trendy vs timeless: how to know if it’s worth the money


photo by maggie harris

With trends going in and out of style faster than ever, keeping your looks in style seems daunting. Social media is pushing trends so quickly that it’s difficult to know what will stick around. This quickening trend cycle has increased the use of fast fashion, cheaply made and mass-produced clothing that often exploits child labor and contributes extensively to fabric waste. 

The good news is you don’t need a closet full of the latest trends to be fashionable. Some of the biggest fashion icons are so well known because their looks are timeless. We still look to people like Princess Diana, Grace Kelly, Marilyn Monroe and Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel for fashion inspiration. Timeless fashion has withstood the test of time and never goes out of style. If you are unsure where to start, don’t worry: here is a curated list of five simple things to consider on your next shopping trip. 

Keep it simple. Stick to neutral, natural colors and flattering silhouettes. Crazy colors and patterns tend to be trendy, but avoiding these things doesn’t mean you need to have a boring closet. The article “Vintage Prints are a Timeless Trend” by L’Officiel explains there are numerous timeless options such as polka dots, floral and geometric patterns. There are also so many silhouettes that have never gone out of style. Sticking to the basics like blazers, leather jackets, plain t-shirts, flattering jeans, button-downs and simple black dresses will give you a wardrobe you can use for years and style countless ways. 

Wait it out. Oftentimes when people splurge on impulse, they end up regretting an item that will sit in the back of their closet. Before you’re tempted to hop on the newest trend, consider if you’ll still like it in a few months, weeks or even days. With trends cycling faster than ever, it’s easy to confuse actually liking an item and feeling like you need it to fit in. Oftentimes people become so used to seeing something all the time that it feels as if they need it or are missing out by not having it. Waiting it out will allow you the time to realize if you still love the item even after the trend has passed.

Quality over quantity. This is one I’m sure you’ve heard before. Trendy items made of cheap materials won’t last over a year in your closet. It’s important to make the investment in high-quality items that will last the wear and tear of daily life. Shopping at secondhand or vintage stores is a great way to find good-quality items. David Shuck explains in his article “Why Vintage Clothing was Made Better — The Economic of Durability” that vintage items were manufactured better in comparison to modern-day manufacturing. The techniques and materials used were higher-quality than those that we use today. Secondhand shopping is also a more sustainable and affordable option when adding to your closet. 

If you wouldn’t buy it at full price, don’t buy it on sale. Don’t let a sales tag cloud your judgment. If you’re only getting an item because it’s on sale, chances are you’re not going to get any use out of it. If you don’t think the item is worth its full price then you shouldn’t spend any money on it at all. It’s easy to convince yourself to get something when it sounds like a deal but if you don’t love it, it isn’t really saving money. Sale sections often have great basic items. Next time you find yourself in the clearance aisle, maybe consider those basics over the flashier pieces. Chances are, they won’t be in style much longer. 

How often do you see yourself wearing it? There is nothing wrong with re-wearing certain items multiple times a week. Versatility is crucial when looking for timeless pieces. If you can’t wear it multiple ways, you probably won’t end up wearing it at all. If one piece can be styled for different occasions, this is a good sign that it’s timeless. Having staple pieces that go with everything is important in order to create a wearable wardrobe. If you are exclusively buying statement items that can only be worn for certain events you will end up feeling like you have nothing to wear. If you are worried about having no clothes, searching for basics that can be worn anywhere is a good place to start.

The key to having timeless style is feeling good in what you are wearing. If you love something, wear it as long as you want despite whether it is trendy or timeless. As Nicolas Ghesquière said, “Never forget that what becomes timeless was once truly new.” Anything can become a new classic. There is nothing wrong with exploring trends — in fact, trends are what keep fashion interesting and push the boundaries of the industry. Incorporating trends into your style can be a great thing, but don’t break the bank over items that will get old in a month. Most importantly, don’t let the fear of being too trendy or not trendy enough keep you from expressing yourself through your clothing the way you desire.


Hi, I’m Grace Avery, a senior fashion merchandising student from Columbia, Maryland! I’m also the editor-in-chief of A Magazine. My staff and I are full of passion and aspiration as we commit our work to bring you the most meaningful and entertaining news from the realms of fashion, beauty, and culture. Our team is full-time students and hard-working journalists. While we get support from the student media fee and earned revenue such as advertising, both of those continue to decline. Your generous gift of any amount will help enhance our student experience as we grow our community into working professionals. Please go here to donate to A Magazine.