"https://nothing2wearnovello.com/" nothing 2 wear : Trend Setting VS Trend Following

Monday, March 4, 2013

Trend Setting VS Trend Following

Part 2 of my 'Turning 30' series focusing on the evolution of my personal style as I say goodbye to my 20's. 
When my aunt and my god mother showed up at my wedding wearing the exact same dress it was like a scene from a tween romantic comedy.  Rather than subjecting them to my version of “Who Wore it Better” I wondered to myself how I would feel if I found myself in the same predicament. I know that 16 year old me would have given myself a high five, but 30 year old me would have most likely hidden in a broom closet.  

As you may already know from THIS  post, I am turning 30 in only fifty short days.  After asking myself whether or not I should adapt my personal style to reflect my age I concluded (with the help of my readers and their kind comments) that a change was not necessarily needed at this point in time. But that didn't satisfy me, so I took a trip down memory lane trying to figure out at what point exactly I decided to break away from the crowd and develop my own personal style.

Why did I do this? Well, as someone trying desperately to get a handle on herself only WEEKS before turning 30 I wanted to reassure myself that I do in fact OWN my personal style and that I wasn't breeching someone else’s  fashion copyright so to say (you can blame the fact that I studied intellectual property in law school for this strange paranoia).

Why does imitation have to be the sincerest form of flattery? Why can’t it be exactly what it is, the sincerest form of jealousy. Ouch, that was harsh, I know.  But before you peg me as being too big for my britches let me explain. I have lived on both ends of the imitation spectrum. I will confess that like most of us I spent my elementary and high school years yearning for exactly what everyone else had.

Back in high school my best friend and I would dress in IDENTICAL outfits whenever a special event came about, or a school dance, or even a trip to the movies in which our parents would drop us off.  No matter the occasion we found an excuse to dress as some sort of weird separate at birth twins. I suspect this wasn’t completely unintentional, the attention we got when we wore the same crop top, or the same fanny pack slung over our shoulder (DON’T JUDGE we were 16 and this was all sooo cool back then, ugh) convinced us we were making the right fashion choices.

When you’re in your teens you don’t want to be a trendsetter, you want to be a trend follower. I never understood it, but still, I made sure to conform to it. I always wanted to blend in with my peers, and that meant wearing what everyone else in my school was wearing at the time. In elementary school it was the “IT” items that got me every time; the Gap fluffy hoodie with G.A.P written across the chest, velvet bodysuits from Jacob Jr., black and white three stripe Adidas Gazelles (worn with the Adidas black and white stripe track suit of course). I’ll never forget a trip to Buffalo NY for a weekend shopping trip with my family where my one goal was to return with a pair of Gazelles. Much to my chagrin my parents spotted a pair of Converse and convinced me they were “just as good as the Adidas pair”. I remember visiting the falls on the US side feeling like an outcast for more reason then one, but mainly because I had the “wrong” shoes on.
Adidas Black Track Suit

This obsession extended into high school where Baby G watches (I had the white “Shock”), Silver Jeans overalls, Invicta backpacks, and Parasuco Jeans ruled the hallways.  At my school we wore a uniform every single day and only got one “Civi’s Day” per month. This was a Friday where were were allowed to express our own sense of style and were encouraged to wear whatever we wanted, yet we all showed up wearing the exact same clothes!
baby G white shock watch

Invicta Backpack

I think the first time I was able to shop for myself without going to the mall in a herd of 6 annoying teenage girls was when I was in undergrad. My fashion choices were partially made based on considerations of practicality, I was sitting in a lecture for three hours, commuting, and had to for once in my life start saving money. I remember dressing out of my comfort zone for the first time and actually liking it, I think that’s where it all started. Where I began developing my own personal style.

So I have to ask; who watches “Pretty Little Liars”? Have you SEEN the outfits on those high school students? Aria dresses better than I do, and Spencer…do not even go there; I wish I had her wardrobe!  My point here is not to illustrate that yes I am indeed admitting to watching that show religiously; it is to say that kids are growing up quicker these days.  I have a theory that  the accelerated maturity of today's teens may change the herd mentality, and may very well see a departure of the extreme trend following we saw in the past from teens. And if the number of teen fashion bloggers out there is any indication, they are doing a pretty good job at expressing their own personal style.  I mean my 7 month old niece is already making a statement through her fashion choices, her IT item is headbands, she wears one every day, and will not be caught in public without one. So young; already setting trends, I'm so proud.

I wonder what 45 year old me will say to my teenage daughter in light of this evidence, will I encourage her to stand out from the crowd or support her when she asks me to buy her the latest item all her high school friends are coveting? Having just admitted to you that I used to be one of the sheep following the herd I have to ask as usual, did you do the same back in high school? And please if I left out any spectacular examples of IT items from the 90’s and early 2000’s please comment and fill me in on what you desperately needed in your closet as a teen.  My next hurdle will be deciding what to wear out when we “celebrate” my big 3-0. Will it be a short skirt as an ode to the younger thinner me, or will it be sensible dress pants to show the world I am not afraid to dress maturely. Whatever it is I will be sure to fill you in. 


  1. Such an interesting post! Nice!

  2. I definitely agree with you that we are starting to see a shift from trend follower to trend setter in women's fashion. Today there is more of an emphasis on "wearing what's right for YOU," which means incorporating trends into your style rather than copying them completely. Nice post!