Our culture is obsessed with trends more now than we ever have been. The idea of a trend has evolved to encompass everything from #trendingtopics, click-bait headlines, and memes on social networks, to the more traditional birth room of fashion trends on the runways.
Wherever they begin, one thing is certain: the concept and reality of trends are ubiquitous and inevitable. And this ubiquity has shortened our attention spans and heightened our hunger for the next best thing.
Whatever trends you end up subscribing to can ultimately be as persistent as they are pervasive. They send us into a blind frenzy of dedicated attention, only waking from the trance when there is a new trend to devote ourselves to.
This trend cycle has the most detrimental effect on our wardrobes, as they are generally sustained by our wallets.
Trends can be very tempting when they surface, often portrayed with such convincing modernity that we gawk at runways and envy street stylists who have adopted the trends with such permeative allure that we easily hop on that fleeting bandwagon with reckless abandon.
Everything we look at becomes inundated with the inescapable presence of the latest fashion fad, provoking you to buy every color, print, and pattern, only to regret your blind indulgence when the fad fades into fashion’s so-last-season abyss just as quickly as it came.
So are trends all bad?
The bright side of a fashion trend is that they function upon a cyclical axis, guaranteeing them resurrecting potential in wardrobes past, present and future. At fashion’s essence is history and at the essence of history is the guarantee of repetition. Thus, trends don’t have to be as vapid and fleeting as they are so often criticized.
Thus, trends don’t have to be as vapid and fleeting as they are so often criticized.
Trends can be a vessel to past eras, perpetuating a nostalgic element to fashion’s current fancy. This bedrock of nostalgia gives emotional and contextual depth to the fad via the precedence of being able to extract a historic statement from a trend. This can add an archival element to your wardrobe season in and season out. More than a feature to an outfit, the currently trending off-the-shoulder can channel a 1970s-Jane Birkin while the slip dress pays homage to a 90s Kate Moss in her prime.
Timelessness is always trending, so mastering a classic wardrobe is a practice that can ensure you avoid the revolving door that most of our closets are figuratively equipped with.
A Guide to the Timeless Wardrobe
Know what constitutes trend versus timeless.
The trick to timelessness is to curate a wardrobe defined by classic pieces accented with trends. The other trick is to know how to differentiate the two. The bonus of knowing these tricks is that your timeless pieces effortlessly complement the trendy ones while maintaining a classic aura. So what constitutes a timeless piece exactly? Timeless touchstones include simplicity, quality, fit, and especially versatility. If you have versatile pieces, you will always be able to rotate and readapt their purposes appropriately to any trend, era or situation.
Define your style.
Knowing your style and then staying true to your style cannot only help deter impulse shopping but also helps us to curate a wardrobe that is functionally and personally timeless.
Conceptualizing your style persona can offer a shortcut and a personalized approach to curating a timeless wardrobe. Whether you are a minimalist, girly, bohemian, vintage, preppy, urban or, all of these style personas have staple elements and auras throughout any eras. Your closet maps around those personas no matter the year or the current trend report.
Not to say we must be overly strict with those molds, but these are hints to what kind of pieces we should invest in that we won’t tire of after a season or two. If you are classic feminine but enjoy the idea of 70s flower child revival, you don’t have to be an oppressive closet dictator who prohibits fringe in favor of floral. You can partake in these to the extent you feel logically accommodates your life. In essence, if a trend is not ‘you,’ but you want to try it on for size, it may be wise to forego the designer splurge in favor of the fast-fashion adaptation.
Be inspired—not pressured.
Like most peer pressure parables, the moral of the story is a rather elementary cliche; know yourself, be yourself, stay true to yourself, live happily ever after. To adopt this mantra a bit more for our niche, we’ll replace ‘yourself’ with ‘style’ which is basically the same thing anyway right? There is nothing more timeless than knowing who you are and then staying true to that mindset. It is the foundation of class, elegance, and effortlessness. And the best part—it comes from your heart, not your wallet.
It is nearly impossible to dodge the now pervasive reach of brand and trend imagery. They are the bad influence your mother warned you about, slowly wearing you down with everything from macro ad campaigns to micro Instagram posts from your bestie. And then you can’t help but try it out because, like, everyone else is doing it! We’ll save the maternal response (are you going to jump off a bridge just because everyone else is doing it?) for your mom.
But our advice is to simply use these influences constructively. There can either be a suffocating pressure to run out and become a clone of these street stylists and ad campaigns or there can be an inspiring new perspective that you can reflect upon your pre-existing closet and personal style.
Invest in fundamental basics and versatile statements.
Take cues according to your style, body, lifestyle. These elements will never expire, they will never go out of season. They are your closet’s most reliable resource and the building block of a classic sense of style.
Find the timelessness of a trend; interpret it accordingly.
There is a secret to the well-curated, timeless closet. Simply find the timelessness within the trend. To determine if a trend has timeless traits, analyze its universal longevity and its versatility to seamlessly assimilate to your wardrobes. If the two points are questionable, save the impulse splurge for something that won’t be the bane of your profile-turned-blackmail pictures a couple of years from now.
Timelessness comes from the ability to interpret trends from a different angle than trend slaves. Take cues from the archives. Have you seen it in past decades? How complex is it? How seamless does it fit into your pre-existing wardrobe? There are always hints in history that can foreshadow a trend’s viability for the future. If that bondage dress will turn into a blackmail picture in 6 months time, maybe it is better to pass altogether or to just buy that Forever 21 imitation.
Strategize your wardrobe.
A strategy can not only help curb your credit card bills, but it can also help to create a streamlined closet. Quality should always win your dollar over quantity. If you find that a trend matches your current wardrobe perfectly, rather than buying one in every color, hold out for the one gem that will age with class. Applying a plan for what to add, keep or get rid of is important to distinguish yourself between archivist or a hoarder.
Don’t forget you!
Your clothes shouldn’t shout over your personality. Trends should never overwhelm the person wearing them! We can all think of iconic style role models that exuded a timeless aura, which ultimately made more of a lasting statement than anything they ever wore.
Lauren is based in Atlanta, Georgia. In addition to writing here on Pursuit of Daydreams, Lauren’s daydreams consist of all forms of design: Graphic, Fashion, Web, Interior, Art. On any given day, she can be found preoccupied with at least one of the above. She is happiest with a bowl of ice cream in hand.
Also published on Medium.