The Ultimate Guide to Incorporating Trends Into Your Closet

AKA, how to make trends work for you and your style.

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How to Use Trends 101 Main Image

For all my talk about styling, I’ve never talked about the one thing I get the most questions about: trends.

Trends are ever-changing (duh!), and with the trend cycle accelerating, it can be difficult to keep up.

But trends can also help you experiment with your style, and they can open up new avenues for inspiration.

For instance, maybe you try Pantone’s color of the year (Peach fuzz) for the first time and realize it’s actually your *perfect* color. Or maybe leopard print works with everything in your closet. And you never would’ve known if it wasn’t trending.

This week, I’ll share all my tips and tricks for using trends and incorporating them into your closet for the long term.

Trends are easy and affordable to shop for, and it’s easy to find inspo on how to wear them. By nature, trends are ubiquitous when they’re in style.

Unfortunately, this also means they come and go fast. Today, we love cherry red, bows and ribbons, and leopard print. Tomorrow? It might be olive green, cowboy boots, and camo.

So what happens after this short lifespan? What do you do with those trendy pieces you bought? Is peach fuzz still your perfect shade? Or does leopard print still work with the rest of your closet?

How can you be sure that a trend works for you long after it leaves your FYP?

Let me help you figure out how to work with trends without shopping too much and ensuring you will get a bang for your buck. Or decide you don’t need to add them to your closet after all.

Here are some easy tips and tricks to help you work with trends and figure out if they’re for you.

  • Like goes with like. Try incorporating things that already match your style or what you have in your closet.
  • Start small. If you want to try something that isn’t in your comfort zone, start with accessories or shoes first.
  • Classic or statement? Depending on your style, is that trend going to be a classic, everyday item or a statement piece in your closet?
  • Aesthetics are fun, but not everything. Aesthetics are trendy and made up of trendy pieces, but before you adopt a new aesthetic, consider your existing closet. If it requires buying a whole new wardrobe, it’s probably not a smart choice.
  • Borrow before shopping. Before buying a trendy piece, borrow it from a friend or family member to try it out first. See how you feel about it before you spend money on it.

How to Use Trendy Pieces in Your Wardrobe: Examples

For this guide, I chose a couple of trendy colors, patterns, pieces, and aesthetics to use as examples. Let’s get started.

Outfit 1 (Easy): Cherry Red

For our first look, let’s go with a *very* trendy color: Cherry red.

Since last year, red has taken over our feeds and stores. Personally, I’m here for it because I looove red. But what about you? How can you know if red is for you?

Trends 101 Outfit #1: White t-shirt, medium wash jeans, red velvet Mary-Jane flats, red purse, heart earrings, gold necklace, gold and red rings

For this example, I started with a neutral base: a cotton, white t-shirt and blue denim jeans.

Now, let’s add a pop of red. I chose a pair of red velvet Mary Jane flats and accessorized with a cherry red purse and a red statement ring. The rest of my accessories are simple: gold rings and a necklace.

As you can see, adding a trendy color is easy. I could’ve just used the flats and left everything else neutral. But it made sense for me to add more red items because I have a rainbow closet and love color. Extra color = my personal style.

But if you’re not a color lover like me, red is also a great addition to a mostly neutral closet.

The most important thing to remember is that red demands attention. So, if you’re not comfortable with that or prefer less color, you can use just one item to bring in that intensity. This could be a pair of shoes, earrings, a ring, or a bag.

Outfit 2 (Easy): Bows/Ribbons & Peach Fuzz

Now, let’s try a combination of trends.

Bows have been appearing here and there since the Fall/Winter season. Now, they’re everywhere. They’re so feminine and so easy to incorporate into an outfit.

Then, we have Pantone’s color of the year: Peach Fuzz. Love it or hate it, that peachy color is working its way into our favorite stores.

Trends 101 Outfit #2: Pink polka dot set, peach fuzz ribbons, pink ballet flats

For my look, I chose a ballet pink, polka dot long-sleeve shirt and pants set as a base. Then, I added pink ballet flats to follow a monochromatic, ballet theme.

Finally, I did my hair up and accessorized with a pair of peach velvet (too literal?) bows.

This outfit is already in my comfort zone, and I just added a small, trendy accessory to take it up a notch. The set is actually pinker than the bows, but since the bows are so small, it is easy to overlook that they’re not a perfect match.

Let’s start by talking about Peach Fuzz.

I’m not a big fan of light, peachy colors: I feel those shades wash me out, and I need a bit more contrast. (Read about my experience with color analysis here.) But in small doses, like bows, I think they work with other pieces in my closet.

If you have a warm neutral closet, peach fuzz might be a good addition as another neutral. If you have a cool neutral palette, peach might work better as a pop of color.

On the other hand, how do you know if bows work for you?

Bows are immediately associated with romantic, girly-girl styles, and that’s just not everyone’s cup of tea. But if that’s your style, you can work them in easily. For instance, you can wear bigger, bolder bows with more casual looks. And dainty, detailed bows look great with sexier or more dressed-up outfits.

However, if you have a more classic, androgynous, boho, or sporty type of style, bows are probably going to be tricky for you. I’d stick to simpler, smaller ribbons that you can tie however you want, in matte fabrics and colors that match your closet.

Outfit 3 (Easy): Leopard Print

Leopard print has made a strong comeback. It started trickling in with Ganni’s viral jeans (and their whole Spring line, honestly) and then with the Mob Wife aesthetic.

Leopard print is usually made up of neutrals, so it will work with most wardrobes. To make it easier to style, choose a less saturated and contrasted version of the print.

Trends 101 Outfit #3: Leopard print skort, white t-shirt, brown corduroy shirt, white sneakers

For this outfit, I paired a white t-shirt with a leopard print skort. The print, instead of its usual light and dark browns, is made up of all-dark brown shades.

Then, to add more texture and a layer, I threw on a brown corduroy shirt. Finally, I grabbed a pair of white sneakers with a very subtle leopard print detail.

As you can see, a less saturated version of a viral print makes it more subtle and timeless no matter what your style is.

Again, this print might not be for everyone, but there are so many variations of it. Chances are, you can find a leopard item that suits your style and will be in your closet for a long time.  

Outfit 4 (Medium): Tie-up Blouses

Another viral Ganni item that’s being emulated and copied everywhere: tie-up blouses. Specifically, the balloon-sleeved, peplum version.

Since this trend is more of an actual item instead of a color or print, it’s harder to decide whether it can fit in your closet.

I mean, it’s a cute blouse. We all have space for one, right?

Yes and no.

Not all items fit with all styles and comfort levels. So, if you love this blouse, instead of looking for an exact dupe, search for something similar that leans more toward your personal style.

Trends 101 Outfit #4: Orange tie-up blouse, black jeans, black sock booties

For example, take this look I created here.

First, I wore a white and orange striped tie-up blouse. It has a large collar and white floral details. Then, to keep it casual, I added black straight-fit jeans. Finally, for shoes, I went with a sleek pair of black sock booties.

As you can see, I got myself a tie-up blouse but in a slightly different fit.

Personally, I don’t love peplum waists, and I already have a few blouses with balloon sleeves. So, I wanted a tie-up blouse with a different waist and different sleeves. When I saw this one, I knew the color was perfect for me and I loved the fit, too.

This is what I mean when I say you should look for a version of a trend that works for you and your closet.

Look for the details that work for you, and don’t just shop for an exact dupe or item.

So if you want to try this type of blouse, consider how comfortable you are with just the ties as a way to close it, the fit of the blouse, and how much the feminine style of the blouse fits your vibe. Then find a suitable piece from there.

Outfit 5 (Medium): Leopard Jeans & Red Items

Now, let’s create an entire look using trends. To do this, my best tip is to pair an item in a popular solid color with a trendy print.

Let’s also consider fit. If one of the items has a trendy fit, like a tie-up blouse, ensure that your other item has a classic fit, like an Oxford shirt or just a t-shirt.

Trends 101 Outfit #5: Leopard jeans, white tee, red sweatshirt, red and white Adidas Sambas  

Look at this outfit to see what I mean.

I started with a white t-shirt and layered on a cherry red sweatshirt. Then, I wore a pair of trendy leopard print jeans. For accessories, I kept it simple with gold jewelry. Finally, I chose a trendier piece to finish, namely some white and red Adidas Sambas.

First, I know this combo is not for everyone, but it fits my colorful style to a T. The sweatshirt has a trendy red color, but it is such a classic design that it doesn’t look “trendy”.

In contrast, the leopard print jeans are more outwardly trendy. For the jeans, I didn’t want an exact dupe of Ganni’s muted print because it doesn’t fit my closet. So I looked intensely for at least a month and a half until I found a more contrasted, bright print that was better for me.

These choices make my jeans and sweatshirt work for me and my style instead of just working for the trendy moment.

The same goes for my sneakers. I like the look of Sambas, but personally, I prefer something less flat. When I saw there was a version with a bit more of a platform, in a color combination that I loved, I knew they were for me.

Outfit 6 (Medium): Bows and Scandi Pants

Now, we’re dipping our toes a bit more into a viral type of look, through a trendy piece. I’m talking about Scandi pants.

You’ve seen this outfit: a relaxed, loose-fitted pair of pants (usually in powder blue), a white tank top or shirt, and an oversized shirt or jacket. Those *almost* pajama pants are called Scandi pants.

Trends 101 Outfit #6: Orange bow Scandi pants, white button down, white baby tee, white sneakers

To create this outfit, I wore a white baby tee and loose-fitted, striped pants. The pants have bow details on the sides, and they’re orange and white. Then I added an oversized, white button-down shirt instead of a jacket. Finally, white sneakers kept everything comfortable and casual.

Just as I said earlier, you need to find a version of the trend that works for you.

For instance, I saw those pants everywhere, but I didn’t love the blue. Then I found this orange set (yes, it is a set with the tie-up blouse), and the color and details made it more interesting and fun for me.

FYI, this is an easy trend to try without shopping for anything. You just need a pair of elasticated, loose-fitting pants. I’d recommend borrowing a pair or using ones you already have, even if they’re pajamas, just to see how much you actually like them before you buy.

Outfit 7 (Difficult): Office Siren

Now, let’s tackle aesthetics. They can go just as viral as a particular color or item.

One such example is being called Office Siren. (Think Gisele Bundchen in The Devil Wears Prada.) Or just think of office-wear that you probably cannot wear to an actual office, but you can wear on girl’s night or date night.

To be honest, Office Siren doesn’t fit my personal style at all. I’m more of a colorful, loose-fit, comfort-first type. And this aesthetic is about form-fitting, sexier, dark neutrals.

Nonetheless, I gave it a shot.

Trends 101 Outfit #7 Office Siren Look: Black leather mini skirt, white cropped button-down shirt, grey blazer, white socks, black velvet pumps, glasses.

For my take on Office Siren, I started with a white cropped button-down shirt. Then, I paired it with a black leather mini. Important colors for an Office Siren look are charcoal or dark grey. So, to bring that in, I threw on a grey blazer.

For this aesthetic, the magic is in the details. I wore white socks with black velvet pumps. Then, I did my hair up and put in hair sticks. Finally, I used my glasses as a finishing touch.

First off, this outfit isn’t perfect, I know. But when you see it, you know exactly what inspired it.

Creating a look like this is a good way to decide whether an aesthetic fits you or if you just want to play with it. (No problem with that, it just helps to know!) It also helps you deduce what about that aesthetic calls to you. For some, it might be the makeup or the accessories. To others, the actual clothing items.

The thing with aesthetics is that you might feel you have to get all those new items to create that look and see what entices you about it. But you don’t.

Aesthetics are more of an idea than a particular look. So, you can totally emulate that vibe with things you have, making slight adjustments here and there.

Outfit 8 (Difficult): Costal Cowgirl

Beyonce is going Western, and so are we. Or at least, a good chunk of people are.

Costal Cowgirl is a toned-down version of the cowgirl aesthetic. There are lots of loose-fitting cotton dresses and cowboy boots, with a white and blue color scheme. Hats are optional.

This one is fun to me, but it’s not very close to my personal style. Which, again, makes it perfect as an example for our purposes.

Trends 101 Outfit #8 Costal Cowgirl Look: White shirt dress, denim vest, brown riding boots, brown belt

To test out the Costal Cowgirl aesthetic, I started with a white shirt dress. It comes with a matching white cotton belt, but I switched it with a brown leather belt with a bigger buckle. Then, I layered on a denim vest.

Finally, I chose brown riding boots to match the belt. I do have a few pairs of cowboy boots, but they’re silver and pink, and I don’t think they’d match the aesthetic as much.

I think, out of most popular aesthetics right now, Costal Cowgirl might be the easiest to try out. It’s made up of classic or basic items we all have, like denim skirts, jeans, and white shirts.

The only item you might need to borrow are the boots, but I do believe that even a pair of knee-high boots will do the trick just fine.

Outfit 9 (Difficult): Coquette

Finally, let’s tackle the one style that keeps coming back: The Coquette aesthetic.

Coquette is all about pink, ballet, pearls, ribbons, and lace. It’s an ultra-feminine, girly type of look.

Out of the three aesthetics I covered, this one is probably the easiest one for me since Coquette can go really camp with exaggerated silhouettes and maximalist accessories.

Let’s make it a bit more wearable and day-to-day.

Trends 101 Outfit #9 Coquette Look: Red and white baby doll dress, white socks, red velvet Mary Jane flats, pearl necklace.

First, I wore a red and white baby doll dress. The dress’s straps can be tied into bows, and it has a lovely lace detail on the skirt. Then, I added white socks with the red velvet Mary Jane flats from the first look. Finally, I accessorized with a pearl necklace and a white lace bow.

I think Coquette encompasses quite a few trends, so it explains how it has managed to stay in our focus for longer than expected. For instance, it includes bows, romantic silhouettes and fabrics, ballet flats, and mary-janes. Plus, pink and red have become the colors of the year (even more so than Peach Fuzz).

I do think that Coquette is easy to emulate with just color and fit; you don’t need to buy a specific dress or blouse to try it out!

Final Thoughts

Trends are tricky. For more than one reason, I don’t recommend buying trendy pieces. Instead, always try to emulate them first with what you already have. After all, keeping up with the trend cycle can get really expensive, and you might end up with a closet full of clothes that don’t work for you.

But trends are also fun and, most of the time, incredibly tempting. I love to see what’s trending and use it as inspiration to play with my clothes.

I’ve realized that observing the trends for a bit more time before buying anything has helped me decide what is just a shiny new thing and what is something that will work with my closet and personal style.  

So whenever you see a trend that excites you, try to emulate it with things you have, or borrow it. Then, take a breather and, while doing so, look at what you have and think of different outfit combinations that you could do with that trend and your clothes.

If, by then, you’re still thinking of it and you have at least 6 different outfits in mind, then you’ll be sure it is a trend that works for you. That’s the key to wearing a trend instead of being controlled by trends.

Would you wear any of these trends? What’s your favorite trend right now? Do you have any styling questions? Let us know in the comments below!

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