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Fashion world, meet real world

Trends change rapidly in high fashion, but it takes a few seasons for those styles to trickle down to the average consumer.

Published February 15, 2007


NEW YORK - Perhaps you missed the memo that boot cuts are no longer en vogue. Or you're holding on to those pointy-toed pumps because you paid $300 for them. As for the 1950s circle skirt, you can't part with it because it accentuates your small waist.

We can forgive you for the boot cuts - although the trend is skinnies or straight legs. But pointy toes are out; round toes are in. And if you insist on the skirt, shorten it to the knee and pair it with black leggings and a ballet flat. Last year's Uggs? Ugh.

So question: Why are we wearing fashions far beyond their expiration dates?

Whether it's ignorance, defiance or good old-fashioned penny-pinching, the rapidly changing trends fail to make an impact on some of us.

Here's some news for those fashion designers and supermodels: You're less important than you think.

Who can be bothered?

Not everyone reads fashion magazines, shops as a hobby or resides in a "fashionable place." So how would they know boot cuts are not en vogue?

"While New York and L.A. lead the country in fashion trendsetting, the balance of America is not steeped in style," says Shawn McNally, owner of Vox Sacra, a high-end Christian apparel brand. "They are much less aware that last season's 'hot new thing' is now yesterday's news."

Some people are more concerned with what's comfortable and looks good on them. Because let's face it, we're not all runway models.

The fashion industry and fashion press are out of synch with consumers, says McNally, a former marketing manager for a subsidiary of Nordstrom's. He says consumers consider cost, use, how something looks on them and how long they can wear something, while the fashion industry continues to usher in one trend after another.

At a mall near you

Hey, you might be thinking, I just bought these boot cuts last week! Stores can play into your fashion faux pas by continuing to carry out-of-style boot cuts, super low-rise jeans and flares.

You might assume they're "in," but stores just keep them in stock because people buy them.

"Stores know that people will hang on to their items long after they stop being trendy, especially in nonmetropolitan areas," says Nada Manley, author of Secrets of the Beauty Insiders, and a fashion columnist for the Daytona Beach News-Journal.

And most stores can't change their inventories in an instant, says New York fashion designer Edwing D'Angelo.

The shock of the new

Manufacturers don't want to mass produce something that is not in demand, says Yuchin Mao, creative director of Three Dots, a brand specializing in "simple luxury" apparel for men and women. She points out skinnies didn't become popular overnight.

"It takes the general public time to get used to a certain trend," Mao says. "The public has to see it around them for them to get used to it."

By the time word gets out that this is the "it" item and people begin to purchase it, the designers and press have moved on to the next new thing, making our "it" item somewhat outdated.

"High fashion and the taste-makers are introducing a trend this season, but for the general public to take on that trend takes them three to four seasons," D'Angelo says.

Classic styles endure

Some fashion never dies, says Sasha Charnin Morrison, fashion director for Us Weekly. While the fashion industry has to create new trends, there are certain things we're not going to give up.

She says some women prefer boot cuts because it elongates the legs; cargos are "cute and functional"; Uggs are almost like a classic. While we're constantly fed new information about fashion and celebrities, the new trends don't kill the old ones. She points out that if the fashion industry says the bare leg is in, hosiery is still there.

"A lot of companies are realizing that some of the trend stuff may be tanking completely," she says. "So they are introducing the timeless collection - because those classic things, at the end of the day, never go out of style."

Reporter Megan Scott still wears overalls.

[Last modified February 14, 2007, 20:14:41]

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