You might think being a ‘follower of fashion’ is something to aspire to, but if you really want to feel like you’ve made it, you want to be setting the trends, not responding to them.

There are plenty of advantages to getting there first – garments tend to be more expensive when they’re part of a peaking trend, whereas if you catch them on the way up, they might be significantly more affordable.

For those of us who refresh our entire wardrobe on a seasonal basis, that can make for substantial long-term cost savings, compared with buying catwalk-inspired garments at full price.

However, there can also be obstacles to overcome, such as the challenge of finding garments out of season, if you are trying to beat the rush to get what you think will be in vogue in the months to come.

Being a true fashion leader can help you to cash in on the benefits, while overcoming the problems – because, if you are the one setting the trends, you can make a new style out of whatever you are able to lay your hands on in the run-up to the new season.

You only need to look at some of the biggest trends of recent years to recognise that this is the case; who would have predicted that military chic would come from nowhere and dominate styles just a couple of years ago?

The perfect example though has to be retro chic, which regularly makes a resurgence – personally, I think it’s simply because designers haven’t managed to come up with anything that grabbed the public’s collective consciousness that year, so people fall back on old favourite fashions.

You can make sure you’re always ready for the return of retro chic, by keeping a couple of garments from each major era of the 20th and 21st centuries set to one side in your wardrobe, or even in long-term storage in vacuum-sealed bags beneath the bed or in the loft.

Complement these with some ever-ready versatile pieces – the little black dress never goes out of fashion for parties, and if you’re comfortable with being, well, ‘comfortable’ then jeans and plain white fitted T-shirts or vest tops still look sexy, whatever the prevailing fashion of the day.

Beyond that, it’s just a case of adding a couple of statement pieces, as soon as you see something you feel like sporting for the new season – buy early and stick with it, and you’ll be surprised how often you choose the right trend; and how much you enjoy the renegade feeling of dressing for your own style in the face of an opposing trend.

fashion leader