It’s not even February of 2020 and already we’ve been battered by stress-inducing headlines: “Australia Fires are Harbinger of Planet’s Future, say Scientists” warned The Guardian, “Seven Days in January: How Trump Pushed U.S. and Iran to the Brink of War” explained The New York Times, and “Sorry, But Low-Rise Jeans are Actually Here.” declared The Cut. I need a rest.
Momentarily setting aside my alarm about the decimation of our world by two things that are seemingly preventable, I am equally concerned that low-rise denim is back in vogue and the danger of fashion headlines that declare something as “in” because inevitably something must be “out.” Oftentimes, what is out is the thing you already own, like high-waisted jeans.
February is fashion month and an onslaught of “new trends,” “must-have items,” and, apparently, low-slung jeans, will pollute our social media feeds rendering our current wardrobes dated, uncool, and for too many, headed for the trash. A problem, we should remember, that directly contributes to the destruction of our planet. I have some tips on what to do when a new trend emerges, and you don’t want to succumb to wasteful shopping practices.
1. Is this the trend for you?
As a stylist, I’m going to let you in on a secret: The arbiters of trends don’t always have your best dressed interest at heart. Do you remember the first time low-slung jeans were hot? (if you were too young, be grateful.) On a scale of one to ten, I am an 11 on the oh-thank-you-good-lord-ometer that social media and a digital footprint didn’t yet exist at that regrettable time in fashion history. I was the proud owner of a variety of low slung jeans from the suffocatingly tight to the daringly baggy—they all looked terrible on me. Years later, with the arrival of the high-waisted silhouette trend, I learned that my frame looks best when my waist band hugs well above my belly button. I have steadfastly stuck to that rule since with a wardrobe faithfully stocked with high-waisted pants and skirts of varying shades and styles. I can recall few shame inducing outfits after this revelation. The day I quit adhering to ephemeral fashion trends was the day I quit outfit regret and embraced distinctive, long-lasting style. Just because something is a trend, doesn’t mean it’s a trend for you, and that’s okay. So, if low-rise suits you—feel the relief—you’re back in style baby.
2. Shop used
Not everyone’s distinctive personal style is going to look like my own minimal, monochromatic uniform. For some, fluctuating style is a personal aesthetic (looking at you, Rihanna) and experimentation, playfulness, and dressing up in something that feels good versus looks “perfect” is the point. Having chameleon-esque style needn’t be an excuse for a buy, wear, discard mindset. As we have just seen, fashion trends rotate so rather than walking into Zara for the designer knock off of the designer knock off, go direct to the source of inspiration—clothing from the ‘00s, ‘90s, ‘80s, etc. You can find the best versions of a trend from a second-hand seller at a good price and often, better quality.
3. Small alterations go a long way
Sometimes, a change in trend is more subtle than pants that sit under your boob versus under your pubic bone. Skinny jeans, for example, were slowly phased out in favor of cropped straight jeans over the last few years. I refer again to point #1 here—a flattering pair of skinny jeans will never really be out of style—but updating the length to a crop will make them feel new and current with minimal expense and effort. Over the years I’ve hemmed dresses (and later dropped the hems again), taken in boxy jackets, removed sleeves from tops, and mended my favorite sweaters to update my wardrobe and bring some freshness to my look. A visit to a seamstress can become your new shopping spree when you find someone you like.
4. Store your clothing in waiting
Sometimes, no matter how much you love it, you just get sick of an item of clothing and want to revamp your look and splurge on that cool new designer/look/silhouette. Fashion is a way to express yourself and feeling locked in to a limited wardrobe or one look is no fun for anyone. Discarding your clothing though, should be an absolute last resort. When updating your look, store your best, favorite, tired items for the time being. As we have seen, they will be “trendy” again, often sooner than you think, or want.
Cover Photo: Sandra Semburg
Words: Laura Jones