After a recent discussion with the Evolve Your Style group members, when deciding what to keep and what to throw out (because it is dated), I was asked about what is dated and what becomes timeless.
I thought I’d ask one of our group members and recent Stylish Thoughts contributor Lisa White share her thoughts on this topic as she has clothes that are decades old, but have become timeless.
Here is what Lisa had to say:
I am still trying to crystalize why certain pieces transfer better. I think I ended up with some as I tend to purchase fewer items but really expensive items. My first paychecks went into layaways at a local boutique (before credit cards and the internet were invented) and I started buying Cacharel, Armani, Christian Joss at the beginning of their careers. Those pieces lasted. Also, some of my western belts..now worth a fortune. I still don’t understand exactly…I sense it, but it is still a little fuzzy.
I understand some items become timeless. What I am grappling with is what makes a TREND leap into timelessness. It happens….like ballet flats (the normal kind with round toes), or pajama pants. I have a feeling kimono tops/jackets/dresses will make the leap depending if there is not a lot of trendy neon color on it. Certain looks get re-cycled and I am wondering about what timeless qualities BOHO (if any) will leap.
Are maxi skirts going to make the leap? If so, which styles will make it to timeless…the simpler less detailed? The streamlined?? The Southwestern look…I have worn it all my life. Which clothing item make the leap…quality fabric and good design, not too much of any one thing. If there is fringe…a minimal amount of high quality suede…more subtle versions of the trend. Shoulder pads have always been around to help define or triangulate the torso creating a point-like waistline. The trend that expanded them was awful and is so dated. A very slight padding for well cut suit jackets is great.
I just keep seeing certain trends return again and again. There may be subtle changes to make an earlier trend outdated……yet some of the older versions can still hold their luster. It must be the design and/or simplicity of the garments lines. It could also have something to do with the quality of the materials, or the the garment is really comfortable and functional ( ballet flats, slacks on women, caftans) One thing I have noticed in the pieces that held up…they lacked excessive details and where well designed and well made of high quality material–they were also expensive.
Artisan pieces hold up well as they are not always “on trend” What I purchased decades ago was not on trend at all. I really did not know about trends, but loved rich materials. The only items I had problems with were those with very large shoulder pads, but that was later after the really great pieces were purchased. I still have several of them. That is all I can really communicate as it is an intuitive sense when I see it I KNOW it.
It is interesting how a few years changes everything. I still have many dresses, blouses, jackets and such purchased in 1987. The big shoulder pad trend….B-I-G man size rectangle jackets with these football (American football) shoulder pads propping them up.
So, I have hung on to this most incredible blouse, a couple of jackets and a dress. I know I will never wear them again. So, what makes them look so dated as I was never into the shoulder pad trend and purchased the most minimal of shoulder padded clothing—which was all I really had to choose from as this trend went biserk when the Dynasty sitcom hit t.v. screens. It was also a time when women were breaking the glass ceilings in the corporate world and floundered a bit with style trying to “Man up”.
So, I looked at this one particular blouse from that period. Oddly, it was not the shoulder pads (mine were so minimal I could not really tell), but the cut of the sleeve into the shoulder. They were puff 19th century sleeves that made me look like I was some member of a cult. Also, the bat wings sleeves on top of the puff sleeve shoulder inset, on top of the little shoulder pads. I really love bat wing sleeves and cocoon shapes. Cocoon shapes remind me of the twenties a bit…my favorite time period. I also love bat wings. However, the 1980’s trend seemed to combine all three into an utter disaster…and I own the proof.
Unfortunately, this blouse is the most gorgeous shade of slate blue/grey and really enhances the color of my eyes like nothing I have ever owned before. It is also made from the richest most beautiful silk. I know that is why I bought it. It comes in at the waist with gorgeous pleating and little dressmaker details….but those sleeves and shoulders ruin it. The good news is that there is a scarf attached to this blouse. I am thinking of having the scarf removed by the tailor if possible. I will still have a piece of my history
LESSON LEARNED: No matter how high the quality of fabric or gorgeous color, if it has too many trends of a time period combined….it’s has a short shelf life.
I like bat wings with more kimono or drop shoulder styling. I will never by puffed up sleeves at the shoulder. Shoulder pads must be so minimal as to be almost invisible. Some fabrics benefit from a little ..very little shoulder shaping.
You can also find Lisa at Following Frida
7 Elements of Timeless Clothes
If you want to find some pieces that will be more timeless and have longevity in your wardrobe, here are my top tips to look for based on my experience and going through lots of wardrobes!
Many patterns date quickly, florals change their form year on year.
4. Nothing extreme in the cut such as large shoulder pads or exaggerated shapes, the rise is mid-rise on trousers
5. Not being in fashion, so not going out of fashion. Clothes that are more creative in their expression tend to be more timeless
6. Garments that suit many body shapes, styles and ages, so they are easy to wear and become favourites for so many they stay in wardrobes a long time
7. Garments that show off the body in a flattering manner without being extreme, not too boxy or baggy, but not too tight
The reality is, that for a garment to become timeless, it needs to have a combination of almost all these elements. As Lisa said, just because the fabric is lovely, doesn’t mean that the design details will work 10 years later!
Share what you have found to be more long lasting style wise in your wardrobe.