Whenever I’m complimented on my sense of style I have to laugh.

I mean, my aesthetic is SO super simple – even more so since I embraced the capsule wardrobe concept a few years ago. Now I hardly have any clothing at all, relative to what I used to possess, and my uniform is pretty consistent – tee or button-front shirt, with (typically) some form of denim or skinny/cigarette-style pants.

That said, I do I try to elevate my day-to-day look, and I enjoy sporting a trend now and then. All while staying age-appropriate and somewhat classic. And I do it by adhering to three rules:

Go cheap – Spend as little as you can (as you may not get more than a season or two out of your purchase).

Go small – Try the trend in a smaller, or accent, piece.

Go gently  Look for a more modest, less extreme version of the trend.

Here are three examples that deploy one or more of these tips, using some of the more recent popular trends!


Remember how big velvet was last fall (and through the spring)? I have to admit, I was pretty into it. In particular, these pants from Madewell. They’re on sale now but at the original price of $135 – and using the criteria I established when I set up my capsule – I couldn’t justify the purchase. The dark wine color meant that these were one-season only, and once the velvet craze passed I’d be stuck with a winter-y pair of pants that were now suddenly dated.

But for half the price I snagged these adorable ballerinas from Zara:

zara velvet ballerinas

I’ve been living in them, and they give an instant update to everything I own. Even better? The pale pink color (handily on-trend right now too) brings the velvet material out of the “winter-only” category, and will carry me right through spring. I paired them with white jeans last week and they looked great. Shops like Zara – along with H&M – are great for sourcing less costly versions of pretty much every trend that’s “trending”.

Step-hem jeans

These seemed to be EVERYWHERE last fall – jeans with a cropped frayed hem that’s longer in the back than in the front. These small details gave such a fresh look to same-old denim, yet most of the versions out there were more extreme than I was comfortable with. Again, I didn’t want to purchase a pair that suddenly screamed “last season” once the craze had passed.

But I scored a win-win with these jeans from Abercrombie & Fitch (I know!!!):

abercrombie white flared jeans

I just bought this white pair but already owned a pair in a faded black from last winter. Not only was the “step” just a bit more subtle than most, both pairs were on sale when I bought them (for $35!). I wore the black pair all winter long with ankle boots, clogs and flats, and look forward to getting equal use out of the white ones (silver Birks, anyone?).

Statement Sleeves

Even trickier than the step-hem? The statement sleeve. One Google search is all it takes to see that: a) this trend isn’t going anywhere, and b) it is NOT for the faint of heart. A sartorial challenge, to be sure, made a bit more complicated for this “girl of a certain age”. While I want to look pulled-together as much as possible, I’m ALWAYS mindful of dressing for my age. So the wrong statement sleeve not only ran the risk of looking clown-like, but also of being too youthful.

Enter this PERFECT blouse from J. Crew:

j. crew striped bell sleeve top

The sleeve is absolutely “statement”, but under control. And the crisp, striped cotton and slim cut are totally in keeping with my tomboy-chic aesthetic, and couldn’t be more versatile – easily dressing up or down.

What are your secrets for “doing trends” successfully? Or do you just avoid them all together?

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