Working in fashion trends, the title of this post sums up my current sartorial state of mind. Having worked in retail product development, marketing, and brand management many years ago, I am using a lot of what I learned then that has been honed by years of working in marketing and communications for the past 2 plus decades. Despite all the technological advancements, the who, what, where, when, and even the how of that role is creating the right message to reach the right people at the right time, to take the right action. 

From a personal perspective, analyzing, writing about, and developing fashion trends to this deep extent has given a method to my madness, a validation to my thought process on shopping and my own style. The more I know what is on the horizon, the more I can plan what I add to my closet. The more I can plan what I add to my closet, the more versatile and timeless my wardrobe becomes. I am aware of which trends are trending past one season and which are a short-lived craze. Not that I am against a fad or item of the moment, but I like knowing that going into the purchase because I am choosing to make this part of my personal style rather than look trendy. My cost-per-wear is better, and my overall consumption is more sustainable because I am not constantly donating and rebuying with each new season. 

I have always bargain-hunted off-season, especially when it comes to thrift, vintage, and other secondary market scores. Because when the Thrift Gods bless you and send you the perfect black quilted leather jacket for $20, you do not pass it up because the weather is not right.   

These two outfits are made up of some of my favorite off-season vintage finds. The green trousers are well, I am still looking for my perfect pair of vintage green trousers. The purple boucle jacket is well, perfect. Escada deliciousness. I vividly remember finding it at Garment modern two summers ago because it was hot AF outside and I was still sweating inside the wonderfully air-conditioned store. I knew it was going to be months before I could wear it. I didn’t care if the color, the style would still be in six to nine months from now (yes, Texas summers can last THAT LONG), I was willing to wait. 

The tweed blazer was another summer find, as was the leopard blouse. The latter I scored around 2018-2019 when one of the major trends from Fashion Week was this 80s retro western punk vibe – and you KNOW I was all over that trend both with new finds like this one and pieces I owned from the actual 1980s. And from becoming a western lover.   

And honestly, y’all. I actually yell at the thrifting YouTubers I watch when they put down something fabulous because it isn’t the right season. Yes, I know they cannot hear me, and yes, I know I have issues. But here are a few reasons why: 

Bargain: A deal is a deal and off-season is where you find the best ones. This applies more to traditional retail more than thrifting, but some do have seasonal sales and discounts. 

Longevity: If I am afraid I will not want to wear the item once the season actually hits, then I am not loving this item enough to buy it. It is my longevity litmus test, and longevity leads to responsible consumption and sustainability.

Opportunity: This applies mostly to thrift and is very Austin specific, but……I swear after 4 straight months of oppressively hot and humid, Austinites convince themselves they will never need their fabulous jackets again and dumb them at the nearest thrift. I seize this opportunity every summer. When do you think I found this vintage Missoni goodness?  

Now I realize that these two outfits are not everyone’s cup of tea and I am cool with that. I do like to dress to get a reaction, to make a statement. Love it or hate it is what I am after, but not indifference. 

In this mass appeal space do I dial back the vintage, OTT, the crazy? Yep. Have I also done that numerous times in my career and personal life? Also, yep. While working in creative spaces has given me the freedom to dress Over the Top, even those spaces have times and events where you must look a certain way if you want your right message to actually reach those right people, and sometimes how you look is just as important as what you say. #fundraising #advocacy #blacktie 

It is a part of life. We can only be so lucky to carve out a place and find people both in real life and online that accept us for who we are. There is usually a compromise, however, but this space belongs to me! So, I am going to dress – spring/summer, work – fall/winter, shop – all, style – all mine.

Photography by Breezy Ritter