In Fashion

Back when I was a teen (in Magellan’s day), I was very fashion conscious like many teens were (and are today). I paid attention to magazines like Glamour, Vogue, Seventeen, etc. If miniskirts were in, they were in my closet! Yet I was never a kid who had much money. My jeans had holes, but not because I bought them that way. In college, mostly everyone I knew had jeans with holes in the knees because we were broke, and living on ramen.


My parents were of the “If it’s at Sears, it’s good enough for you” variety, as were the parents of many people I knew back then. Though I begged for designer jeans, I was not going to get them unless I used my hard-earned money to buy them. So, I occasionally spent all of my money on fashion at the mall while shopping with a friend.

I realize now that I wasn’t so much fashion conscious as image conscious. What will people think of me? was a question on my mind all of the time. And that was before the internet and social media existed!

Nowadays, capris and leggings play a major role in my summer wardrobe regardless of whether or not they adorn the pages of Vogue or Glamour (probably don’t). I wear them because I like them.

In the past, I’ve had similar thoughts about the stories I’ve written. What will people think of them? is a question I’ve asked myself many times in the last decade. If what I’m writing is not in fashion—fitting the latest trends or the public’s perceived taste—perhaps it isn’t worth pursuing. Or so I thought.

There are gatekeepers and others who determine what gets published, bought, or noticed. But writing, like fashion, is subjective. One person might like something that ten others don’t. So, I finally determined that whatever I spend time writing, I want to enjoy it whether others might deem it “fashionable” or not.

What about you? How do you decide what to write? Do you go by trends? Your own desire?

Vogue Magazine logo is from Wikipedia. Seventeen Magazine logo is Other photos by L. Marie. Neonlicious and Royal Bee OMG Fashion Dolls are products of MGA Entertainment, Inc.

44 thoughts on “In Fashion

  1. Great post, L. Marie. You reminded me of all of the babysitting gigs I lined up so I could afford those designer jeans. My parents would never buy those for me, but they did keep me clothed in Levis. 🙂 No, I definitely don’t follow trends when I write. They change way to fast. Have a great weekend!

  2. I write what I enjoy. Kind of sticking to my plan of series too. I’ve had people tell me to divert from my stuff to write a trendy story. That way I can get attention and then do what I really want. The problem is that it doesn’t guarantee that the audience of the trendy stuff will follow. You can get stuck in a genre that you don’t like or become a one hit wonder. Better to do what one wants here.

    • I know what you mean. Trends come and go so quickly. Dystopian fiction came and went and seems to be making a comeback (according to some). You’re doing well with your vampire series. Years ago, I tried to write a vampire story and couldn’t make it work. There are some stories I’d rather read than write. So I’m not one for jumping on trends.

  3. You have the corner on cute characters to fit your story. A Mennonite girl, I was taught to ignore fashion, except in Simplicity patterns for handmade clothing, one side note on this week’s blog. That doesn’t mean I didn’t crave styles I saw my classmates wear, off my radar and out of my budget too.

    I write what I know, which is nostalgic, not trendy. Nice pairing of idea, L. Marie! 🙂

    • Thank you, Marian! I wish I’d learned to sew with a machine. I can sew by hand–buttons, hems, and crocheted pieces that assemble into a whole. But I never learned to use a machine. I might take a class at some point. 😊

  4. “If it’s at Sears, it’s good enough for you.” I lived a world similar to yours, although I did occasionally get to shop at JC Penney’s which was a step up in our small town. I got seventeen and Glamour but never had any way to get those clothes– which made me feel so sad back then. Today I couldn’t give a flying fig through a donut hole about fashion, though.

    • Totally hear you, Ally. And my parents also took us to Penney’s and Montgomery Ward. I liked looking at fashion catalogs, but wouldn’t have had the nerve (or the funds) to go the haute couture route. 😊

  5. Love the Magellan line! In one of my WIP’s, the protagonist says the head of her school is so old she knew Vasco da Gama personally. In any case, so much of YA (and now MG) is flavor of the month, which creates a certain sameness on the shelves. I feel the same way about my writing that I do about cargo pants — hang on to it long enough that it comes back into fashion again. And that works for just about every genre except contemporary where so much hangs on current pop culture.

  6. Remember those 2 inch thick special editions of Seventeen? Usually out on the stands for ‘back-to-school’ and then later for ‘holiday-dressing’.
    Whenever those specials came out, Ma would come home from the grocery store and pull out a copy she’d gotten at the check out – just for me! Soooo much fun to page through and dream…
    Those mags were pricey but worth the $$$ as those ‘specials’ delivered a lot of bling-bang for the buck (HA! like the alliterative phrase I just made up?)
    Love your fashionista glamour dolls…so not me! But fun to dream, eh?
    Have a great weekend, L. Marie.

    • Laura, I loved those issues! I used to read them cover to cover! (And Tiger Beat!) Those were the days! I loved planning the wardrobe that I couldn’t really have! 😄
      Hope you have a great weekend!

  7. Sounded like you had an eye for fashion since your growing up days, L. Like you, my folks didn’t buy me what I wanted eventhough I begged. I had to save up and buy it. I always wanted to buy black clothes as a rebel teen and my parents didn’t like this at all lol 😀 There was this monthly magazine called Lime which my parents bought for me, and every time a new issue came home I eagerly flipped through it seeing what the celebrities of the moment wore 🙂

    At different points of my life I wrote different genres. First I stared off with fantasy fiction, then non-fiction current affairs and these days things on multiculturalism and every day life.

    • I hope you’ll return to writing fantasy, Mabel. By the way, I enjoyed your latest post. I was just talking to some friends about how I sometimes feel like I’m on a different planet. And the way I write blog posts solidifies that sense of not belonging. 😉

      • Maybe one day I’ll return to writing fantasy. Always had a soft spot for it. I like your blog posts, L. Great observations on real life and also bringing your stuffed friends along for the ride 🙂

  8. I don’t think I’ve ever been fashion conscious (or image conscious). I don’t really care what “they” think of me. 😀

    In HS, I lived in jeans and flannel shirts in the winter & in shorts and t-shirts in the summer. As long as they were clean, I was good to go. In contrast, my mom was always trying to get me to up my fashion sense. She made little headway.

    • My mother also wanted me to dress better (i.e., more skirts). Many at my high school were very fashion conscious. They were quick to talk about others’ clothes. As an undergraduate, I lived in jeans.

  9. My mom was a great seamstress, so she got me interested in fashion early. I also liked paper dolls and dressed them well. Starting in the 5th grade, my friends and I picked strawberries in the summer and then spent our earnings on Pendleton skirts and sweaters for the following school year.

    I’d be lost if I tried to write what was fashionable. I just try to find something that I find interesting and hope someone else does too.

    • I used to love paper dolls! It was fun to make clothes for them.

      I love your philosophy Nicki: “I just try to find something that I find interesting and hope someone else does too.” Same here! 😊

  10. I have to say, both you and Jill know how to prompt memories of long-ago 😉 With my mom, it was KMart that was “good enough” or The Big N (another discount store). I never earned enough through babysitting, but once I got a “real” job (cafeteria) and started earning a paycheck, I was free to buy my own clothes. Fortunately the fashion in high school back then was flannel shirts and jeans 😉 For awhile I sewed my own clothes but even then I had a tendency to recycle fabric rather than buy new. I lived for the fall issue of Vogue magazine when I was a teenager. I was a knitter by then so I practically drooled over their photo spreads of Fair Isle sweaters and cabled cardigans. I don’t know if I’d describe myself as fashion-conscious. I was such an introvert but because of that I tended to wear what I liked (and what I could afford to buy or make). An old high school friend once told me that I was the first in our class to wear a halter top (which my mom thought was scandalous). I just remember halter tops as being very comfortable, especially since my breasts were small enough that I didn’t need to wear a bra 😉
    But here: “So, I finally determined that whatever I spend time writing, I want to enjoy it whether others might deem it “fashionable” or not.” I struggle with this a bit. I am writing what I myself would like to read, but still trying to be mindful of other readers who might expect more from me. I categorize my current WIP as crime fiction simply for the sake of categorizing, but I’m more interested in the characters than in the plot. I’ve read plenty of crime fiction that is character-driven and those tend to be my favorites. But they are not necessarily best-sellers so … I’m keeping my expectations low.

    • I remember KMart. And a store called Venture. Discount shopping at its finest!

      I wanted to knit those Fair Isle sweaters, but I was too intimidated back then to try. I was an adult before I took a color knitting class, which was quite the game changer for me. I started making all kinds of sweaters then.

      I’m glad you’re working on your fiction, Marie. 😊

      • You know, in all my knitting years, I still haven’t knitted a Fair Isle sweater. Loved to look at them, consider patterns, but the few times I did any colorwork, I was clumsy with carrying the yarn in the back and wound up with a seersucker-like pattern 😉

      • Carrying the colors is tough–especially making sure that holes aren’t left when you add another color. And changing colors in crocheting has the same issue.

  11. As a reader, I get very tired of trends in books so I’m always pleased when authors choose to write about whatever they want. I get the impression they’re driven hard by publishers to fit into whatever this year’s style is though, and it must be hard to resist that pressure. But while “trend” books might be successful in the short term, very few of them have a long shelf-life – a bit like those fashions that come and go in one season!

    • I know what you mean, FF. And you’re undoubtedly right about the pressure to write to a trend. Some authors are good at crafting books that feel like classics and therefore are around longer than the average trendy tome. 😊

  12. Hi L. I’m behind with blogs and trying to catch up with a few this morning. I’ve not been one to follow the trends. Although, if there is a fashion trend I think looks great, I do it. I wore out my parachute pants back in the 80’s. 😜 I actually loved platform shoes because it made short me taller without having to walk on arched tippy-toes (heals). I’d still wear them today if they were comfortable, but aging is hurting my feet. 😕
    Hope you had a nice weekend. This heat, humidity and an alligator in a pond in the city makes me wonder if someone shipped me back to Florida in my sleep.

    • Lori, everything is cyclical, isn’t it? With parachute pants, MC Hammer has to make a comeback! 😊

      I had a good weekend, though I spent it under a fan mostly! 😊 Soooooo humid!

  13. What a fun post!
    When I was a wee on, I was dressed like a little doll. In fact, I still have a doll that is wearing my dress. 🙂 Then . . . most of my clothes through my elementary years were hand-me-downs. Once I started babysitting, which I did a lot of, at 50cents an hour (I’m old), I would save up to buy my own clothes and magazines. I would save until I got to $5, then I would walk the cash, with my little bank pass book in my hand, and deposit the money. I thought I was rich. 🙂 I would save up and buy something at Zayres or Ben Franklin – really good stuff came from Sears. 🙂

    My writing is more memoir and nature writing and I pretty much write what I want to, unless its something for one of the organizations I belong to. Hmmm . . . you have me thinking of challenging myself.

    • I remember Zayres, Penny. They were replace by Venture. I remember Zayres was famous (at least in my neck of the woods) for constant price checks, which slowed the lines considerably. 😋

      I’m glad you are considering challenging yourself, Penny. I could see you writing a women’s fiction novel. 👍

      • I’d forgotten that Zayres became Venture. That’s funny about the price checks. 🙂 Now, I’m remembering E.J. Korvetttes – the best place for albums.
        You are kind, L. Marie and I thank you. I can use a challenge and who knows?

  14. Fashion is a way to express oneself. It can be used as a way to fit in, but the great thing about fashion and style is it can set you apart from everyone else. So much creativity would be lost if we were all afraid to wear what we like and write about what we like. So write what you want and wear what you want – be true to yourself.

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