Is Fashion a Dictatorship?

Category5 is a fabulous online fashion experience dedicated to truth in fashion, shopping, and all things style. Lauren is dedicated to giving women all the tools they need to come away with an insightful, honest, and humorous look at where their style truly resides.

By Lauren Deloach, Editor of Category 5

I recently received an extremely passionate email from a reader who brought up the question of whether or not fashion is a dictatorship. If you break down the idea of new releases each season, one could see a fair connection to be made. The designers release what they believe to be the new “it” trends that simply must be followed, those trends trickle down across stores nationwide and finally into your closet if you so happen to have bought into said trend. To be as clear as possible, understand if you don’t already that there are more than four seasons of clothing released. For instance, while the temperatures may scream winter outside, we are in the middle of Resort Collection, and only weeks away from the release of Pre-Spring. From there you have Spring, Summer, Pre-Fall, Fall (which can encompass many releases), Holiday/Winter, and then back to Resort. All this clothing being released with designers telling us what is worth our time to purchase, that FYI they created themselves to profit, are they truly dictating our wardrobes! At the end of the style day, are we just mindless drones without a single unique thought that only know how to purchase what’s put in front of us each season? Let’s break it down shall we…

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From left to right: Kate Spade Davis Slim Leg Crop Pants (classic pants with flattering fit)- $248,; Tibi Paloma Shirt- $198 on sale (silk print top with blue accent collar, another classic), or price match with


#1- “Don’t be so unsuspecting and naïve.” If you don’t want to be that chick in the mall who is completely lost with zero clue about what she should be purchasing in the store, be very careful about listening to the salespeople. Understand that for better or worse, most work on commission, and they have mouths to feed that take precedence over whether or not you just bought a pile of junk that you’ll never wear. A reader recently emailed me struggling to figure out what to wear to a holiday party, and after sending me a picture of what the salesperson picked out for her (you read that right, she didn’t pick it out), I was appalled! Not only did she NOT love the look hundreds of dollars later, she was still at point zero not having a clue as to what to wear. If fashion is not to be a dictatorship, that means not only must you not let the designers be the end all be all as to what you wear, but you must not let the salespeople dictate your style either. When I’m approached and asked if I’m looking for anything in particular or need assistance, the only response they ever get back is “NO!” You need time to think for yourself and explore your own feelings before you can let anyone else step in and taint that process.

#2- “Yes they released it, but what does that mean in relation to your own perfect style?” New arrivals come out everyday online, and at a pretty similar pace in the stores. It’s important to understand that new and fabulous things are always going to be available for purchase, but you must ask yourself how that new release ties into your current lifestyle and what you already have in your wardrobe. If you have an amazing shoe collection but not one pair of dress pants to wear that you can honestly say fit you like a glove, it’s time to stop focusing on new shoe releases. If you love the color purple and it’s hands down your favorite, is it really necessary for you to purchase yet another black cardigan just because this one has bows on it, meanwhile you have no purple in your closet? Focus on both what you love, and what you need. This will save you a lot of time, and time is money.

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#3- “Keep an eye out for the classics.” Ladies, you really have to be wary of trends. A trend is defined as a veer in a new direction. What you have to break down is the correlation between that “new direction” and “the classics.” The classics are pieces that are timeless, beautiful, and essential to the point that you could be buried in it and still look on key. The pink trench coat, the oxblood burgundy patent leather pumps, the purple floral button down shirt, the tailored tuxedo pants, the silk print tops…ladies this is classic style. This is poetry in the world of style, as it’s timeless and never gets old. On the reverse axis, if we look at how huge the neon trend was a matter of months ago, will that really be relevant as we approach Spring 2013? Maybe, maybe not. Thus be careful how much money (if any at all) you’re willing to invest in trends that could be fly by night.

#4- “Skip the in-between seasons.” My best advice for style beginners…skip the in-between seasons. Skip them! Why invest money in Pre-Fall when you know the Fall collections are going to be showstoppers? That’s crazy talk. Save your money for the seasons that count. No two seasons are more crucial than Fall and Spring, everything else is just a build up. Hold onto your dollars, and if you by chance see something you LOVE in a “pre” collection, wait it out, as it will likely go on sale and then you’ll feel better about investing your dollars into it.

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#5- “Finally, use some common sense.” How many ways can designers release a purple cotton tee? No matter how many seasons it’s released, it’s still a purple tee. After you have a wardrobe that encompasses the essentials such as dress pants with a beautiful fit, pops of color mixed in with beautiful prints, and shoes that make you cry to even look at (and possibly cry when wearing them), it’s time to be very discerning about what you purchase next. This is the time when you’re looking for one-of-a-kind pieces that are truly beautiful…TO YOU…versus what the magazines deemed beautiful and on trend.

Follow these simple rules and you’ll be on your way to ensuring that as you are making your style truly your own by purchasing what you love, you won’t find yourself caught up in a dictatorship where designers and sales associates are defining your style for you.

**Stay tuned next week as I cover dressing for holiday events, and I delve into the poor style soul I referenced above that got duped into spending hundreds of dollars on total nonsense for her holiday event.**

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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