As CUB has previously mentioned, the traditional trend cycle of 20 years is essentially dead. TikTok and other social media giants have given rise to micro-trends. These are very specific trends, often referencing a niche aesthetic or image, rising and dying within a period of weeks and months. Ultimately, this new trend cycle is not sustainable or attainable. It is almost impossible to keep on-trend when it changes every few weeks. Very few people have the money and effort to follow this. Not to mention, this high turnover of fast fashion has a concerningly large impact on the environment.
This is why many are hailing the biggest trend of 2022 to be the development of personal style. But actually, it is the opposite of a trend. Instead of following what is currently popular on the high street or your Instagram feed, why not introspect and discover what you really want to wear.
The importance of personal style
Headed up by one of TikTok’s most extravagant dressers, Clara Perlmutter (also known as TinyJewishGirl), argues for all to embrace their personal style. Her advice is to “try to make your childhood self happy”. There is a point in all our lives, probably in school, when you stopped wearing what you really loved in favour of what everyone else was wearing. There is a pressurising culture in secondary schools to fit in. You probably felt insecure about your hand-me-down clothes and wanted the newest in style trainers. Why not give in to your inner child, and bring back the things you used to love by incorporating them into your style.
For many, this means a return to colour. Often, the teenage years are filled with angst and this is reflected in clothing choices. An effort to not stand out requires whatever is vaguely in fashion and dull colour choices. I know for certain that a 14 year-old-me would exclusively wear black. 7 years later, I can respect that choice, but I hardly wear all black now. My wardrobe is mostly filled with colour, going back even younger from when 7 year old me would wear exclusively orange!
Clearly, if colour is not your thing, then there are still ways to please your inner child and develop your personal style.
The trend of the 2010s seemed to be minimalism, reflected in both interior decorating, design and fashion. Interestingly, experts have attributed this minimalism to the 2008 recession. But before the credit crunch hit, noughties fashion was full of colour and bling. It seems no coincidence then that the current TikTok generation grew up around full 2000’s glitz, and are now returning to these bolder roots. However, it seems as if maximalism may be more than a trend.
The maximalist mantra is more is more. Think layered necklaces, dresses with corsets, scarfs and tights and legwarmers and boots. And of course all the jewellery you can possibly fit on your body. This may sound chaotic, but there is a certain way of styling such items in a purposeful way, that does not look like a charity shop threw up on you.
Yet again, TikTok is pioneering on this front. There are handfuls of creators centering their videos around styling outfits, with all the accessories. Much of their clothing is thrifted or vintage. Here, sustainability and creating a maximalist look go hand-in-hand. Expanding your wardrobe to accommodate for more daring looks need not be damaging to the environment or your bank balance.
And this seemingly TikTok trend is simply not a trend. Most of these people are living day-to-day like this, and it truly expresses their whole personality. It is more of a lifestyle than an outfit to show off on the internet. instead, it is a rejection of the market dictated trends that compel uniformity in people’s personal clothing choices. It may seem trivial, but to large swaths of people, dressing exactly how they want to through rebutting traditional trends and laws of fashion, brings a sense of personal joy. Maximalism is just one example of people developing and expressing their personal style, but it represents a much wider movement.
Developing your personal style requires you to look into yourself (and wardrobe), and pick out what makes you, you. What piece of clothing do you think represents you best? What do you feel most comfortable in? As I said, your personal style does not have to be bold and brash like the TikTok maximalists. It can be whatever makes your heart happy. This may include trends, it is near impossible to avoid them! But if you truly think that that piece of clothing reflects who you are and how you want to present yourself, then there is no shame in going for it!
Overall, the message is about introspection. If you feel stuck in a style rut and are not sure what to wear, try looking towards what makes you happy. It is clear that these TikTok creators are onto something; their personal style brings them joy and confidence in who they are, as well as what they are wearing.