It was 2001, I was 19 years old, had just been to New York and came back to Stockholm with a suitcase full of new clothes.
Bootcut jeans with a loooow waist. Tops tight as the skin on a snake, preferably in some kind of lace and with a deep v-neck. On my feet, you would find either a pair of pointy denim boots á la Britney Spears or a pair of pink strappy sandals with perspex flowers. Both with a heel high enough to eventually give me a not so stylish limp and result in 2 months of sit-dancing in clubs (still in high heels though..).
It was the very first time I felt like I had my own style. I had bought it all myself, with my own money and I felt confident and like “me”.
It was great then, but not a style I’m in a hurry to repeat. Mainly because it wasn’t in fact “my style” at all, but exactly what on trend at the time.
It’s easy to confuse “trendy” and to “have style”.
Trends are what makes the fashion industry so lucrative. We actually don’t need a lot of clothes, but trends make us want them. Style is when someone really knows what fits them and wear and buy only that. Trendy people purchase a lot more clothes than people who have style.
It’s easy to follow trends, you just buy what everyone else wears. The magazines and the shops will showcase a lot of one particular kind of cut, pattern or shape. Just pick one of all the options and you will be on trend.
…for a while…
Until next month when a new magazine comes out and the shops start stocking this new “latest” must-have. And then we are stuck in the hamster wheel of chasing fashion and what’s “in”. Last months clothes are “out” and you wouldn’t be caught dead in a top with the “wrong” neckline or that pattern you loved so much a couple of weeks ago.
Not only is it a complete waste of money and natural resources, but it’s also bloody exhausting to hunt trends. And sooner or later you will end up a fashion victim in some hideous creation you will see in photos and regret for years to come.
The problem with trends is that they change so quickly, you actually never get a chance to develop your own style. It’s all done for you. And you will very rarely feel like you are wearing the right thing. Always worrying if there is something cooler out there waiting in the next shop window.
You can’t win the fashion game by chasing trends. It’s a dead end. There is always a new trend around the corner and what you are wearing will be old news any second.
The key to a truly great wardrobe and a unique style is to completely stop caring about what other people think you should buy. This includes shops and magazines. You will never find your style if you don’t look for it.
Instead, to have a timeless style you need to follow 5 simple rules :
Rule 1 – Buy only items that fit you really well. And if it doesn’t fit perfectly, have it tailored.
All our bodies are different. What might suit one person really well can look a bit off on someone else. It all comes down to proportions. Don’t buy something because it looks good on someone else, buy it because it looks good on you. And NEVER buy something for the body you want instead of the one you do have. You are here and now, don’t get a size smaller because you expect to lose weight, etc (the only exception is pregnancy wear, then you are allowed to size up for growth).
Rule 2 – Know your colors. What suits you and brings out the best in your complexion.
If moss-green makes your emerald eyes pop, make sure to wear it often. We all suit different shades, so know if you are better off in cold or warm colors and what shades flatter your skin tone. I, for example, can’t wear beige but look amazing in pale pink. So if I get inspired by someone wearing head-to-toe beige, I can do the same but in pink instead.
Rule 3 – Only buy an item if you can see yourself still wearing it in 3 years time.
Few trends last longer than a couple of years. So 3 is a good number to work towards. Ideally, you still want to wear an item 10 years down the line, but it’s harder to plan for and only our absolute best purchases make it that far. When you wear items for 10 years or longer you have officially graduated to style ninja.
Rule 4 – Buy less- but buy better.
I’m all about sustainability and quality. And the biggest mistake I did when I was a shopaholic was to buy cheap and several. I only ever ended up wearing one of the 5 similar tops I had and the rest collected dust in my wardrobe until I threw them out. Always go for quality and ask yourself the question “Do I have anything similar that I would rather want to wear than this?”
Rule 5 – Throw away all other rules than these 5.
Don’t look at sizing, choose what actually suits your body. These days I love the oversized look and often buy things that are “too big” for me. Also, who says certain colors don’t match and why are they the ones to decide? Actually, fashion is like art, most people have a lot to say about it. But in the end, it’s exactly what you make of it. There is no right or wrong, only your expression. So never ever listen to someone telling you what you shouldn’t wear. Age, body type, gender – if you feel good in it, wear it.
I’m so happy to be off the trend rollercoaster and finally, I can focus on finding my own style. My goal is to become one of those effortless dressers that never worry about what to wear. Someone who really knows their personal style and barely ever have to buy anything new.
So how about it? Let’s get off this trend roller-coaster and go find our personal timeless style instead.
Photo – Ida Zander