The plaid shirt tied around the waist.
What's interesting is that this trend isn't quite as new or as old as you might think. Besides being characteristic of the grunge era, I still remember how my mom used to tie her sweaters around her waist out of pure practicality in the '90s. Back then, it was less an accessory and more a way to simply free up the hands.
But this past year, the trend has been revived as a purely decorative piece, with particular focus on plaid button-ups. The first time I saw this trend in action was on a girl who had tied a blue plaid shirt in a breezy, lightweight fabric over a pair of white shorts, white t-shirt and white Keds. With each step, her plaid shirt fluttered in the wind like a skirt. It was very soft and clean, yet still edgy at the same time. She was a great example of downtown polish, and to me, she was oh-so-cool.
Even guys have been getting in on this trend, and major props to those who take that fashion risk (JusReign, I'm looking at you! In addition to being downright hilarious, this guy's style is always 100% fresh).
But, like a good song that's been played too many times on the radio, this trend became stale from endless copycatting. As a university student, I saw this trend EVERYWHERE on campus. And it wasn't even interesting to see how girls interpreted the trend...because everyone wore it the same way. Every girl had a red lumberjack shirt paired with black separates and biker boots. Don't get me wrong - it's a decent look - but when you start seeing the same outfit several times a day, you begin to appreciate those who make the effort to break beyond the mould. Furthermore, I began to feel like people were wearing the trend for the sake of wearing the trend. Thought has to be put into what type of shirt you tie around your waist; I saw too many instances where the shirt was too big, too small, or too forced against the rest of the outfit. My tips: the shirt should frame the hips without being too bulky, and fit with the rest of your outfit either as a statement piece or as a continuation. But you can't wear a trend just because everyone else is wearing it - you have to make it your own. That's when a trend ceases to be just a trend, and instead becomes an extension of your personal style.
I love trends. They are an opportunity to experiment beyond your comfort zone and discover new ideas. But let us never forget that personal style is a craft; it requires an element of authenticity that cannot be satisfied by being a mere slave to trends.
As for me, I might give this particular trend a go. It's petering out towards the end of its lifeline, but perhaps the best time to take up a trend is when no one else is expecting it anymore. I already own a skirt with a built-in sweater around the waist (a gift from Japan, and is what I assume a copy of this 3.1 Phillip Lim skirt), but I may play around with my multicolored Lauren Ralph Lauren plaid shirt made from an airy fabric, a denim button-up, or maybe a sweater or cardigan with interesting texture. I won't be going grunge, but I might take inspiration from the one person I continue to think wore this trend the best - the girl who wafted through the streets in her blue plaid and white Keds, showing us what true confidence and style is all about.
Image Source: Kati-Rose, Aelida, AllWomensTalk