While a few decades ago, trends emerged every season, the current fashion industry sees new trends arise every other week. Keeping pace with the ever-shifting styles and silhouettes modeled on social media can drain your bank account and prevent you from developing an individualized wardrobe. Though fast fashion tries to dispute this, avoiding trends can actually improve your style.
You can discover what looks best on you
Perhaps the most obvious reason to avoid trends is that popular fashion may not align with what you feel comfortable wearing. Though the recent Y2K revival embraces tackiness, vibrant colors and baby-tees, more formal and neutral-colored items may be a better fit for your personality. While you may love how those pink micro sunglasses look on a friend, if you usually prefer wearing classic frames, a potential Y2K-inspired sunglass purchase would probably be a waste.
By not following every internet trend, you can also experiment with your own fashion creativity. Instead of seeing a photo of a feathery matching set on Instagram and purchasing a replication, you can actively create your own outfit. Getting fashion inspiration from others is natural, but not following trends may force you to experiment and challenge yourself. Through this process, you can discover the silhouettes and colors that look best on you. Most likely, you’ll receive far more compliments on these outfits, since they haven’t been seen on anyone else.
Basic isn’t bad
In her NYU class of 2022 commencement speech, Taylor Swift told graduates that they were probably “wearing something right now that [they] will look back on later and find revolting and hilarious.” She added, “You can’t avoid it, so don’t try to.” While I love Taylor’s embracement of the cringe moments and awkward phases we all go through, I would love to at least attempt to avoid some of them.
Trends, by definition, do not persevere. Though they may come back decades later, at some point, the trends we see today will no longer be stylish. Basics, however, tend to stick around. By not purchasing that top of fleeting fame, your wardrobe can become that of a stylish person, rather than that of a person wearing clothes of current fashion.
Basics don’t have to mean white t-shirts and jeans, though. Basics can be any items you have enjoyed wearing for years and know you can return to in a decade. The term “capsule wardrobe” is thrown around often and typically has a certain look (printed blazers, crewnecks, button-ups). But your capsule can be whatever basics fit your style best. Individuals who wear less preppy items than the traditional capsule wardrobe might buy a dependable pair of Levi’s and a blue cropped tank top, for example.
One of the major consequences of the micro-trend era of fashion is the excessive amount of textile waste plunging into landfills. Since new trends cycle through the internet so rapidly, a shirt you purchased a couple months ago may no longer be in style today. Spending at the speed that trends emerge contributes to the problem of textile waste, seeing as you may toss neglected clothing items more often.
Avoiding trends not only reduces your carbon footprint but also improves your style. A trend that hopefully won’t vanish, the sustainable fashion movement advocates for choosing staple pieces or second-hand clothing. While trendy garments are often the focal point of an outfit (the viral Mariah-Carey inspired butterfly top does not leave much room for layering, for example), staple pieces are easier to pair with clothes you already have in your closet. That means one staple item can generate more outfits for a longer period of time than one trendy piece.
Second-hand clothing also offers the opportunity for a creative and sustainable wardrobe. Going thrifting may uncover vintage or unique pieces that you wouldn’t find in name-brand stores. And as long as you’re not over-buying, secondhand clothing reduces your environmental impact.
It’s a Money Saver
Although trendy items tend to be cheaper than staple pieces, some individuals fall into the trap of buying more clothes, more often, when following the fast fashion cycle. In turn, it is easy to waste money and regret impulse purchases. Avoiding trends can increase the amount of money you have to spend on clothes you’ll actually wear.
A downside of those quality, staple items mentioned in this article, though, is their price tag. However, while one durable pair of jeans may be the same price as three trendy pairs of pants, the jeans can be incorporated into more outfits and are less likely to be damaged. But, if sustainable brands are outside of your budget, try purchasing mostly staples from fast fashion brands to avoid the chance of wasted items.
You Can Choose Which Trends to Follow
Now, all of this is not to say that you should be avoiding trends 100% of the time. Trying a piece outside of your style comfort-zone is often an enjoyable experience, and as Ms. Swift has stated, “trends and phases are fun.” But since the fast fashion industry can harm the environment, drain your wallet and diminish your style individuality, it’s important to be diligent with which trends you follow.
Some of my favorite trends are basics at heart. The maxi-skirt revival occurring this summer has brought a whirl of fuchsia, black and teal fabrics to stores. Since maxi-skirts can be paired with anything from tank tops to blazers, I plan on purchasing one soon.
You can also follow trends but with slight alterations. The platform shoes trend, for example, has recently come back in style. Try opting for a dependable platform loafer or heel instead of those rhinestone platform flip flops that might not even make it to your beach trip. This way, you can have fun participating in trends while still making intentional purchases meant to avoid waste.