return of the Bermuda short started at the runway. The trucker cap from a few years ago was probably not brought to the masses from Karl Lagerfeld of Chanel. That was a bizarre celebrity choice. The trends that celebrities sport are photographed and burned into our brains, making us believe that now, we too must be wearing them if we want to look up-to-date.
But before anyone goes and invests her hard-earned money on these latest "It" items, we should know if they are really worth buying. How do you know if a trend should be embraced or ignored?
No matter where a trend was born, where it's heading is the most important division. There are items that start as trends before becoming a permanent part of our wardrobes and items that are flash-in-the-pan trends that are over as soon as they begin.
The return and rise of the mini skirt will probably be here to stay. The denim jumper/overall shorts calamities that quirky celebrity ingénues have been wearing are the epitome of this second grouping. It boils down to being a logical item that can be both versatile and fashion-forward, versus a celebrity's attempt to gain attention. The first group aims at longevity, the second toward celebrity. Once you can determine where the trend fits into those two groups, you can easily see what should be left to the fame-seeking and not you, the flattery seeker.
Recently, items from the 1980s have become popular trends again. Skinny jeans, leggings, big, bright plastic jewelry and all of a sudden I've seen Urban Outfitters is bringing back high-top Reebok sneakers in an assortment of bright, flashy colors.
Decade trends typically occur 20 years after their original debut. That's why we had the return of the 1970s in the late 1990s and why it now looks like our trends are coming straight from the set of a Debbie Gibson or Tiffany video, circa 1987. The rule of thumb with the decade trend is that if you were old enough to wear it the first time, you can't the second.
Unfortunately for the fashion-forward older generation, age is a large factor in deciding whether to approach a trend. Even if your kids think you are the "cool mom" or you consider yourself a total "MILF," if you have a daughter wearing a trend, it is past your prime. For the younger crowd experiencing the decade for the first time, choose one decade item and leave the rest of the outfight modern.
Thankfully, patterns are a trend that a woman of any age can approach, so long as she treads lightly. Patterns are trends that come into fashion in waves. The latest trend in pattern is polka dots, but the problem with a pattern trend is its overexposure. Look around any store right now and you will be able to spot polka-dot dresses, polka-dot shoes, polka-dot purses and polka-dot headbands. It isn't the first time a pattern has overwhelmed the industry. A variety of animal patterns, floral prints and, though not technically a pattern, metallics, have all bombarded our looks in recent years.
The key to wearing the current pattern is to wear it in moderation. If you choose to wear the pattern in a bold manner, like a dress, simplify the rest of ensemble. For just a touch of trend, try a great purse or bag in the most current pattern.
The pattern-on-purse trend makes me think of the most important rule to remember when it comes to a trend: Be wary of the amount of money you spend on a trendy item. Because they come and go so quickly, it is a waste of money to spend to extravagantly on one "trendy" item. Case in point: the designer "It" bag of the moment. Just a handful of years ago, the trend in expensive handbags was loud, bright logos.
Hordes of women spent hundreds and even thousands of dollars on bags with fluorescent LVs or DBs splattered all across them. The luckiest of trends only have a few months shelf life, and these trendy designer bags now have a new shelf life: shoved away on a shelf in the back thousands of closets.
Buying a luxury piece of clothing or accessory can be a great addition to any girl's closet, but remember to choose classic pieces that will be in style for a long time, not just for now. Trends can lose their luster quickly, so spend wisely when buying them. And remember that an item that is cheap shouldn't look cheap, even if it is a trend.
Trends are destroyed in one of three ways: they are worn by the wrong kinds of people, they are worn by everyone everywhere or they are worn past their prime.
I've discussed who the wrong people are, so the next thing to remind you is to wear the trend sparingly and to know when to give up the ghost. The goal is to follow a trend, not to be trendy, so don't feel that you have to wear every trend created; it reads "trying too hard."
And finally, and quite sadly, the creation of a trend is its own demise. Once something loses its exclusivity and can be seen on everyone, it is over. Even if you really love your Ugg boots, leggings, velour track suit, or whatever the next trend is, you have to realize that these items were given to us for just a short while, so set them free.
But don't fear. There's a celebrity right now being photographed in the next big trend.
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