They are known by many names – wardrobe basics, wardrobe heroes, wardrobe staples. Whatever you call them, they are the glue of your wardrobe – you rely on them more than any other items in your wardrobe. We usually perceive them as classic timeless pieces that you should invest in in order to give your wardrobe a solid foundation. We usually don’t mention them in the same sentence with trends – they are in a league of their own that is not ruled by fashion du jour.
But do wardrobe staples go out of fashion?
The short answer is no. They don’t if they are the right staples.
So the important question now is – are you buying the right staples or are you falling for the pseudo-basics?
Take a classic trench, a white shirt or a V-neck jumper. They are just as current now as they were a decade ago.
You might see contemporary interpretations of them but it doesn’t affect the classic staples in general. It’s these contemporary versions that might fool you into thinking that you’re investing in a classic piece when, in fact, you’re not.
Take biker jackets. A classic biker hasn’t changed much over the last decade or two but this season we’ve seen the updated version in suede and soft pastel colours. Does that mean the classic black biker is no longer current? Of course it doesn’t. What’s going to happen to this trendy version of the biker? The same thing that happens to most trends – they will eventually run their course and start looking dated.
Or let’s look at a denim jacket which is very popular this season. It’s been around for decades but this season got an update in the form of the elongated over-sized silhouette and added detail. Does it mean a classic denim jacket is no longer current? Absolutely not. Does it mean that denim jackets will look dated next year? They surely won’t. Will the updated version have the same longevity as the classic basic? Not really. And this is where the catch is.
Are you starting to feel the difference? Ultimately all jazzed up versions of classics are just a trendy detour so their life cycle is a lot shorter. If you want your investment to last, put your money towards a timeless piece.
The only two things that affect classic staples are styling and availability.
Depending on the contemporary silhouette and trends, we might change the way we style and coordinate staples. For example, take a pair of tailored slim trousers. We might have interpreted them as a work wear basic a decade ago, today we wear them casually with trainers and relaxed jumpers/t-shirts. Or take the trainers! Who would have thought we’d be putting them with anything from floral dresses to structured suits?
The black trousers didn’t date. Yes, they changed their silhouette slightly from wide leg to tapered but they will only feel dated if you style them in a dated way.
Does that mean that none of those trendy items should be bought? It surely doesn’t (I’m wearing the blush suede biker myself!). All it means is that you have to recognize that they are not the true basics that will serve in your wardrobe for years to come. They are the equivalent of trendy pieces you would buy at the start of the season to give your core wardrobe a bit of a trendy flavour. Once you are clear on that, experiment your heart out with the trends!
In regards to availability, the choice is usually plentiful if the staple is in the spotlight of a trend wave. Take the elongated waistcoat. It became quite popular couple seasons ago and the selection of different styles, cuts and colours was huge. The trend died off eventually so their current selection is very limited. Does that mean you can’t wear them if you already own one ? Of course you can. All it means is that if you decide to buy one now, you will be choosing from a very limited selection.
There is no right or wrong way of approaching your wardrobe management. Once you have a plan and are buying things in full awareness of what you are doing, everything works! However, I have seen so many clients buying pieces they thought will last, just to discover a short time later that the investment is not living up to their expectations. I don’t want you repeating the same mistake! Now that you know the difference between truly timeless pieces and the ones that are piggy-backing their glory, make educated decisions when it comes to investing into staples!
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