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How to Understand Trendy vs Timeless Classic Fashion

Discover your timeless classic fashion with a lace bralette, cream pointed kitten heels, sunglasses, light wash jeans, and a black leather bag.

In the ever-evolving realm of fashion, the division between trendy and timeless classic has become increasingly evident. Fashion trends, once dictated by elite houses and traditional media, now emerge from the powerful influence of social media. As the digital age propels us through an accelerated trend cycle, it becomes crucial to distinguish between fleeting fads and eternal classics.

We delve into the dynamics of fashion trends, exploring their life cycle, the rise of micro-trends in the post-pandemic era, and the environmental repercussions of fast fashion. While navigating this landscape, the discussion turns to the necessity for timeless classic fashion, guiding readers on building a wardrobe that transcends through time.

What is a fashion trend?

A fashion trend signifies a specific garment or style that gains widespread popularity during a particular era, influencing a broad spectrum of consumers, products, and brands. Throughout most of the 20th century, trends originated from fashion houses, influencing magazines and catalogs that eventually reached consumers. However, the digital age has paved the way to a new era where trends emerge from the runways, street style, and most notably, fashion influencers. 

What does the trend cycle look like?

A Trend Cycle bell curve which features the Introduction, Increase, Peak, Decrease, and Obsolescence phases

Trends typically follow a pattern resembling a bell curve, steadily ascending until they reach their peak and then gradually fading into obscurity. Understanding the fashion cycle can help you catch emerging trends before they decline and turn into outdated pieces in your closet.

Introduction

Trends begin with a small group known as Innovators. These trendsetters kick things off at fashion shows or fashion-forward celebrities, creating a buzz within an exclusive circle. 

Increase

Next, the trend gains momentum in the Increase phase and attracts early adopters. This is the point where social media influencers on TikTok or Instagram come into play and push the trend into the spotlight. It will also start to emerge on the racks of retail stores. 

Peak

The Peak phase is when the trend is at its height. Every day consumers embrace the trend and it becomes a staple in mass production across various price points. Walk into any store, and you will likely find a variation hanging on the racks. 

Decline

However, after the popularity peaks, the trend faces a Decline phase. Trendsetters, always on the lookout for the next big thing, start distancing themselves from what has become too “mainstream”. Oversaturation sets in, and weariness creeps in among the masses.

Obsolescence

The inevitable follows in the Obsolescence phase, where the trend is deemed unfashionable and outdated. The fashion world rejects it to make room for the next big trend.

Resurgence

Fashion has a way of circling back, as seen in the Resurgence phase. Trends often resurrect and evolve every 20 to 30 years, drawing inspiration from previous eras. This cyclical nature is influenced by nostalgia, societal shifts, and historical events.

The Perils of Trends

The downside to embracing a wardrobe full of fashion aesthetics and trends is the risk of losing a sense of personal style and the accumulation of outdated clothing in your closet. This risk has only heightened during the digital age, where trends are cycling through its phases at an alarming rate.

The rise of trends in the digital age began in the 2010s when fashion bloggers started to command significant influence and reshape the fashion scene. Before, major fashion houses and hefty advertising budgets dictated the trends. However, the rise of social media allowed the everyday person to share their own personal style. Fashion bloggers have evolved into today’s fashion influencers, leveraging platforms like Instagram and TikTok to showcase their outfits and clothing hauls.

The allure of exploring other people’s lives through social media significantly impacts consumer behavior. Brief glimpses of polished outfits and massive clothing hauls fuel a surge in consumer spending. However, this rapid distribution of trends comes at a cost; companies find it easier to exploit the emotional aspects of social media like body image issues and the fear of missing out (FOMO) to further push trends and consumerism. As a result, trends now emerge faster than ever with consumers quickly embracing them. 

The Era of Micro Trends and Fast Fashion

The era of micro trends has surged in the wake of the post-pandemic world. Unlike conventional trends that last for 6 months and up to 5 years, these micro trends can become obsolete by the end of a fashion season, while some might not even survive past a month. Surrendering to micro trends doesn’t just risk ruining your sense of style. But it also leads to closets bursting at the seams with recently purchased, yet already outdated clothing.

To keep up with the pace of the accelerating trend cycle, clothing production has heightened to unsustainable practices and advancing the impact of fast fashion. Known for its rapid production of clothing by replicating the latest trends, fast fashion is often achieved through the use of inexpensive materials and questionable labor practices. The affordability of these items allows consumers to buy more clothing at lower prices. Industry giants like Shein, Zara, and H&M promote this trend, with Zara striving for a remarkable 15-day turnaround time from design to retail shelves. And Shein, pushing the boundaries of out of control production to the extreme, introduces a staggering 6,000 new styles every single day.

The detrimental effects of fast fashion and micro trends suppress the importance of personal style and contribute to our planet’s descent into an irreversible climate crisis. The fast fashion waste alone is responsible for nearly 10% of global carbon emissions, with a staggering 92 million tons of textile waste dumped into landfills annually. The prevalence of poor-quality clothing, prone to falling apart after minimal use contributes to the alarming statistic that, on average, garments are only worn 7 – 10 times before being discarded.

Even when clothes are donated, thrift stores are met with an abundance of outdated and second-rate items and are overwhelmed by the fast fashion consumption craze. This, in turn, exacerbates the issue, making it increasingly difficult for consumers to discover high-quality clothing amidst the treacherous sea of disposable fashion.

Amidst the escalating trend cycles, it’s crucial to pivot away from the blind embrace of trends and micro trends. Instead, we need to develop an understanding between fleeting fashion trends and timeless classic pieces that will stand the test of time. This shift requires developing an awareness of your signature fashion style and knowing what clothing suits you best. Adopting a mindful approach not only results in a long-lasting wardrobe but also contributes to stopping fast fashion, fostering a more mindful approach to timeless classic fashion.

What is the difference between trendy vs timeless classic pieces?

Understanding the difference between trendy vs timeless classic fashion involves considering both the duration and stylistic aspects of the piece. Trendy items typically remain in style for a period ranging from 6 months to 5 years. Microtrends or fads have an even shorter life span of 1 to 6 months. In contrast, timeless classics exhibits enduring style, staying fashionable for more than 5 years. Timeless classics, characterized by its continuous production, purchase, and wear, will always be offered in retail stores with various iterations.

Examining the style of a piece provides another way to distinguish between trendy and timeless classic fashion. Trendy items often feature distinctive details like imaginative patterns, unconventional designs, or vibrant colors. On the flip side, timeless classics tend to embrace simplicity, appearing more understated than their trendier counterparts. They typically favor neutral colors and simpler lines.

To determine the nature of a piece, ask yourself these questions: First, consider whether the item was popular over five years ago- a positive indicator of classic style. Additionally, imagine yourself in the future, envisioning your style evolution in 5 or 10 years. If you can confidently see yourself wearing the piece in the years to come, it’s a promising indication of its timeless appeal.

If a particular trend suddenly saturates your social media feed, it usually signals the makings of a fast trend. By the time you add it to your shopping cart, there’s a likelihood it could already be outdated by the time it finally arrives at your doorstep.

What are Timeless Classic Style Essentials?

Building a wardrobe with longevity ensures enduring style that starts with investing in timeless classics crafted with high-quality materials and impeccable garment construction. The following items stand the test of time and remain stylish regardless of the ever-changing fashion landscape. Similar to the concept of capsule wardrobes, we emphasize a curated collection of versatile and essential items:

Basic Tops:

Even beyond your timeless classic white tee, consider expanding your collection with versatile basic tops like tank tops, tees, or blouses. Opt for simple pieces that provide comfort and effortlessly complement various outfits in your closet.

Denim Jeans:

A reliable pair of denim jeans is a wardrobe essential. Opt for styles characterized by simplicity and comfort while steering clear of excessive distressing or embellishments.

Trousers:

Even though they are ideal for professional settings, trousers can offer sophistication in any situation. Crafted with quality materials and thoughtful design, they seamlessly adapt to various styles and moods.

Sweaters and Cardigans:

These pieces serve as excellent layering options, offering a range of styles. Whether a pullover or a cozy cardigan, sweaters remain an essential wardrobe staple.

Basic Blazer:

A well-made basic blazer adds a touch of elegance to any ensemble. Prioritize designs with enduring quality, allowing for subtle yet lasting personalization.

Little Black Dress:

The iconic Little Black Dress transcends fashion eras. Choose a style that resonates with your individuality, creating a versatile canvas for many different looks.

Coat:

A go-to coat, fashioned from high-quality materials, serves as an investment, offering both warmth and a stylish finishing touch.

Accessories:

Belt:

Enhance your outfit with a leather belt in classic black and brown. These accessories not only add flair but also stand the test of time in both style and durability.

Handbag:

Investing in a classic handbag, constructed with quality craftsmanship, elevates your overall look. Find a design that aligns with your practical needs while exuding ageless sophistication.

Jewelry:

Whether you’re a gold or silver girly or a blend of both, choose everyday jewelry pieces that are crafted with excellent quality. These accessories effortlessly elevate your outfit with long-lasting style.

Shoes:

Comfort meets style with everyday shoes. From comfy sneakers to versatile boots, choose shoes that offer both comfort and compatibility with a range of occasions, ensuring continuing appeal in your wardrobe.

Perfume: 

Incorporating a signature perfume into your wardrobe serves as a subtle, yet impactful accessory. Fragrance not only enhances your overall look but also provides an avenue to explore the realm of luxury brands without the hefty price tag associated with high-end fashion items.

Beyond Boring: Timeless Classic Wardrobes That Speak Your Language

Don’t worry if the concept of a timeless classic wardrobe seems a bit dull at first glance. While classic pieces inherently embody simplicity compared to their trendier counterparts, that doesn’t necessarily equate to a stale closet. Each piece is open to interpretation and variation based on your style. For instance, a timeless dress can manifest differently for various individuals, ensuring your personalized touch. The key lies in embracing your unique personal style and selecting pieces that make you feel confident. Meaningful choices, from favorite colors to specific design details, will withstand the test of time in your wardrobe.

4 Different Ways to Infuse Individuality

  1. Color Preferences:

Choose colors that resonate with your style and evoke a sense of confidence and comfort.

2. Fabric and Texture:

Exploring various textures serves as a stylish way to infuse richness and dimension into your wardrobe. 

3. Silhouette Choices: 

Opt for your preferred sleeve, neckline, and hemline styles to ensure that each garment flatters your body shape.

4. Detail Incorporation:

Infuse personality into your wardrobe by selecting items with specific details like hardware, embroidery, buttons, or unique designs. These subtle embellishments contribute to the overall character of your timeless classics, making them uniquely yours.

Timeless Classic Style: The Art of Purposeful Shopping

Finally, it’s important to adopt a deliberate and slow shopping approach. Assess each piece not only individually but also in the context of your entire closet. The goal is to ensure that every item seamlessly mixes and matches with others, creating a timeless classic collection. If a piece catches your interest, consider adding it to your wishlist but allow yourself a few months before making the purchase. This time frame lets you contemplate the item’s place in your life and its potential longevity. Often, revisiting a wishlist after some time may reveal its initial allure has passed. This thoughtful approach ensures that the timeless classic pieces you add to your wardrobe are not only stylish but also purposeful. 

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