Nowadays, there is a lot of hype about being trendy and ‘in fashion’ especially in the influencers’ culture we are currently living in. We are constantly being bombarded. Latest trends, must-haves, and fashion hauls are now an integral part of social media. Do you also feel that the more time you spend on social media, the more you compare yourself to others, the more you think you lack, and therefore more you desire?
Consequently, it negatively affects our confidence and the way that we feel about ourselves. As if, we always need more to feel good about ourselves. Carefully curated images on social networks are hard to ignore. Of course, there is nothing wrong with creative expressions, digital content, or genuine product recommendations. However, it gets tricky if unsustainable practices, excessive consumerism, and false promises are being promoted as a result. It is increasingly hard to embrace authenticity when we are constantly being influenced. Thus, we have to make a conscious effort to know what’s true to us.
What Are Fashion Trends And Why Are They So Influential?
Firstly, fashion is a multibillion industry. The global fashion market was expected to grow from $527.08 billion in 2020 to $635.17 billion in 2021 (Milos Djordjevic in SaveMyCent, Feb 2021). Moreover, the worldwide fast fashion market was also forecasted to increase from $25.09 billion in 2020 to $30.58 billion in 2021 at a compound annual growth rate of 21.9% (The Business Research Company, Jan 2021). With such size comes power and influence.
According to Allison Cooper (Love To Know, 2021), fashion trends evolve and grow through different avenues. They come from the runway, from street style, through celebrities, through fashion bloggers, and through the different fashion capitals of the world. In my opinion, the definition below perfectly captures the true essence of trends, their start, and current evolution (E Alexander in Harper’s Bazaar, Mar 2017):
“The concept of a trend, or the idea of changing your look regularly, has been around for a long time. The idea first came to the fore in the 14th century when rotating fashion trends were used by the echelons of society as a way of displaying their wealth, success, and status….Not much has changed since then…we now look up to celebrities or street-style influencers who share their latest looks. What they wear is then replicated by the masses who want to look up to date and part of the style gang.”
The Aftermath Of Fashion Trends
As stated above, fashion trends originated from wealth, success, and status. Nowadays are accessible to all whilst giving a false sense of privilege and belonging. The global fashion industry heavily depends on constantly changing trends to keep customers buying.
The end goal is to increase spending and consumption. This extremely unsustainable practice is very damaging. The global fashion industry has been exploiting humans and the environment for years. The working conditions of fashion factory workers are unsafe and extremely poor (Fashion Revolution, 2021). As Mahatma Gandhi once said: “there is no beauty in the finest cloth if it makes hunger and unhappiness.”
Moreover, this also extends to how we feel about ourselves. It might affect us psychologically, our worthiness, and dampen that little confidence we have left. Let me elaborate. I have a short story to share that has actually prompted me to write about fashion trends.
The short story goes back to last year when a casual outfit compliment sparked a conversation about clothes with a friend. During our conversation, my friend said something that puzzled me. She owned a beautiful top that she loved but it had been sitting in her wardrobe for years. As per her words, these sort of tops had been out of fashion. From the way she was describing it, I could tell how much she loved it. She did not strike me as a huge trend follower yet she let someone or something influence her fashion choice. I think we have all been there at some point. Her reluctance to wear her favorite top was most likely rooted in a fear of judgment, lack of confidence, or belief in herself. To wear something proudly, we need to have confidence, confidence in ourselves and in the clothes that we wear.
So how can you boost your confidence and embrace your personal style?
Buying an outfit starts with intention. I am a true believer of timeless and versatile fashion. I tend to ask myself the following questions to help me choose what’s true to myself. You see, fashion trends are external. This process should therefore be internal. In order to find your style and authenticity, you need to go inwards and tap into what really matters to you.
01. Do I actually love it?
Do you have items in your wardrobe that you love looking at and you love owning, yet you don’t like wearing? You might have seen them on social media and you loved the look. Those perfect poses, perfect backgrounds, and perfect outfits. Who hasn’t fallen for perfect images and videos? I have!
I have to remember that they are just curated forms of visual art. They are designed to sell you a possibility, an idea of your future self, not reality. Explore your intentions and be honest with yourself. Explore what drives your decision to purchase. Has some else looked great in it? Have you seen it around in shops, on social media, or in the streets? Just bringing awareness and intention to choices you make might help you decide what works for you.
02. Do I feel comfortable wearing it?
There are materials, style, and cuts that you will naturally gravitate towards. Personally, I love wearing cotton and natural materials in general. They feel great on my skin. Certain cuts and styles make me constantly check myself. Is it in the right place? Do I constantly adjust the outfit while wearing it? They become such a hassle to wear. For me, comfort is a necessity when choosing what to wear. This goes for all occasions including celebrations. You can be playful with your clothes yet remain feeling comfortable. To keep up with fashion trends, especially those we don’t 100% identify with, it’s going against your true nature. In my opinion, it will consequently knock down your confidence.
03. Is it a good quality and well made?
To own pieces in your wardrobe for a very long-time, those pieces have to stand the test of time. I know that good-quality clothes can be very expensive, but I also know that a high price tag doesn’t always guarantee superior quality. I used to hate my favorite pieces breaking down beyond their repairable condition.
When I think back, these items were cheap, fast fashion, and seasonal. They were not designed and made to last. Trends come and go, they change every season and trend followers are expected to keep up. Nowadays, there are ways to buy quality for way less. Explore second-hand online sites or charity shops. They have wonderful selections. I have found so many gems and connected with so many lovely sellers keen to sell their beloved items to new owners. I wear their items with pride.
04. Does it reflect who I am? Does it represent my values?
This question has transformed my outlook on fashion and made such an impact on my buying decisions. I have started investing in good quality versatile timeless classics that are either second-hand or sustainably & ethically made. This tactic aligns with my values. I love supporting brands that care about humans and the planet.
Why should my caring personality only extend to my interactions and relationships? Style can be kind too. This is how I look at fashion now. Outfits could be so inspirational and tell stories. They serve as statements; statements not only about people wearing them but also about people designing and making them. Who made my clothes is a great question to ask.
Confession! I used to shop fast fashion whilst only caring about low prices and end results. But since adopting a different approach, I’ve been feeling so much more confident in and about my outfits. I feel so empowered and proud to wear my clothes, and I naturally take better care of them. Interestingly, I tend to tell outfit-related stories to people who compliment my clothes. I am not great at receiving compliments, but I feel excited about what I wear. I believe we should cherish pieces that we own.
05. Would you wear it on repeat?
According to the research by environmental charity Hubbub, 41% of 18-25-year-olds feel pressured to wear a different outfit every time they go out. When I read this statistic, I was shocked. Let’s finally normalize outfit repeating! I repeat my outfits because I genuinely love wearing them. Fast fashion brands heavily rely on our constant buying. Get creative and start restyling what you already have. Have you heard of the phrase ‘shopping your closet’? It can be so much fun. The temptation of newness always holds excitement. Maybe you can save money whilst not frequently shopping bad quality or quantity and actually spend it on clothing brands that deserve your earnings?
Trends are seasonal, style is eternal
Don’t leave your favorite top in the wardrobe! When you stay true to yourself, no fashion trendsetter is going to make you feel bad for wearing whatever your heart desires. Of course, we are all influenced one way or another; even all-time classics were once fashion trends. However, you decide what works for you. Fashion should inspire and not dictate. We should embrace our personal style over trends. We are all unique and so is our style. And remember, you can be the most stylish person in the room without ever being trendy. Being stylish is achievable without constantly updating your wardrobe. Wear your clothes with pride. Wear clothes that make you feel proud.
Reposted from: wildglobo.com
Featured Image From Unsplash