When you look at the thousands of items of clothing available, it can be hard to decide what to buy. Do you want an item that will be out of style by next year, or something that will be a wardrobe staple for years? 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?
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 one season, but often lasts about a year. Fads tend to have a very limited appeal, and are first adopted by the the JrHi-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, it has matured into a trend.
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.
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 will not fit anything like the blue blazer of 2017, but it 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.
Time decides the fate of all fads, some even endure long enough to become classics… Jeans, Statement Necklaces, and Breton Shirts are just a few.