This is a very fascinating thread and I am totally confused. I do agree with Betty Crocker that women of a "certain age" get offered certain attire in the malls just like teens do. I seek out treasures. Feel like an explorer.

I agree that personal style needs fashion and trends. How much a person takes in the trends and how they interpret them is part of their creativity. I will wear cropped wide legged pants and will probably embrace that trend because it speaks to me. It also suits my pear/hourglass body. I reject (for myself) certain trends because they don't work for me. Trends are tools to express oneself.

Okay I am still confused.

I think what's happened is that to be a follower of trends has somehow become a sign of weakness. It's as if, you don't have the backbone or creativity to have your own style.

A few years ago I was looking at a lifestyle site, I think it was Refinery 29. There was a piece on a British blogger, with photographs. The lovely woman was wearing brightly colored floral print skinny jeans, but the caption read, "I don't follow trends, I wear what I like" or something to that effect. I thought this was so disingenuous!

Sustainability aside, what is so wrong with admitting you enjoy playing with the latest trends?

I love the philosophical discussions! And Caro's metaphor is brilliant: I'm knitting a nautical-esque pair of socks right now & they make me want to dive into some of my favourite seafaring novels (everything from The Long Ships to Pirates! to Valente's Book of the Sea in the first of The Orphan's Tales to good old Horatio Hornblower...and perhaps this is the year I'll finally connect with Patrick O'Brian...). I'm actually in the middle of Andrea Barrett's The Voyage of the Narwhal too, which is living up to that wonderful title.

But back to clothes. I had a wonderful time reading this thread (and thank you to Carter & TG for the shout outs!), and I completely agree that personal style & fashion are intertwined for everyone, to a greater or lesser degree (as over the years I've been unable to find 'dream items' to add to my personal style, due to their lack of trendiness!). I wonder if people's knee-jerk reaction to distance themselves from trendiness also has something to do with the fear of trying too hard (as always, Angie has wonderful thoughts on that)?

That being said, I do think being 'trendy' and 'stylish' have different connotations, and that the difference is useful, as Astrid described. Not as opposites or in a hierarchal sense though. Perhaps we need a Venn diagram option? I liked these Google graphs, illustrating how frequently the two words have been historically used. I suspect trendy is a child of the mass media & television age, as style can move at a much quicker rate and clothes are significantly more affordable than at any other point in history.

My own style is strongly influenced by outside sources (e.g. Phryne Fisher has me wanting to play with drapier looks and coveting silk florals), they just don't tend to be fashion magazines or other trend arbiters. They can definitely be fashion-related, though, and I get a huge enjoyment out of reading books and blogs/websites focused on dressing (I finally got to read Women in Clothes over the holidays & loved it) or watching television and movies that have a definitely aesthetic. I wouldn't describe my style as trendy, but it's certainly sarotorially aware; I don't think anyone would look at me and assume I'm not interested in clothes (so I guess I'm the opposite of norm core! hehe).

Having to rely primarily on secondhand clothing sources for my 20s, which is when I really began developing my style, has a lot to do with my style not being closely tied to trends: in thrift stores, there's so much variety, that it's easier to figure out what pleases you and fits your body well, even if its not what the fashion industry is promoting. That, and I don't need to impress anyone in my day-to-day life: by dressing in a more quaint way, I'm not giving up any necessary power. Having a purchasing power significantly below most of the forum members insulates me from the microtrends of YLF too. But I certainly don't think my (primarily-trend-oblivious) way is better, it's just what works best for me! And I still enjoy reading Angie's lists of upcoming seasonal trends, because I imagine it'll show up in the secondhand market in a year or two.

My trendiest item is probably skinnies; I latched on to these early (2005, when they only came with no stretch) and have been happily wearing them in body con cuts for years but have lately been finding myself reaching more often for more fluid trousers, sometimes tapered, sometimes not. Now, I would trace that change to 1) living in my wide wool trousers this winter, 2) watching too much of Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries and 1930s/1940s period pieces, 3) having higher expectations of comfort, & 4) finding a few with very high rises that hit my natural waist, which makes styling them w tops much easier. But, I doubt it's a coincidence that more voluminous trousers are currently a trendy option!

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E - O'Brian's Aubrey–Maturin books are fantastic, well worth a read imo.

Caro, I've tried Master & Commander twice in the past & wasn't able to get into it either time. But third time's the charm right?

I thought of a related question!

If your priority is personal style, what happens when one of your signature style pieces becomes trendy?

Do you keep wearing it, even though now it will be 'read' differently? Or do you find something new to wear?

Being trendy isn't one of my goals, but when one of my style loves becomes trendy (like peplums or longer full skirts or high rise trousers), I keep wearing it, and just hope I won't look too 'out of it' in another couple of years. So I'm not trend averse either, I suppose.

I'm not trend averse, either. On the contrary, I do try to keep track of what's trending so I can see which things I want to try. I absolutely don't mind wearing what's in style as long as it suits me. I just don't want to slavishly follow every trend that comes along and end up losing myself and my style in the process. Does that make sense? And nowadays there are usually enough trends that at least one will tickle my fancy--even if it's just a color, for example. Right now, I'm really enjoying the navy trend.

Been away for a bit, so I missed these conversations.

I wholeheartedly agree with you. I regularly wish I had more F in my uniform l

Eh, Angie once crowned me Queen Trendiest of them All.
My outfit for the Super Bowl, created entirely of my own volition, using items over a year old or even older, one of the items was close to five years old. Anyways it was photographed by three separate Barneys sales associates. Only my shoes were from there. One posted it on intsagram and it was liked by the Official Rodarte instagram account. I did wear a jersey by them, but I'm I didn't style in any way similar to their runway look with a fringed skirt.
I do find however interesting that the semantics of style on the forum generate more interest or discussion than current reality or even history of fashion.

ETA I did notice the change in Suz's example from her original text.