Friday, January 10, 2014

Bucking the Trend

For the past two years, the fashion world has been assaulted by "tribal" prints and candy colored satchels. Anyone with a Pinterest account has undoubtedly seen numerous pins of oversized sweaters, tiny mini skirts, and second-skin leggings with Aztec inspired patterns coupled with the ubiquitous Cambridge satchel, or more recently, the new "it" bag by Celine . Nothing is wrong with this. However, the danger lies in following these (as well as other) trends and ending up with a wardrobe that looks dated. Sure those skinny jeans with ten different colors look great now, but will they still look good in 1-2 years when black is again the new black and you're one of the few people still sporting rainbow colored attire?

Part of the secret of building up a great wardrobe on a shoe string budget is the ability to pick pieces that are timeless. Individually or collectively, your garments should be able to blend into any decade and only stand out because of their fabulousness. For example, dark skinny jeans aren't going anywhere. Even if the fashion gods dictate a new age of acid wash bell bottoms, dark skinny jeans will always look good, as long as they are paired with the right accessories. 

So what is a person to do who wants to be both in style and timeless? My method has been to isolate the parts of the trend that works best for my personal style and incorporate them into my wardrobe. For instance, I love bold graphic prints and bright colors. But instead of purchasing several pairs of multi-colored leggings or skirts, I instead found an infinity scarf with a great pattern. The neutral colors allow the pattern to really stand out, but gives it enough versatility for me to be able to pair it with a black leather bomber jacket, a red vintage shirtwaist dress, or a pea green cashmere sweater. 

Scarf, Monki with red vintage dress, green cashmere sweater and black moto jacket

Likewise, the satchel will most likely fade in popularity and those stuck with such a bag may very well regret their purchase. I like the satchel primarily because of its structure; I'm a sucker for a bag that does not slouch under its own weight. But paying $100+ for such a season specific item is simply not an option. Instead, I found a vintage leather backpack that had the structure that I love in an iconic style. Popular since the 60's, the bag will look good several years from now. And as its age already demonstrates, the bag only gets better with time as the leather takes on a more weathered look. Plus, I found it in a vintage store for kun 240 DKK or about 34 euro. If you would like your own, Ebay has some from time to time. Just stay away from anything faux and look for small time sellers that have a few items to sell instead of the big ones from Asia. 

Red vintage Dutch style leather backpack

The only caveat to the "beware of fashion trends" advice is oxfords. I predict those things are here to stay so long as the economy is in the crapper and people are unable/ unwilling to buy shoes that are unpractical (I'm looking at you, 5" stilettos). Unlike ballet flats, a good pair will literally last you years, even with everyday use. A cobbler can fix up the heel when they start to wear and a good shoe polish can restore the leather to almost new. Plus, they have the comfort of sneakers with the sophistication of an old English gentleman. I am very, very fortunate that my mother bought this lovely pair for me when the cheap ones I bought from Old Navy literally fell apart. Of course she found them at New York's discount heaven, Century 21, for less than half of their normal retail price. For those of you in the UK or Germany who are unable to take a trip to New York just for discount shoes, TK Maxx  has a number of lovely brogues on sale, many for less than 50 pounds or euros. I'm a fan of the Bertie. Unfortunately, only the English site supports online sales, which means everyone else will have to actually go to TK Maxx for the shoes of their choice.

No comments:

Post a Comment