The End of Trends

And the beginning of style? TBD.


People used to wait around for trends. They’d wait for Vogue or Harper’s Bazaar or Women’s Wear Daily to report on the hemlines, sleeve lengths, colors or textures of the bi-annual seasons in Paris, and those accounts would inform the uniform, though decidedly fashionable, way in which women dressed. But that was then. Before the romantic concept of personal style and the subsequent bastardization of that concept began their respective reigns.

Don’t get me wrong, though, things still come in. They come in and they trend. And trend.

And trend.

After all, not since Run DMC first sang “It’s Tricky” and choreographically danced along to it have sneakers been as de rigeur as they are now. And until Phoebe Philo contentiously rectified an alleged wrong about footwear, Birkenstocks were a talisman of Jam Band culture, not high fashion.

For the most part, however, the things that do come in, don’t come in how they used to. Some trends, like those mentioned, go viral (see: Stan Smith). But often times those trends are even more ephemeral than the ones that don’t. And the latter trends are simply too small-scale to be acknowledged the way fashion has heretofore known them: as a systematically consonant shift in one definitive direction, orchestrated by a talented assemblage of fashion designers subsisting relatively enigmatically overseas.

Hahahaha. Ask me if I went to The New School.

Today, trends are as plentiful as the stars that occupy the sky. They’re no longer a loaf of bread so much as they are minute slices. Sometimes they arrive pristine and heart-shaped, other times as though they’ve been crumpled, and the reason seems to be us. Us, our respective senses of personal style, and the designer reaction to it. (Was it not Marc Jacobs who cited Lynn Yaeger’s style as inspiration for his iceberg collection?)

In the 30s, storied houses like those of Vionnet and Lucien Lelong, which employed both Christian Dior and Pierre Balmain, designed on the pretense that every season had to be different — like a book of diverse essays.

There was no such thing as a novel in fashion (save, perhaps, for that of Cristobal Balenciaga’s). The novel would have been what Raf Simons or Phoebe Philo do now — progress by season while maintaining a decisive voice that speaks to (if not creates) a definitive genre of style, as opposed to accommodating many different ones.

As the timeline and essence of trends have evolved, style has been canonized, replicated, duplicated, imitated and turned essentially into a blog. And in this age of blogs and Pinterest and Instagram, who’s to say what is on trend and what is not anymore?

Yes, yes, sure, sure. We still have Vogue. We have all the time-honored magazines that drive fashion and its reportage. But we also have infinite new outlets. Some share news, some share reviews and others just share outfits. Ones that say: you do you, I do me, and whether or not we like each other’s sartorial affairs is irrelevant. Why? Because you have your platforms and I have mine, and our abiders, whoever they are, like us for that difference.

It seems great, but it also presents the larger issue of over-saturation, doesn’t it? A broad sense of stimulation that is so vast and comprehensive, it doesn’t even stimulate anymore. So where does that leave us?

Get more Fashion ?
  • Mia

    with a uniform: black skinny jeans, grey sac-like sweater, leather jacket, inconspicuous footwear, and an assortment of accoutrements, you know for weekends, oh yeah, and red lipstick…

    I used to hate having to wear a uniform in school, and now I willingly wear one… why? Perhaps your aforementioned plenary… Perhaps because winter has tethered itself to me…. idfk

    Great prose btw

  • The new Normcore fashion

    Its not about trends, its all about fashion movements which are a lot bigger and are ongoing. check out the Normcore – its all about bland, plain and unrecognizable outfits, which can include so much different “mini trends”.

    • Courtney

      Normcore…more like NormSNORE. Might just be the laziest trend yet- I’ll just pick a new trend from my dad’s closet. I mean, can you believe it??

  • Roxana Zegan

    actually we don’t have Vogue anymore.

  • I think it is just the consequent effect of the rise of individualism. Do people even pay attention to all these micro-trend? Because at the end of the day we are all the main characters of our personal entourages.

    • zhanna

      You are so right, can’t agree more, IMO there is no fashion, there is no VOGUE, there is Paparazzi, there is Conde Nast, and there is a huge bunch of people (that are paid for being dressed into Prada, Chanel, Balenciaga…..etc) that serve as tools for the fashion industry to make money and help millions of people around the world hop on bandwagon full of trends to spend hard earned money on something that is so widely advertised through Conde Nast publications.

  • Abby

    I totally agree! It’s more about personal style and incorporating the trends if that work with your style.


  • I think trends are still around, the cycles are just shorter. I wore bell bottom pants 30 years after my mum, and I’ve seen this trend come back twice already (under a different name, of course). It looks like trend cycles have become shorter and shorter.

    Mafalda ❤

  • This post came at such a perfect time. I’ve been drafting an article about what trends are in and out this season, and the whole time I’ve hesitated publishing it, thinking who am I (one of thousands of fashion bloggers, also a graduate from The New School) to dictate what’s in or out? It just feels a bit pretentious and presumptuous.

  • Sarita Williams

    I think trends are more of an aid of sorts to help you figure out your personal style, rather than a definitive uniform that one must wear in order to be above her sartorial peers. I’m not always on board with trends (see my most recent post on mules but I look at them as challenges and ways to expand my creativity beyond its limits, keeping my mind sharp and open to everything.

    Also, last month I, in fact, wrote an article on trends,, if you’re interested in checking out.

    Sarita W.

  • CamilleR

    Trends have become less of a thing for sure, it’s kind of a free-for-all right now, with bloggers and individuals setting trends and micro-trends, they probably always were, it’s just now there is more of a platform for them to be noticed and express themselves. Really, anything goes nowadays, you just have to feel good wearing it. Magazines and designers are looking to the blogs more than ever to see how people are creating in everyday life…in terms of over saturation, it is true, and our attention spans are so short. you really have to zero in on what you want and create your own look almost with blinders on.

  • Love

  • Tess Harrison

    Yes. One hundred percent. Also it seems “trends” as they have been set and sold and worn in the past, were catered to women, now it seems women (let’s say 20s+) are slightly anti-trend and pro-style, and younger folk (lets say teens) are still trapped in the throws of trends dictated by the masses (masses of corporate hoohaa’s.)
    It feels nice to be autonomous, mature, and stylish, with a nod to the trend that was perhaps, like a beanie or pair of jeans. (Hahaha ask ME if I went to the New School) 😉 xo

  • trappedbydesign

    people with style will always have it, regardless of trends. have iris apfel or lynn dell ever followed trends?? no, i think not. i can’t speak for the big cities, but just because suburbia is now awash with soccer moms in the latest fashions, copied from from the blog du jour and purchased at the local mall, it doesn’t make Smalltown, USA any more stylish. trust me on this.

  • Dandy,

    Personal style will always win

  • Andrew

    I have always hated trends. Firstly, I never understood how they came about. How is it that 7 designers are ALL inspired by the southwest during the same season, thus creating collections with the same trend? The coincidence of it all has always been very weird to me. I also feel like most trends just beg everyone to dress the same. I love normcore (I really do, with all of my heart), but I don’t want everyone around me wearing Nike sneakers. I don’t get why people love classifying collection into certain categories so people can view them all as one collective group of trends rather than specific entities. I know I sound angrier than a Jezebel writer, but sometimes it just feels like trends go against the whole “everyone should have personal style, screw dressing the same” mantra that fashion has always tried to stay true to.

    • Dre

      I think it goes like this: there are style offices that research and put together what will be the big trends of the season the designers are drawing for. The houses buy the book the research is put in, and decide on what they are going to use, then find the inspiration to their own version of it, etc..
      That’s why you see things in the same vein. Not to mention there is a whole month separating paris from new york, designers sometimes scrap an idea just a few days before a show and decide to go towards something else, they might have seen in another show.

  • I feel like people create their own trends and rely less on the fashion world to do it for them. Not every trend is liked or flattering, but when people find what does make them look and feel amazing, it becomes more of a classic staple for them.

  • Dre

    What I find interesting is that fashion is supposed to be something new, it’s an added bonus to life, a luxury, a whole industry that is based on illusion and dreams, making you want and envy something you didn’t know you wanted. But here we are, houses bidding on the same shapes or cuts or whatever than last seasons because it sold ( I mean come on, when’s the last time Proenza Schouler made anything new?) and basically we’ve decided that instead of openly saying that lately everyone’s been in a rut, this season’s trend is norm core. Fashion is not fashion anymore, it’s safe, it’s this thing to fit in with the people you want to be like, and it’s a commercial interest before being a real industry of innovation. I remember being inspired for months two years ago when the white drama collection of CdG came out (and I’m still in awe when I look back at pictures of it). Lately everything’s been pretty dull and overseen.
    (In the end I can’t help to link real fashion to art: only the very rich can buy it, the rest will have to look at it displayed here and there, in books and go to the corner of the street to buy a knockoff. )

  • Tracy

    Nothing beats originality, so if you like it, wear it, no matter if it’s on trend or not!

  • Alina

    In this case you really should have shown some “street style” pics showing Outfits Of The Day which, really, aren’t “trendy”. Have you ever looked at people in the F train?
    Anyway, I think back in the days it was much easier to dress yourself –
    1. People did not have that much money (We -in our 20s- have pretty good lives, guys)
    2. There were certain things one was able to access – mostly a nice, customized dress or suit was the climactic in the extreme.
    What we’re talking about is only coming from accessibility and communication. My point is: fashion, like art, seems to have an obscure presence and the real progress can only be seen a decade later (or so). So don’t you worry about the end of trends; with our handling of time and mass communication all of this just shifts a bit. I’d say we’re in a “mix n match~overexposed clean chic” era. No?

  • Leesa

    I must admit I don’t agree totally. If you look at all the big blogger (no names here 😉 you see them wearing the same shoes, the same patterns even sometimes all the same clothes. But you’re right, trends change quicker these days…

  • Vogue, Harper’s, Elle and fashion designers may create a vision for us through the trends they present us with but then it’s really how we envision our life to unfold through the outfits we wear everyday that we decide what the best trends are — in other words, who cares what the trends are if you’re not into them!

  • Brittany B

    I feel like everyone feels the need to follow trends because there is such a huge lack of originality and individuality now-a-days. This is something that has always been a problem, everyone just feels the need to fit in and “be cool”. In order to do so, you have to be in on the latest trends. So now we have this mass of people trying to be cool and trendy, thinking they’re the different from the next person, because they have whatever the latest trend is. When in actualility, they’re pretty unoriginal and just plain boring. The fashion world is better off when individuals seek to reflect their own style, things are more interesting that way.

  • Ai-Ch’ng GB

    Trends are definitely still around: look at “norm core”, for one (I’m still trying to figure out what that phrase actually means/looks like) – it feels/looks like it is (boringly) everywhere, perhaps in reaction to the numerous micro trends that are sprouting like mushrooms on speed.

    Even the fact that everyone seems to doing their own thing now (even switching styles from day to day) – that’s a trend in behaviour itself. I’m not sure that we will ever be “trend-less”.

    In any case, it’s stimulating to see there are almost as many trends as there are people on the street… so much better than seeing everyone in one style/cultural inspiration/hem length (although I still cringe, all granny-like, at super-short, super-tight, super-revealing outfits). And what if people don’t “own” a style per se? That’s OK, too – they’re enjoying experimenting with their clothing, and that’s all that matters to me (as long as it’s not super-short, super-tight, or super-revealing).

  • Cristina Feather

    I was thinking about this for a while now. It’s a little depressing. There are too many designers, too many bloggers & too many sites that talk about the same things, etc, etc. I know some of them are doing their own thing, some are just copy-paste, but still, in the end nothing looks new anymore. I’m having a big love/hate situation with the “latest trends” and I feel deeply confused: do I really like that or I just saw it so many times that I think I like it… and want it (I know you wrote about that feeling too). Maybe, in the end, we will all be wearing just comfortable clothes.

  • CA

    I love trends and style.

  • Brandelyn Rosenberg

    All I know is half my closet is shit my mom wore, and the other half is shit my dad wore. I will be wearing my mom’s croshay wedding dress from 1972 on my wedding day. History repeats itself. That is all. 🙂

  • eugenia

    I’m not buying clothes for years!!!! My closet is full of my clothes, from my family (grandmother, mother, sister, cousin, cousin’s douthers…) and from my friends.
    I create my own style combining everything I have.
    I’m not following any trend or fashion style, and I’m very proud of it.

  • Adriana

    It’s a nice topic to think about. I love how do you express the concept of personal style.
    I really hope that trends will be less important for brands in a near future, in favor of a more refined and personal style.

  • Gabby

    I couldn’t agree with this more. Trends don’t go out of style anymore, they seem to linger among individuals who refuse to see time expirations on outfits. And I like that about today’s fashion. Sure, some styles are more prevalent than others. But more times than not, you can find people expressing their individuality through fashion trends of the past, present, and future.