How To Know If A Fashion Trend Is Dying & Why That Shouldn't Actually Trouble You

Think back to your wardrobe 10 years ago: Did you manage to suppress the cringe over the tiered, asymmetrical midi skirts and the bell-sleeved tops? I sure didn't. My history is laden with trends that are out of style and looks I wouldn't necessarily want to be associated with today. I'm willing to bet yours is, too.

That's the thing, though: Trends are usually a tricky catch 22. They're arguably totally necessary to keep things fresh in fashion, but get recycled through so quickly that you can barely enjoy the feel of them while they're here. When they first come out, they can feel completely wrong — like pairing your maxi dresses with sneakers. But once you wrap your head around lacing up your own chunky Nike's, they're pronounced dead while the fashion world is running all fickle-like in the opposite direction as though an ice cream truck has just rounded the corner.

While a trend ending doesn't mean you have to stop loving it, there is some truth in looking at a piece from a few seasons back and feeling like it has lost its luster. It's kind of like thin eyebrows. At one point, they were hot, but now they just feel... wrong, and most of us aren't entirely sure why (or we blame Cara Delevingne). If you're not into spending large amounts of money on pieces that will only feel dated in a handful of weeks, however, you might be asking yourself what warning signs to look out for to know when a trend is on its last leg.

Below are three telltale signs that a fashion trend is on its way out. Use it to gauge whether a piece is truly worth a spot in your wardrobe, or if that money is better spent on more important things... like froyo... with the works.

1. It's Hit Stores In A Big Way

From my experience (and this might sound very "nose in the air") a good indicator that a certain trend is inching towards its expiration date is if you see it blow up in display windows in fast fashion stores. Walk through your downtown and take a moment to notice all the suede fringe, the bell bottom jeans, and the sheer peasant tops vying for your attention across the street. Individually, they have a ton of styling potential and are worth a dabble, but if you buy a closet's worth, you might be feeling a little outdated by the time winter hits.

But remember: There are trends, and then there is your style. A good thing to keep in mind is that trends are just stock-up chances, like little sale alerts for your closet. Do you love high-waist pants? Denim skirts? Sheer tops? These styles were hard to come by just a couple of years ago, when you had to look high and low and in obscure nooks to find just a glimpse of them. Now that they're so wildly available, it's your chance to stock up and fill your closet holes. If you truly love it, it won't fizzle out with just the turning of the season.

2. You See The Same Version Many Times Over

A good clue that a trend is on its way out is if you start to see one too many variations of it. This applies to louder pieces with more personality as opposed to classics like the little black dress. Take gladiator sandals, for example. Sure these were available every summer prior to 2015, but now you can get ones with thicker platforms, ones that are made out of suede or leather, ones that tie all the way up to your knee, ones that stop at your ankle, and even ones that come in the form of pointy-toe flats. When you're exhausting every possible variation of the piece, that can only mean its reaching its peak, which subsequently means the only way forward is down.

But remember: Trends don't just have to be about blindly following what's popular. If you genuinely enjoy the look, you now have the opportunity to be choosy with the details and lines that speak most to your style. You don't have to settle for an option that just sort of works, but take your time searching for the dream piece.

3. You See Its Polar Opposite Starting To Inch Its Way Into Shops

When did loud pattern mixing start dying out? It was probably around the time that normcore and minimalist pieces started crowding up space on hangers. And when did juicy, neon colors take a backseat? Probably some time when we all decided that classic, neutral palettes were more fun and challenging to play with. If you begin to see the exact opposite of last season's trend take over shop floors, it's a good hint that the look's 15 minutes of fame are up.

But remember: Trends come and go faster than your milk goes bad. The beauty of this circularity is that things you love will someday be thrown back into the spotlight. The goal of trends shouldn't be to stress you out or make you spin in circles just to stay "current." Trends should let you experiment with a multitude of different styles and personalities and decide which ones feel the most you.

So keep what you like, move on from what was just a dalliance, and invest your wardrobe money wisely.

Images: Marlen Komar