Tuesday, May 6, 2008

What Makes A Trend a Trend?

Skinny jeans. Scarfs. Ballerina flats. Bangles. Uggs. Tall boots. The trench coat. Leggings. What made these items trendy? And why do women embrace some trends and brazenly ignore others, despite the repeated attempts of fashion editors and marketers?

While I do not profess to know it all (after all, I rarely quote celebrities at this particular site--this is just one woman's humble opinion), I will attempt to deconstruct this critical question.

1. Convenience and /or comfort. Women want items that are easy to wear: skinny jeans (tucked into boots), ballerina flats (duh), and Uggs (warm) all satisfy some basic need.

2. Celebrity exposure. Let's face it: if a celebrity is seen wearing something, most of us will want it. Consider how items worn on "Gossip Girl" almost immediately sell out. And while some of us don't care to admit it, we are influenced by what we see on TV, the rags, and Access Hollywood.

3. High- and low-end versions of the thing. If a trendy item cannot translate into a low-end version for the common woman, chances are that it will not last. I rarely saw arty clothing around town because it mainly was made by high-end designers like Dolce and Gabbana. And frankly, it looks ridiculous in the hands of amateurs (my pre-adolescent days as a budding artist come to mind). And while we may be lured in by the designer jean trend, jeans are found at every price point, thanks to Old Navy and H&M.

4. Easy glam appeal. Complicated pieces do not last (I will never buy an item that takes me more than three minutes to figure out). Bangles, chandelier earrings, tall boots, scarfs: these items are easy to throw on, and yet they instantly produce a dramatic effect.

So, you ask, which of the spring trends will be likely to last? Thumbelina Fashionista's humble predictions are as follows:

Safari / Ethnic / Tribal
Color, especially jeweled tones
Booties / tall boots
Wide-leg jeans/skinny jeans
Architectural shoes

Art / Origami (too stylized; men don't like / understand it)
Oversized Bows (no one wants to look like a present)
Winged motif (even though I adore it)
Oversized clutches (frankly, most women would rather carry a handbag)
Maxi dresses (only tall women can pull this off)
Extreme ruffles (not flattering for many)
Fringes (snags on too many items)

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