New Year, Same Style?


Dhuha Usman explores what the new year means for our wardrobes.

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Image by angela.lynn.sands

By Dhuha Usman

As the new year is setting in, many of us will be craving a change; new hair, new resolutions, new habits and for lots of us, a new wardrobe. Perhaps this is the year of re-inventing you, being the trend-setter of your friendship group – the year of being an ‘it-girl’. But what would happen if we did all this without buying an entirely new wardrobe? With the cost of living rapidly increasing (and our student loans not reflecting this), maybe it is time we ought to look at other options that will help us achieve this same goal. 2023 could be the year of shopping your wardrobe, instead of shopping for your wardrobe.

If you happen to be thinking about a re-style as such, it can be overwhelming to feel like you need to lose all sense of self to keep up with trends, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. When investing in a timeless wardrobe it’s important to ask yourself some questions: what clothes do you like the most? What makes you feel the most confident? What is the most comfortable and practical for your lifestyle? The low-rise jeans that we are seeing everywhere at the moment might be the trendiest jeans you could have right now, but if that’s not your ‘thing’, you should buy the jeans that you do like – even if they’re the highest rise on the high street. It is important to note that you should wear whatever you like, regardless of trends. In fact, by doing this, you’ll be doing your happiness, bank account, and the climate a huge favour.

With this in mind, take a look at your wardrobe and assess what you have. Is your cupboard full of micro-trends you’ve fallen for or do you have a good mix of your own personal, timeless style? Do you have a good level of ‘basics’ or what you consider to be your ‘essentials’? Do you often think about what you wish you had in your wardrobe? From here, you can examine what pieces you do have, create outfits that make you feel confident and that you are comfortable in. There’s no point in investing in micro-trends if you know you’re going to be wearing joggers to class every day: invest in the joggers that fit you the best, even if they may not seem to be the most ‘high-fashion’ item in comparison to crisp white shirts or parachute pants.

Continuing from last year, we’re still seeing (ironically) the rise of low rise waists, cargo trousers and baby tees, very much still following the ‘Y2K’ trends of the noughties. This may be a trend you can get onboard with, but the association of this trend with one particular, athletic, body type some of us may not feel like we can follow the trend even if we do like it. Whilst this is most definitely not the case and we should all wear whatever we want to, it’s easier said than done. If we look at what else is currently ‘on-trend’, the Matilda Djerf look is highly fashionable yet the complete opposite of Y2K. It follows a classic, elegant silhouette mainly consisting of crisp, loose shirts and flowing wide leg trousers. Both of these can be seen as ‘timeless’ styles and pieces but it’s always good to keep trend cycles in mind: are you enjoying this trend because it is your style, or because it’s all you’re seeing at the moment?

Whilst this is all about saving your money and the environment, it’s not to say that buying new clothes is the root of all evil. If you are constantly thinking about outfits, you could be wearing but don’t own the items to do so, look for common factors. Is it a striped knit you are after? A good quality white t-shirt (something we definitely all need)? Do you really need a well-fitting pair of jeans? Make these purchases mindfully. Fast-fashion may be the only option as a student, and that’s acceptable when it’s not a wasteful choice. Perhaps you could look in charity shops or other second-hand sites like Depop or Vinted for those one-off pieces you’re after, or if you are particularly drawn to a certain trend that you predict may come and go.

Shopping your own wardrobe is something we should be doing regularly, you’ll find new outfits and be able to explore your current style, invent something new and have fun with what you already have. It also highlights what you’re missing and what you want. After all, even with being eco-conscious and savvy with your money, we all still have pieces we see on Instagram and feel like we need, and that’s okay. However, maybe we should be re-evaluating this ‘need’ and see what we can make from what we have. I can guarantee there is a whole new style sitting in the back of your wardrobe that you don’t even know about. After all, what's better for procrastinating essay writing than a good wardrobe organising session?