How do you know whether you’re buying a wardrobe classic?
How did we arrive at fashion trends? Why don’t we wear all our clothes for years and years? Are trends created by trend forecasters or do the forecasters report on what we are wearing? Are we setting the trends?
There were trends under feudalism. In the court of Louis XIV, trends were very strictly dictated by the monarch and you had to keep up as a show of obedience. For example, you had to switch from winter to summer fabrics on a certain date. Louis XIV changed clothes every season as an active way to help the French textile industry. The silk makers in Lyon changed patterns every year so it became obvious when you were wearing last year’s silk.
When these rules disappeared and you couldn’t tell what class people were any more, the noble woman had to find a way of retaining her status by wearing the latest clothes. And those of lower social status wanted to dress like the elite. This is the most simple explanation of trends – a ripple effect of imitation. When trends trickle down to childrenswear, I need to move on.
“Trends come from the tension between wanting to stand out and wanting to fit in. Both desires have to be present. Trends have evolved from wanting to look rich, to wanting to look cool.” ~ Avery Trufelman
Here today, gone tomorrow – that’s a fashion fad. It’s a short-lived style or novelty driven fashion choice. While a fad can be fun, fads also fade quickly. They are not something to consider for a long term investment. Be prudent with your money and your time when looking at fads.
Trends have a longer lifespan than fads. Trends have resonance. They usually last for about 5-7 years – sometimes longer. The difference between trends and fads is that trends often involve a classic garment with a twist, tweak or edge. Trends can also evolve slightly season to season, but won’t evolve so much that your early purchase will date.
We have so much data and information now that simultaneously there can be so many trends at any one time. It can be harder to find your way through them. Or you can choose to ignore them, because there are so many. And there are counter trends – where two opposing trends can be in at the same time; minimalism versus exaggerated theatrical for example.
The wardrobe classic is the piece that will endure through the trend and beyond. It will form the backdrop to your wardrobe and will be worn over and over, aligning with you and your personality, regardless of what trends are doing. These will be your ‘trendless’ clothes. They’re not the same for everyone. Everyone’s capsule wardrobe will be different.
A useful wardrobe has a mix of trends and classics. Without trends, your look may be perceived as boring or old fashioned. Without classics, your look may be perceived as one without substance or style. Once in a while you might also tap into a fad.
Here Are My Top Tips
When you’re investing in clothes, it’s useful to understand which are your enduring styles and which of the current trends you should buy. Not all trends suit all people. Hire a personal stylist to help you.
When buying a trend, ask yourself whether you see yourself wearing it five years from now. If the answer is yes, then it will be a solid purchase.
When you’re buying a classic garment, one which you intend to wear for several seasons or even years, examine it in detail and be fastidious with the quality.
- Ideally, it should be lined
- The hems should be invisible from the outside
- The pattern should continue uninterrupted through the seams
- The hardware (if relevant) should be of a high quality
- If you’re having it altered, ensure the alterations retain the quality of the garment
- It’s often better to buy a classic in one of your best neutral colours
House of Colour’s Spring Summer 2023 Fashion Update is out now highlighting the current key trends.