Coco Chanel once said, “Fashion fades, only style remains the same.” The iconic designer, with some of the most timeless creations to her name, couldn’t have been more right. Fashion is a fickle beast, and we all have seen or indulged in flash-in-the-pan trends that are here today and gone tomorrow.
But, classic style truly does stand the test of time. When you’re purging your wardrobe of all of those “what was I thinking?” moments, make sure to put these 10 sartorial statements and accessories in the keep pile.
1. The tuxedo jacket
Gwyneth Paltrow looks beautiful in a tuxedo jacket. | Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images
Ever since designer Yves Saint Laurent introduced Le Smoking in 1966, the tuxedo-style jacket has become a style mainstay — not to mention a sexy alternative to the LBD. The key to rocking this classic menswear look without looking too, well, mannish is to choose a jacket with a form-fitting cut rather than an oversized piece that translates as baggy — or that resembles your dad’s old tux. The right kind of sharply tailored Le Smoking can be worn alone as a dress, paired with statement jewelry and stilettos, or worn with skinny pants for a sophisticated yet relaxed look.
2. The animal print
Leopard print is fun without being too much. | Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Riani
While you may be hesitant to walk on the wild side, animal print is a constant classic — with an appropriate edge. Now, of course, we’re not talking about hot pink zebra or any other form of exaggerated, unnatural form of fashion print here. But the natural patterning of everything from zebra, leopard, and cheetah to ocelot, giraffe, and snakeskin has something of an earthy, seductive magnetism that never goes out of style — and it is season-less, too. Despite its more exotic nature, animal print really ends up acting as a neutral — with the shades of brown, beige, and black. One of the best ways to keep it classic is by sticking to simple, sleek silhouettes. You can also balance a bolder, exotic skin accessory with monochromatic tones to keep the look modern and fresh.
3. The wrap dress
Wrap dresses are always a smart choice. | Timur Emek/Getty Images for IMG
It’s likely you have a wrap dress (or three) in your wardrobe right now. And, you have Diane von Furstenberg to thank for that. The designer changed the dress landscape forever when she introduced her famous frock in the ’70s. Since then, it has taken on countless variations from an equally countless number of designers and brands. But the one thing that remains is its timeless appeal. It’s an investment piece worth having and keeping — the wrap will always be on!
4. The cashmere sweater
The simpler, the better, and that’s why cashmere rocks. | iStock.com/Highwaystarz-Photography
The luxe nature of good cashmere is an indulgence that’s always in style. The hair of the Kashmir goat is incredibly soft yet also lightweight and versatile, making it the perfect fit for that sweater that’s suited for a chilly day. Because cashmere is such a classic, it’s best to invest in a higher quality piece that will carry you through season after season. Sweaters in solid, neutral colors and designed in simple shapes, without any buttons, bells, or whistles will serve you best.
5. The LBD
You can’t go wrong with the LBD. | iStock.com/grinvalds
The LBD is nothing short of a VIP. The little black dress is really like a magic wand. Its iconic power cannot be underestimated, as it can take you from day to night, corporate office to cocktail party, sporty to sexy, and conservative to eye-catching — and everything in between — all in the blink of an eye (and a change of shoe, jacket, or accessory). A sleek, sophisticated silhouette that flatters your frame is the most important thing to consider when selecting your own black frock. But also look for unexpected details like an asymmetrical neckline or bodycon ruching that add a bit of a modern, cool-girl flair. If you’re anything like us, you have several LBDs on rotation. Those three letters are, after all, some of the most important ones in the style alphabet.
6. The Wayfarer sunglasses
Go for some classic shades. | Caroline McCredie/Getty Images
Perhaps one of the most recognizable sunglasses styles, the original Ray-Ban Wayfarers debuted in 1952 and have had it made in the shade ever since. Classic yet oh-so cool, the iconic frame shape always makes a statement that’s retro yet modern at the same time. Plus, the sunglasses really pair well with anything and can go from sleek to sporty in a flash. The black frames are the most traditional, but if you’re looking for a twist on tradition, change up the color palette or go for a different lens treatment like a gray gradient or crystal green.
7. The trench coat
Opt for a simple trench coat. | iStock.com/kobrin_photo
The right topper is essential to your sartorial game, and it doesn’t get more classic (or versatile) than a trench coat. The epitome of form and function, the coat elevates an ensemble with its tailored appeal while keeping you warm and shielded from any raindrops. It also has a distinct European elegance thanks to British powerhouse brand Burberry and their iconic trench coat, which really has set the standard for the style. The trick to the trench is to ensure that you select a modern, streamlined silhouette that’s well-fitted to your shape. Neutral shades of black, navy, camel, and taupe are always a good bet, but graphic prints and woven cords are also an option. The shape of the trench itself will still keep a trendier textile plenty timeless.
8. The perfect-fitting jeans
Great jeans always look polished. | iStock.com/AnSyvanych
The right pair of jeans can be something like a second skin — they can practically go anywhere with you as they cling to every curve or casually drape over your bottom half with effortless ease. What we love about classic denim is that it is always in style and can be dressed up or down. Exchange the flat sandals for stilettos and a sexy, draped blouse and you’re immediately ready for a night on the town. However, not all jeans are created equally. The trendier washes and styles don’t always maintain their timelessness. It’s best to invest in a few high-end pairs; one lighter and one darker wash without too much whiskering or fading. You may also want to go for a slim-fitting cut as well as a more relaxed boyfriend-style silhouette.
9. The black leather jacket
A leather jacket is a style staple. | Timur Emek/Getty Images
There is something about a black leather jacket that really never gets old. A structured moto adds just the right touch of badass edginess to an outfit for those chilly nights when you need a cool way to stay warm. While you may think that the biker-inspired coat is too trendy, it really has become nothing short of a versatile classic that works with everything from a 9-to-5 look to weekend street style and even a cocktail dress. Just don’t go too overboard on the jacket’s bells and whistles; a few zippers and an asymmetrical silhouette are fine. Buckles, bling, and fringe may push it over the edge.
10. The button-up
A button-up has timeless appeal. | iStock.com/m-imagephotography
Even if you’re not required to wear business attire on the daily, a crisp button-up shirt can still be your best friend. It’s a foundation piece for many an ensemble and it never really loses its classic appeal — no matter if you’re layering it with a traditional suit or pairing it with a long, breezy skirt for a tailored contrast to that boho vibe. A moderate pinstripe adds a bit of visual interest for the dress shirt but most solid hues (aside from bright neons, that is) are always a sure bet, too.
Follow Rachel on Twitter @rachellw and Instagram @rachellwatkins
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