Will Core Trends be the Death of Personal Style?
Asking for a friend: can anyone keep up with core trends these days? We are quite literally swamped with content telling us what to wear and who to be, and we’re getting tired of it. There was an era when we felt like TikTok was making everything fashionable in a way that liberated us to dress how we like, but now it’s gone in a different direction. Sadly, we’re feeling bombarded with different ‘cores’ aka trend genres, each minimising the significance of the last, and we’re not sure what’s actually fashionable and what we’ll be bored of by this time next week.
This article by Nylon inspired us to think about the extent to which social media and core trends really are diminishing our personal styles and choices. We’re over consuming, not just in the sense that we shop too much, but also by how much content we consume online. Does anyone else hate that when they wake up and the first thing they find themselves doing is opening Instagram or TikTok? I literally don’t care about either, but still in every down moment I have I find myself automatically opening one of those apps (yes, this is a cry for help). Social media has us in a chokehold.
Alex Leach says in his recent book ‘The World is on Fire but We’re Still Buying Shoes’ that clothes have stopped being clothes and more ‘moments to broadcast’, he says they’re ‘more like memes than products’. He’s right. Core trends are moving so quickly, clothes are becoming pieces of online content rather than items we wear to express ourselves.
It goes without saying that the speed of core trend cycles is not only confusing for our sense of self, but also incredibly bad for the planet by increasing our consumption and textile waste.
But hold up, this is all sounding very doom and gloom. How did we get here?
a LOT of the fashion i see right now on tiktok, insta, or even twitter is very try hard and feels inauthentic. not necessarily just from influencers, but it seems like almost no one has a personal style anymore and the ones that do are immediately (+ usually poorly) imitated https://t.co/1KFIEVy0NG— 𝒂𝒏𝒏𝒂🛸 (@lunarysl) February 24, 2023
What Went Wrong?
This is another idea from Leach’s book (see, it’s literally impossible to have individual thoughts these days, tehe) but social media has conditioned us to view clothes as vehicles to becoming who we want to be. They’re more than pieces of material, they hold the key to being a version of ourselves we wish we were; a version of ourselves that we want other people to see.
All these ‘fit check’ videos and core trends are showing us conventionally attractive people (mostly) living in cool cities with clothes we wish we had. We’re being told it’s normal to have unique vintage clothes or expensive quiet luxury items, in order to be worthy of attention or deemed fashionable. This is far from accessible for most people.
Also…why do we care what is trending online? Like…let’s all take a second to remind ourselves that: it! doesn’t! matter!
Like Roman Roy famously once said: “we’re all bullshit!” …basically, nothing matters.
How Does This Link to Personal Style?
It’s hard to think what we like for ourselves as we’re spoiled for choice on who we could be and different styles we could try (thanks core trends). Why do we have to pick one minor trend and make that our whole personality for the next few months? Why can’t we pick and choose parts of trends that resonate with us and create a collage, known as our own style? Spoiler alert, we can. We need to stop aspiring to be someone we’ve literally never met before, and embrace who we feel like being for ourselves.
Buying things because we like them is becoming harder. Instead of the simple process: I like this, I will wear this, I'm going to buy it- we now think about how it will make other people perceive us. People who spend a lot of time online and post a lot of themselves may also have to consider how this piece will perform on social media and what content they could create with it.
Kind of crazy to think that online fashion content used to be controlled by people with individual style sharing their looks, now it feels like the format of content has a sizable input into whether an item is worth buying.
In short, some of us are buying clothes for pictures, not for life. This doesn’t just mean buying something to take a photo and then never wearing it again, it means buying a new dress for an event because you took loads of photos at the last birthday party you went to and you can’t be wearing the same dress for this instagram post. It’s stupid, but these thoughts have become normal now, and we’ve all been guilty of it at some point.
What Can we do?
Having a personal style that’s not influenced by trends is the best thing we can do for ourselves and the planet. We love Nylon’s suggestion of thinking about what you enjoyed wearing as a child. What colours did you like, patterns and styles? We’re not suggesting you dress like a 5 year old, but reconnecting with yourself before you even knew what social media was is a good place to start. Take small inspirations from your younger self, and map them on to your older sense of style.
You could also think about outfits you like that your friends, family and other people you love wear. We see ourselves with such a harsh perspective, but we usually don’t hold people we love to the same ridiculous standards. You wouldn’t judge a friend for not being up to date with TikTok trends (we hope), so stop doing it to yourself. Relax and think about wearing clothes you actually love.
Hopefully you’re not feeling completely lost, but motivated to think about what pieces you personally love. The Whering app is a great digital inventory of everything you own to make this process easy, so if you haven’t digitised your wardrobe, now is the perfect time.
If you take anything away from this, we hope it’s that you’ll try to be a little kinder to yourself, and a little less bothered about online trends, because in all honesty, *whispers* they don’t matter.