As we move into the fall fashion season here in the northern hemisphere, I’ve noticed many YouTube videos and blog posts popping up about the new fall trends and how to transition from summer to fall clothing. Although I sometimes consume this type of content, it also tends to rub me the wrong way. I don’t like the idea of changing the way I dress simply because of a date on the calendar, and I also don’t like the presupposition that everyone wants to wear the new trends (or should want to wear them).
Not only do the temperatures remain high where I live well into the fall season, I also don’t see the need to switch out my wardrobe based upon certain items being deemed “in” and others “out.” In today’s post, I’ll share some of my thoughts about fashion trends and seasonal dressing.
Fall in August?
Let’s start with the less “loaded” topic: seasonal dressing. There’s a practical way of looking at this issue, and there’s a much more arbitrary way of approaching it. I’m in complete favor of dressing for the weather that one is experiencing regardless of the time of year. If it’s hot out, wearing lighter weight clothing and fewer layers makes perfect sense, and it’s also practical to layer up and wear thicker garments in colder weather.
But what makes zero sense to me is needing to switch up what we wear just because it’s now September. First of all, fall doesn’t even begin until this Thursday, but I’ve been seeing videos and blog posts about fall for over a month now! I know some people mark Labor Day as the unofficial end of summer, but that season actually extends more than two weeks beyond that date. Secondly, it remains hot in many locales (including where I live) well into October – and sometimes even November. I remember celebrating a very hot Thanksgiving one year – no jacket required!
I can totally understand becoming bored with one’s warm weather wardrobe after wearing it for months on end and wanting to start wearing different pieces. That’s completely understandable, but if you’re still happy in your summer clothes and the temperatures remain high, I see no reason to start wearing “fall colors” for the sole reason that the current month ends in “ber.” If you love fall colors and are excited to start wearing them, why not? But I also don’t see why it’s not perfectly okay to wear them year-round if that makes your heart sing.
On Seasonal Colors and Summer Bags
Do that many women really care if they wear seasonal colors? Maybe I’m an outlier here, but I’ve never been one to swap out the colors I wear just because I’ve flipped a page on my wall calendar (yes, I still use those, in addition to my digital calendar). I wear basically the same colors 365 days a year. I may lighten things up a bit in the warmer months, but I wear black as often in the summer as I do in the winter.
Part of my reason for wearing somewhat lighter colors in the summer relates to what’s available to buy. There are lots of lighter-colored summer items for sale in the stores, and paler shades are for sure cooler when the sun is beating down on us. But I continue to love and wear black and other dark tones even when the temperatures rise. I wear the colors that make me happy as much as possible, and I’m in favor of others doing the same, no matter what the online style “experts” say.
I also don’t feel the need to carry a straw bag in the summer. While I have admired and appreciated such bags on others, they’re not in line with my style aesthetic, so I’ve never purchased one. I’ve also never bought white or other light-colored pants, as I prefer to play down the size of my lower half with darker bottoms. If unlike me, you love straw bags and white pants, of course you should carry/wear them in the summer – or any time of the year for that matter.
I don’t see the reason why we should need a completely different bag for July versus January. I also don’t see why one shouldn’t wear white pants in January if they love wearing them. If you want to switch things up and enjoy doing so, that’s great, but I hate that some women feel obligated to do so because bloggers and YouTubers make them feel hopelessly out of style or even “frumpy” (a worse word than the other F-word, in my opinion) if they don’t.
Who’s the “They” That Sales Associates are Talking About?
Now on to a “meatier” and potentially more controversial topic: fashion trends. It’s no secret that I enjoy shopping, but sometimes I find sales associates at retail stores annoying. When I’ve inquired about certain types of garments, I’ve often been regaled with statements about what “they’re” wearing, which generally runs counter to what I’ve asked for. One example that I experienced multiple times was when I was trying to find full-length, straight-leg jeans. I was told that what “they’re” wearing was either skinny jeans or cropped jeans, neither of which I wanted. Skinny jeans have never looked good on my body type, and cropped jeans tend to hit me at an unflattering point and look like “floods.”
I don’t mind trends, as it would be boring if the same styles continued to proliferate year after year with little to no variation. Sometimes it’s nice to try something new and shake up my style a bit. There have been times when I was pleasantly surprised to like something that had little to no “hanger appeal” for me. I’ve also liked certain pieces on my body more than I ever expected to. For those reasons, I don’t mind when a salesperson brings me a few random garments to try on. We often don’t know what we might like until we give something new a try.
What I do mind is when the new trends are virtually all we can find in the stores and even online. This is even more the case for those of us who need special sizes that are already very limited in supply. In recent years, I’ve found it increasingly difficult to find non-trendy pant styles and shapes in the long inseams that I need. I was simply out of luck with finding jeans for many years because skinny jeans were all that were available, especially in tall sizes. Yes, there were some online retailers who carried alternate silhouettes, but their size range was limited and didn’t include talls.
When straighter and wider-legged styles started to become trendy again more recently, I rejoiced at first. But then I saw that such jeans were all ultra-high-rise, which doesn’t work on my short-waisted frame. Those high rises typically come up to the bottom of my rib cage, which is both uncomfortable and unflattering.
Have I Become a Big Old Prude?
Sigh… Am I becoming a big old prude or have trends become even more ubiquitous than they used to be? I tried to shop for some new tops recently, but almost everything on offer (that wasn’t a super basic tee) had puff sleeves and/or a sea of ruffles. With my broad shoulders, I look like a linebacker in puff sleeves, and abundant ruffles are not in line with my personal style aesthetic. I prefer a cleaner and more minimalist silhouette in my tops (and pretty much everything that I wear).
The bottom line is that I don’t care all that much about trends. I don’t care what “they’re” wearing. I care about what I want to wear! I don’t begrudge those who want to stay “current” and keep up with the latest trends, but I wish there were more choices in the shopping landscape for those who prefer to wear styles and silhouettes that aren’t exactly on the cutting edge of fashion.
I think there are actually far more women with my mindset than those who want to keep up with all of the trends. I think a lot of women want to be able to go to a store (either in person or online) and purchase the styles they prefer, even if that means they might look hopelessly out of style to the five percent or so of the population who view Vogue’s September Issue as a sort of fashion bible.
What’s “In Style” Often Doesn’t Suit Our Needs or Desires
I don’t want the “fashion gods” to tell me what to wear. I don’t want to wear miniskirts or ultra-flared skirts because they’ve been deemed to be “in style.” It’s not like my figure has changed such that those styles will suddenly be flattering on me. This was the case for me with skinny jeans, which never looked good on me, either. I tried on many pairs during the years when they were virtually all that was available in the stores, but I always thought they made my bottom half look like an ice cream cone. I also found the way they clung to my knees and calves to be quite uncomfortable, especially when I sat down. I longed for the straight-leg and bootcut styles that better flattered my shape, but I couldn’t find them for years, especially in the longer inseams that I needed. So, I made do with my old tired jeans until they were practically threadbare.
I’ve recently been able to find a few pairs of jeans that work better for me, but I’ve had to search long and hard to find styles that didn’t bump up against my ribcage. Sadly, my previous favorite brand of jeans (Lucky Brand) stopped carrying longer inseams, so I had to find other workable options. Fortunately, I’ve been able to find midrise jeans in my desired silhouettes with long enough inseams at Old Navy, Gap, and J. Jill, plus my recent weight loss meant that I could once again wear two old pairs of Lucky jeans that were still in good shape in my holding zone.
I wish that trends would be just part of the fashion buffet instead of almost all of it. I wish that they would be offered in addition to older styles instead of as replacements for them. I wish we would be able to find more style options both in stores and online. I’d also love for more stores to carry tall, petite, and plus sizes. Yes, it’s great if these sizes can be acquired online, but it’s helpful to be able to try them on in person because we can’t always determine if garments will work for us when they’re either way too short or way too long.
Those women who wear larger sizes experience even greater challenges than those of us who need petite or tall sizes. Unfortunately, they’re often relegated to only one or two stores in a large mall, as the other stores leave them out entirely. This makes shopping much more difficult and upsetting, but some stores have recently made positive changes. Old Navy now offers all their clothing styles in sizes 0 to 30, and I believe all sizes are available both online and in their stores. J. Jill also expanded their size offerings up to a 4X and now carries up to size 2X in their stores. More changes are of course necessary, but it’s nice to see the shifts that are taking place regarding size offerings.
I Almost Stopped Wearing Skirts Completely
On to another trend example… For years, I didn’t buy skirts because the only styles available either didn’t suit my figure or my personal style. If I didn’t want to wear a short skirt or a pencil skirt, I was out of luck. My skirt collection dwindled down to almost nothing in recent years, as pieces wore out and my body and preferences changed. I was almost going to stop wearing skirts altogether, but this year I started noticing skirts that I liked at the stores once again. As a result, I’ve added a few new skirts to my collection, as well as several new tops to supplement my existing small capsule of shorter tops to pair with skirts.
I’m taking advantage of this window of opportunity of the skirt trends aligning with my preferences, as I know it may well be followed by another long stretch in which the only available skirts are ones that look horrible on me. Despite being happier about the current skirt styles, though, it was difficult to find a black midi skirt that worked well for me. I saw very few in the brick-and-mortar stores, so I had to play the e-commerce buy-and-return game to satisfy this item on my wish list.
I must have purchased at least twelve black skirts in my quest for just one that meets my needs! It’s so frustrating when online listings and photos don’t accurately portray an item. Most of the midi skirts I received were too much of an exaggerated A-line style, which accentuates my proportionately larger bottom half (not something I want to do…). These fuller skirts must be “in” at the moment, but they’re not right for me.
My persistence finally paid off, but I feel bad about all the buying and returning that I did in the process. I return things locally as much as possible, but there still are a lot of delivery trucks coming to my house, which isn’t ideal. I wish that online listings were more accurate, and I also wish that retailers had a wider array of styles and silhouettes for sale so that women could more easily find what we prefer to wear.
Style Bloggers and YouTubers Focus Predominantly on Trends
Almost every style blogger and YouTuber out there talks about what “they’re” wearing. They also share regular posts and videos about what’s out of style and should be banished from our closets. I read the comments of one such video last week and felt bad for a commenter who expressed sadness about having to get rid of a camouflage jacket she loves because apparently camo is now “out” (ironically, I’m wearing camo joggers as I type this post!).
How many people even know what’s “in” or “out” unless they’ve watched a video or read an article or blog post that told them so? And why shouldn’t the woman I mentioned above embrace her camo jacket until it falls apart if she still loves it? So what if maybe 5% of women will shake their heads upon seeing her in something that was ultra-trendy last season but is now “out” just because a Miranda Priestly-like figure (“The Devil Wears Prada” reference) tells her so?
I could never be a mainstream style blogger because I don’t really care about trends and I don’t really care about swapping out my style for either spring or fall. I dress based on the weather and my activities rather than what month it is, and I wear what I like rather than what I’ve been told I should like and wear. If others see me and think that I’m out of style, “dated,” or God forbid, “frumpy,” then so be it. If what I’m wearing makes me happy, then I’m going to keep wearing it. If it doesn’t make me happy, that’s when I’ll look to make a change.
It’s taken me many years to hone a personal style that feels authentic and attractive to me. Of course, that style will continue to evolve, and what I see around me will likely impact that evolution. I don’t want to look like someone who belongs on “What Not to Wear,” but I think there’s a lot of wiggle room between that and a woman who is decked out in trends. I don’t begrudge those who want to keep up with trends, but I hate the fact that some women feel that they must do so in order to be attractive or acceptable. I appreciate those who hone and express their individual and authentic personal style, and I would like all of us to feel the freedom to do so.
How to Take Advantage of Trends and Still Honor Your Style
I would also like for there to be a lot more options freely available for us to purchase, but since that’s not likely to happen anytime soon, I guess the best we can do is take advantage of those times when the trends work in our favor. If the colors, styles, and silhouettes that you prefer become trendy, that’s the time to stock up on them, like I’m doing now with skirts. It doesn’t mean we should go “hog-wild” shopaholic style, but since we don’t know when our favored styles will be prevalent again, we should buy at least a few of them to hold us over.
I have the same recommendation when it comes to colors and patterns. If the hues and prints that you love are “au courant,” you should happily snap them up (within reason, of course). I’m lucky that my favorite pattern is stripes because they never seem to truly go out of style. However, I didn’t see a lot of pieces in my beloved cobalt shade out there for a few years, and now I’m seeing them again. So, I look forward to purchasing a few cobalt items to wear and enjoy.
The fashion world may never truly meet our needs, but we can learn how to work around it as best as possible. There will be times of both feast and famine in terms of the colors, styles, and silhouettes that work best for us. Some women will be adventurous and dive into new trends headlong, but for the rest of us, we’ll just have to pick the ones we like and leave the rest. Sometimes we won’t like any of them, and those are the times to buy less and wear what we have.
Don’t worry about being a “fashion don’t” because most people won’t know the difference anyway. I personally admire those who march to the beat of their own drum, in style and in other respects. If you love a camo jacket or an infinity scarf (also supposedly “out” now), keep on wearing it proudly. Try not to let fashion boss you around. After all, it’s supposed to be fun…
Clearly, I had a lot to say about the topics of fashion trends and seasonal colors, but now I’d love to get your thoughts… Please feel free to comment on any of the subjects and opinions that I shared in today’s post. I look forward to reading what you have to say, even if you disagree with me.
I hope to be back sooner with my next post. As we move into the final months of 2022 (how can that be?!), I plan to write a few essays related to the state of my wardrobe, including my favorite pieces (back to the “rule of ten” concept that I introduced last May) and my closet “benchwarmers” (a concept I first wrote about way back in 2013!). As always, I welcome any questions you have for me, as well as your suggestions for upcoming posts.
23 thoughts on “I Don’t Care What “They’re” Wearing”
Debbie, fun post. I’m reading and laughing and feeling exactly the same way you are.
Just doing my own thing here without any idea of the trends. But I do find it interesting to know because I love fashion fun and have a high interest. But I just want to playfully know about it and don’t wear it.
I’m also way behind socially!
And look forward to catching up.
Debbie, I’ve been thinking A LOT about your post, and about how hard it is for me to find clothes too. Really what you have outlined is exactly why I buy multiples, and always will. Right now I have four pair of jeans, same style, same brand, in different washes (medium wash, charcoal and light gray) and they fit me well, and I’m considering buying a forth pair in a dark wash. I’m the same with my t-shirts. Five short sleeve (three black, one gray and one orange) and seven long sleeve (three black, one gray, one green, one rust-red) Patagonia cool daily shirts, and I wear them constantly! Same with my Eileen and Frank shirts, multiples of the same style in different colors and fabrics. Yep, I’m dull… and happy! For variety I have lots of bold earrings, scarves, four skirts and lots of sweaters, wraps to keep me warm. Although I love fashion and what I have is basic, classic and on trend, sort of, it is not what the bloggers are wearing! Lol.
Fortunately I don’t need a lot these days. But if I still had to go into the office or had the social life I did before COVID, I’m sure it would be impossible for me to be well dressed these days. The looking online, buying online and returning what does not fit is crazy-making!!!! And I do it as little as possible.
I’m glad my post gave you both laughs and food for thought, Terra! I’m also way behind socially and look forward to catching up with you and others. I’m always happy to hear from you when you have a chance to chime in here or connect privately 🙂
You’re right on about multiples. A style podcast that I listen to (The Everyday Style School) advises against multiples for most people, but even she recommends them for those of us who are either hard to fit or very picky (I’m both…). If one is really into trends and being super current, multiples can be bad because the trends may shift before items wear out. But neither you nor I are ultra concerned about being on the cutting edge of fashion, even though we both like clothes and style. I think many, many women are “sort of” on trend, as you described it. I don’t want to look like a relic, but I also don’t want to be a slave to fashion or wear things I don’t like simply because they’re “in.”
It sounds like you’ve really found the pieces that work best for you. I’m sure you don’t look dull at all! You’ve got lots of color, plus I know you have many fabulous accessories to spice things up. I’ll have to check out those Patagonia cool daily shirts. I may have sleeve issues with the long-sleeved ones, but the short-sleeved tees could work for me. The most important thing is being happy with our wardrobes, and I’m very glad to hear that you are.
Yet again, Debbie, you and I are considering similar wardrobe conundrums around the same time! I would view myself as middle-of-the-road on the seasonal colors issue. As you may recall, I’m in Houston which is basically summer all year. (Half kidding but let’s just say I purchase a sweater once every five years or so!) The only real way I can celebrate the change of seasons is by wearing and purchasing the colors of the season – and I look forward to getting into my mom’s old cedar chest and pulling them out. I have my essentials in there – the things that are my perennial favorites and fit me well – and, like you, skinny jeans aren’t in there. I have accepted that my late 50s body has its preferences and I am OK with that.
As for the trends, I do enjoy checking out the blogs of what’s trending and then allowing myself to purchase one or two items that complement or supplement my go-tos from Talbots, Anthropologie, or J Crew. For example, this year the sweater vest is “in,” and I splurged on a very cute one from Anthro. Plus, it will go with my essential chinos, Levi’s Jeans, and Tahari faux-suede pants from TJ Maxx (not quite leggings but not quite pants in look). I also ordered a cute, corduroy bucket hat off the J Crew Factory site and will be able to wear that even with a dress that might be considered summer-like. (Again, Houston.)
So, yes, I wear what looks best on me while throwing in a couple pieces that would be considered “on trend.” Candidly, I probably care too much that someone would notice I’m “on-trend” with the bucket hat or sweater vest, but I do get some self-satisfaction when my fashion is noticed. My biggest concern really is simply not going over budget, as that is the commitment I made to my family five years ago.
Thanks for allowing me to voice my thoughts on this.
Thanks for sharing your experiences with seasonal colors and trends, Catherine. I can imagine that it would get boring to wear the same pieces year-round given that your weather in Houston is almost always summer-like. People think Southern California is like that, too, but it’s really not, especially in the coastal areas (where I live). I can see how switching up your colors would add some nice variety to what you’re wearing.
You seem to have the right idea about trends by “sampling” the ones you like and leaving the rest. That’s pretty much what I do, too. I would be open to wearing a sweater vest if I could ever find one that fits me well. Sometimes adding just one or two new pieces can liven up our wardrobes and inject some trendiness, if that’s what we’re desiring (and there’s nothing wrong with that). I like to be complimented on what I’m wearing, too. It’s always nice to be acknowledged for the effort we’re making with our style. I don’t hate trends at all, but I do lament the ubiquity of them and not being able to find alternate styles in stores. But maybe that’s a sign that I need to shop LESS, which is always true!
I am always so happy when I see a new post pop up from you Debbie!!! I too am veering away from fashion blogs and you tubers… I enjoy some of them but I am starting to notice that these writers would be out of a job if fashions and trends would not change and there is a lot of marketing strategy involved, actually, I am getting cynical about it! And I am finding that I want to minimize the Color options in my wardrobe and looking to keep it simple and basic… I shop mostly at Talbots, on the cusp of petite and regular, I am 5’3”, and have a store near me thankfully, this year they had lots of brights, ruffles etc… but thankfully keep a lot of basics in stock which I am favouring for now… thank you Debbie for your awesome posts!!!❣️
Thank you for being a loyal reader and supporter for so many years, Claudette! I’m also cynical about the bloggers and YouTubers. It seems like all of them are posting the same types of things at the same times. I always like to see those precious few that are creating alternate types of content that’s not about trends and seasonal updates. I get so bored with the same-y content, so I just don’t read or watch that much anymore.
That’s great that Talbots works so well for you. I’m sad that they carry very few talls anymore, but it must not have been lucrative for them. They do tend to carry a lot of basics and classic pieces, as well as some trendy items. I think the fact that they cater to a more “mature” audience plays a role in that, which is a benefit for you!
I always wait to hear from you Debbie!! So interesting to hear what you have to say!!! I would have kept my favorite camo jacket and waited to wear it much later to be different from others. I love the trend changes because it gives me something new to wear NOT the I must wear!! Plus, I don’t wear all trends but only few that may suit me!! I stay within my colors-I’m a True Spring!! I like a classic wardrobe with long-term trends and a few short-term trends thrown in for the season!! I love having fun with fashion but staying chic!!! I’m over 50+ so I want chic!!!
Like others who have commented, Natalie, it seems you have a very healthy attitude and approach toward trends. I think that as a lot of us get older, we aren’t as concerned with being trendy, so we take what we like from trends and leave the rest. It’s great that you know what colors best suit you and stick with them. I was typed as a Winter by a few image consultants, but I don’t know what type of winter I am in the 12 types system. I may even be a Summer now that my hair has gone gray, but I know that cool tones suit me better than warm tones. In Dressing Your Truth, I’m a Type 4 (with a 2 subtype), which suits me very well. Like you, I want to stay chic in what I wear, so I stay away from trends that don’t feel like that to me.
I do love a good rant, especially when I agree with it! I think “prude,” along with “frumpy,” and some similar words are in the mind of the beholder. I fully embrace the concept of frumpy because I am an older woman who dresses for comfort and my personal aesthetic – which happens to date back to the 1970s. I figure I’m completely out of style according to “them” about 75% of the time, because like everything else, the 70s styles cycle back around every few years. The rest of the time I am quite happy being frumpy.
It really is so frustrating though, when you can’t find what you want in stores because “they” are wearing the opposite thing right now. The skinny jeans years were very trying for me as a boot cut person, although I like your ice cream cone description much better than my description: carrot legs.
And I think finding the right colors is an even bigger frustration – I’m going to stick with my blue-green palette no matter what Pantone or anyone else says, and it’s annoying when the entire fall offering of a store or online outlet is in tones of rust, burgundy, and gold.
As women over 50 we have more buying power and influence than any other demographic, so we should be able to sway manufacturers and sellers. That will only happen if, en masse, we start ignoring You Tube and IG influencer nonsense (all subsidized by brands) and demand what we actually want. More style options, more sizes, more colors, and more continuity of products (instead of items disappearing after one season).
I agree that words like prude and frumpy are in the eye of the beholder, Katrina, and I applaud you for embracing frumpy and prioritizing your comfort and personal aesthetic. I prefer bootcut (or straight-leg) jeans, too, and they’re still not that easy to find, at least not without a rise that’s way too high for my comfort (I have a short torso). I totally agree with you about the colors. Some of what’s out there now isn’t to my liking at all.
I love your last paragraph! I’m wondering HOW we can demand more options. Just not buying that which we don’t like? Actually communicating with manufacturers and letting them know our preferences and what we WILL buy? I would be SO happy if we could get what we want more and have continuity of products. I think many of us would buy MORE if only we could find what we want rather than what “they” are telling us we should want. I wish more “older” women would avoid the influencers because they are really just an extension of the marketing machine.
So love your line, ‘I wish that trends would be just part of the fashion buffet instead of almost all of it.’ I too get annoyed with fashion dictators taking it on themselves to instruct us all what colour is in (wear coral!) and with all the shops scared to buck a trend (don’t like puff sleeves with elastic? too bad, that’s all we have!).
Why can it be so hard to find some dark blue denim bootcuts without rips, a flattering v-neck dress with waist and sleeves, or some comfortable but stylish burgundy suede loafers without silver studs or bulging lug soles? I live in a major capital city with shops galore but it’s like no one dares be different.
Still, I do try to enjoy the changes (when there are some – enough with all those skinny jeans!). I haven’t found my burgundy loafers yet but I did find a black suede pair that I really love. I see them as giving a small Sue nod to the latest trends without compromising my Sue style or aesthetic. I will enjoy them for years to come because I did not choose them just to be on trend: I chose them because I find them comfortable, flattering and pretty.
I was nodding right along with your rant, Sue! Yes, it shouldn’t be hard to find dark denim bootcuts with no rips (a “white whale” type of item for me!), as well as the other items you mentioned. I’m glad that even though you haven’t found your burgundy loafers yet, you found a black suede pair that you love. I think we CAN enjoy some of the trends, as long as we don’t let them boss us around. I wish you many years of enjoying your new loafers, even when “they” proclaim such shoes to be out of style!
Hi Debbie you have moved me to comment! It seems to me the content you have been consuming from You Tube and bloggers may not be that helpful to your mood? I have seriously reduced my fashion magazine reading which was my equivalent. I can’t relate to it any more, overly trendy and I just don’t like most of the looks, whereas I used to about a decade ago. I now mainly read You Look Fab because Angie Cox is welcoming of all styles while able to explain trends well, and I love the forum where real women thrash out their wardrobe dilemmas.
She does not use the word frumpy any more for several years. I no longer use it personally as I find it very judgemental. If I see women who look like they have outfits that they don’t appear to have tried with or that don’t work well, I just think to myself that I’m not personally a fan of their style. And suggesting that you may be becoming a “big old prude” is very judgemental to yourself as well?
I have more confidence in my own style and what I like now I am 61 years old and have been paring down my wardrobe sustainably ever since you helped me so much in 2016 when I first found Recovering Shopaholic! I buy around 15-25 items a year these last few years and find enough to suit me even if not trendy, plus there are always thrift stores where I find the occasional thing that is from older times that I like . If some other people don’t like my style, that’s their prerogative. Plenty of people in real life do.
Thank you so much for your comment, Jenni. Yes, those YouTubers and bloggers are often not helpful to my moods, which is why I have been paying less attention to them. I read You Look Fab occasionally and I think I have read some of your posts there (you’re in NZ, right? I love that country so much, as that’s where I went on my honeymoon). That’s great that Angie isn’t using the word frumpy anymore. I used to read the forum more often, but then there were too many women putting a strong emphasis on being “current,” which put me off. It’s good to know that there’s less of that now, not that I begrudge anyone from wanting that. I just don’t get it when women are getting rid of clothes they still love just because some fashion gurus have deemed them to be hopelessly out of style.
I’m so glad that my blog posts have been helpful to you! Thank you for your longtime readership (so wonderful that you found my blog in 2016). It sounds like you’re doing great with your purchases and your style! I love that you’re owning your style and don’t care if others doing like it. It really is most important that WE like what we’re wearing. I’m working on being more confident to just wear what I like even if it looks quite different from what “they’re” wearing. It’s getting easier as I get older (I’m now 56).
I love watching trends and pretty clothes on other women, but for myself, due to my high demand for comfort and functionality, I am very plain and casual in my style. Something I realized over the years is that I love clothes, but I won’t trade comfort for fashion. Shopping has become easier than before because majority of the clothes in store just aren’t for me. I am easily influenced by others, so I keep that tendency in mind and am very careful when I want to buy something that’s pretty on others. I recently bought a beautiful Rebecca Taylor silk blouse, but when I got home and try it on again, I feel so off even though it looks great. I returned it right away. I think it comes down to self-assurance, the ability to be confident in my own style without feeling less. I make shopping mistakes usually when I am dressing to impress, while I have good judgement when I am dressing just to please myself.
I like what you said about not wanting to trade comfort for fashion, Meghan. I’ve come to feel exactly the same way! Good for you for realizing that the Rebecca Taylor blouse wasn’t right for you and returning it. I agree that it comes down to self-assurance and being confident in our own style. I’ve found that when I try to “dress to impress,” I end up not feeling all that great in what I’m wearing. It’s so much better to dress to please ourselves, but that takes putting aside what others might think. I’m still working on that last part…
You have really dialed in your preferred colors, silhouettes, and outfit formulas into a robust personal style, so I can see how so much of the fashion influencer content (to a high degree paid for by brands with the purpose of making people spend money) leaves you cold. Bridgette Raes’ essay this week on vapid headlines and content is another good critique. I simply choose to ignore content of this type as much as I can. My personal bugbears are the articles about “X is out, Y is in” (with oh so helpful shopping links to items that will be stylish for 3 minutes and work with literally nothing in your closet), anything described as a “haul” (which is the enemy of thoughtful, sustainable style), and anything that seems to have a mean girls attitude about what, and thus who, is cool (are we in junior high??).
I personally LOVE to change things up style-wise with the seasons, particularly with color, so I am happy enough reading (and I admit, sometimes writing!) blog posts along those lines. I like to wear All The Colors so paying attention to seasonal and trendy colors is interesting to me. I feel like this is something some people like to do and others do not, and that it’s all down to personal choice. I think fall gets a TON of attention in the style world because it’s such a favorite season and is so so short almost everywhere…whereas summer and/or winter last approximately forever by contrast.
“Current” is not one of my own style words, and like “frumpy,” I think it can be problematic. When people use it thoughtfully in terms of their own personal style, that’s one thing – it’s a term that has meaning to the individual. But when it’s used more generally, it often feels like code for “trendy.” I often see it used like…when targeting teens and young women, the term is “trendy,” but when writing for women 35+ or so, the term is “current”…but it means the same thing: Are you buying and wearing items that are *demonstrably new*? If not, well, you’re going to look wrong!
I don’t see much connection between personal style and wearing items that are demonstrably new, but when style advice is coming from a source that has a financial interest in readers spending money, you’re going to get a lot of that emphasis on looking “current.” Of course not every style blogger or influencer who makes their living from it is constantly pushing trends, but it seems to be the direction things are going.
I love what Bridgette Raes has to say, Sally. She’s always been one of my favorite bloggers and I like that she’s not so trend-driven in what she has to say. I wholeheartedly agree with your “bugbears” (I haven’t heard that term before, but I like it). Yes, there are a lot of mean girls attitudes out there when it comes to fashion and style content. Who wants to feel like they’re in junior high again?!
I love that you wear all the colors. You have a very creative approach to style and I’m not surprised that you like to switch things up for the seasons. I certainly don’t begrudge those who do that, but I don’t like when bloggers and influencers make it seem like something we MUST do. I agree that fall is a wonderful season. Even if I don’t focus on fall colors, I love the season.
Yes, “current” can be code for “trendy” and can be used to get people to spend money. I miss the way style blogging used to be, but now it’s big business for so many bloggers and YouTubers. I don’t like the term “influencer” or what it’s about. I think “content creators” should get paid for their hard work if that’s what they’re trying to do, but sometimes they seem to lose their integrity in the process. It’s sad to see that happen, but the allure of money is strong…
A quick reminder that in a world where we can click and get secondhand styles online for a fraction of the new cost, it doesn’t matter if all you can find in stores is what “they” want. Once you know what brand/size/style works for you: done! you can find its clone on ebay or thredup or poshmark for years and years and years to come, if not indefinitely. If getting the same thing gets boring for you, switch up the color or pattern. Done! No returns necessary. Not to mention, you’re giving your wallet, your schedule and the planet a break.
I always thrifted, but I started doing it online in earnest during lockdown, and I’m never going back.
Good reminder, Rachel, that shopping secondhand can be a good way to find the types of styles we prefer. I have a friend who buys pretty much all of her clothing secondhand and it works out well for her. I wish I could do it, but I’m very sensitive to fragrances, especially laundry detergent, so it’s a no-go for me most of the time 😦 But I’m glad it works well for you, and I appreciate your reminding fellow readers that thrifting can be a great way to get around the “sameness” in the retail landscape.
I enjoy switching my wardrobe out after Labor Day. The days are shorter, mornings cooler and darker cottons seem more appropriate. It’s kind of exciting to unpack the Fall clothing I put away months ago.
I’m not quite sure what’s trendy at the moment, but I like putting together outfits from clothes I haven’t seen in a few months.
I’ve wasted more than my share of time watching fashionistias on Instagram Reels. Several are busy updating Millennial looks. The skinny jean tucked into a knee high boot is one look I’d just as soon see gone. I’m way too curvy to wear it and not into knee high boots, so it wasn’t something I wore, but I feel like it’s run it’s course.
Yesterday someone else was advising that fur vests were out and should be consigned. This morning I dropped into Kendi Everyday -who IMO is on the trendy side- and there she is in a floral dress and a fur vest. I like my fake fur vest. It’s great for holiday events where you need something heavy to wear b/c it’ll be cold, and fleece is too casual. I’ll quit wearing that with slim pants and try it over a floral dress like K., just to change things up. Not giving that away!
I also refuse to do the center part thing. I had my hair parted in the center when I was in high school, but I think I look way better with a side part. That stays.
I will say that I like a full sleeve. Being curvy with a small chest I need upper body volume and a full sleeve works well for me. However, not every full sleeve is right. They get way too busy. Just the sleeve please, leave all the other gathering, ribbons, lacy inserts and embellishements off!
That’s great that you enjoy switching your wardrobe out after Labor Day, Rose, and wearing some pieces that you haven’t seen in a few months. I like when the temperatures drop and I can do the same, but I usually have to wait until November for that. Instagram Reels can be very compelling and addicting! I don’t like the jeans tucked into knee-high boots look, either, at least not on me. Interesting about the faux fur vests… Yes, Kendi Everyday usually skews pretty trendy, so maybe the person who said those were “out” was wrong, or maybe Kendi is like you and just wants to keep wearing those vests. I definitely think we should keep wearing what we love regardless of what the “experts” have to say! The center part is a no for me, too. As for the full sleeves, those aren’t for me, but I hope you find the ones that work best for you. With so many out there at the moment, you should be able to find some good matches.
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