How I tell what fashion trends are coming
A friend recently asked me (after reading this post) how I tell what trends are coming. She said that she has a hard time sorting through all of the fashion out there (a ton of which is pretty unrelatable, considering it’s on the runway) and drawing conclusions about what trends are coming for a season. First of all, I couldn’t agree more! It is difficult. And for as trivial as this topic might seem or sound to some, for many of us, if we’re going to spend a little bit of extra money on some new clothes for the season, we do want to know what we’re going to be seeing in the stores and what trends we may want to dabble in. Trends are a large part of what makes fashion fun, in my opinion.
Here’s how I go about analyzing the fashion world to gain a leg up on all those looks that are soon to hit the scene.
I do look to the runways.
While it may be a bit of a stretch for those of us dressing for the real world, the runways are an avant-garde, hyperbolic expression of trends and movements in fashion. They can’t be taken literally by most people, but they do offer insight into what sorts of styles, vibes, or pieces we’ll be seeing crop up, especially when there’s commonalities across brands. And those are the articles I love to read: the forecasting summaries. My go-to websites for runway “digestion,” if you will, are Elle, Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar. They do the distilling that I don’t have time (or passion) for.
I look at fashion blogs.
I read lifestyle blogs, and I look at fashion blogs, and for me, they serve different purposes. Fashion bloggers are on the cutting edge of fashion. They set trends and have closets I can’t fathom even walking into. And in many ways, that’s what makes them unrelatable and minorly infuriating. But on the same token, their penchant for street style is unparalleled and I love being a voyeur to it. I love seeing that intermediate level of fashion that is off the runway but probably more flamboyant and intentional than what I tend to see in my day to day life. It shows me what runway trends have made it onto the streets and are therefore probably here to stay in some capacity. Lifestyle bloggers might include a lot of style inspiration and outfit posts (as well as general life inspiration or provocation, which is why I love them), but rather than being on the cutting edge of fashion, they produce looks I’d like to shop for myself or recreate within my own closet. I like both sorts of blogs, and both have unique value to me in deciphering trends.
Some of my go-to places for style inspiration: Song of Style, Something Navy, Olivia Palermo, Sincerely Jules, Devon Rachel, Man Repeller (a favorite site of mine for practically everything - the writing is really good, raw, and full of dry humor), A Piece of Toast (<- this one is both relatable and reliable for inspo)
I browse “what’s new” collections.
Once I’ve done the above tips, I rely on stores’ new collections to see what trends have really made it mainstream. I love browsing the “What’s New” or "Spring Trends"-esque links on store websites, particularly because it allows me to see a distilled down collection. It’s usually easier to immediately pick up on what trends are coming because 1. “What’s new” is what’s new for the upcoming season, and 2. There will usually be some thematic consistency, whether in style, color, material, etc. that is easy to pick out at a quicker glance than if viewing a store’s entire collection (including basics, sales, etc.) at once.
I look at magazines’ and brands’ editorial styling.
I used to view magazines and store websites as just alternative ways of shopping and browsing inventory. But now, I use them to see how THEIR stylists and editors are putting together outfits and looks. For instance, if it’s on trend to wear thin socks with block heels, or whisper-thin long sleeves underneath a jumper, or monochromatic from head to toe - that’s something you can only learn from viewing the items as they’ve already been styled. It gives great insight into how fast fashion’s top stylists are vibing the season’s trends. Seasonal magazines are very useful for this purpose, as are store websites’ “editorial” links that contain fashion photographs of women actually wearing pieces from their new collections.
Here’s an example from Madewell.
I like to search for street style looks on Pinterest, and I look to follow other pinners whose boards are fun to look at and reliable for capturing trendy, current looks. Lately I've been adding a lot to my Style board. Sometimes, though, I'll even make a separate board (maybe a secret one, depending) for an upcoming season to create a vision board of sorts for staying focused on what new things I think I'd like to invest in and what looks I can recreate with things I already own. It can act as inspiration down the road when I'm inevitably feeling bored or uninspired by my closet but still want to put together a neat look.
Lastly, I consider viability, wearability, and shelf life.
Not every trend is viable, wearable, and long lasting. And so while this isn’t a tip for picking out trends, it’s definitely one for assessing them. I like to pick and choose what trends I want to dabble in based off whether I think they naturally fit in my closet. The best way to pull off fast fashion is to try those ones that you naturally gravitate towards and ones that aren’t a huge stretch from your natural style. There are plenty of trends each season to choose from, so choose to invest in a couple that make sense in your closet, with your lifestyle, and will stick around for a bit.
Do you have any other tips for analyzing what trends are coming and which to indulge? Or do you largely not care and just stick to what you know you love? Usually I find myself jockeying between the two, depending on the day or week :)