The fashion industry thrives off of trends and telling people what is in, and what is out. Which is an important thing for them to do, because they are a business. Yet, real people do not thrive on trends.
Trends or fads both go away with time. They are commonly the things you look back on and think, "oh my god, was I really wearing that?" but you will always have other outfits you look back on and go, "damn, I looked freaking awesome!" That is the difference between your style and society's trends.
Trends are built for a consumer population; they are made to tell you what to buy, how to wear it, and who you will be if you wear it. It is often also a cycle, which is why every five years boot-cut becomes popular again, and chunky heels come back in style.
Style is something you have that is unique to you. It's the reason why that one girl can wear the full on hippie outfit, and rock it, and you can't; because if it's not your style, you will feel weird. Most women my age are into chunky sweaters and knits with leggings and riding boots, or something like that, whereas I am most comfortable in my 20 year old misfits shirt and jeans. That's just me, though.
Style, rather your personal style, is an outer representation of who you are. It gives people an opportunity to understand you before you even open your mouth. That's why I have a huge collection of funky sunglasses and way too much black. I wear what makes me feel confident, and that is my style.
That is why style is so important, but underplayed. If you are trying to stick to your style, then the trends wont make any money. If the trends make no money, then the fashion world won't be successful. Which means new, exciting outfits wont be created. It's a vicious cycle.
The important part of trends is that every once in a while, somewhere in-between the weird outfits, new, exciting pieces will come out. And those can shape someone's own sense of style.
So, what is a person to do in the middle of all this fashion chaos? Be yourself. If all your friends like something and you don't, don't wear it. If no one else wears what you do, embrace it. If there is a certain pattern, color, type of clothing you love, then wear it.
There's nothing wrong with being the women in the floral dresses all the time, or the woman who is always in a leather jacket. These things help make us unique and our styles help us represent ourselves in this huge world of ours. Your style will always be better than a trend, but that doesn't mean a trend won't become your style.