Oh trends. It's how the fashion (and, in turn, blogging) world goes round. It seems like there's a hot new item every week and we're constantly adding bits to our lust-list or handing over our debit cards so we look wonderfully 'on-trend' (I hate that phrase). It creates a never-ending demand for the next big thing, that cult must-have item that you need right now. Can't get your hands on it? Buy it for twice the price on eBay, ring every boutique, sell a kidney, just buy. that. bag. We've all been there, right? Nothing makes me more determined than the phrase 'sold out'. It's like a personal vendetta.
I've been swept up into the world of trends on many occasions in the past, as I do love a fresh new update in my wardrobe. I also adore seeing how my favourite bloggers and style icons wear the latest in the shops, as it gives me inspiration on which to build my wardrobe or make my next sartorial choices.
So, after recently purchasing this bag which, let's admit, is several seasons out of date, I gave the concept of 'trends' a good ponder. Is it good that we have the option to update our wardrobes and make ourselves feel great with the latest clobber? Are we making wise and financially viable decisions? Or is it making us more materialistic, letting consumerism take over our thoughts and, ultimately, creating more landfill when we get rid of our fast-fashion trend-lead choices after one season?
Ok, I'll be the first to admit that I am perpetually late to trends. It takes me a good few months to decide whether a trend is worth investing in and if I want to make the space for it in my wardrobe. Previous Helen would have dived in head first, throwing my debit card over the counter at Topshop so I could claim I'm 'obsessed' with the item, only to put it on eBay a month later as it didn't fit into my style whatsoever. Current Helen is annoyed at previous Helen because she wasted a lot of money doing this instead of investing in things which actually suit her and fit nicely into her wardrobe.
I vowed to never be like that again (borderline-hoarder anxiety was not fun) so now I follow a few rules when it comes to new trends. First, how would I wear it? This is where the research comes in. Checking Instagram, Pinterest and how they've styled it on the site itself are great places to start. Does it look good? Yes. Great. Onto step two: will it actually suit me? Some clothes look fantastic on others, yet on my body... 'sad potato' seems accurate. Heading on over to the store and actually trying it on - or trying multiple styles - is the best thing to do. Bring other things into the fittingroom that are similar to things you have at home so you can work out if it'll fit into your wardrobe. If ordering online, try it on with the outfit you had in mind. This has stopped me keeping a lot of things, but also ensures you only keep the things you love.
Third, value vs longevity. You like it, it looks cute, but is it actually worth it? The whole cost-per-wear argument is something I actually consider quite a lot, as I cannot stand wasting money on things I don't get the wear our of. So, will it be an investment piece you know you'll wear for a few seasons or is it a 'I'll wear it for my holiday maybe' option. Do you want to actually spend the money on it at all? Ask all of these questions and I promise you'll feel better with what you purchase.
I mean, random acts of lust excluded, of course. Shit happens, guys.
One thing I will say about trends is that there's always a bit more pressure in the blogging world to pick something new up on the regular. Lets admit it guys, commission does add up and it pays the bills. People want to see new clothes on their favourite bloggers so they can make a decision, just like I love seeing them on my faves so I can do the same. Having those particular items in stock is great for the viewer, but it does help the blogger if people buy it too.
But does this lead to an increase in buying for buying sake? Do we buy things with the hopes of earning a few quid if we take enough nice Instagram photos with it? I barely use liketoknowit, but I see the ladies who use it religiously tend to feature a higher volume of 'new in' items than those who don't. I know this comes as part of the job, but does it mean we're buying trends we love or are we buying just to show other people? If we weren't bloggers, would a lot of us still shop in this way?
I often wonder about consumerism and my boyfriend reminds me pretty much every time I buy something designer that I contribute to it, as he'll never understand my love for something he just considers 'branding' and little else. Despite my efforts to be more conscious with my choices ie. purchasing one or maybe two bags per year, re-selling older ones to pay for them (don't ever get into debt for a purchase, fellas), only buying into trends when I know I'll get several seasons use out of them, upgrading pieces so they're better quality and last longer etc, I still feel this overwhelming pressure to buy buy buy.
I'm not sure if it's the industry I'm in or just my overall love for fashion that makes me feel this way, but every once in a while I have to take a step back from my Mango basket and ask myself what I'm doing.
And 9/10 this works and I remind myself about the above and it sets my brain back to neutral again. I do have a two final pointers if you ever feel this way, though...
Buy what you love, regardless of what everyone else is wearing
Whether this is a trend-lead piece or something from a few seasons back, don't ever be put off buying something you truly love. If it fits perfectly into your wardrobe and you know you'll feel amazing wearing it - get it! I've thought about the large Chloe Faye for years now. I have the small one and have worn it to death, but my lust for the larger size was still niggling away at the back of my brain so, I slept on it (for about three years), I did my research (hello my fave style icons), I checked the cost (the re-sale value isn't great, so I got this one brand new on Vestiaire Collective for £600 instead of £1200+) and I know it suits my style perfectly. It's love and I don't care if people think it's had its day, either. I might even still get a Gucci Dionysus, so there *puts up middle finger*.
Ignore the phrase 'out of fashion'
It's just a slogan used by the the media and the fashion industry to make you buy more. A phrase made entirely of consumerism and it actually means very little, when you think about it. Who really decides what's 'in' and what's 'out'? Trends come back around constantly - I mean how many times have you seen the 70s influence in the shops or velvet and embellishment in Winter - so it is an empty notion to say anything is truly 'out of fashion'. I mean, unless those things are Crocs or Ugg boots, then yeah I can agree tbh.
So, trends - do you embrace them or are you hesitant to invest like I am?