Wardrobe 101

Classics, Trends, and Fads Redux!

How to Know What’s What…

Happy day, dear reader!

I hope your weather is relaxing from its extremes! The US Midwest has been brutally cold. Australia has been blistering hot. I think most of us are looking forward to the next season for some relief. A new season gets many thinking about shopping, and wondering what’s worth buying…

Looking at the thousands of items of clothing available, it can be hard to decide what to purchase. Do you want an item that will be out of style by next year, or something that will be a wardrobe staple for years to come? There is room in every wardrobe for both. Is the dress, trouser, or shirt you are looking at a fad, a trend, or a classic? How do you know?

Let’s look back at a board from 2017 to see what’s what!

Fads, Trends, Classics: 2017


Fads are the one hit wonders of the fashion world. They come and go as quickly as a summer rain. A fad may be “huge” for just one season, but often lasts about a year. Fads tend to have a very limited appeal and are first adopted by the the JrHi to Uni age crowd. Fads often start with street style; some fads are regional. There may be a fad for your city, or region of the country. If the fad has a broader geographical sweep, you will find it in the fast fashion outlets. If the fad survives and grows to be found more broadly in retailers catering to a wider age demographic (think department stores), it has matured into a trend. One of the fads I noticed last summer and still continuing is vented trouser and jean hems with button/snap detailing. It’s an 80’s retake; it will be interesting to see how long it lasts…The pom-pom fad of 2017 has for the most part moved on, but tassels are still everywhere! So let’s transfer them to the category of:


Trends are the fads that have grown past the teenage/university student age market. They have a much broader appeal, and have often been adapted for an older demographic. (The first skinny jeans were a fad only the very young and thin could wear, but retailers soon adapted the cuts, and silhouettes. Originally, there were no “curvy skinny” jeans!) Trends stay around for about 2-5 years. When the rest of the market adopts the trend, it loses its cachet with the young and they move onto the next fad/possible trend. The skinny jean is fast on its way to becoming a classic. The Boden catalog that just landed in my mailbox pronounced that skinny jeans are “That eternally in-style cut…”  Of the trends above, off the shoulder and cold shoulder tops are still around, but are becoming less common as the modesty trend grows in popularity. Block heeled shoes are still going strong, as is fringe on bags, earrings, and as trim on tops, dresses, and scarves. Personally, I hope the block heel hangs in there a loooooong time!


Classics are pieces that have stood the test of time, they neither come nor go, but are found year after year. Classics form the basis of many wardrobes; many people think of them as boring, but classics can be a great foundation on which to build. Classics vary over decades; the blue blazer of the 1980’s does not fit anything like the blue blazer of 2017 did, but is still recognizable as a blue blazer. Dress trousers are an easy item in which to see the shift in silhouette. Take a peek on the racks at Goodwill, and you will see a “classic” black dress trouser of multiple silhouettes. All the classics on the board are still there, although you may see some shifts in the cuts… The half-moon bags you see everywhere are a variation on the saddle bag, and loafers are everywhere again, in all different cuts, some backless (mules), some narrow and pointy, and others squared off.

To complicate matters, social media and fast fashion have sped up this cycle to a fever pitch. But time still decides the fate of all fads, some even endure long enough to become classics… Jeans, Statement Necklaces, Hoop Earrings and Breton Shirts are just a few.

What makes up the bulk of your wardrobe? Classics, Trends, or Fads? Let me know in the comments below! Your personality will determine the best balance for you. If you don’t love your wardrobe, it may be that you are out of balance. A mix of the three is a good way to keep your wardrobe practical, wearable, and fresh!

Stylishly yours,

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