i always find it fascinating how the dictates from the powers that be can make us turn on once favorite pants/skirt lengths/hair styles/colors/shoes and regard them with disdain. "pleats? how could i have ever worn pants with pleats" "cuffs? i'd sooner die" "bangs? what was i thinking!" only to eventually have the pendulum swing back in that direction, raising the rejected back to revered. as i described runway reviews to my friend the other day, it’s an exercise in mood swings: "berry lips are huge!" "pale lips are sexy!" "retro red is a must!" "muted lips are so now!" "we love red lips!" "we hate red lips!" unfortunately i expose myself to this lunacy constantly but at least i do laugh at the transparent lack of ideas. it's just a game of back and forth and i fall for it myself every time. suddenly, gloss does look wildly more fresh than matte. suddenly, i am sure that matte is more appealing, etc. let's face it, they do know what they're doing, those powers that be.

a recent and steady big trend is the bigger than big bag. chanel crossed a line when they sent garbage bag style totes down the fall’06 runway. whenever things get too extreme, it means we’re heading for a backlash. lowrise got so low that now high waists are returning because there was nowhere else to go. as it was, things were already dangerously flirting with crossing the NC-17 line. unless next season’s handbag is so big we can actually get in it and zip it up, it’s going to have to come down, back to actually being a “hand” bag.

the truth is that while large bags have been de rigeur and smaller bags looked out of proportion, smaller bags never looked any different. what i mean is, the bag never changed, just our perspective. it's sort of key to survival, mental that is, to block out some of the stimulation we get, some of the exposure to trends etc. so that we can see for ourselves what really works on us, what really appeals to us as thinking human beings, individual human beings, so that we do not shop as the herd they count on us functioning as (no store would order a huge pile of x style if they did not rely on our predictable collective thirst for x, which would be reliably instilled by the powers).

it's not that a new trend is necessarily wrong, but i need to approach it as an option i can accept or reject. i used to think the word "trend" was a bad bad thing, but someone shared this with me last week and i think it’s a very smart way to look at them: trends are good though, trends give you broad selection, and then you can choose the best. when many designers/labels are taking a shot at the same target, there's a greater likelihood that one will do it in a way you really like. and when you really really like the piece, there's no reason to stop wearing it when the trend is no longer red hot.

are you easily swayed by editorial influences? are you in touch with your gut instinct for what you like or what works on you?


Carlene said...

I love trendwatching! I love that things change all the time, even the back and forth thing. But I think the ability to not embrace every trend does (or should anyway) come with age.

As a teenager, I wanted to look just like the girls in the magazines, no matter what they had on. Whatever they told me was good, was. It didn't change as quickly then, but it did change. Fortunately, when I was a teen my family couldn't afford to indulge me in trends, and I found myself buying items with longer lives (gray blazer), and trending it up with accessories (which I made! I was an embroidering, crocheting, necklace-beading freak) (it was the 70s).

I don't know when it was that I figured out that they were being manipulative. Now I flip through magazines like Lucky and Bazaar (I love my magazines) and work to pick which trends I would actually embrace. I play this game: If I could buy any one item out of this book, which would it be? A crap magazine is one where nothing jumps out at me as being *for me*.

The gigantic bag thing...I bought one. Not just a gigantic bag, a gigantic *silver* bag. TRENDY. But...It's a Gap tote from a couple years ago and
I bought it on eBay for $9. It's really nice, and no logo or label to give me away. I know it'll look stupid very soon, then I'll store yarn in it or something, until it comes around again.

p.s. that lipstick shade at the very top of your post is *for me*.

winternight said...

I like to incorporate trends to freshen-up my look which tends to be really simple. I also like sort of timeless, sometimes edgy, classics. I definitely don't get rid of things based on one season's editorials but I have retired pieces after a while and sometimes I consciously buy something just for the 'season.'

editor said...

carlene - isn't that lipcolor gorgeous! lol, we're awful. i'm awful awful with colors but i'm going to take a shot at finding something like that tomorrow.

re. looking like the girls in the magazines - when the sept. issue came out, "back to school" and the collegiate corduroy and tweeds and wool were shown, i would fall head-over-heels every year. nevermind that where i lived it was 90+ in sept. i wore corduroy pants the first day of high school, the same day freshmen had to wait out in the sun for 2 hours to get id cards. pathetic.

i'm very very cynical about magazines now and i still totally totally love them. i've had just enough experience to let me have a peek behind the wizard's curtain and see what greases the wheels, but i'm happy to play along and suspend disbelief for a few hours of page-flipping fun.

winternight - sometimes i buy things that i think i independently like, and then bring it home and realize they got me, lol, and it is a "seasonal" piece. i need special prescription lenses, the equivalent of x-ray vision that lets me see through the influences around me. your taste sounds good. simple is something that often eludes me, despite my best efforts.

Iheartfashion said...

I'm with Carlene, and enjoy the fast-changing nature of fashion, although I definitely don't buy into every trend. I find that when something I've always loved becomes too popular I put it away for a while, not wanting to seem "trendy". Completely silly, I know, but there is something exciting about wearing a look before it hits the mass market. The whole science of trend forecasting fascinates me; I'd love to have a job travelling the world as a "style scouter". *Dreaming*

Anonymous said...

Iheartfashion, one of the most exciting pieces of (old) news that I heard this year was that one of my cousins is a trendspotter.That's cool enough but to top it off he lives in Paris!

I knew he was a talented artist but had no idea that he actually has worked in the industry for so many years. I guess I didn't care before but now I want him to be my new best friend, lol. (midnight)

Carlene said...

Iheartfashion! "I find that when something I've always loved becomes too popular I put it away for a while, not wanting to seem "trendy"."

Me, too. And sometimes I get kind of upset about it, like somehow something special has been stolen from me and made common (a la "boho" via Sears and "vintage" rock t-shirts...grr).