Celebrities and editors open the public eye to aspirational looks.
But the real fashion must-haves anymore are imagination, instinct and an Internet connection.
"The trend is the focus on personal style and how you put yourself together," said Sasha Charnin Morrison, fashion director for Us Weekly. "The blogs covering street style are where people are looking for day-to-day inspiration."
Still, Scott Schuman, whose blog "The Sartorialist" has led to two books and photography projects for Burberry, Tiffany, Coach and J.Crew, said magazines have not lost their place in fashion.
Schuman still buys GQ and other style bibles that he read as an otherwise typical boy in Indianapolis. They planted the seed for his career in fashion marketing and sales before his two children and his blog redirected him toward photography.
"I love this dream world that magazines create. Street style was to me always a supplement," he said. "But both sides have to get better at what they do. Magazines have been so dominated by the hand of advertisers for so long that I think no one really believes that what's in magazines is what editors love. If it's one designer look head to toe, that's not even style, then."
There are blogs, too, that pander to advertisers.
But Schuman thinks the next generation of fashion followers is savvy enough to demand more honesty from both blogs and magazines. While advertising supports "The Sartorialist," Schuman said, "we've been able to maintain an absolute separation. The No. 1 thing the blog has brought me is freedom as an artist to shoot the way I want every day."
Freedom fuels fashion, said Lee Oliveira, a Brazilian who lives in Sydney. Like Schuman, Oliveira travels the world scouting outstanding street style for his blog, which has opened doors to social media consulting projects for luxury brands.
"Social media has brought about so much more information and choice in how we can and want to dress," Oliveira said. "I find it fascinating and clever that an individual has put something together with the pieces they have, without a team of stylists. I find this much more interesting than following trends."