top of page


Have you ever guessed a trend at first because a year later loved to wear it and the following season wondered how you could buy something so ugly? You are not alone and in this article we dive into the psychological reasons behind this behavior.

Let's start with a little anecdote. I have always hated wedge heels, so I really think they have been the biggest flop in fashion history apart from crocs and 3/4 tights under jeans shorts. I can even remember an occasion in preschool when I told my miss, Kerstin, that I would never wear wedge heels when I grew up because it was so terribly ugly. She laughed because at that time all mothers wore just that - wedge heels. I kept my opinion until I came to myself this morning with a pair of Paris Texas wedge heels in the shopping cart. Terrified and with a feeling of awakening, I closed the tab and began to reflect on the allure, even the desire to spend just over SEK 4,000 on something I always thought was scary until now and I realized that my conversion to the solid heel started already in 2018.

"The fabrics, the color palette, the flower petals on the ground, all appealed to me except one thing - the shoes."

One thing few people know is that every year during fashion week, I sit at the computer to go through all the collections to try to predict future trends and the autumn of 2018 was no exception. One of the fashion houses that really appealed to me that year was Dior (their Ready-To-Wear SS19 collection is still one of my personal favorites - see it HERE [click!]). The fabrics, the color palette, the flower petals on the ground, everything appealed to me except one thing - the shoes. Several of the models swaddled down the aisle in wedge heels and I could not understand how they could ruin such a nice fashion show with such ugly shoes. It stung in my eyes.

Since 2018, I have seen wedge heels everywhere - on Instagram, during fashion week, at fashion shows, in stores - you name it! Gradually, I have come to accept, and over time, even begun to like them. How is it that? The answer can be found in psychology.

The exposure effect is a term in social psychology to describe how an attitude towards an object changes as you are exposed to it repeatedly. In English, the phenomenon is called The Mere Exposure Effect and basically means that the more you are exposed to an object, the more you like it regardless of your initial attitude towards it. The chart below shows that the majority of what you like is something you are used to seeing, or otherwise experiencing while disliking the majority of what you are experiencing for the first time or are still above.


This phenomenon here is not only the reason why you fall for trends that you did not like at first, the exposure effect also explains why you think your mother's minced meat sauce is better than the one served at the Michelin restaurant or why you prefer a white toothpaste tube with red text similar to Colgate than a purple tube with yellow text that does not resemble any toothpaste you have seen before.

"I hate trends and that's why I'm obsessed with them."

But if I do not want to be influenced to buy things I will regret, why do I spend so much time predicting trends? In fact, I hate trends and that's exactly why I'm obsessed with them. When I spend my hard-earned riksdaler in a garment, I prefer that it extends over the season's trends and lasts for several years to come. This is what I call timeless style. But as my little slip this morning proved, not even I am immune to the exposure effect. However, I will still share a trick to minimize the opportunities when you fall there.

The trick is to always be one step ahead, ie pay attention to the trend while it is still in its infancy. Easier said than done, one might think, but here are some characteristics of trends that have not yet been commercialized.



If you are not one. fashion nerd who looks at all the pictures from fashion week, you probably do not even know the trend. For example, my mother did not know that wedge heels would become fashionable again four years ago, but have begun to realize it now that they are visible everywhere.


If you discover a trend at an early stage, it is most likely that you think it is strange, ugly or even out of date. Fashion is like a pendulum that goes back and forth, one decade it should be high-waisted jeans, the next decade they should be low, and so on. So early in the life of the trend, it is considered more like experimental art and the exposure effect has just begun.


One theory that is often talked about in fashion science is that when the trend has reached the stage of mass production, it is already over. According to this theory, one can conclude that tweed suits are pasé, chunky boots and sneakers as well, as well as cargo pants, platform shoes, micro-bags and dresses with cut-outs. At this point, it is also likely that you are strongly affected by the exposure effect and probably think that the trend is quite ok.

WARNING! Examples of trends that so far are mainly found in large fashion houses or more expensive brands but which will soon be seen everywhere even in the large store chains are clogs, jelly sandals, low-waisted jeans, 3/4 tights and of course wedge heels. You can google these yourself as I do not want to link to and thus encourage the purchase of these.

Hope you found this (very long) article interesting! If you want to read more about the exposure effect, I link some articles and studies HERE (click!), HERE (click!), HERE (click!) och HERE (click!).



Commenting has been turned off.
bottom of page