Fashion future holds nothing new

Fashion is funny. As evidenced by the recent New York Fashion Week, the world of haute couture is always thinking at least six months ahead. Major designers like Diane von Furstenberg, Michael Kors and Tracy Reese laid out the next big ideas for fall 2005, which include minimalism, texture, graphic prints and neutral colors. Their creations are what celebrities, heiresses and other jet-setters will be clamoring for in the next few months.

The average person however, usually has no idea what the hot, new trends are until he or she reads about them in a magazine or see some quasi-anorexic celebrity sporting them on the red carpet. And, because these average people are more likely to live in the now, they're probably more concerned with what in-season stuff they can buy at their local Hecht's than which animal print will be totally stylin' this November.

I consider myself one of these average people. I'm trend-savvy, but not trend-dependent. I change with the times and like to keep abreast of new developments, but through it all I've maintained a unique and very personal sense of style. So, it is with a heavy heart that I acknowledge and reveal that spring 2005's fashions are Boring - with a very capital "B."

Last year, we were introduced to the shrunken blazer, the cuff watch, "ethnic-inspired" jewelry, the poncho and crayon-bold colors. We saw the re-emergence of the round-toed heel and a brief appearance by the skinny scarf. Sadly, however, one cursory flip through any current women's

Humans have always had a stylized, idealistic fantasty of an improved, ultra-modern future. I think the future of fashion shouldn't be any different.
magazine will reveal that little has changed this year. The poncho and the cuff watch are dead, but we're still living in a low-rise, pointy-heel world.

I believe the root of this stagnation lies in our inability to let go of the past - no matter how recent. We're only halfway through the 2000s, but we're already looking back wistfully at the '90s. In this age of recycling, sampling and extreme makeovers, nothing is really new anymore. We don't even have a new president, for goodness' sake.

My mother and other women her age remind me that fashion is no exception to this rule. "I had shoes just like that when I was your age," or "You know that's how we used to wear our hair," they say. But this whole concept of what's old becoming new again concerns me. I mean, how could we go through two consecutive spring seasons with nothing innovative or exciting?

I love envelope clutches and bejeweled brooches as much as the next fashion-conscious girl, but there's still a part of me that longs for the chance to try something new. We should be able to break out of the trench coat and polo mold for at least one spring. Even the "new" shoe trend the season, the moccasin, is a holdover from the '70s.

I guess we're just doomed to repeat ourselves for the next few decades or so. Humans have always had a stylized, idealistic fantasy of an improved, ultra-modern future. I think the future of fashion shouldn't be any different. Maybe the new lines that come out over the next several weeks will prove me wrong. If so, I'll gladly do penance for my blasphemous marks by shopping for a new spring wardrobe. If not, I'll pop the collar on my zebra-print topper, shine up my pointiest-toed heels and brave the most boring spring in recent memory.

Have a fashion question or idea? Contact Arienne at

A Matter of Style runs every other Monday. The next installment will be published Feb. 28. Next Monday read the study abroad column from London, My Two Pence.

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