Here at Who What Wear, we're no strangers to reporting on trends. We're always taking a look at the runways of each season, what's in demand from a buying or production level, looking at what's translating to consumers, and putting it all together into seasonal trend reports that you can look to for inspiration. Mandy Lee, also known as @oldloserinbrooklyn, has taken her expertise as a trend forecaster to the masses on TikTok. While many users on TikTok can be quick to "cancel" certain trends and judge others for wearing them, Lee prioritizes personal style in her trend reporting. She educates her audience on what's new in the fashion scene along with a background on its popularity but will accompany those videos with how to style trends to your taste and remind her followers that it doesn't have to work for them, and that building style takes time.
With her account, Lee shares her love of the fashion industry and what's new but is always encouraging her followers to retain their individuality when consuming trends. While we have already spent too much timing watching all her videos, we thought we'd ask the trend expert herself on which trends she thinks are worth investing in for the long term, and how she creates a balance between following trends but staying true to herself. We've learned a lot from her, and we think you will too.
1. Cowboy Boots
I live in Brooklyn and have been seeing them rise in popularity all over NYC street style for around 5 years. They can be styled in many ways and can work for a range of aesthetics. The below the knee, above the calf-length, is so timeless. They come in a range of colors and I love how the best finds are found on the second-hand market. My favorite way to style them is with a midi-length silk skirt or slip dress— easy and chic!
Vans helped popularize checkerboard via the Classic Slip-On in the early late '70s and '80s. They've most notably been worn by Spicoli in Fast Times at Ridgemont High. In recent years checkerboard has ranged in scale, color, and distortion. The pattern should be considered a basic, similar to stripes or polka dots.
3. Large Collars
We see an exaggerated collar resurgence nearly every decade. everything from mod collared shift dresses in the '60s, to '70s “Barrymore” disco sharp-pointed collars, to the layered popped collars of the early 2000s, to the peter pan collars of the 2010s. collars in 2021 are an oversized bib style, Often detachable for versatility seen in new fabrics like eyelet, leather, and gingham. A great trend to buy handmade or DIY yourself!
4. Elevated Basics
I’ve been seeing tons of basic pieces reworked with straps, ties, and cutouts. I love this DIY inspired trend, there's no RIGHT way to achieve it because it's so versatile.
What are your biggest pieces of advice for someone who wants to find the balance between keeping to date with trends but also staying true to their personal style?
Being fashionable/stylish and having personal style does not inherently mean trendy. You don’t need to follow trends to be stylish. Trends are meant to enhance your personal style, not dictate or anchor it and no one should feel an obligation to “hop on” at trend if they don’t 100% love it and will wear it after the trend fades. I like to use trends to experiment with different silhouettes, fabrics, colors, etc. I won’t buy into a trend unless it works with the closet I already have.
What is something you think about or ask yourself before buying into a trend?
1. Does this work for my personal style and how can I style this in 5+ different ways?
2. What occasions would I wear this piece to? Is it appropriate for work, casual outings, hanging out with friends, going out to dinner/drinks, lounging, and running errands?
3. Will I like this item as it moves through the different phases of the trend cycle i.e. do I have conviction in this purchase?
As someone who has vast discussions on fashion and trends with users on social media, What do you think people in fashion or can do a better job at when reporting on trends? Or even influencers when they're talking about them?
I would love to see a shift to encourage buying second-hand, vintage, and DIY. So many current trends are thriftable, which is always more sustainable and often times more affordable than buying new. Not every trend will suit everyone which is why placing the emphasis on personal style is so important.
As for influencers, I think being more selective with PR would go a long way. Many big fashion influencers don’t show their personal style, they’re just wearing what they were sent to them over the last couple of weeks. Newness and abundance aren’t the answer to having a versatile, wearable wardrobe that is YOU.
Watch More of Mandy's TikToks: