“Why is everybody staring at me?” my friend panicked when walking through a luxurious hotel lobby in Los Angeles. Half of the women on our meet up were fashion fabulous. “Gawd. It’s because my pants are from last year,” she answered herself.
“You look great”, I countered, “ don’t be a slave to trends.”
“Snake pants are out,” she shivered in her realization that she had not paid attention.
“Your pants express who you are, don’t they?” I asked but she didn’t feel it, her decision in the morning had been “ so stupid.”
“Why do I act careless like this?” she questioned her choice and every careless decision in her entire life right after.
“We are midlife power chicks.” I tried to make it better and added firmly that,“we should be over this and be confident no matter what…”
“Words,” she grinned sarcastically knowing my mirror obsessions.
I wore black jeans, a silver shirt, a black, loose fitting blazer and classy Jeffrey Campbell boots; I was trend-washed. As I always have extra clothes flying around in my car, changing into straightforward Free People jeans calmed my friend’s mood.
Outfits had empowered or depressed me depending on the phase of life I was in. At this time I was in one of my rebel modes and into wear what you want, be who you are. “Be a badass at any age,” was my website slogan. I would not conform to another person's idea of what is socially acceptable. We shouldn't lose our identity whenever a new style hits the market.
What do we hold against commercial trends?
1. “Conformity; everybody wears the same.” Boring.
2. “Must have brand new outfits every season.” Eco-unfriendly, consumerist.
3. “Needing to follow trends empties your bank account.” Dangerous.
4. “Trends are to impress others.” Narcissistic. Weak.
5. “Trends are about designers not about us.” We are following somebody’s idea of what’s cool. Who wants to be a sheep?
6. “The fashion industry is a scary often unethical business with unsustainable practices and a manipulative gang of marketers.” Revolution needed.
7. “Trends create judgmental eye rolling fashionistas.” That hurts.
Two years later, after my memoir writing journey followed by a therapy-style fashion adventure through many different outfits it dawned on me that my “rebel style” wasn’t that revolutionary, it had become limiting. I was safe in my black box and it was easy to throw stones from there. New styles had opened me up to different feelings and levels of myself and other women.
I browsed Glamour, Vogue, Bazaar and W and rejoiced in the beauty of runway art.
Trends are just the same, I thought; they are fashion’s agent provocateurs to get us out of our boxes.
We switch “what can I do for trends” to “what can trends do for me?”
Are we staying in the comfortable same old style because we’re scared, because we don’t really want to be seen? I wanted to make a point; midlife women are fab, informed and relevant. We have a wealth of experiences and lots of crazy cool stories to tell. To be convincing means to be “in time,” here and now and not in outfits that say “I don’t care.”
You can’t look like yesterday’s news if you want to influence the world of tomorrow.
Trends can be tools to test our boundaries and weaknesses, our comfort zones as much as our daring spirit; to “try new things” should not stop at our looks.
Trends are tests of our confidence
1. We risks new styles and find out if and what they might do for us
2. We say No do what doesn’t make sense to us and don’t squeeze our butts into shorts if our body shape dislikes them
3. We hold the outfit in our hand and. seriously, ask “Will you make me happy?”
4. We ask ourselves what a particular style will say about us and if it is what we really want tell the world about us
Trends are tests of our creativity
1. We make them ours by adding our own signature
2. We innovate;
- mix trendy new outfits with last years
- add bigger ruffles or big bows to blouses
- throw tulle and sheer fabrics over last years dresses
- sequin up old jeans
- add “real” vintage, which in our time is everything before 2000
- add handmade outfits from creatives and small designers
- buy once before loved designer trends at Shop ReBelle
If you can sew, invite your women friends and make new clothes out of the old; everybody will have something cool to contribute and who knows, you might create amazingness
Like this trends become affordable and we step out of blind consumerism.
Letting trends inspire us to our authentic, unique selves makes them empowering; we dress to express who we are not to impress others.
When we ask where our clothes were made and buy from ethical companies we help change the world.
Last; the idea that trends are about designers and not us is sometimes valid but we can see this differently also.
Designers don’t live on clouds; they live in the world, in the same Zeitgeist like us, more, to create fashion lots of detailed research is conducted; underground ideas, life styles, empowerment movements or social media accounts, what we talk about and desire makes the next trend.
Designers manifest what society feels, sometimes what society needs; they are part of our creative expression and we are an integral part of their’s.
I don’t call myself an influencer, yet I started adding pleather, vinyl and vegan materials to my faux fur collection years ago. Now faux is a must. Cool, so I’ve already got some stuff. I also got little suits and oversized blazers and huge sweaters before we “had to have them.” I wore my son’s big shirts for photo shoots two years ago… We anticipate what’s “in” or coming.
Let’s make OUR trends while playing with popular trends. What is our MORE? What is our desire to embody? Isn’t a true “influencer” the intuitive who co-creates trends?
In my next blogs I’ll talk about trends that I find inspiring, how I modify them and what they could possibly mean to you.