If you seemingly always have "nothing to wear", finding clothes you bought only recently unappealing and out of style, and completely renewing your wardrobe every few months— you're probably being held hostage by micro-trends.
What are micro-trends?
An article by Pavement Pieces defines micro-trends as "cheap, stylish fashion items that are designed to last until the end of the current season and are often born from the screens of social media."
The rise in popularity of fashion-related content on social media platforms, like TikTok, have led to trends falling in and out of fashion at record speeds, with specific styles and clothing items becoming oversaturated within weeks of entering the spotlight.
That's where the "nothing to wear" problem comes in. When you buy cheaply manufactured, momentarily trendy items that don't match your personal style or the rest of your closet— these items will fall out of the trend cycle and subsequently, into your trashcan.
Fast fashion has a detrimental impact on the environment and often employs unfair labour practices, underpaying and overworking their employees. Besides these large scale issues, overconsumption can greatly impact mental health on an individual level. While thrifting and shopping from reputably sustainable brands is a great alternative to buying fast fashion, overconsumption is still an issue in itself; regardless of where you shop.
Keeping in mind that shopping sustainably isn't always time or cost effective, or an accessible option for plus-size customers, here are three ways to reduce your consumption and stop purchasing trends, even if buying fast fashion is your only option.
Find your personal style.
If you're solely selecting clothes based on current trends, you probably don't know your personal style.
What colours do you think look good on you? What styles do you tend to gravitate towards? Which items have stood the test of time in your closet?
It's important to understand your own preferences, detached from the influence of trends. Ask yourself what kind of aesthetics you prefer, what clothes you reach for more often than others, and whether you actually like something, or if you're only buying it because social media convinced you that you need it.
A great way of figuring out your personal style is to expand your thought process beyond clothes. What kind of architecture, art, photography and sceneries do you like? Remember: fashion is most effective when it's an extension of your personality and a tool for self-expression. Have fun with it and make sure you feel comfortable and confident in your clothes.
Once you have a better conceptualization of your personal style, you will find yourself less inclined to purchasing trends and happier with the items you own.
Invest in basics.
Another reason you might find it difficult to put together outfits is because you have more trendy items than basics.
Basics are an essential part of your wardrobe, consisting of timeless, easy to style pieces that you wear often and go with almost anything. These would usually be button up shirts, plain T-shirts, sweaters, sweatpants, tank-tops, slip dresses, etc.
Basics should be neutral colours or colours you wear often, and should easily pair with several items in your closet. Basics like white button-up shirts are extremely versatile, and a staple you might reach for often. Having a good number of these items will extend the life-span of your closet, as they are not subject to going out of style. In fact, these items can be style-adjusted to trends with little to no effort. It's easy to spot basics; they stay consistent in fashion regardless of trend cycles.
Investing in good quality basics is a great first-step to keeping your clothes longer.
Don't overcrowd your closet.
A lot of the time, the reason you feel like you need more clothes or that you have nothing to wear is because you can't see everything you own.
Buying too many clothes too quickly can cause you to forget about the clothes you already own, never being able to utilize them to their fullest potential. A top you could have easily styled ten different ways now sits buried in the back of your closet because you forgot you owned it.
Shopping less and making sure the clothes you own are visible to you is essential. Don't be afraid to wear and style the same item many different ways— that's what clothes are for.
You also don't need to assign specific events or seasons to your clothes. More often than not, a piece of clothing can be repurposed for formal or casual occasions, and for different weathers. You can wear a slip dress for a fancy event, and if you want to dress it down, you can wear it with a linen shirt or a cardigan. Similarly, a sweater vest can be worn on its own with a skirt in the summer, and layered over a shirt in the fall.
Having a minimalistic, compact closet full of items that are versatile and that you really love is a sure-fire way of reducing your consumption.
While there's nothing wrong with occasionally buying a trendy item or two, it's important that we be mindful as consumers. Fashion should be enjoyable and personalized, and freeing yourself from the shackles of micro-trends is a decision you won't regret making.