Since street style stars became the daily fodder of photographers, many women I’ve met have felt under greater pressure to incorporate distinctive fashion trends into their everyday look. Is this “dedicated follower of fashion” persona what’s considered stylish and current, they wonder. Are classics out in favour of consistently cutting edge pieces? Has the less is more mantra been abandoned for a go big or go home attitude?
For most street style stars, the answer to each of these questions is yes. But they earn their bread and butter from being photographed, and the wilder the outfit, the more designer labels included, the greater the chance they will be photographed. For the rest of us, trends should be viewed as an exciting opportunity to breathe freshness into a wardrobe that is anchored in strong basics that suit your shape and your personality (the latter is just as important as the former).
I have never moved an item to the back of my wardrobe simply because it wasn’t “on trend”. Having said that, when a distinctive new mood emergences for a new season, I find I naturally navigate towards certain pieces because they feel right for that moment in time. That’s as far as I swing in terms of trends. It’s really about the pieces themselves and how I reimagine them or not, rather than the fashion narrative that’s dominating the season.
For instance, Gucci’s geek chic is probably the strongest trend of the current season, but I haven’t rushed out and bought a tea dress because it wouldn’t suit my shape (knee-length dresses are not flattering on me because my legs are too short) or my personality (there’s very little that’s retro about my style). On the other hand, the kind of cropped trousers in the collection always work for me and are a standard element of my winter wardrobe year in year out. So I’ve pulled those out this year and built them around a black blazer, which is a constant for me, and a chunky polo-neck, also another staple, although particularly on trend this year.
Forget the trends that feel alien to you and nod to those that would appeal to you whether “in” or out. And a nod is always smarter than a shout out. That’s why accessories are such big sellers. Buy the ornate choker in Zara, try out the velvet handbag from H&M, but buy the best black blazer you can afford. Mine is by Elizabeth & James. I’ve owned it for ten years and worn it more often than Hillary Clinton wears coloured pant suits. It’s still in great shape and will undoubtedly last me another ten. That’s a good investment buy.
These are the kind of classic items (black blazer, classic wide-leg pants, silk shirts, midi skirts) that you should try to invest in each winter. The better you buy, the fewer you’ll have to replace, and the stronger a collection you’ll build over time. And by “better”, I don’t necessarily mean expensive. Look at the quality of the garment rather than the price. In terms of trends this season, I’d think about velvet (the biggest trend of the season, and one that will resurface again in the future, and always a winner for occasion wear), metallic finishes for day (you’ll wear these every Christmas at the very least), a camel coat (especially cool now, but always a classic) and a crossbody bag (probably the most practical item you’ll every buy).