Do current fashion trends mean anything? Well, these are current fashion trends. When you look at them, do they mean anything to you?In the grand scheme of things, trends always mean something. But, for you as an individual, maybe not...

Do current fashion trends mean anything? Well, these are current fashion trends. When you look at them, do they mean anything to you? In the grand scheme of things, trends always mean something. But, for you as an individual, maybe not…

People who are curious about working with me have all sort of questions about how their interests and my approach intersect. It’s fair for someone curious and interested to inquire: do current fashion trends mean anything?  As a style savant, there are really two answers to this question. And they are not each “yes” and “no.” Let’s get into the more nuanced answers.

In the grand scheme of things, current fashion trends mean a lot.  Sociologically, we are a culture that responds to clothes that meet our needs, and support our emotions.  When you’re out shopping on your own, the trend messages are so subtle that you’re not necessarily even aware of them.  There are first level trend messages about clothes. For example, women’s styles might look “flirty.” This doesn’t mean that all women who buy something on the basis of such a trend are trying to look sexually attractive to an onlooker.

The “flirty” concept could have much deeper resonance for, at least, some women.  Let’s say that “flirty” clothes are looser, gauzy, sheer, feminine, revealing a bit more of the body, a bit more carefree.  A woman might like a garment like this because at work she is more restricted with workplace appropriate clothes.  Or, maybe once she’s back home from her professional job, motherhood requires the type of clothes that allow her toddlers to climb all over her.  But, when she has a chance to be free of work and home responsibilities, maybe she wants to give herself that experience of feeling free.

Okay, let’s take this concept of feeling free from another perspective.  The turmoil in the world today – terrorism, economic volatility, political unrest – can make a person feel uptight.  If you care about these things [or if you watch too much news] these issues can have a profound effect on how you might dress on a day-to-day basis.  Those clothes, if newly bought, could be coming from another trend, which might be more safe and conservative because we need to feel safe and protective.  But too much of that can feel confining for some people, and the “flirty” clothes serve as a relief from the day-to-day need to be safe and protected.

Can you see so far how current fashion trends mean anything?

The other side of all this is that current fashion trends mean something to the business of fashion.  Commerce occurs when there is something new to consider.  But to a savvy consumer, current fashion trends, despite their broader social context, are far less important in developing a strong sense or personal style. 

Current fashion trends are what fill the stores to keep the inventory current and flowing. It’s also what we have to work with to build outfits and wardrobes.  But, I distill those trends into style parameters that either work or don’t work for each client.  In the end, you could have a completely gorgeous and new capsule of the latest and greatest clothes.  However, you will not look at it and think that it’s trendy.  What you’ll see is that the look and feel of your curated selection looks more “classic” to who you are.  In a sense, the trendiness that you first see in a store is flattened out by the dynamism of your own personality and goals.

So, do current fashion trends mean anything?  If you want to understand how fashion designers are taking the pulse of society, it matters a lot. And, by the way, collectively, fashion is an excellent lens through which to see what we are thinking about.  But, when it comes to your own personal style, unless you are a “trendaholic” [and please don’t be], it’s far less crucial.

Joseph Rosenfeld helps successful Silicon Valley technology entrepreneurs and executives discover their personal brands and design their personal styles.  Get Joseph’s free report that helps you know “6 Secrets to Success in Silicon Valley.” Get details about Joseph’s proven program that transforms your life through personal brand and style development.