Keeping up with fashion: A struggle you shouldn't bother with

According to my younger sister, my wardrobe looks as if you threw a box of Crayola markers into a washing machine with a bunch of random fabric. She doesn’t approve of what’s in my closet at all because she says that most of it isn’t “what’s in.” But what does it even mean for something to be "what's in"?

What you wear has always been known to create first impressions in the minds of the people you come across and meet on a daily basis, but fashion trends are cyclical. What was popular a couple decades ago is suddenly popular again today, but maybe not tomorrow. Therefore, people shouldn’t base their purchases and wardrobe solely on what popular opinion considers fashionable at the moment.

I’m a '90s kid. When I was little, my denim game was strong. My sister and I always wore overalls or a denim jacket. In middle school, bell bottoms were a thing and then suddenly they weren’t. Currently though, overalls and bell bottoms are stocked on the shelves of popular stores like American Eagle, 7 for All Mankind, and Forever21. If I hadn’t thrown away the overalls from second grade, I wouldn’t have to spend money on a new pair, because they’re popular again.

Sites like GQ, Cosmopolitan, Seventeen, and Esquire mention a new trend or style that they see potential in and suddenly, because of their influence, the trend takes the nation by storm. Take big fashion magazines like Vogue and Elle for example. Elle’s Trend Report for How to Wear the 10 Must-Have Colors for Fall shows different articles of clothing that are en vogue colors like, “Sangria” and “Misted Yellow.” Next thing you know, your best friend is blowing money on anything yellow at all.

Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute explains how “whether it was a particular decade or a trip to a special place, designers are fascinated with the beauty of the past and the spirit of the present — recreating it with color, fabric and style this fall season."

She relates the ways in which "the diverse color palette takes us on an adventure spanning 100 years — a season roused by various vantage points from past and present” in an article about the Top 10 Women’s Colors for Fall.

Eiseman’s first line subtly expresses exactly how contemporary fashion trends simply mimic the past. This isn’t even a new idea either; James Laver, an renowned expert on fashion in the 20th century developed Laver’s Law on the cycles of fashion trends. His chart explains how trends from 20 years ago are considered ridiculous but after another decade they become amusing and find their ways back into popular trends.

So what should we base our wardrobes on? I’m going to bring it back to my wardrobe of Crayola markers and just say that “what’s in” is meaningless. Polka dots and the color “mint” may be in today and out tomorrow. Consumers and fashionistas should make wardrobe purchases based on what they like rather than what they hear or read is trendy and “in.” If someone tells me that chopsticks as hair accessories are back in, or that lamp shade hats are also very chic thanks to what walked the runway a few years ago, I’ll be sure to lend them something out of my cutlery drawer or living room.

Reach the columnist at or follow her on Twitter @kaylarc214.

Editor’s note: The opinions presented in this column are the author’s and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors.

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