Fashion trends: will it come back in style?

Monday, 24 November 2008 | Tags: , , ,

That's the question we always ask when we're cleaning out our closets, but it's also one we should be asking even before we buy. And since we're addicted to fashion, it's a lesson we've both learned the hard way. To get a refresher, we asked celebrity stylist Tracey Richardson to go through our closets and identify what to toss and what to keep.

Stylist Tracey Richardson came to our homes and went through our closets, all the way from the dregs squished in the back to the brand new items with the tags still on. She gave us some great pointers as to what to keep and what to toss. Here’s the run-down of what we learned from our closet purge sessions with Tracey:

Fashion trends go through phases

  • Emergent: when pieces first appear, they’re worn by trendsetters like celebrities, musicians, and models. This is how the general public begins to become aware of them.

  • Emulation: the trend becomes a popular subject for fashion and mass media alike. Public awareness grows, but the items may not yet be widely available and are expensive. Fashionista consumers do everything they can to follow the trend at this stage.

  • Saturation: Knock-offs and copy-cat items are mass-produced to supply public demand while the early trendsetters begin to move on to something else. The pubic becomes saturated as the trend appears everywhere. Trend-boredom ensues, with consumers eager to move onto the next big thing.

How to spot a recurring trend

  • Items designed to flatter and highlight the body stand a good chance of returning. For example, shoulder pads of the 80’s help create shape, skinny leg pants of the 60’s highlight legs.

  • Iconic trends that reappear periodically throughout the ages are often revisited by designers on a regular basis. For example, the leather bomber jacket, the trench coat, platform shoes, and the little black dress. If they can reinvent one of these items smartly or playfully, they can become part of fashion history.

  • Keep in mind when purchasing one of these iconic pieces that even though it will come back eventually, the next generation of designers will put a fresh twist on it.

  • Look for pieces that have a simple design, are well-constructed, andare made from high-quality fabric. Also consider items that can beeasily tailored to give it an update next time around.
  • Sometimes trends can evolve into wardrobe essentials because consumers won’t the trend die. For example: jeans, flip-flops, Capri pants, and tank tops.

How to avoid a dead trend

  • Items that just aren’t practical for everyday living will probably not come back again. For example, it’s hard to drive a car or do the grocery shopping wearing a bustle, crinoline, or corset. That’s not to say the trends are gone for good (corsets and crinolines are still popular for evening wear), but they are unlikely to return as mass-market fads.

  • Items made cheaply (both in fabric and manufacturing), and that have prominent faddish elements – like metal studs, neon, zippers, fur, sequins, etc. – are not long-term clothing investments. If you can’t resist them, don’t spend a lot of money on them since you will (should) be tossing them within a couple of years.


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