Our society 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. They are portrayed with such persuasion. Runways and street stylists adopt the trends with such permeative allure that we mindlessly hop on that fleeting bandwagon with reckless abandon.
The inescapable presence of the latest fashion fad taints everything we look at. The sheer ubiquity provokes 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. This cycle guarantees 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. Therefore, 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 nostalgia counters the typical superficiality of a trend with substance. There is an emotional and contextual depth to the fad as it extracts a historic statement from a trend. This can add an archival element to your wardrobe season in and season out. The currently trending off-the-shoulder can evoke a 1970s-Jane Birkin while the slip dress pays homage to a 90s Kate Moss in her prime.
Timelessness is always trending. A classic wardrobe can demolish the revolving door that most of our closets are figuratively burdened 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, only accenting with trends. The other trick is to know how to differentiate the two. Knowing these tricks ensures 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, they will always be able to rotate and readapt to any trend, era or situation.
Define your style.
Know your style and then stay loyal to that style. Having style guidelines will help deter impulse shopping and curate a wardrobe that is functionally and characteristically timeless.
Conceptualizing your style persona can offer a shortcut and a personalized approach to curating a timeless wardrobe. Whether you are minimalist, girly, bohemian, preppy, or urban, each style persona has staple elements and auras that transcend eras. Your closet maps around those personas no matter the year or the current trend report.
This is not to say we must be overly strict with those molds. But these are hints to which pieces we should invest in that won’t expire after a season. If you are typically girly but enjoy the idea of the 70s flower child revival, you don’t have to be a closet dictator who prohibits fringe in favor of floral.
Just partake in trends to the extent you feel logically accommodates your life. Integrate trends as it relates to your closet. That fringe peasant blouse may pair well with your favorite midi skirt.
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 cliché; 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 spare you the maternal response (are you going to jump off a bridge just because everyone else is doing it?).
Our advice is to simply use these influences constructively. Just flip your perspective. You can either ingest the suffocating pressure to run out and become a clone of these street stylists and ad campaigns. Or you let it inspire 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 those 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 those culottes will turn into regret in 6 months time, maybe it is better to pass altogether or to just buy that Zara 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. Implementing a plan for what to add, keep or get rid of is important in distinguishing yourself between an 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.
Also published on Medium.