Sunday, January 29, 2012

When Did Trendy Become Unfashionable?

Does this make my trend look too big?

The other day, at the Lovely Boutique where I work, a young woman was contemplating the purchase of a blouse. She obviously liked it; customers do not leave the privacy of their dressing rooms for a look in the communal three-way mirror if they are not liking what they are wearing. It was a silk black and white abstract print with wide black silk bands at the bateau-cut neck and shoulders. Open spaces where the bands crossed— an unusual, fairly dramatic piece that did indeed flatter her.

I rarely hear "Does this make my butt look big?" More often it's "Am I too old for this?" This young woman asked "Is it too trendy?" By the look on her face "too trendy" would have been a mortal sin. In any case her blouse was one-off enough not to be called trendy. I answered with "not if you call unique, sophisticated and fashion-forward too trendy." By her smile I realized this was the answer she was hoping for, but there had been a genuine fear of appearing "too trendy".

Interestingly, a fellow customer added her two cents to this brief encounter as she passed by. "No, it's not too trendy", she said. "Too trendy is when everyone's wearing it and most of them don't look good in it."
So true. So true. Skinny jeans, anyone?

So what are the definitions for "trendy"?
fashionable
modish
smart
stylish 

As well as
common
faddish
superficial
overdone 


Something trendy can begin as weird until it is picked up by fashionable sources like models, celebrity stylists, fashion press and designers. Their endorsement trends it into the mainstream where it becomes less trendy the more people adopt it. Obviously not everyone chooses trends that are flattering to them (those skinny jeans again), and a trend becomes an element to be avoided by those who fear being labelled— well— trendy.


The designer Claire McCardell once advised if you are the first to wear a trend expect to be stared at and talked about. So the trendmeister needs to sport an air of confidence. It also helps if she loves the limelight and has a thick skin. 


Trendy is a slippery slope, a rutted road, a prickly precipice. It's worth the journey if you are are a true fashionista. For a trend setter, the journey is the destination.

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