Looking Ahead at a Year of Trends

After a year marked by Bieber-fever, KFC Double Downs and Conan O’Brien rocking the jeggings, things might be taking a turn for the classier. Here are some of the top projected trends for 2011:

“Newstalgia” – If you’ve ever rocked old-school inspired headphones, a handlebar mustache or an outfit that could land you a role in a campy ’60s movie, you’re guilty of practicing “Newstalgia.” This trend is all about emulating the past — but with a technologically-advanced twist. You can now load some dubstep onto a USB disguised as an analogue cassette, and ditch the Coors for Moonshine.

Ballet – From the popular thriller “Black Swan” to the runways of New York, it seems the “barre” has been raised. Even Kanye West is participating in the trend  — the music video for his hit “Runaway” features elegant ballerinas en pointe donning black tulle tutus. Grab some ballet flats or sport a bun to join in.

Color – Make it pop! This year is about ditching the drab and pumping up the color. According to Pantone Research Institute, the “world’s largest color authority for almost 50 years,” the color of the year is “honeysuckle,” a vivid combination of pink and red. This energizing color supposedly “lifts spirits and imparts confidence to meet life’s ongoing challenges.” Go confidently in the direction of your academic dreams this year, but make sure you have a honeysuckle-hued backpack to house your o-chem books.

Royalty – Not only have movies, such as upcoming “W.E.” and well-received “The King’s Speech,” shaped an American obsession with royalty this year, but Prince William’s engagement to Kate Middleton also has us running positively mad. Middleton’s style has inspired many women to dress regally and companies like Banana Republic have made the most of this trend by advertising that you can “get Kate Middleton’s look for less.”

Wood – We’ve spent the last few years focused on being “green,” and now that respect for Mother Nature has extended itself into the world of fashion and design. You can now purchase fancy wooden watches, tools and eyeglasses, meshing the modern and manmade with something a bit more natural.

4-D – Because experiencing only three dimensions is so passe, certain elements will be added to the film-watching experience to further the audience’s involvement in the movie. These elements have been found at amusement parks for years and can range from water mist to vibrating seats. Even fashion lines like Polo Ralph Lauren are moving in on the trend by creating 4-D displays featuring their fragrances as that final dimension.

Crowd Power – The Internet has served as a great source of individual power, as it provides a stage for people to speak their minds and express themselves. But what if those separate voices joined forces? A rising trend is “crowd power,” in which individuals combine their power to meet a specific goal in business or art. Groupon, a coupon website that offers new deals daily, allows customers to make heavily discounted purchases if enough customers buy the projected deal within a certain time limit. Crowd power is not just restricted to the Internet though. For instance, the number of “Flash mobs,” or groups of dancers who burst out in surprise performance in public places, is gaining popularity.

Customer Service – With growing competition between countless companies in a tough economy, customer service has become the top way to gain and keep clients. For example, Zappos, an online clothing and shoe retailer, is known for its excellent customer service. They have a 24/7 customer service number and according to the LA Times, Zappos doesn’t just respond to your footwear concerns, but is even known to direct people to local pizza parlors.

India – Obama called our partnership with India one of the most “defining” of this century, and it seems the relationship will continue to heat up with their hosting of a Formula One race and the ICC Cricket World Cup this year. We went crazy for “Slumdog Millionaire,” and now many of the actors have been cast in upcoming blockbusters, such as a “Mission: Impossible” movie, a “Planet of the Apes” prequel and the next “Spiderman” flick. American celebrities are also fueling the trend, as Russell Brand and Katy Perry married in India last fall and Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie may be next.

So this year, make the most of crowd power, invest in a honeysuckle sari and save up money for more 3-D — and soon 4-D — flicks. At least the improved customer service will make you feel less guilty about spending those extra dollars!