Before we decide whether we should follow fashion or not, let’s talk about what fashion is.
Fashion is not just what a bunch of designers dictate us to wear every season. Fashion reflects the public mood, economic situation, technological developments, politics, popular culture, etc. And so does art.
Fashion is part of art as well as a part of our daily lives. To a certain degree, all of us are related to it.
In a similar way to art, one can either have a very basic interest or a deeper passion for fashion. At the advanced level, to understand some pieces of art, one needs a deeper knowledge of the artist, a period of time he or she lived in, a source of inspiration, etc.
Of course, you can decide at what level you want to stay.
So, do you need to follow fashion?
Yes, if you don’t want to look older and out of date. It doesn’t mean that you have to blindly follow all the latest trends. You may prefer to look timeless, but following fashion will help you see the difference between modern, timeless, and outdated garments.
I see fashion as a gradient. If you follow it constantly, the change is very subtle. If you miss a while and then come back, the change can be quite drastic. Silhouettes, length, general fit, and the way we combine garments change. It often happens to moms on parental leave. When they come back to stores, they are usually shocked and prefer to stay in their old favorites; all the while, fashion continues going forward and the gap becomes wider and wider.
If you are far from fashion, how do you find out about new things? Usually, by seeing people in the streets and other public places, but if you drive a car or work at home or live in a small town, then it can feel like you don’t have a chance to see anything new. This will make the process very slow. This is why coming to a smaller town sometimes feels like traveling back in time; you’ll see people dressed in a style from 10-15 years ago.
Saying this, I don’t mean that living in a small town and looking old-fashioned is a crime and everyone should care. No, everyone can wear whatever they want to, but if you’re reading this article, I suspect that you do care.
OK, we’ve decided that we want to follow fashion, so how we do it?
Here are some tips that I recommend to my clients:
1. You can, of course, by fashion magazines; Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Elle will do. They release all the trends on September and March every year.
2. Another way that won’t cost you anything: – once every 2 to 3 months, go to H&M or Mango’s websites. Choose “what’s new” and scroll through their selection.
Why H&M or Mango? Because they are fashion forward but style their products in a more wearable way, as opposed to Zara, for example. If you haven’t been following fashion for a while, chances are that your eyes are going to bleed, even at HM, while Zara is going to be just unbearable. It’s OK. Don’t give up; be prepared for a shock and continue watching. After some time, you will get used to it. ;)
However, I recommend following shoes, bags, and accessories on Zara and Mango, as H&M don’t always have the best examples.
You don’t have to like these brands, and you don’t have to buy anything there. Just sort through their assortment and pay attention to:
- What the hairstyles look like
- What makeup is popular
- What accessories are being used
- Featured lengths and silhouette (wide, figure-hugging, oversized, mini, midi, etc.)
- Which of the items are used as a “base” and which are “spices” (Read more about base wardrobe here and download the list of basic items here)
- How the garments are being mixed
If you happen to like some outfits, save them, as they indicate your personal taste and can be used for inspiration in the future.
You don’t have to blindly copy everything. We do it to expand our visual experience. It’s a similar process as when trying to learn the difference between Monet and Manet; you have to see a lot of their paintings. To start hearing different language accents, you have to expose yourself to them.
Don’t judge. Avoid statements such as, “This is hideous! I will never wear that!” as you will program your brain in a negative way and will make your learning process slower. Give your brain the opportunity to change its mind. Try instead to think, “This is not my cup of tea at the moment. Maybe later I will like it.” You may or may not start liking it later, but at least you had a choice.
After a while, you will find that you actually start liking things.
- You will start seeing the difference between clothes you once thought were the same. Suddenly, those two similar jackets in your closet are different: now one’s dated while the other is timeless.
- You will see how you can style your timeless items to make them look modern.
- You will understand how long a certain trend has been around, and whether it’s worth buying or is too late.
Some things take years to get used to, even for someone like me who deals with fashion every day. Watching it regularly will speed the process up for you.
When you feel comfortable with H&M and Mango and are ready to upgrade yourself, you can start following updates on Zara and on online stores which sell everything that comes directly from the runway.
3. You can also follow fashion blogs or Instagram accounts.
I recommend these:
4. And the most advanced level is to watch the fashion shows directly on the runway. You will find all the shows on Vogue.com
Don’t be afraid of fashion! Once you learn to understand it, fashion is fun!