There’s a good chance if you’re reading this post you’re currently working on updating your wardrobe. Building a great wardrobe takes time and a little money, so at some point, you’re going to be hitting the shops looking for pieces to fill the gaps. It goes without saying, buying pieces that last, both in terms of quality and style, should be high on anyone’s list of priorities when shopping.
It’s an even bigger priority when you’re looking for pieces that will prop up your wardrobe and form the foundation it’s built upon. You might have heard of these items being referred to as ‘classics’, ‘core pieces’, or ‘basics’.
But how do you know if what you’re buying is actually a ‘basic’ or a trend masquerading as one? And while we’re at it, do basics actually date?
Why is it important?
If you’re investing in your wardrobe for the long run and want pieces that aren’t going to be dated in 5 years time then being able to identify and distinguish trend pieces from non-trends is absolutely vital.
Some trends are going to be really obvious. For example at the moment things associated with the 90s, cold shoulder everything etc.
These pieces are easy to spot. But what’s harder is spotting something that could be dated in 5 or more years.
But first, let’s break down what exactly is a trend?
I guess you can call them a look or item that’s popular for a limited time. You may want to break them down further as trends can span a variety of time frames:
Short term trends | Usually a season or two
Midterm | A couple of years
Long-term | Five years plus or items that are synonymous with eras/decades
Then certain pieces sort of hang about and morph to fit the current style of the time. Think about a blazer and how the cut may have changed through each decade. So you could even argue that…
Nothing is trend-proof.
I’ll give you an example to illustrate what I mean. Let’s say you bought a blazer 10 years ago and the trend at the time meant that it came in a boxy cut. Fast forward to present day and two things could happen:
01 | Blazers in a boxy cut have come back around and are currently in vogue.
02 | It now looks dated because although a blazer has never really disappeared, over time the boxy cut was superseded by a cut that’s far more fitted.
So short-term trends are probably easy to identify and avoid when looking for foundational, core pieces to base your wardrobe on. The same could possibly be said for mid-term trends as well.
The challenge really comes with those long-term trends. Those pieces that never really go anywhere but the cut or style changes over time.
So what’s the solution?
It really helps to have your aesthetic absolutely nailed. This is essentially your style compass. Once you know what aesthetic you’re going for, it doesn’t matter what’s going on in the world of fashion because you’re crystal clear on the look YOU want.
If you know what styles and cuts you want to feature in the wardrobe you’re building then you know exactly what you’re looking for. If your particular style or cut isn’t ‘in fashion’ then you may have to look harder to find it and potentially pay more for it.
You may also find it much more difficult to make it work with the current style that’s in circulation. But depending on your style and the goals you have for your wardrobe, this may or may not be much of an issue. So having a high style IQ helps with this.
Another solution is to find a great tailor or seamstress. If you know that certain pieces are never going to date, but the way they are cut might, then taking them to a seamstress can help. A great seamstress can work magic and give a garment a new lease of life and bring it up to date. It’s also a great trick to use when shopping for pre-loved pieces that may not be in a cut that favours you or your style.
Final note on trends
I’m not completely denouncing trends, they absolutely have their place. It really depends on the sort of wardrobe you’re looking to develop.
If you’re wanting a ‘timeless’ wardrobe with clothes that last you, years upon years, it’s likely to feature fewer trends. But you may also want to rotate trend pieces in and out to keep your wardrobe fresh, fun, and exciting. Providing that’s how the trends make you feel. As always it’s about building a wardrobe that you love and makes you feel great. If you want to rely on trends to do that, that’s totally up to you.
Alternatively, if you’re looking to build something that is purely based on an aesthetic you’ve selected, I’m hoping this post was useful.
Leave a comment with one example of how you’ve become savvy at spotting items that may date quickly?