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Fad Fashion? How To Identify What Fashion Trends to Partake In

Fashion has always been an ever-changing industry.

From the popularity of go-go boots in the 1960s to low-rise jeans in the early 2000s, it is customary to see popular clothing styles change and evolve over time. 

Along with the notably accelerated fashion cycle that social media has created, trends are coming and going faster than ever before. It certainly seems overwhelming to scroll through TikTok and constantly see huge clothing hauls or style lookbooks from influencers. Something popular one week can quickly become overdone and, thus, unfashionable the next. 

As fashion cycles are becoming increasingly accelerated, it is crucial to understand what fashion pieces are worth investing in versus simply too trendy to wear long-term. This is where knowing the difference between a fad or a trend is key.

Fads and trends are both fleeting.

They look similar at first, but the distinct difference between them is their lifespan. Fads have extremely short relevant lifespan ads tend to appeal to a smaller group of people than trends. The lifespan of a trend has much more variation. Some trends can last a few years, while others can hold themselves a decade.  

Tie-dye clothes during the March 2020 quarantine, for example, became extremely popular very quickly. People created tie-dye-based businesses, and prominent clothing companies rapidly began producing matching tie-dye sweatsuits. However, the tie-dye wave quickly faded once covid-restrictions started to lessen. Tie-dye has since been deemed “cheugy,” a new term insinuating behind the current trends, and it is evident that the craze was merely a fad. 

On the other hand, Nike Air Force 1 sneakers are an example of a trend. Every few years, a simple, not-too-expensive sneaker becomes extremely popular. In 2016, Adidas superstars were all the rave. Now, people have traded the black and white stripes for the sleek white Nike swoosh. Although many people will always deem them a cultural icon, Nike Air Force 1’s will eventually go out of style again. However, the key difference is their widespread popularity has lasted years, not merely a couple months. 

It can be fun to experiment with fashion by trying new fads or trends. The importance of recognizing the difference between the two terms is so you do not waste money on fads that will not be sustainable components of your wardrobe. If you can identify an item you are purchasing is part of a fad, not a trend, you may not necessarily buy multiple of that item. Instead, you may spend less money so you will not be disappointed in the money you spent when it quickly goes out of style.

Ultimately, your fashion choices are just that – your choice. If you love a fad and want to invest a lot of money in a particular item – go for it. Fashion does not have rules – it is supposed to be playful and fun. Knowing the difference between a trend and a fad is just one part of it. 

For people driven by impulse who want to be more economical about their fashion choices, knowing and being able to identify the difference between a fad and a longer-lasting trend can be crucial in your future fashion purchases.

Sam is a writer for Her Campus. She is from Long Island, New York. Currently a sophomore at the University of Michigan in LSA, her major is undecided, but she is interested in communications, fashion, law and business. Most importantly, she loves what HerCampus stands for and the fantastic community it presents.
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