Obsessed with trends? So last season.


Betsy Jarosick, staff writer

Every other week, it seems like there’s a shiny new fashion trend that everyone absolutely needs to buy – buying expensive ballet flats, a dozen new arrivals from Shein, or this one specific dress that will change your life (for real this time). On social media, there is an abundance of fashion content telling you exactly how you should be dressing this month, what’s in, and what’s already out. 

I could go on about how overconsumption is bad for the environment, how fashion cycles are shifting as fast as our attention spans, or how I think that those Y2K rhinestone tops are quite tacky. But that’s been said before.

Instead, what I’ll tell you is that you don’t need it. 

Scrolling through outfits-of-the-day and New York fashion week streetwear can be deeply tempting. I often find myself, with my overflowing wardrobe, feeling like I have to throw it all out to dress like the newest fashion influencer on my feed. 

But the more I envy other people, the more I realize that this isn’t a realistic or sustainable way for me to view fashion; for me, so much of fashion is about expressing one’s own ideas, so how could I ever feel fulfilled by just copying other people?

Instead, I’ve made an effort to look at what clothes I already own for inspiration: how I can dress down a dress for casual wear, repurpose something I wouldn’t wear anymore, or modify an outfit to make it suitable for the Chicago winter. 

I take what I have and use it for what I need, because my imitations of other people will never be as good, and will always be uncreative. Altering a piece of clothing I once liked into something I now love will forever be more satisfying than buying something new that I’ll only wear once or twice, and styling the same piece in new ways is infinitely more useful than buying something new each time. 

I’ve come to really appreciate basics-I own about seven different variations of my favorite Target plain t-shirt for their versatility and their repeatability. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the value of the occasional statement piece, but I think having clothes with multiple uses is the key to continuously wearing new, interesting outfits. You can always accessorize a basic outfit, but you can only wear the same flashy top so many times before they become stale. 

An example of this principle put into practice is the concept of capsule wardrobes, popularized on social media platforms as a response to this oversaturation of trends. A capsule wardrobe is commonly considered to be a self-contained set of clothing that can be mixed and matched. Because the pieces in this wardrobe are interchangeable, it’s possible to put together many unique outfits from a limited set. This enables a season’s worth of fresh, distinct style combinations without the need to buy what’s brand new.

So much more value can be found from looking at what you have than letting yourself be constantly distracted by whatever shiny, new trend is passing by. In the end, some of the best things can be the simplest ones, I don’t think I love any piece I own more than my best pair of light-wash jeans because I can wear them again and again. 

Fashion doesn’t have to feel like it’s restricting you to what’s in – instead, we can see the potential in more accessible ways of self-expression.