Fashion: Can we be truly individual or are we all led by trends?

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Fashion and beauty bloggers share their views on whether fashion can be truly individual and what influences them to follow a trend.

After David’s article last week about where fashion trends come from, I thought it would be interesting to follow up by talking to some of my favourite fashion and beauty bloggers and finding out what is the primary influence in their choice of fashion and whether they feel they follow trends of have their own individual style.

It’s a question I often ask myself. I feel that I am (in general) quite stylish and have a good eye for fashion, but wonder if it really is my own style or whether I’m just following what the fashion industry has told me looks good.

An example would be the following: –

Regular readers of top5beauty and those who follow me on twitter, will know that for the last month or so I have been obsessed with Zara’s camo jacket and having finally bought it last week, it’s now pretty much attached to my skin. But will I still like it in a years time when it’s not in vogue? Hopefully you get what I mean – do I like because I really like it, or is because I kept seeing it in magazines and online and my mind was being subliminally programmed to desire it!

Of course, there are items in my wardrobe that have been there for years and I wear on a regular basis, but when I think about them, they tend to be the sort of timeless items, black dresses etc. On the other hand, a rummage through my hall cupboard, which is the final resting place of unwanted garments and I find countless items of clothing that I wouldn’t dream of wearing now, yet loved at the time.

As I write this, I’ve just seen a pair of tartan trousers on Topshop and feel compelled to buy them. Tartan trousers, seriously? I’m a patriotic scot and all, but if I had seen someone wearing these in the street a year ago surely I would have had a little chuckle to myself?

So I guess that’s conclusive proof if ever I needed it that I am definitely influenced by the media and trends, but I’m going to say that I still have my own style in there somewhere.

Anyway, enough about me! I sent out emails to some of my blogging friends on Sunday with the following questions: –

1) Do you feel you have your own individual style, or do you tend to follow trends?
2) What is the biggest influence in your fashion choice?

I got some really interesting responses and it was great to hear different points of view on a subject that I have often wondered about. Here they are!

 

Jennifer from The Big Burd (@thebigburdblog)

This is actually a far more difficult question to answer than I thought it would be. I mean it should be simple, It’s a personal question, I’m answering it about myself, yet I seem to be really struggling with it.

The thing is I don’t really know if I have an individual style or whether I am only picking out clothes because I think they are fashionable or because I think other people will like them.

I mean if someone told me this time last year that right now I would be wearing a pair of skin tight high shine leggings I would have laughed at them. Yet here I am trying to answer this question wearing a pair of disco pants!! but I do really like them…at least I think I do!

I’m really torn when it comes to fashion. Part of me thinks that people wearing bowler hats look really cool, the other part of me thinks that they look like absolute twats!

In conclusion I was terrible at answering that question and unfortunately I can’t really give you a straight answer! I would say I am easily influenced therefore I probably am a trend follower, without necessarily wanting to be!

What is the biggest influence in your fashion choice?

I think the main influence in my fashion choice is my mood. especially when it comes to colour. I probably don’t notice it on a daily basis but when looking back through outfit pictures it becomes more obvious. I have been going through a bout of depression recently and have been wearing more black clothes than ever! I don’t think that’s a coincidence.

I would say I am also influenced by the media, I buy a lot of magazines and watch a lot of TV and I am influenced by the things I see celebrities wearing.

I also thing my style changes depending on who I’m with, different groups of friends, family members, work colleagues sometimes it is easy to feel that you need to dress a certain way depending on where you are or the company you are with.

I am also definitely influenced by my fellow bloggers! reading blogs is by far my favourite way of getting outfit inspiration. It’s so refreshing to see an outfit that’s been styled by the person wearing the clothes and not just put on them by a professional stylist! It’s also nice to see clothes on people with realistic bodies! not airbrushed celebrities!

 

Kayleigh from Coutoure Girl (@k_leexjx)

This is a tough one for me as I wouldn’t say I am either. As much as I love bring up to date with trends, if I don’t like something I won’t wear it just because it’s ‘in fashion’. For example, lots of people are loving ‘flatforms’ at the moment and I just find them ridiculous. I wouldn’t say I have my own particular style though either – I just tend to buy what I like and what suits me and my body type. I always thinks its good to have classic pieces in my wardrobe too that can be worn for years and not just one season.

What is the biggest influence in your fashion choice?

I would say my biggest fashion influence is 100% other bloggers. I love seeing what ‘real’ girls so to speak are wearing instead of size 0 supermodels that none of us are really going to look like.
Some bloggers out there have incredible style and although I’m not brave enough to wear very ‘out there’ items of clothing, I like to take inspiration from them and adjust it to something that suits me.

Of course I take inspiration from my favourite celebrities and fashion websites too. I always love checking out topshops ‘new in’ section to get some inspiration.

Honestly though I think as long as you are confident in what you wear and dress yourself according to your body type, you can’t go wrong.

 

Rachel from What A Beauty (@whatabeautyblog)

My friends always say ‘That’s SO Rachel’ when we’re out shopping so I guess I do have my own individual style! I think my style is quite classic, with a twist of glam – I’m drawn to timeless pieces that can be styled in different ways depending on mood and situation – glammed up or dressed down.

However I do think my individual style is also influenced by current trends, for instance I’m having a love affair with anything that has a decorated/ studded/ leopard print collar at the moment! I will never consciously make an effort to be bang on trend as I prefer to wear clothes that suit my body shape and personal taste. My favourite places to shop are Zara, Warehouse and French Connection. As high-street fashion stores they all roll out the latest fashion trends, so I inevitably will end up adopting them into my own individual style.

What is the biggest influence in your fashion choice?

The biggest influence in my fashion choice has to be my own personal taste – I wouldn’t wear something if I didn’t like it, or if it didn’t suit me and I felt uncomfortable. I also get inspiration from reading fashion blogs and seeing how ‘normal’ people (as opposed to models and celebrities) are styling certain pieces, and discovering their amazing finds.

 

Louisa from Paisley and Pearl (@LouisiMJ)

I’d have to agree with David’s point about the difficulty of knowing where a trend has originated from, as inspiration for fashion trends is different for every individual. The point about the celebrities is one I consider myself – having been interested in fashion since I was very small, it’s very transparent that few celebrities carry their own style choices in day to day life, these are often put forward by stylists as David says. This to me makes celebrities less of an inspiration to my fashion choices, and more the stylists themselves who have selected designer pieces but added their own taste into the overall outfit. Everyone looks up to designers as they ‘create’ the trends, which in a way they do, they are the decider in what is considered a must have, but even they get inspiration from past trends – which is where I prefer to get a certain amount of inspiration from.

There are some days where I have a real feel for picking out items in a charity shop, I prefer to find old pieces with detail, and make them look on point to my current style – but the decider for me of whether that item is ‘on trend’ has more to do with the fit and cut of a piece, rather than it being certain items of clothing that follow a trend – it is the cut of items and the way they are fitted to the body on the catwalks that I tend to take note of more than anything.

I am definitely more vintage focused with my style. The high street/designer pieces can offer the sharp tailoring when I need certain pieces, but my main focus with outfits are vintage items paired with basics from the high street. I feel like my phase for needing that must have item, usually from Topshop, has now subsided, as you know the next time you go out wearing that item, you’ll see many other clones out and about. To me, that isn’t sticking to your own individual style, that’s where people get subconsciously bullied into buying an item which will be at the back of their wardrobe in a month.

Being a student and living on a budget definitely makes you think twice about splashing out on items – when I’ve had less money is when I’ve been the most creative with my style and stuck to what I am, and I love wearing, not going crazy in a high street store and buying items everyone else has!

 

Jenny G from Beauty And The Biryani (@beautandbiryani)

Do you feel you have your own individual style, or do you tend to follow trends? I have to admit I was a huge ‘fashion victim’ in my younger days and wouldn’t be seen out in anything that wasn’t on trend! Since having kids and growing older it’s simply not possible – for me – to be ‘bang on trend’ all the time. I do still keep an eye on things and follow fashion as far as possible but now it’s tailored to fit in with my age (cough) and budget and has developed into more of a laid back affair! Although for nights out I still try to keep up to date without looking like mutton dressed as lamb!  I do think as you get older you grow to know what suits you best and can therefore pick up the elements of fashion that flatter you the most!

What is the biggest influence in your fashion choice? 

Whether it’s on trend (old habits die hard!), price and whether I’ll get my money’s worth/wear out of it (see – only the first would have mattered in days gone by and the second and third points wouldn’t even have crossed my mind!).

 

Donna from Not Just On The Inside (@VonFluffy)

No I am like a chameleon, one day I will wear a 1940s tea dress and the next ill be wearing a hoodie and jeans, I just wear what I feel like on the day, I dont stick to one trend, Id rather take an outfit from each trend that I like and wear it when it suits me.

What is the biggest influence in your fashion choice?

Body shape…Im a size 16 so I will always make sure I buy clothes to suit my body shape

 

Tracy from Fantastic Fun Fashion (@T17KBL)

I’d like to feel I am a little bit of both, I have an hourglass figure and not all trends work for me but that doesn’t deter me for mixing and matching new trends with what I know suites me for instance I love converse I really do but I know I can’t rock the skinny jeans and band tee combo like a size 10 but I mix it up my way by teaming the tee with a skater skirt and cons, that’s what I do with most looks, I can style the top half and shoes with super cute up to date clothes but waist down to knee I stick with what I know. So anyway I feel I am both! I hope that’s not a cop out!

What is the biggest influence in your fashion choice?

I love the catwalk looks but they are too over the top for me (Mulberry and all the hair this year, seriously why?!) my biggest influence is Dior’s style, I like classic chic and glamour, 70% of my wardrobe is dresses, I am a girly girl at heart.

 

Olivia from The Unknown Beauty Blog (@Fauxlivia)

I have definitely developed my own style being at the age that I am a forty something. It is a casual style more than the trendy stuff, yet I do like those slouchy clothes with the skinny jeans. Do I follow trends? Yes, if they suit me. But no if I find I can’t wear them in real life like many of the runway looks which I know is mostly editorial.

What is the biggest influence in your fashion choice?

Biggest influence would be comfort and of course price. If I can’t wear an outfit and feel good about it in real life no matter how expensive or even cheap, it is worthless. And by comfort I don’t mean the comfy pajama look. Sure I like casual, sure I like to get dressed up and the clothes have to look good on me and move with me. I also like it when I get my money worth out of clothing like my Helmut Lang coat.

I bought this coat way back in the early 90’s and still have it. It is a well made coat and the style is slouchy but as you know, Helmut Lang clothes are adaptable for any decade. I still have it and wear it! :-)

 

Sammi from She’s Looking At The Stars (@sammi1203)

It’s such a difficult question to answer; I feel I do both to an extent. I follow trends but personally I would only wear something that I liked, I’m not the kind of person who just wears something just to be on trend. At the same time I wouldn’t say my look was a completely individual style, could anyone say there style was truly unique? I do try and make each outfit that I wear my own, but as everyone has a tendency to shop in the same places there will always be someone somewhere with say the same jacket as you.

What is the biggest influence in your fashion choice?

I wouldn’t say that I got my influence from one place, rather a range of places. I take inspiration from magazines, blogs (especially Tumblr), TV shows and just the people around me. Perhaps the people around me have the most influence; after all no one wants to seem too different and unique, everyone wants to be the same and fit into some extent.

 

Anna from La Pulcinella (@LaPulcinella)

everyone has a personal style. some try to re-create someone elses style (which still can be personal) and some improvise independently themselves from trend-setting (as an initial tool to another hype) to “not following any trends at all”.

however, i think that that everyone (you can’t deny!) is influenced by certain contemporary directions to some extent.

speaking personally, i interpret a hype for myself, then decide whether to transform it to my personal taste and appearance or not (which mainly depends on my taste).

while some things simply don’t fit me, others do. i guess that’s the point when individuality happens. it would be nonsense to wear something you’re not feeling (at least) comfortable in just for the trend’s sake.

What is the biggest influence in your fashion choice?

(already said above haha but writing it again)

the biggest influence of my fashion choice is my taste. it’s the inner voice telling me whether i like something and whether it fits me or not. as i said – trends are a small factor to what catches my eye but it’s my taste telling me where i’m going to find myself in.

 

Hollie from Hollie’s Blogs (@holliesblog)

I’ve always loved fashion. I think I have my own style because I might see something in a shop, and really hate it. That’s why. I think we all have our own styles, but current trends influence them and maybe distort them a bit. For instance I love wearing wire headbands and scarfs in bows in my hair and a line skirts and cameo necklaces, and I will wear them a lot, but if, a glam grunge look comes in, I will have the leather biker jacket, but make it my own by putting a scarf bow in my hair and wearing a grey a line skirt.

What is the biggest influence in your fashion choice?

A big influence of my fashion choices are definitely magazines, high street store windows and fashion websites. Also just what I see people wear in the street, if I like something I’ll remember it then google it that night or think what I have similar to create their look.

 

Izzy from Msizzyness’s World (@HansonIzzy)

I wouldn’t really say that I have my own individual style, however I don’t always go for the things that are “trendy” because sometimes I don’t like the things that are supposed to be fashionable or I might like the clothes but not on me.

What is the biggest influence in your fashion choice?

The biggest influence in my fashion choice is my gut instinct really. I tend to go for things that I know will suit me and that I like.

 

Charlotte from Colours and Carousels (@colourscarousel)

Personally, I think everyone has their own individual style despite following trends or not. Each person puts their own spin on the trends and I like to think that I definitely have my own individual style.

What is the biggest influence in your fashion choice?

If you’d asked me this a year or so ago I’d definitely say magazines, but since I’ve discovered street style and personal style blogs they have had a definite impact on my choices. I love seeing how people can take the same item and interpret it in their own way which has a huge influence on how I now put together my outfits. I used to be really shy about what I wore and felt I had to ‘fit in’ but now my confidence has really grown and I’m not afraid to wear what I want!

 

Merelle from Merelleabella (@merelleabella)

I like to believe I have my own individual style, but when I really think about it, I haven’t exactly set any trends myself, or just ‘conjured up’ a look and rolled with it, it has come from somewhere! I remember when I was younger, my style was slightly different…And to be completely honest I wasn’t fashionable at all! I started wearing hi-top trainers when I was 14 (air force ones if I remember correctly) and mens baggy jeans from Tk Maxx, and I would wear a little folded bandana on my head. I loved hip-hop and looking back, I was basically trying to be Tupac with my clothes etc. He was my inspiration. It wasn’t a good look at all, it wasn’t fashionable in any way, my friends didn’t particularly enjoy my look and it certainly wasn’t in the magazines etc. However, I have had a love of hi-top trainers since then, based on my love of music, but now hi-tops are actually everywhere! All the celebs are wearing them and they are really popular, and I’m not entirely sure where it came from to be honest. It obviously didn’t come from me LOL, but I’m not sure who instigated this trend. Fashion Illuminati? So, even though hi-tops are a trend, I wear them because I have always worn them, because I like them.

Nowadays, if I’m completely honest I would say I follow trends to an extent. We all like to think we have our own style, but unless you physically make your own clothes, when you purchase your clothes you are essentially buying in to a trend. I would say that I customise trends / looks to make them more individual. And we all love a good accessory to make a look ‘our own’. I used to think I was really individual by shedding up my jeans, but I wouldn’t do this now, and it’s basically because my tastes have changed subconsciously- because it’s not ‘in fashion’ anymore. To conclude the question, I believe I have my own individual style, however I will jump on a new trend in a second if I feel it suits me!

What is the biggest influence in your fashion choice?

I would say the media. The internet and girly magazines are where I spot items of fashion that I wasn’t even aware that I liked prior to seeing them on paper or online! My favourite website is asos / asos marketplace and Topshop, I can spend hours on there getting inspired and buying clothes.However I won’t just wear something purely because it’s all over the media. At one point the harem pants were everywhere, but I hated them and I never went there. The same goes for the wee bowler hats, I never went there because it’s just not ‘me’. I would say, in addition to the media, I suppose my own individuality does actually influence my style.

 

Lili from Lili Rose (@liliroseblog)

I feel like I try and do both and balance them. If I see a jacket styled on the runway, I always wonder how I can adapt it to the clothes and outfits I already have in my wardrobe instead of thinking up whole new outfits. I feel like trends do play a big part in my fashion choices but instead of running out and buying everything that’s “trendy” or “in style” at the moment, I like to buy statement pieces and customize them to add a bit of individuality to it to make it more personal to my style and not the same statement piece that everyone else bought.

What is the biggest influence in your fashion choice?

I live in London and hang around London a lot so my fashion choices are influence by a mix of what other people are wearing. I feel like the people are experimental and confident in their fashion choices and it encourages me to be a bit bolder when it comes to fashion.

 

Amelia from xameliax (@xameliax)

I like to think I have my own style but I’m certainly influenced by trends although probably more unconsciously than anything else. If there’s more of a certain trend in the shops (i.e. studs or skulls) you’re more likely to end up with those things in your style!

What is the biggest influence in your fashion choice?

I think the biggest influence for me is what other bloggers are wearing or the trends that are in the shops. I think my mood also influences me on a daily basis, if I’m feeling happy the brighter colours come out!

 

Miss B from fabugloss (@Fabugloss)

I have definitely been a victim of following trends, especially when I was younger. I think everyone looks back at old photos or items in their wardrobe and thinks… what the hell was I thinking of? But I think that’s part of the fun of fashion and clothes. If you enjoy what you are wearing and it makes you feel good and gives you confidence, then hopefully it was the right choice at the time! Well, that’s the theory anyway… I know that in the past I’ve been influenced by music, I definitely had my “Britpop” phase as a teenager (from the ages of 14-16yrs specifically) and loved my Adidas zipper jacket, old school gazelle and puma trainers and my friends and I would scour vintage and second hand shops for old tops, band t-shirts and shirts from the 70’s with massive lapels (seriously) I wore my brown flared cords so much I wore them to threads and all the while looked like every other teen that was really into Blur/Pulp/Oasis at the time. Another favourite was a brown suede wrap skirt…until I spilled coffee on it and that was the end!

As time progressed I would say that my friends and I would dress similarly, especially when it came to going out and you can still see it in groups of women and girls now doing this, when you spot a bunch of friends at a bar or club kind of all dressed the same…but slightly different. Trends can be comforting and give confidence, whether it’s validation from your mates or from other people, I know I generally appreciate it more when another girl compliments me on my clothes as I think that women tend to know more about what’s “in fashion” where as some (not all I hasten to add!) guys (my boyfriend included) will just say “that’s nice” or “I don’t like it” when asked for an opinion. Despite that, I do think more and more that it’s important to dress for yourself and what makes you feel good. I have a huge interest in magazines, and street fashion/blogs and love seeing what other people are wearing and how they put their own twist on something, even if something is seen as being in fashion and everyone seems to be wearing it, it’s always nice to see how someone will interpret that to fit in with their own style. I think that is what makes someone truly stylish, alongside confidence.

Just now I would say that I don’t have a set particular “style” but I know what I’m drawn to which is funky/oversized unusual jewellery and accessories scarves/brooches/necklaces (At work I’m known for my accessories as I find it the easiest and quickest way to style up an outfit and have a pretty scary amount of costume jewellery, people often comment on my latest strange statement necklace/ring in the office, which I quite like as I don’t work in a very creative environment and dressing up brings a bit of fun to the working day) leopard print, layering, blazers, bright lipstick, studs, “ghetto gold” hoops earrings and chains flat shoes ballet flats/brogues/etc, vintage dresses, peep toe heels…. the list goes on. I wear what I feel like on the day, which changes with time, but I think that’s what keeps things interesting :)

What’s the biggest influence in your fashion choice?

A whole range of things, magazines, TV, fashion blogs, what I see other people wearing, celebrities, what’s in the shops… I also know it’s important to be aware of your own body shape, not be a slave to every trend and adapt things to make them your own and to suit you. If it makes you feel good and gives you confidence, wear it!

 

Missy from Never A Dull Moment (@NeveraDullMomnt)

I feel that i have my own style, but mix it up with trends that are in at time, but only if i feel they will collaborate well with my own sense of style and suit my curvy shape.

What is the biggest influence in your fashion choice?

My biggest influence is that it fits nicely flattering my curves and is comfortable yet i feel stylish and confident in it. I cannot wear anything in the daytime that i feel uncomfortable in where as night time i an push the boundaries and be more daring with new looks.

My style seems to be chic yet comfortable. When it comes to clothing i like to keep my day time outfits simple and dress them up with accessories. So i tend to love skinny jeans and plain leggings with vintage floral tops or structured dresses i team with the leggings. I always style my outfit up from my footwear and always enjoy wearing whimsical or vintage jewelry. Most of my pieces are classic, i could never grow tired of pencil skirts, blouses or blazer jackets. I like my shoes to always be classy and not too high but just that little bit daring also.

 

And finally… a couple of male perspective on fashion from David who wrote last week’s article and Cyrus from Je Suis Gargoyle.

 

David from Surround (@thindenim)

Hmmm… my first thought is I have no style, but the more I think about it I suppose by not having any style I actually do! Certainly I’m not one to follow trends and have been wearing pretty much the same outfit (or variation of) for the last 15 years or so. Jeans, t-shirt (must be dark), trainers, if it’s cold a grey hoodie. So I guess while I couldn’t say I was individual, I definitely stick to a certain look.

I also know how I should dress to avoid humiliation from my peers. If I was to turn up to the pub in a pair of red chinos I would be frogmarched straight back out again. Not that I would ever turn up to the pub (or anywhere) in red chinos. Chinos of any colour for that matter.

For dressing smart I have been coerced into slim fit suits and yes, I can see that they do look good. I suppose this was following a bit of a trend, although, like my casual look I will probably never change it now. At least not until my chocolate bar addiction finally catches up on my waist line.

Biggest influence in my fashion sense would probably be music. Playing in a band and growing up in the 90s I think I just fell into this look, which I guess in turn is influenced by the 60s. Retro is always cool right?

Anyway, that’s my twopence worth on fashion, something I never thought I would be asked my opinion on! Until today the biggest question for me in terms of fashion has been black or dark grey t-shirt. If you’re interested, today’s is dark grey.

 

Cyrus of Je Suis Gargoyle

Not to insult sheep but I have never really been one. I lie, when I have felt somewhat down about myself I have played it ‘safe’ in terms of not wishing to scare others too much with how I want to present myself to said humans. Hmm. Others have told me I do have an individual style however I seem to have an uncanny knack for mixing that with that which is relevant for the current themes in ‘now fashion’. I used to love shopping in topman but have not visited that shop since the abhorrent birth of one direction and their many clones. To call their ranges pedestrian would be too complimentary. And so my love to hate/hate to love rapport with fashion continues. Sometimes I want to have sex with it, sometimes I want it to be assassinated. No strong opinion either way really!!

Question (twit)two: What is the biggest influence in your fashion choice?

Music. I could easily just use that one beautiful, peaceful, omnipresent word, but why do that when I can utilise a million. Since I first heard the longing echoes of siouxsie and the banshees when I was but four years old I have loved music in all its forms. The life blood of music speaks to me and fashion often acts as a medium to express those sounds in visuals. Deciding what to wear is a task at times. I wish every day could be a dressing up party so I could put outlandish fun outfits together and pounce and pirouette down the street. Perhaps in a parallel universe I do!?!

 

Thank you so much to all who took part and it’s been so interesting finding out where people get their fashion influences from. I think overall, magazines have the biggest influence on me personally and generally after flicking through my copy of grazia I am drawn to my ipad, onto topshop and into more debt!

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading all our opinions, but don’t let the discussion stop here! Please feel free to answer the questions yourself by leaving a comment below, or just give us your general thoughts on fashion trends and what influences you.