November 16, 2021 10 min read
“Fashion is what you’re offered four times a year. Style is what you choose.”- Lauren Hutton, American model.
Every fashion lover’s biggest conundrum: Curating a collection that has hardy staples and trendy pieces.
While most of us struggle to shop for those core essentials as is, our mission is rendered somewhat harder with the fashion world constantly churning out new collections and trendsetting items at breakneck speeds; each of which is temptingly marketed as the “must-have item of the season”. We find ourselves in an eternal tug-of-war of the will and the wallet to shop as per our personal style but to also respond to evolving trends in a way that lends us a sense of belonging in our social circles.
So just how do you navigate valuable essentials and trends? It’s a fine line to walk, but in this article, we take you through 10 important tips to balance between fashion flings and forever items in a way that makes you feel like your most confident self! You don’t want to miss what we’re about to share.
Your fashion journey is energized by your personal style statement. These are clothes that flatter your figure, fabrics that make you feel comfortable, and prints and colours that show off your best self. Without having a strong style identity, it’s virtually impossible to curate a wardrobe that gets you excited each morning!
Developing your personal style is an art unto itself. The first step is to pick out items in your wardrobe that you’ve already worn several times this month. Remember, you gravitate towards these picks for a reason. For added inspiration, consider creating a mood board, style diary, or wish list of items that you love, regardless of their price point, current in-store availability, or topical relevance. Very soon, you’ll notice a pattern begin to form - similar to a large and intricate puzzle slowly being pieced together. This is perhaps the smartest way to navigate between fashion styles and trends.
Style Example: Whether to go to a mom-and-pop store, a musical or a Michelin star restaurant, do you usually reach for your trusty distressed jeans? Or are maxi dresses more your go-to style? Perhaps, you tend to layer, accentuating minimalist innerwear with beautifully printed jackets? Take note of these unconscious style choices. Therein lies the answer!
This one hurts - but it’s essential to examine your fashion faux pas. We’re talking about those unused items on your shelf that still have the tags on. If you haven’t worn an item (ignore seasonal pieces like winter jackets or galoshes) in over 12 months, add it to the ‘mistakes’ pile. Now sift through the pile and ask yourself two questions:
Was it an impulse purchase because of a well-curated store window? Did you unquestioningly follow your favourite influencer’s Pinterest board or a promotional newsletter? It’s important to understand the catalyst for your shopping habits.
Is the colour of that unused blouse cobalt blue instead of admiral blue? (The latter makes your heart go thumpity-thump). Do those ballet flats have a rounded tip instead of the point-toe style you prefer?
Style Example: Okay, so you’ve now decided frothy ruffles, polka dots and halter necks just don’t do it for you. That’s a HUGE step in the right direction. Make a list of fashion features that are absolute dealbreakers for you and keep them handy the next time you go shopping.
Now that you’ve done the above, let’s flip the script. Pick out five of your favourite fashion pieces and five of your least favourite fashion pieces. Sift through each item very carefully and pick out three or four things that you love about it. Yes, even on your faux pas. It’s unlikely that you detest the item completely, otherwise, you wouldn’t have purchased it in the first place.
Style Example: What do you love? The frilly sleeves on that crop top? The clashing ideas of prints & patterns? Write it down! Chances are, you’ll end up with a well-balanced list of your favourite colours, prints, necklines, sleeve lengths, metal embellishments, detachable features, and more. Remember, the more specific the better!
Let’s build the fundamentals of your wardrobe. Think about those everyday fashion essentials that are trend-proof and extremely versatile; i.e. interchangeable items that complement each other perfectly. In some circles, this is referred to as a capsule wardrobe. The best part of a capsule wardrobe? You can get dressed very quickly and have a super organized closet - no more daily decision fatigue!
The (loose) rules of a capsule wardrobe:
- Make sure your capsule closet is aligned with your lifestyle. Think about what pursuits take up most of your time; business events, outdoor activities, working from home, etc.
- Pick a versatile colour scheme; white, black, grey, cream, navy, and so on.
- Select mix-and-match items that layer well; tank tops, plain tees, flannels, crop tops, jeans, jackets, etc.
Style Example: Capsule clothing is meant to form the basis of your wardrobe; i.e. pieces that effortlessly harmonize with other pieces. Remember, whether you’re thinking of a stylish jumper to play well with your active lifestyle or a dressy pair of trousers to complement your formal commitments, make sure to align your choices to points 1, 2 and 3 above.
From online fashion influencers to even friends and family, there is inspiration all around you! Fashion muses are an especially good way to refresh your style statement in a heartbeat. The real secret is knowing which influencers will positively contribute to your style journey and which will send you spiralling into a style rut.
When keeping an eye out for inspiration ensembles, don’t be too rigid. At this point, your only guiding light should be your personal sense of style and comfort level. We suggest picking out one fashion muse for each of your life roles; i.e. one muse for that elusive business-chic aesthetic, one for athleisure wear, one for comfy home wear, etc. Remember, this is also a great opportunity to play with pops of colour and bold prints as well as underscore them with subtle pieces to balance out your wardrobe.
Style Example: Who’s our fashion muse? We’re currently loving Zendaya’s urbane and dauntless tastes in one of the most awe-inspiring style evolutions of the decade. She’s all about precise silhouettes, stunning pantsuits and flowing dresses to accentuate her statuesque frame. We’re also loving Billy Porter’s fashion choices; from his stylish hats and eye-catching embellishments, to his voluminous silhouettes, to his bold and brazen matching of prints. Suffice it to say, he is almost single-handedly evolving the status quo as we speak!
We cannot stress this enough - it’s important to figure out what you only love on someone else vs what you love on yourself. These are tricky waters that one only learns to chart with experience (and a few mistakes along the way)! The key to avoiding duplication? Dissect whyyou love what you love.
We suggest mixing and matching the features you love from a range of different outfits and people, so as not to appropriate someone else’s style. This will also lend you the opportunity to truly question the “little things” that make or break your outfits. Remember, don’t be afraid to be experimental. Fashion is ALL about having fun!
Style Example: For instance, if you admire that darling scoop neckline on someone who wants to accentuate their decolletage, ask yourself whether you’d like the same effect for your body. Scoop necklines, in particular, tend to elongate the appearance of shorter necks and torsos.
Similarly, if you love the vibrant button-down shirt on your best friend, ask yourself whether you could find cause to wear it for your lifestyle. Remember, we’re trying to avoid buying items that will be banished to the back of your closet, and remain unworn even years down the line.
There’s a big difference between trends and fads. For one, fashion trends have a much longer lifespan. The primary way to tell between a trend and a fad is quite simple. Fads are typically novelty items that are driven by a very specific movement or era; eg. lace-up skinny jeans of the early 2000’s inspired by Shakira and Paris Hilton or dresses and skirts worn over jeans, also belonging to that same era.
Trends, on the other hand, are typically alterations to the classics. These are items that you can see yourself wearing even 5+ years down the line; think animal print clothing that became popular in the 1970s and is still worn to this day, or denim jackets that were a rebellious symbol for counterculture youth as early as the 60s!
Style Example: To tell between a trend and a fad, think about our three main ingredients; versatility, modernity and sustainability.
Is it versatile enough to be matched with other items in your wardrobe? Is it chic enough to withstand the test of time? (A great way to tell if this is true is to check whether there are other similar styles that have been in the fashion cycle for a long time). And lastly, does it involve sustainable and ethical manufacturing practices that are compatible with our ever-growing socially conscious society?
Most people flinch at the idea of a uniform, quickly dismissing the word as too blasé or boring. We’re here to convey quite the opposite! Having 5 go-to luxury fashion “uniforms” or ensembles that you absolutely love reaps two major benefits:
1. It saves you so much time every morning and completely takes away the decision fatigue (not to mention a bed piled high with discarded outfits).
2. It compels you to put together outfits at your leisure and seriously think about things like prints, colours, and silhouettes.
We suggest trying on each outfit and snapping a pic for posterity. Our advice? Go the whole nine yards! Make sure your chosen outfits include everything from hats and headbands to stockings and shoes.
Style Example: Did you love the way you looked in that stunning patchwork shirt and pair of wide-leg trousers? That’s a winning combo! Save it in your memory bank. This will serve as an amazing point of reference during your next shopping spree.
Even the most style-savvy fashionistas need a second opinion every now and then. Don’t be shy to recruit an expert. The benefits speak for themselves. For one, you will have so much more time on your hands to spend with your friends and family. No more resorting to last-minute haphazard online shopping sprees that end with fewer hits than misses.
A personal stylist is trained to keenly assess your sense of style, pick trendy apparel that flatters both your figure and your lifestyle, and even steer you away from pieces that have a short shelf life. You’ll end up with a wardrobe that’s colour-coordinated, neatly organized and easy to take in at a glance. The result? You’ll likely have an awesome outfit practically leap out at you from the shelf every day of the week!
Style Example: Secret Location’s personal stylists are a wonderful place to start! You will get expert advice on how to build a wardrobe that’s rife with luxury wardrobe staples and trends, as well as advice for special events, latest arrivals, promotions, offers, upcoming events and so much more. It’s definitely worth a try even if you’re initially hesitant. So many shoppers have admitted that having an unbiased professional consultant help them put together stunning outfits was life-changing!
Luxury fashion and sustainability should go hand in hand with our socially savvy shopping decisions. This is perhaps the most important tip of all; shop brands that are aligned with your expectations both from an ethical and consumer standpoint. This is one of the best ways to navigate luxury wardrobe staples and trends; narrow down your search to pieces that check all the boxes on your list.
Unsurprisingly enough, The 2020 Consumer Culture Report shows that 83% of millennials have cited value alignment as one of the main driving forces they look for when shopping. This trend is sweeping the country with more and more socially conscious shoppers making better buying decisions for their closet and the planet.
Style Example:Think about a few values that have shaped your life and your way of interacting with different brands. For instance, do you prioritize luxury fashion sustainability and quality in every piece of clothing you own? Do you prefer items that are durable and have been sourced ethically? Don’t compromise on your standards.
And with that, we’ve officially reached the end of our journey together! But remember, this heralds only the beginning of your style odyssey which will now be fuelled by savvier shopping decisions and a closet that actually reflects your unique sense of self.
What are our key takeaways when navigating luxury fashion staples and trends? As stated, the term ‘trend’ has picked up a lot of flak over the years and is largely dismissed as being for the fashion acolytes who jump onto any new bandwagon that hits the runway. We’re here to confirm that shopping for trendy items is encouraged - in fact, it’s what keeps you constantly evolving your style statement and unlocking a new sense of confidence and comfort with the clothing choices you make every day.
That said, it’s equally important to be aware of timeless apparel built for longevity. We’re talking cozy denims, sturdy trousers, white tees, versatile jackets, and more, i.e. items that defy all odds and become your lifelong companions. We’re also referring to items that are sustainable and durable, and brands that closely align with your personal values. Remember, a little preparation before you actually hit the shopping trail can take you a long way.
Wishing you a safe and successful shopping journey!