November 1, 2012

The Anatomy of a Trend

1. Camouflage  2. Tie dye  3. Wedge sneakers  4. Fair Isle  5. Captoe heels  6. Animal sweaters

I'm planning to try trends #1, 4 and 5 this year - which ones do you like?

"Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months." - Oscar Wilde

Today, let's talk about trends. I never used to buy trendy clothes. In fact, I am the girl who proclaimed she would never wear skinny jeans (whoops). If anything has changed about my style since blogging, being an early adopter of trends is it. It originally started because I wanted to try out trends and let you guys know if they worked in real life. But then I just started to love them. Like, a lot. Here's why:

1. Trends are different. I had a Nike Swoosh poster in high school that I hung upside down in my room because I was convinced I was the only person on the planet who had that poster hanging upside down. I was born with a very strong desire to be different, and trends help you do that.
2. Trends counteract boredom. I'm bored right now writing this! (j/k) But really, I swear that playing with accessories is just a grown-up version of building blocks, coloring, and being creative.
3. Trends push the envelope. I can be one sassy broad, and I like my clothing to reflect that. I also strongly believe that "the place you often look and feel your best is right outside your comfort zone." Trends help you push the limits.

So, what is a trend exactly? I came up with this life cycle to illustrate:

Step 1: The runways release a trend. It can be yours for just $20,000. (cue: expensive fashion magazines)
Step 2: Retail stores like Gucci and Chanel are the first ones to start mass producing the trend, and big budgets are able to try it first. (cue: expensive fashion blogs)
Step 3: Retail stores like H&M and Forever 21 start stocking the trend, so anyone can give it a whirl. (cue: budget bloggers and early adopters)
Step 4: The trend starts to catch on and before you know it everyone is wearing it. (cue: general public)
Step 5: Everyone gets bored, so the trend becomes passe and we abandon the trend for the next big thing. (cue: Oscar Wilde quote)

So when should you buy a trend? What trends should you invest in? Here's my advice:

1. The earlier, the better. I used to wait a year or two before I would adopt a trend but generally, if you like the trend, then don't wait. Be one of the first, because then you will get the most wear out of your item. Trends in the "real world" last at minimum a year or two, so you have at least that long if you adopt the trend early.
2. Your personal style. Above all, how do you feel about that trend? If "neon" has been your thing since you were five, then by all means, go for that trend! If peplum makes you uncomfortable, then don't feel any pressure to try it. The best factor for deciding whether or not you love a trend is just using your own taste, preferences and body type as a guide.
3. Evaluate longevity. The more "general" the trend is, the longer its staying power. Skinny jeans are a fit of pants, which is pretty general and they have now been in style for years, with no signs of letting up. More specific or louder trends like tie-dye or peep-toe booties are a bit tougher. They are less likely to be adopted by tons of people, and therefore less likely to be around for long.
4. Test the waters. Still unsure about a trend? Try testing the waters first, by buying an inexpensive item like a leopard blouse and giving it a test drive. If you still love it after a couple of months, then investing in a major piece like leopard shoes might be a good idea, or even in multiple leopard pieces like a skirt or another shirt.
5. There's always round two. Ever feel like you are having trend de ja vu? That's because trends cycle around and around. I read my trends post from the past three summers, and every single trend is still in style. And if "military" ever goes out of style, just wait a few years because it will be the hottest thing ever.... all over again.

How do you approach trends? Do you wait to adopt them or jump right in? 

60 comments:

  1. I always am watching for new trends, but don't always adopt them right away or at all.  I realize some things just don't work for me.  When I see a trend that I love though, I am diving right in, lol!  It took me awhile to warm back up to leggings since I wore them in jr. high, but then I remembered how comfortable they are.  Heather

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  2. I always buy trends with longevity in mind. I didn't and don't see high-lo skirts coming back next summer, for example, so I passed (although was tempted many times). I'll also try to come up with at least three unique ways to style an item. Of course, this all goes out the window if I absolutely adore something (like a shirt with little birds all over - animal print, but not in the typical sense).  Buying a trend piece ultimately hinges on price point. I will wait until it gets to the Limited/Loft/Banana price point - if I love it. Otherwise, I wait until it's at Forever21 and Old Navy.

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  3.  Speaking of which, do you think print pants (pants with prints on them?) are here to stay, or a fleeting trend?

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  4. I'm so not a trendy person. All of my clothes are extremely classic cuts and I love very feminine classic looks. I also don't buy clothes all that often (maybe one thing a month, max) so I don't really get into trends. Plus, I love high quality clothing and refuse to shop at Forever 21 and H&M after many a poorly made piece in high school. So trends just aren't my thing.

    HOWEVER! I love the peplum trend right now and really REALLY want a two piece peplum top/full circle skirt combo in girly colors. But so totally not going to happen because of my quality hangup.

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  5. Great post! So true!

    The Style Storm
    xo, Christina

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  6. This was great! I always shy away from being or feeling "trendy". I always think to myself if this isn't going to be in style next year I shouldn't buy it. You're right the earlier you buy something the more wear you'll get. It would make it worth the investment. I wanted some wedge sneakers, but waited too long to get them and now I feel like their moment has passed.

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  7. Great Post, J! This was really interesting! I like when you change it up a little. 

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  8. Same here. Although I did buy a hi-lo hem dress because it was just too cute and the fit was amazing. I live in Texas and I will def get another season out of it next year because it's so stinkin' hot here. However, I did pass on the printed pants trend. Only because I feel like once I wear them the first time I'll never want to wear them again. Whenever I feel that way, I pass.

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  9. I agree with reason 2&3 for loving trends but I kind of feel a trend is what makes me more like everyone else rather than different.  That doesnt deter me from trying out my favorites though! Plus styling it my own way can make it just unique enough.  I definately agree that trends help me push though my comfort zone!  I'm a total creature of habit and if trends weren't constantly changing, Id have the same outfit n ten colors and never wear anything else. 

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    1. I was thinking the same thing. Being trendy actually makes you more like everyone else unless you are VERY out there (like the man repeller).

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  10. I think you have to consider how a trend fits into your personal style too. I'm not exactly but sort of preppy/classic--I wear jeans and wool blazers almost always when not at work and wide leg trousers with slim sweaters/suits at work.  Lots of trends don't fit my style, but lots do--animal print works, bright colors work, polka dots and cap toe shoes all work and most of that stuff can work for years. For example, I have a black and white dot print blouse that I bought in 2005. I wore it last week to work and got tons of compliments--dots are in (were they ever completely out?)

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  11. This is a great post as I've been wondering about trends lately. I don't subscribe to too many trends, because I don't have the money and because you end up looking like everyone else. With that said though I do own a pair of great EMU winter boots and Hunter rain boots. But both are extremely practical for where I live. I will purchase trendy pieces if it works for me and my personality.

    I try to focus on classic pieces and buy trendier accessories like jewelry, hats, scarves. I think you should always focus on what suits you, what's your personality and then build on that. Because trying to wear a trend that is not you will only have you looking and feeling silly. The trend will be wearing you, rather than you owning and rocking the trend.

    Great post,

    Agi:)

    vodkainfusedlemonade.wordpress.com

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    1. So true. Sometimes you look at an outfit and you think "those clothes are wearing her" instead of the other way around!

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  12. Great post! My style is fairly simple and consistent. I like staple pieces that are timeless however I will inplement trends into my style to make it my own. I would never wear head to toe aztec print but would add in a printed scarf or cardigan to spruce up what I already own. This way, a trend never really goes out of style!

    http://landoftheglam.blogspot.com

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  13. This is a great post. Except those wedge sneakers will be forever awful in my eyes. I wish they'd go away.

    I do love the cycling of trends, except it encourages hoarding (heheh)
    I remember those tie dye jeans were cool when I was in fifth grade..
    My 60 year old aunt (one of the trendiest, best dressed women I know) recently told me she held on to all her clunky watches because she "knew they'd be back" and she's right.

    I've also read that trends tend to stick around longer in the Midwest because we're less fashion savvy. I see nothing wrong with that.

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  14. Thanks Emily! I think your aunt and I have some things in common. I always hold onto things and wait for them to come back into style, it works like a charm and saves tons of money!

    I just have to say that wedge sneakers are kind of genius for people living in cold climates though! It's not often that trends are that practical and comfy. I would definitely be giving them a try if my foot size wasn't already border line Sasquatch territory.

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  15. I agree that trends can make you look like everyone else, but they can also make you totally unique! It depends on where you adopt them in the cycle. If you are the first in your neighborhood, then you are certainly unique. :-) There are other ways of looking different (unique color combos and lots of accessories are my two favorites) - but trendy items are often overlooked the first year they are out and those are the ones I'm snapping up immediately! 

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  16. I think wedge sneakers have JUST entered step 3, so you have at least a year! I'm interested to see if they stick around beyond that!

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  17. It's impossible to know for sure, but my guess is that prints will be even wilder and louder next year - and print mixing will continue to be a huge trend. Let's come back in a year and see if my guess is right! :-)

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  18. I really liked this post. My question is, where do people go to find out about the new trends? Can you list out a few blogs/sites that you frequent to stay ahead of the trend game? Thanks!

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  19. Christine, my favorite spots are WhoWhatWear, Refinery29, and FabSugar (the places I get my inspiration photos from the most often, which are always credited in the caption). Fashion magazines like InStyle and Bazaar are great print resources, and I like browsing the J.Crew website, and then finding similar items for less at stores like Old Navy.

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  20. You're spot on with these trends. Was at Macy's yesterday and saw the cutest owl sweaters. Forever 21 has very funky wedge sneakers! I've always had a simple, classic style aka jeans & tees, but am definitely starting to finally play with fashion and accessories these days (at 29 years old!) and am loving it. I've never felt so confident in my style!

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  21. You are really right about all the steps it takes to start a trend! Love the way you interpreted it! I think it is funny how society gets bored really quickly! The owl sweater, not sure I can ever get used to. Great post!

    XO http://shesaidhesaid-fashion.blogspot.com

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  22. Totally agree, always watching but not quite embracing the trends myself for a while... I look at my age and anatomical differences before decidinf to adopt a trend as well. I'm 38, so I'm not going to do midriff tops for example. And being 6 ft tall I'm not going to do any shoe with a really high heel. If a trend doesn't fit your anatomy or lifestyle, then you just look like you're dressing up in costume, you know?

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  23. The trends I want to follow this fall are #5 and #6. I like how eclectic they both are, but you are still able to dress them up to a certain degree. I am also a DIY-er and can diy both of those trends with old thrift store finds. :)

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  24. So funny, I just wrote a similar blog post. But about trends that I hate. lol. :) I LOVE captoe heels. I'm obsessed. Especially the clear ones with the toe a solid color. For me, I buy trendy clothes too early. I don't think about them enough to see if I really like them and if I will wear them enough to see if it's worth it. I have a nice pleated maxi skirt in my closet I paid $50 for that I have yet to wear. :(

    Take a look at my post. Tell me what you think. Am I wrong? What other trends need to be on the list (I couldn't name them all...)
    -Courtney
    www.415bond.blogspot.com

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  25. I think this is interesting. I am 29, and am just now starting to become a tad comfortable in what I wear - meaning, not worrying so much about if it's "in style" or "a past trend", etc. If it FITS, first of all, and looks good on my body, then YAY! And, figuring out my own style is hard with so much in the media. I try to mix it up, shopping in my husband's/brother's closet, to Goodwill, to department stores, to boutiques. I do get sick of looking like everyone else, but am working to wear what I want and not be mortified if it isn't the norm. It's hard being comfortable in your own skin. {I hope this doesn't come across as a criticism of your post. That's not my intention at all. Just got me to thinking about my own outlook on "what to wear".} Good post! :)

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  26. hot stuff :)
    http://urbanprettygirl.blogspot.com/

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  27. Thanks Shug! You summed up my mission for this blog - I believe style is an art form, there is no "right and wrong" and it doesn't matter one bit what other people think or what other people are wearing, it's about how YOU feel in what you are wearing! :-) I'm asked a LOT if certain trends are worth investing in - and my answer (as with above) is to let your own personal taste be your guide! The first 3 points were my own anecdote of how I feel about trends, no way intended to be advice for others.

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  28. "I was born with a very strong desire to be different, and trends help you do that." -- I don't understand this statement. I feel like I avoid trends because they are just that: trends. When a new "trend" comes about, suddenly everyone is interested in it and is spotted wearing it. I feel like if I go out and buy something because it is a trend, I have lost my sense of individual style. If something is trendy and you go out and buy it, you're letting what the fashion world says is cute and putting that on your body. I don't know, maybe I'm old school (I'm 26 lol) but I would rather have my own sense of stye dictate my wardrobe, rather than fashion magazines and trends. 

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  29.  So true Emily! My parents still have their original UGG boots from Australia from the 70s. 10 years ago I thought they were horrendous, now I have a pair of my own. Naturally.

    -Courtney
    www.415bond.blogspot.com

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  30. CoffeebeansandbobbypinsNovember 1, 2012 at 2:29 PM

    These are great tips! Love your cues, lol :)

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  31. I enter a store like Banana Republic. I head straight for the items that I've never seen before - new ideas that I've never worn! It's exciting. And it's usually a year or more before those things really become popular or anyone else is wearing them. Not saying this is what everyone should do when they shop - that would negate the point - and the end goal is always just to be yourself, whatever that means for you. For me, it's loud prints and new trends, for others it's solid neutrals 24/7. Both are perfect.

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  32. Very great tips! Thanks J! I remember somewhere on your blog I read that as the first step, you should find your colors. I have a hard time finding my colors. Do you do color analysis or do you know  of anyone who does that? Thank you so much. 

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  33. Thanks Gizelle! I'm not sure how much stock I put in color analysis, I wear every shade proudly. :-) Trial and error works also wonders (try it on or hold it up to your face), or wear it on the bottom away from your face. 

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  34. Every shade looks good on you

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  35. I try very hard to see if it works with my normal wardrobe, or if I'm going to have to get a whole outfit to match it. I also think if it has more staying power, or I can see everyone tossing it (or making fun of it) in a year.

    I'm in love with wedge sneakers, and want a million pairs...

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  36. Haha, the quote at the very beginning made me laugh. And I used to be the same way with skinny jeans; I always said I would NEVER wear them yet here I am today sitting on my computer in one of my favorite pairs :)


















    thriftthick.blogspot.com 

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  37. I try to judge how "stay worthy" a trend is before I invest in it. I did buy a few trendy, colorful items this year  -- peach skinny jeans (from Target) and a yellow skirt (from Old Navy.) I will not feel guilty when I tire of them since they were not expensive. I also invested in a pair of red velvet jeans -- they were more expensive, but the red is a classic color that I will get wear out for a very long time.... If I can find a leather peplum top that fits my budget, I will buy that, too! 

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  38. Great post about the anatomy of a trend! Kinda makes me thing of that scene in The Devil Wears Prada where Miranda lays out Andi for making fun of the blue scarf, but Miranda relates it to the blue sweater Andi is wearing from, gasp, "the gap." Anyway, it was fun to read. I have to say that I have always been hesitant about trying trends. It wasn't until the last three years or so that I have become more open-minded. Following fashion bloggers like you has helped me! :)

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  39. This post is so informative.  Thanks for shedding some light on this subject.  One of the key factors that influence how I approach a trend is price point.  As a rule of thumb, I do not pay lot for trendy items.  I have a cut-off price point, and pretty much stick to when it come to experimenting with trends. The way I adopt a trend it to really ask myself if it would work into my personal style. If it won't, then I do not bother with it.  Here are ways in which trends have effectively worked into my personal style: Neon and Studs - http://coverupchic.blogspot.ca/2012/09/fall-attire-camel-and-neon.html; The Printed Sweater - http://coverupchic.blogspot.ca/2012/10/casual-fall-attire-printed-sweater.html; and Monochrome - http://coverupchic.blogspot.ca/2012/10/fall-attire-monochromatic-in-green.html 

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  40. Emily, 
    My husband would agree with you about wedge sneakers. He calls them snow boots and is probably counting the days until he no longer has to see them. I still love them - they are comfortable and give me height :) Hopefully for your sake (and his) they are on their way out soon...

    http://fashionedible.blogspot.com

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  41. Love this post. I loathe trends, especially since I read blogs and blog myself. Every time a trend hits everyone starts looking the same. I hate that. I only buy a trend if I love it, that is all. I hate seeing things I can't afford become trendy because I know everyone will be wearing it.  

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  42. This is a great post. I usually jump on accessory trends pretty quickly, saving my bigger dollars for more classic investment pieces. I agree with you that that trendiness is a way to escape fashion boredom and express creativity. Love your blog!

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  43. Not really sure how trends make you different when everyone is wearing them? If you want to be truly unique & "different" it seems not adapting to trends does just that.

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  44. great advice on trends! I try to find my trends for cheap and spend the big bucks on classic pieces that will last me longer. Love your blog! I get inspiration for my everyday outfits from you.

    -allison

    www.thesistersinthecity.com

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  45. Yes!! I totally agree, bugs me too! There's something to be said for embracing the new items that come out and yet maintaing your individuality for sure.

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  46. Haha we have the same shoe size.. except I'm 5'11" so I suppose it's more balanced out. That's probably the other reason I don't like them.. they're sort of useless to me because I don't need added height and I don't find them particularly aesthetically pleasing compared to heels or boots.  They do look comfortable enough though and I suppose if I was shorter I'd be looking for ways to add height haha.

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  47. Great post, and really good advice! Now, can someone PLEASE kill the wedge-sneaker trend? UGH.

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  48. Great post. I love your advice to jump on a trend early if it fits your taste. Longer time to enjoy your investment. Good point!

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  49. Trends are fun to wear. Just buy them cheap, like at Forever 21 & you won't care if they go out quickly

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  50. Some trends are flattering and fit my personality.  These are the ones I wear!

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  51. I have a pair of camo pants that I loved too much to give away. I see you posted the pic of the camo jacket. Does that mean I can break out those old pants???

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  52. You're really HELPING us, J., by answering those Two Big Fashion Questions: 
    #1)  How can I dress well for work............ yet still stay on (some  s.e.m.b.l.a.n.c.e.  of) a BUDGET??
    #2)  When I do go shopping, how can I *not* feel  (just  d.e.s.p.e.r.a.t.e.l.y.!!)  drawn to buy............ EVERY Single "Trendy Thing" In Sight??    (Haha!!)

    With your emphasis here on really understanding trends............ (and, as you know, thoroughly understanding ANYTHING often cuts down on lots of associated,  i.m.p.u.l.s.i.v.e.  actions!!)............ this is - as usual! - such a realistic and VERY useful post!!

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  53. Great advice, J!  As a fashion blogger (on a relatively small budget of $150-$200 a month) and shopaholic working on recovery, the best advice I can give is to stay true to your own style.  The animal print sweaters, while whimsical and appealing on some levels, just aren't "me."  I know that I would wear such a sweater once or twice and be over it - a bad choice for a girl on a budget.

    I featured my advice on buying/following trends here:

    http://stylecassentials.blogspot.com/2012/08/laid-back-polish.html

    Another tip I recently heard is to buy only one of a trendy item - not several pieces.  You'll get tons of wear out of the item by wearing it all season.  That little bit of wisdom has given me awesome new perspective.

    Thanks for your wonderful blog!  You're a real inspiration!

    Cassie

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  54. I told myself a few years ago that I would buy only quality classic pieces, not trendy junk. However, I'm 37, and still wish to be youthful, so working in some trendy pieces keeps things fresh. Unfortunately I'm very slow to give in to trends, so I end up not getting as much use out of things before they are out of style. For instance, I just finally bought some flat brown knee-high boots. I wanted them 2-3 years ago but was afraid they'd be out of style by the end of the season. Apparently not. Yeah, I'm a bit behind.

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  55. Wedges are popular in these years, fashion shoes for working and daily wearing.

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  56. I think you and I are a bit alike. I want to stand out and not follow trends but I sometimes if I feel they will be more timely (like leggings) I give in. I was the one that complained that leggings were not worth it and a stupid trend, but I honestly feel they flatter everyone!

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