How do you know which trends are going to last?

Along the lines of Suz's question, I was wondering how do you all know which trends are going to have staying power? Most of my prior clothes were bought in the early/mid '90's and now whenever I post my old clothes, everyone is like "Oh, that's so '90's!" like I should get with the times ;-)

Now that I am finally rebuilding my wardrobe, I love my new clothes and I want them to be wearable for a long time. But how long can I expect these clothes to last before they become unfashionable? One to two years? Five years? Ten? Another fifteen like my old clothes? How long is realistic to expect your clothes to be fashionable/wearable for?

And I've been having fun with some of the latest trends, but I've been scared to try some of the more daring trends for fear they'll become outdated quickly. Like I've been hesitant to buy a faux fur vest because I feel like next year people are going to say, "OMG that's so last year." I don't want to spend my money on clothes that won't last more than a year, but I also hate buying "boring" plain classic clothes like basic neutrals. I really like my clothes to have a bit of flair or some sort of twist, like colorful patterns on a pencil skirt etc. How do you balance having things that are "on trend" but not so trendy that they are going to become passe quickly? And how do you tell which hot trends are going to flame out by next season? Thanks!

This post is also published in the youlookfab forum. You can read and reply to it in either place. All replies will appear in both places.


  • lyn* replied 10 years ago

    I think that things that look fabulous on you, and don't deviate too much from "normal" are the ones that last the longest.

    I have A-line skirts/dresses in my closet from my high school days (10 years) that I still wear quite often, while the boho-long maxi skirts I really liked then too, I really don't like anymore (even though they are still 'in').

    As to your fur deliema, I think the vest will go out of style in a jiffy, but a trimmed sweater or a scarf will go out of style less readily, if at all.

  • Fruitful replied 10 years ago

    I thought 90s was a compliment? When young hipsters get photographed for local "edgy/quirky" magazines for street fashion posts, they are mostly doing 90s inspired looks... (while mainstream - and overdone - retro is 80s)

    It's like, when I was a teenager in the nineties and the mainstream retro influence was 60s (think Groove is In the Heart etc), I was into the much less talked about 70s and up to early 80s style (cos I was so underground lol). 70s (and more so 80s) was still uncool and laughed about in the mainstream so there was a kind of nerd chic about embracing it. Plus it was like connecting with vaguely remembered, exotic mysterious imagery from my childhood.

    Or maybe it doesn't work for us because we lived through 90s as adults, rather than being babies then. Other people don't need to know that though! :D

    Knowing if trends will last? You don't. I thought skinny jeans would be over in a season and they hung around for 4 years.

    There's a saying, "try a trend, don't invest in it".

    But if a trend is something I would wear even if it became unfashionable, I'd buy it.

    I don't really like looking "fashionable". I finally bought skinny jeans this year and my brother said I looked like all the bogans at the shopping centre. He's right. OTOH knowing I may look bad in some way makes me more keen to wear it :)

    I'm not helping, lol! But anti-fashion is just as important as fashion.

  • Sylvie replied 10 years ago

    I share your frustration with ever changing fashion. I really don't want to have to replace 50% of my wardrobe each year. It takes so much time and effort to find the right pieces, that once I have them I want them to last.

    I think the following clothes will last a reasonable amount of time and are worth investing in:

    Classic boring clothes (duh)
    Clothes that are flattering on you personally and interesting/fun without being exactly on trend. Your patterned pencil skirt is a good example because you can always style it differently according to what the fashion is and shorten/lengthen it.
    On trend clothes that cycle into fashion often. Ex: corduroy jackets, skinny jeans, animal print, specific colors.
    Clothes that can be reused in a different look. Ex: colorblocking. The solid colored tops and bottoms can be reworn with different items.

    The following will not last:

    Clothes that are trendy but not universally flattering. Fur vests are an acquired taste. They look good to our eyes now but I'm certain there'll be a time when they don't. So if I wanted one, I'd buy a cheap one, wear the heck out of it and gladly toss it aside once it wears out.

  • Deborah replied 10 years ago

    Thats a really interesting question. I remember reading an article about a woman who predicts trends (not just fashion). She predicted leggings would be big before they were widely available and wow, even she was suprised at the longevity of this 'trend'. I think it is fair to say they have now become a pretty mainstream clothing item and a basic in many wardrobes.

    Anyway I can't answer your question except to say that the more 'classic' of styles and silhouettes seem to have a longer life span and are reinvented more frequently.

    Another question would be what keeps the trend alive? Is it the consumer that has kept the leggings trend alive, by creating a ongoing demand? Or is is the retailers etc. I don't know.

    Regardless of trends, if I really like something and I think it looks good, I wear it until I have had enough of it.

    Sorry, probably too much waffling here but I do find it an interesting topic.

  • goldenpig replied 10 years ago

    Thanks everyone for your insights! Keep them coming!

    I think another problem I should bring up is, sometimes if I like a piece of clothing a lot, I tend to get attached to it and wear it for a long time, maybe longer than I should, because everyone else seems to have moved on a long time ago. Since I like it and am used to wearing it a lot, it's hard for me to realize that it's not stylish anymore. Maybe that will change now that I'm paying more attention to fashion, but still...does anyone else have this problem? Like, I know what "70's" or "80's" style looks like, but "90's" fashion? I don't even know what that means. I couldn't describe what makes something "'90's" or "aughts" fashion. That stuff just seems normal to me, not a "retro" look. Maybe I'm just stuck in the past?

  • Fruitful replied 10 years ago

    GP I get attached to things too. BUT I normally choose things in the first place that aren't very representative of a trend. So although being stuck in my personal groove is something I sometimes try to challenge, I'm not too bothered about seeming stuck in an era.

    90s fashion, like other eras, gets essentialised and caricatured into its most mainstream elements ("Rachel" hair, grunge (flannelette) shirts, the Kate Moss waif look, big lipliner and brown-to-wine lipstick, the healthy "supermodel" look of bronzer and muscles with boobs, jeans with t-shirts tucked in and Doc Marten type shoes, floral dresses and denim jackets, Spice Girls, natural curls, flip skirts, crushed velvet, waistcoats, platform sneakers, the Ally McBeal look, etc etc).

    But there was other stuff too, like British Indie music and style ("shoegazers", cardigans over shapeless vintage dresses, hair that hangs in your eyes - think Elastica, Suede, lots of smaller bands, and of course bigger bands like Blur and Pulp).

    And of course the underground dance scene went mainstream. Trainers worn full time. Fluorescent colours to be seen under UV lights, fractals printed onto leggings, girls wearing dresses over pants, chupa chups as an accessory, dance-friendly/childhood-inspired hairdos like pigtails or high Princess Leia buns (this would be where the Spice Girls got that hairstyle from) .

    The 90s isn't one thing, it's whatever it meant to you wherever you were at at the time.

  • goldenpig replied 10 years ago

    Wow, Fruitful, that is totally fascinating! I guess I must have had my nose stuck in my anatomy books because all of that fashion stuff from that era just passed me by. It doesn't even ring a bell! Sounds really interesting, though! Now I really want to see your pics!

    Anyone want to tackle the aughts?

  • Vildy replied 10 years ago

    I thoroughly enjoyed Fruitful's analyses. Great observations.

  • Kafe replied 10 years ago

    I haven't read all the replies, so this might be redundant. My take on building a new wardrobe is to do it slowly. If we buy a few new things each year, then over a course of, say, 5 years, we can start cycling things out or keeping them for the long 10+ year haul.

    Even though I want a total closet overhaul now, a few new tops, bottoms, shoes, handbag, and accessories this year should do the trick. I even updated my word for "handbag" this year as I was not seeing "purse" anywhere. I guess even the names go out of date. Or maybe I'll go totally retro and call them "pocketbooks."

  • Fruitful replied 10 years ago

    Oh, Goldenpig, I should have been studying more :) Popular culture, subcultures and how people make meaning interest me, hence I have my anthropology/religious studies BA underway (stuffed in a drawer in the back of my mind - on hold while my kids take up most of my energy!)

    I wish I had photos of me back then, but very few, and none digital.

    Aughties - I haven't given this as much thought, and my nose was buried in working fulltime, then in the latter part having my first child and studying.

    Off the top of my head - early 2000s - Britney Spears, hipster jeans with a good flare and often some stretch were EVERYWHERE. This pronounced pear was in heaven! They were sometimes so low that the concurrent rise of Brazilian waxing might have been a necessity :)

    They looked great with midriff tops, in fact most tops from that era that I find on thrift seem really short now (it doesn't help that post children, I too have the dreaded "muffin top" - a term coined because of the short tops and the hipster jeans! I'm working on it though ^_^).

    The Lululemon look so many mums sport now? I don't think that was around then; because while I was pregnant in 2003, I bought Brazilian activewear pants to wear as streetwear and thought I was sooo clever (well, I was - I had a navy pair and a bright red pair, and nobody else was wearing them!).

    Now that I think back, the pregnancy clothes I and my friends wore were very different to the ones I wore in 2008. We all seemed to wear flares, a few of us had knee-length stretchy skirts, and we all proudly bared our bellies in our short tops (we even had a micro-trend going of wrapping a large scarf around the belly to cover/protect/highlight it!)

    By 2008, short tops seemed like ancient history, the tops for sale were long, and by the 2nd pregnancy that was a lot more welcome anyway :). Flares were few and far between (although I did buy man-style wide-legged stretch pants from a dance-oriented clothing line). LOTS of women wore leggings with tunics. (not me)

    2007 was when I first noticed skinny jeans and learnt the term. This was a HUGE shift. The Britney (Shakira?) look was GONE.

    Ballet flats (which I can't wear) took over. Boyfriend cardigans were everywhere on campus. It was a very pear-unfriendly look.

    Lots of people wore thongs (flipflops) which made me want to hurl! At the same time I was becoming more ladylike and classic-with-quirk in my style.

    2000s popularised hair straighteners and stick straight hair for all :(

    By the end of the aughties, boots took over the world. At least in Australia boots were few and far between and at least a few hundred dollars a pair; unique styles or non-neutral colours were especially rare.

    Now, there are so many boots you can't tell the Fryes from the pleather Payless ones. A mixed blessing. It's good that they're available but trying to find a Holy Grail pair has me deep breathing into a paper bag. Plus, 15 years ago boots used to be too tight for me. Now they're all too loose! Have people gotten fatter? Maybe, but I think it's the skinny leg jean striking once again (boots are now designed for tucking, not tights!).

    Oh, lets not forget the ordeal of the smock! We had a few years of smocky tunics being ubiquitous. Again, very un-pear friendly silhouette.

    I'm not sure if it started earlier, but it was during the 2000s that I noticed the cheap Asian clothing shops popping up in malls. For the first time, fashion was easy to get.

    The price was uniqueness. That vintage-inspired print that you always dreamed of loses its thrill when you see it on every second person chainsmoking at the bus stop. Quality, too. It started to get harder to determine whether something was well-made, out of quality materials. Or whether there was ANYWHERE you could find such a thing.

    I think this era was also the source of the trend that refuses to die. Skinny jeans. Ballet flats. Over-the-knee boots. They have all hung around for years. I think this is a new thing, I think trends used to be orchestrated more from a central source (or from subcultures). 2 things have happened - removal of tariffs (at least in Australia) so the cheap repro clothes just keep on coming. The clothes simply don't run out! The other thing is the internet has become a way of life. Trends are far less local and are fed by seeing them displayed in many more sources, as well as being able to buy them from more sources.

    80s became the main retro inspiration, starting with mullet haircuts for the edgy, and ending with high-waisted jeans not being funny anymore.

    But further to that, old-school vintage went fully mainstream. If you don't have time to thrift you can now shop on Etsy, hell, you can buy ready-made vintage-inspired from Anthro, Modcloth and others of their ilk. You can see the pieces on Glee. Every man and his dog has either seen Mad Men or read a magazine article (or blog post) about it. Every second Ebay seller tags their clothes "Mad Men". Fashion blogs and OOTD websites proliferate, and the main trend is actually mixing on-trend pieces with thrifted or vintage stuff. "Remixing" is the word of the day.

    Disclaimer: these are the random, unedited ravings of a fatigue-addled mind. Feel free to correct!

    And, thankyou Vildy :) <333

  • cheryle (Dianthus) replied 10 years ago

    Great conversation.

    I only participate in a trend if it is something I really like anyway. Much like Lyn's initial comment. I also have trouble identifying whether a print or the cut of a jacket is current or not. I wear colors I love and that work for me regardless of whether they are the in colors that year. There are usually a few that work for me.

    I know it has been said many times but if you buy good quality basics like black/grey/navy pants and jackets that don't have trendy details or cuts, they will last for a number of years. Trendy pieces can be mixed in without changing the entire wardrobe.

    When I think of 90's, I think of the longer, straight jackets that are often double breasted. I actually think of David Bowie. Perhaps that was the 80s and it is all melding together in my mind.

    I will be following this thread as I am interested in how others deal with the trendy vs. longevity issue.

  • Fruitful replied 10 years ago

    Dianthus: "I wear colors I love and that work for me regardless of whether they are the in colors that year. "

    Time and time again I read of stylish women who say things along these lines. I read an interview with Isabella Rossellini where she said, when she finds something that suits her, she buys/has made as many multiples as possible. They all say more or less to ignore trends and stick to what makes you look and feel great; the secret is knowing what that is and taking it when you can.

  • RoseandJoan replied 10 years ago

    I think there are two definite factors to the question;
    1) How long will an item be en trend?
    2) How long will item remain in style?
    Goldenpig, if you are more concerned with the latter then you are likely to have greater longevity from your pieces. At this point we know midis are still going to be fashionable through until next summer and possibly beyond but I expect the midi will remain stylish for many seasons longer.

  • Janet replied 10 years ago

    Grest discussion, and Fruitful, I'm enjoying your thoughts! I'm a bit older than you, so I feel like I wasn't paying much attention to 90s fashion, since the 80s were more my formative time (high school and college).

    In every era, I find trends that I enjoy and others I pretty much ignore, although I'm more adventurous now than I have been in 20 years. I have now bought a pair of cobalt jeans and even a faux fur trimmed vest (that I would love to wear if our temps ever dip here!), and quite a few animal print pieces, but I believe animal print has always been stylish, even when it wasn't particularly trendy.

    I ignored skinny jeans for a few years, figuring they would not play well with my thighs and hips, until last year when a desire to try the jeans-tucked-into-boots look finally nudged me into a skinny jean purchase. Now I embrace the look, but I still love my boot cuts and trouser cuts too. I ignored leggings when they came out, and I still pretty much do, even though they are now totally mainstream. I think they look cute on others, but I don't love them on me for some reason.

    So I guess what I'm saying is that I don't even try to predict what's going to stick around! I just enjoy the looks I like, while they last! I figure if I dip my toe in a trend, rather than invest heavily in it, not much harm will be done if and when the trend dies.

    Oh, here's a good example. I don't know how much longevity the midi trend is going to have, but it's not necessarily the most universally flattering skirt length, so I gave it the side-eye when it emerged. I have not bought anything in this length, but I am going to participate in the trend by incorporating two old winter skirts from my wardrobe -- one vintage, one only about 8 years old. If the trend sticks around next year, AND I've enjoyed wearing it, I may find another one for spring and summer wear. I prefer knee length, but it's fun to change things up.

    As for trends in colors, I often ignore them if they're unflattering. I loved seeing other ladies rock all those pretty yellow items a while back, but that's a color I can only do in small doses, and not near my face. I also walk right past all the washed out pastel tones when they dominate the stores. No matter what's on trend, I look best in saturated colors and jewel tones.

  • MNsara replied 10 years ago

    I heard some advice once about when a trend appeals to you, jump on it sooner (rather than later) and enjoy it while it lasts.

    I've done that a few times and I've been pretty happy I didn't hesitate too long, I've also been pretty happy when *I'm* done with it. We have such distinct seasons, that when I pack away the faux fur vest next spring and take it out next fall, I may no longer be interested in using it!!

    So, the other part of that is to not spend $$ on a trendy piece like you would on something with a longer life (i.e. tall platform boots vs. more classic riding boots, or faux fur vest vs. leather jacket).

    If you find you're attached to the wrong trend - oh well! That's partly where personal style comes in. If you feel dated enough in it, then you'll care enough to let it go and move on.

    Plus, I like to think that you need to retire older styles to make room in your closet for new styles.

    I also think Angie has made reference to some of her classic pieces like suit pieces or dresses still going stron after 5 years. So if you get 5-10 GOOD LOOKING years out of a piece - it's probably either a signature piece for you or pretty darn classic ;-)

    P.S. I totally missed the 80s myself! New college grad, new job, new marriage, new babies - poof! - it was the 90s!!

  • bella replied 10 years ago

    I think it also depends on cost per wear. If a trendy item that I purchased was reasonably priced and I wore it enough times throughout the season to bring the cost per wear to a reasonable number, I feel satisfied even if I get tired of it after only one season. I think the cost per wear also depends on your budget and preferences. For some people it will be a few pennies, for other a few dollars.

  • ButterflyLady replied 10 years ago

    I myself am more concerned with style, rather than fashion. And much as I would love to fill my wardrobe and be 'done' for x amount of years, I don't think it works that way - things cycle in and out of style, until gradually they look old and tired, either literally, or stylishly! Taking the fur vest as an example - my SIL has one from about 10 years ago, it looks the same as the ones in the stores now - so I think that one might go in and out, and be worth setting aside.

    However, I have a friend who has a summer wardrobe full of clothes from Boden from about 12-13 years ago. And she doesn't look stylish at all :-( she looks like she is wearing 'dated' clothes. They may have cost quite a lot, and she considered them to be 'good quality' and therefore 'stylish' but ... gah! it pains me to say it, she looks dowdy and old-fashioned (I have gently steered her towards new things I think would suit her, but she doesn't see it at all). I do think patterns date quite quickly - more quickly than plain fabrics.

  • modgrl replied 10 years ago

    What great advice on this thread so far! I was in your place not too long ago. I joined YLF a little over 6 months ago and have gone through a complete wardrobe overhaul during that time. It pains me to think that I was stuck in a rut for so long, wearing dated and frumpy unflattering clothes. I know some others here have defined clear style statements and wardrobe goals. My current goal is to be open to explore new things and most of all have fun with fashion. I often challenge myself to wear things in a way that is far out of my comfort zone. If there is a trend I think I might like, I am open to trying it. In the past I would have waited until trends were long past mainstream... I wasn't open to trying new things. I thought it was my signature style, but after joining YLF, I quickly realized that I was stuck in the past and I needed to move my attitude and my wardrobe forward. Sometimes those trends aren't going to stick around, and sometimes they are going to become part of your signature style. If you don't take risks with your style choices, you will never have the opportunity to find those special pieces.

  • DressLover replied 10 years ago

    I could easily produce a dissertation on the subject, but I will condense it for the sake of discussion. Think of items that are considered classic - wrap dress, shift dress, pencil skirt, a-line skirt, fitted t-shirt, straight leg denim, trench coat, peacoat, etc. The common thread is that with proper fit, these items have three things in common:

    1) They are easy to wear in that they require little styling. In other words, they invite everyone to the fashion party. Items like flare or skinny jeans, fur vests, tiered mini skirts, and other trends that cycle in and out require more styling ability, hence a greater degree of difficulty which can disenfranchise the average consumer.

    2) The design of these pieces are simple. The details an item has be it silhouette, pattern, texture, embellishment, etc., the more risk the item has of dating itself. This doesn't mean items with these qualities can't be classic. It just means you are taking a greater risk. This is because while ruffles or tailored jackets or embellished denim are always fashionable, the details of these items change rapidly and the eye easily recognizes the "dated" details.

    3) And the element that I believe is most critical - these classic pieces can be worn by almost everyone. 99% of people look good in items that are deemed classics. People purchase what looks good. The more people who purchase an item, the more of that item manufacturers will create. Classics truly are classic due to demand. Trends usually stay trends because they are aimed a certain demographic. (Not saying I agree with avoiding trends because they aren't your demographic, but the majority of consumers will always subscribe to certain limiting fashion beliefs.)

    Okay sorry. That was still long. ;)

  • Jonesy replied 10 years ago

    Such a fabulous conversation! Such a wealth of insight and knowledge here :). I don't have much to add, really. I think once you get more into your own style groove, you can pick and choose among trendy items that really speak to you and fit with your style. Because they really resonate with you and your unique look, you can feel confident about wearing them as long as you like, even after the trend has passed. For example, last fall/winter olive green stuff, specifically cargo-type jackets, were huge and very trendy. I happen to love this color and this type of jacket, so I bought a few and plan to continue to wear them this year, even though they are certainly not as trendy as they were. But that's okay, because they fit well with my style, and I will pair them with other items that are current and interesting.

  • Angie replied 10 years ago

    Nice discussion!

    Julie hits the nail on the end in my mind:

    - how long will something be "on trend"?
    - how long will it be "in style"?

    Remember that trends move from fringe to mainstream, OR, stay fringe. And despite what you might think - WE hold that power through our purchasing choices. Fashion Buyers only put stuff into retail stores that they think will sell. All the magazines and style books said that leggings and skinnies would be a one season thing in 2005. I have yet to see a trend become as mainstream as that in the '00s.

    As for so called "classics" - they absolutely date!

  • Elly replied 10 years ago

    Wow--- that was a lot of deep fashion theory.

    So, I am going to jump in and put my two cents in . . . but they aren't going to be all deep and mind bending (I grew up in the 90s, but have to remember back to what others were wearing, because I mostly wore 80s hand me downs-- I have a feeling that the early 00s are the years that I am going to never want to come back to).

    My two cents say . . . that it is pretty uncommon to get more than 5 years from clothing. There are classic items that you might get longer out of, so for real investment pieces that you don't wear often (your suit, a formal dress) you might want to go more classic. That said, these items will still probably not last past the 10-year mark. Some trends have a shorter lifespan (a season or two) but these also tend to be the items we absolutely LOVE and/or easily tire of. So, buy a 30-60 dollar fur vest, not a 150-500 dollar one (unless you perpetually love the 70s look and are willing to put it away and alter as needed). I think one of the easiest ways to still get to wear the trends and buy pieces you love that may be more expensive/lasting is to keep a smaller (not necessarily small, but smaller) wardrobe. By limiting purchases to what you can reasonably use up/wear out/tire of in a couple seasons or 5 years (depending on the type of purchase, super trendy vs. just this decade) then you can continue to participate in shopping and trends while still making more investment pieces, without a lot of waste/guilt/having a closet packed to the brim with things that are so 10-15 years ago. That or experiment more, but be willing to give things to friends or charity when it is their time to leave your house. For example-- we see angie wearing the same shoes/jeans/suits/trench coats season after season-- she still adds new things, but if those items are good quality they are she keeps around-- they also tend to be more classic or more Angie (statement/signature). That said, we often see the same blouses/knitwear items/dresses remixed many ways for 1-3 or 4 seasons and then she moves on (or more likely than not, here frequent flier blouses, sweaters, and dresses wear out). Accessories come and go too.

    Still, life happens and we should never spend more than we can really afford/want to spend on clothing in the hope of not having to spend money for 5-10 years. Yes, I believe in investments and buying quality--- but there are always going to be weight gains and losses, body changes, moving, job changes. Nothing is guaranteed.

    That said--- I think there will always be people that embrace the frump. So long as people need gear retailers will make fleece jackets and other people who have excuses as to why they don't have to dress like everyone else (legitimate or not, and I do recognize that there are times in everyone's life when fashion falls by the wayside for more important things) will wear them as regular clothing. Just because people have been doing this for 20 years now doesn't make it classic, nor normal. In fact, I think it says that either someone has something going on it their life (good or bad) that keeps them from taking care of themselves in that way. That or that they don't feel they are important enough to take the time for. Then their is the third camp that believes for whatever reason they don't have to play by the rules and consciously opt out-- which is their choice. I-give-up or I-am-busy clothes are not the answer--- but can often stay relatively unchanged for 5-15 years and that can be a trap tricking people in to thinking they need 7 pairs of the same jeans and 8 fleeces and a wool coat and that they will all last/stay in fashion for 10 years--- which is a bit boring, excessive, and impractical when you try to translate that into fashionable, more varied clothing that isn't made of plastic.

  • MsMary replied 10 years ago

    Great post, Elly! I especially agree with this:

    "[W]we should never spend more than we can really afford/want to spend on clothing in the hope of not having to spend money for 5-10 years."

    That said, maybe it's because I'm twice your age but I think 5 years go by in the blink of an eye and I have had many, many items of clothing I've worn for more than 5 years. Also, I've seen trends/fashions repeat over the years and if you have the room, I don't see anything wrong with keeping favorite pieces that aren't quite au courant at the moment, in hopes they will cycle through again.

    Interesting... I have replaced my entire wardrobe over the past year due to weight loss, so I guess I'm now doing a scientific experiment because I know when I acquired everything and we'll see how long the new pieces last!

  • ironkurtin replied 10 years ago

    GP, here's my two cents answer to your question: You don't. That's why you should only ever wear what delights you and makes you feel wonderful. So, if you love the fur vests, and find one that gives you that warm internal glow of happy (and there's nothing logistical that dims the happy, like price or space or climate etc. etc.) then buy it and wear it until it stops glowing.

    Part of style is evolving the eye that tells you it's time to retire something and pass it on. That doesn't always come from outside influences like trends, either. That's why style never really stops. It's about the evolution of you and your life, and your presentation to and presence in the world.

  • Angie replied 10 years ago

    More fantastic thoughts!

    It's also important to understand the difference between fashion and style. Fashion is a subset of style. In my opinion, you need a certain amount of fashion in your outfit to look stylish. Without it - you will either look dowdy, or costume-y (for lack of a better word). Sooooooooo, as is evident on this forum, we are back to:

    "Fashion unites us, but style sets us apart".

    Buy a fashionable item, but make it your own. Update your classic pieces so that they look modern. Wear retro items WITH modern pieces.

    Okay. That's quite enough from me :)

  • Anna replied 10 years ago

    I have watched many episodes of What Not to Wear from 2007 and even earlier, and the clothes displayed on those shows are still current! They choose styles that are more or less classic (but by no means boring) so they can span a few years or more. Personally, I shy away from things like leggings and fur vests because I don't have money to waste on stuff I don't love, and I consider to be a trend. But I would buy a nice blazer to wear with jeans or a dress in a heartbeat.

  • Sowmya replied 10 years ago

    Such an interesting thread! I recently agonised over whether to buy a pair of skinny jeans that were a little over the price I'd normally spend on jeans, mainly because I worried that they'd soon go out of style!
    Living in India, for me its very easy to get away with wearing things that may not be "in vogue" as long as they're stylish and worn well. For example even at the height of the skinny craze, I could get away very happily by wearing flared jeans. Even now, there is one segment of people talking about colour blocking and bold prints here - whereas with Indian clothes especially wearing vibrant colours, mixing oranges and hot pinks has always been done! Further at least where I live there's virtually no concept of winter - just hot, hotter and hottest and so there's no concept of bringing out the greys and the blacks from the closet!
    Again I rotate Indian wear with my skirts and jeans and trousers - so maybe because inherently we tend to wear multiple sillhouetes, there is more tolerance towards varying trends and styles! In Indian wear, the cousin of the skinny pants - the churidar and the loose salwar (full length harem pants of sorts) co exist very happily!
    Yes there are trends, but maybe its easier to get things out here to fit the "classic" mould!

  • Sveta replied 10 years ago

    Very interesting post and so many great thoughts on the subject!
    I was living in the "frumpland" for most of my life - until YLF cane along of course. I did not pay much attention to trends and fashion and thought mistakenly that "now everything goes"...<sigh> I don't even remember the trends in my teen years because I was so not interested.
    Nothing will last forever and 10 years is a very long time to wear something. I have a tiger print blouse which my mom made for me 15 years ago and I still wear it - but she re-desihned it at least 3 times over these years.
    I agree with others that simpe classic cut in clothing helps them to be stylish longer and you can make it more modern through accessories and other trendier pieces. I think 5 years of wear is a very good return on investment if you really love the piece and not just wearing it because it is on trend. That's why I would not buy anything more expensive that what I feel OK to pass on in this time without a heart failure.
    As for the colors I always go with colors I love and which flatter me and wear them without paying attention are they trendy or not. For me the cut and style of clothing is much more important to stay current than the color.
    I also try to keep my seasonal wardrobe purchases to a minimum so I can always justify the next season update without overflowing my wardrobe - to myself if not to my hubby!:-) I am going to adapt Angie's rule "one in - one out" too as soon as I have my basics covered. Also I really like remixing things so a few seasonal updates with my wardrobe "old guard" which are flattering and not too outdated help me to feel current (at least I hope so :-))
    As for the fur vests i still doid not get one and don't know if i will - I guess none of them spoke to me yet...

  • cciele replied 10 years ago

    This is a cool thread -- everyone has such great insights.

    I like the idea of injecting your style into a set of classic pieces. One way I do that is to add funky, unique pieces that aren't necessarily in fashion, but speak to me in terms of cut, fabrication, and color. I throw a few trendy pieces in but (usually) don't spend a lot of money on those (case in point: fur vest - $11. exception: Matisse leopard booties, haha).

  • catgirl replied 10 years ago

    For the longest time (pre-baby belly) I wore my pants low on my hips, when everything was high-waisted. For me it was a total comfort issue - I don't like anything digging into my waist. I was told many times that I dressed like a boy skateboarder. Then low rise became all the rage, and suddenly I was in style. Ironically, now I wear higher waisted styles because they girdle my not-so-skinny self better...

    So buy and wear what you love and look your best in, be it trendy or not - that's what style is to me. And you have it in spades, GP!

  • Aziraphale replied 10 years ago

    This is a really, really good thread. Many excellent viewpoints.

    My two cents: I wouldn't get hung up on being able to wear clothes for a long time, but if you have to put a number on it....maybe five years? Perhaps longer for expensive shoes. Ten years is a long damn time. Think about how much life happens in ten years. You might go from college to grownup job, from no kids to kids, from one career to a totally different one. You might move to a place with a different climate. You might move from a big city to a small town. You will age. Clothes that look perfectly cute on a 30-year-old woman might look silly on a 40-year-old. Your body will likely change, especially if you go through one or more pregnancies -- but it'll probably change even if you don't! And there will always be new clothes that you'll want to buy, as fashion moves forward. There are just so many things that can change that it seems unrealistic to me to try to hang on to clothing for more than about five years. I'm sure there are exceptions, but the goal I have for myself these days is to wear the crap out of my clothes, knowing that they will likely be worn out/out of style in five years or less.

  • Aida replied 10 years ago

    Great question, and great answers! This has been a very insightful discussion. I wanted also to add this thought: Separate from "what's current" it does help to have an understanding of fashion from previous decades, such as dominant silhouettes, fabrics, etc. Not so that we can repeat, but so we can see threads of continuity across time. These "classic" items still change, even if just in small ways, over time and they most often do need to be updated to keep looking current; I think this can be especially true when we want to use those items to anchor current trendy items.

  • annagybe replied 10 years ago

    This is very classic

    However it would have looked different in the different decades. Lapel width change, shoulder pad grow and shrink. Even the stance shifts.

    Or this from the 80's
    See this from the 70's

  • Fruitful replied 10 years ago

    I agree 100% with Aida's statement "These "classic" items still change, even if just in small ways, over time and they most often do need to be updated to keep looking current".

    And even trendy items - I see it often said now that you can thrift trends (like the current platform and wideleg trend for instance, by finding them secondhand from an earlier cycle of the trend). I disagree SOOO strongly. Even though trends come around again, there are differences in details or even just fabrications. You will not truly look on-trend wearing these. Keeping things for when they "come back into fashion" fails for this reason.

    OTOH that doesn't mean I wouldn't wear a 70s shoe, or a pant circa 2000. I would; just not with the goal (or illusion) of being "fashionable". Like, if you're wearing the classic item that happens to be from 1985, know that it is from 1985 and don't pretend to yourself that it's anything else. Go into what you're wearing with consciousness. As long as your goals are clear and you understand the parameters and effects, and it still pleases you, you can wear anything.

  • MsMary replied 10 years ago

    I'm not 100% sure I agree with that analysis. Certainly the new versions of, say, oversized cobalt tops, that we see on the runway are different from what we see on the used-clothing market. But I would argue that "fashionable" no longer means "dressed head to toe in fresh-off-the-runway items." Look at all the bloggers who wear a combination of new items and vintage finds. B. Jones, anyone?

    Or maybe it's just the "fashionable" vs. "stylish" dichotomy. Maybe "fashionable" does mean "brand spanking new" from head to toe, but if that's what it means, I'm not very interested in that. I'd rather be stylish in my vintage 70s orange blouse and my 60s polka-dot dress. And if you can't tell they're vintage garments, odds are I'm gonna tell you within the first 10 minutes of running into you! LOL

  • Fruitful replied 10 years ago

    MaryK I think we actually agree even if it sounds like we don't :)

    Wearing or mixing in vintage finds successfully, to me is not about trying to "get away with it" as a substitute for something "on-trend". It's about celebrating it for what it is.

    My point was that I sometimes hear people saying they keep something for when it "comes back" into fashion, or thrifting stuff to sub for something that's too expensive new.

    I personally am turned off by the feeling that I'm following trends (even though I sometimes do it). I too would wear the orange 70s blouse - but not because the magazines are saying orange blouses are "in" and my seventies blouse seems to suffice; rather, because of the intrinsic value the blouse has to me independent of the In/Out lists. (In fact my contrariness means that if orange blouses are in it'll put a dampener on my enjoyment of the one I've got! ^_^)

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