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Style > Fashion

The Ultimate Fashion Debate: Trendy vs. Timeless

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at KU chapter.

I’m gonna tell you a secret. All your favorite style icons, from Blake Lively to Zendaya, all have one thing in common: they are timeless. While some may dabble in trends here and there, for the most part, their style effortlessly weaves through many decades. In fact, every decade has their trends that stand the test of time. Trends are mostly a deception, a way for the fast fashion industry to always be making money, while timeless dressing is both more polished and less expensive, making timeless pieces worth the investment in quality, even when it is on the pricier side. While trends can be fun, from playing with aesthetics to mixing up your wardrobe, it can also be very exhausting trying to keep up with the latest trend, especially with the trend cycle becoming faster and faster. So, let’s break down some timeless clothing items that are currently on-trend, why they are timeless, and how to wear them in both a trendy way and a timeless way. 


I believe that vests are quite timeless because they are often used in menswear and androgynous dressing. I love the style of wearing a vest, no shirt underneath and matching slacks.

Trendy: A puffer vest

Timeless: A suit vest

Trench coats

Trench coats never go out of style. Whether you are a city girl about town or a chic investigator in a Cary Grant movie, they are an easy way to look sophisticated in the colder months.

Trendy: Excessively oversized

Timeless: Long or midi length


You can blame Olivia Rodrigo or Euphoria, but gloves are making a comeback in a major way and personally, I’m all for it. It is such a glamorous and dramatic way to elevate an outfit in a way that other accessories can’t. Jewelry, belts, and hats are all fine and good, but gloves add a level of inventive sophistication that makes the wearer look instantly chic in a very Old Hollywood way that even Audrey Hepburn would approve of. 

Trendy: Short sheer gloves

Timeless: Opera gloves


Sweaters are a cozy essential that everyone needs in their closet. Depending on styling and silhouette, it can be easy breezy or chic and fun.

Trendy: Crop top or vest

Timeless: Oversized and solid-colored


While many women find them uncomfortable and just a way to waste money because they rip so easily, you can’t deny how much they easily elevate any outfit. From solid to sheer, from pattern to lace, they are a great way to add an unexpected element to an outfit and even wear your skirts and dresses in the colder months.

Trendy: Bright colored and psychedelic patterns

Timeless: Black sheer and lace


I think platforms make heels more comfortable. They are also just more fun. And as a short girl, they are a must-have.

Trendy: Sneakers and flats

Timeless: Heels and stilettos

Mini skirts

Miniskirts have always been in style since Mary Quant made them acceptable womenswear in the 1960s. Frankly, they are a must-have in my wardrobe. I think fashion critics and fashion fans often confused the miniskirt and the micro skirt. The miniskirt is always in style. The micro skirt can be seen in both the early 2000s and Miu Miu Spring and Fall 2022 collections.

Trendy: Micro skirt

Timeless: Miniskirt


Fringe has been in style in various forms for decades. From Sloane Peterson’s iconic jacket in Ferris Bueller to Emma Stone’s Givenchy Oscar dress the year she won, fringe is always a go-to for womenswear. However, I believe fringe can be divided into two categories: the 1970s, western fringe that Sloane has in her iconic white jacket and the glamorous 1920s flapper fringe Emma Stone wore to the Oscars in 2017.

Trendy: Western Fringe

Timeless: Flapper Fringe

Bubble Hem

Bubble Hem was popularized by iconic designers Pierre Cardin and Christian Dior in the 1950s. Since then it has come back into style in the 1980s and 2000s and was even used in a few Chanel designs during the 2010s. However, thanks to Penelope Cruz’s stunning Chanel dress at the 2020 Oscars, it is currently making a major comeback, being seen in the Christian Siriano, Jason Wu, and Prabal Gurung’s 2022 collections.

Trendy: Skirt

Timeless: Dress


Monochromatic outfits are instantly chic. Thanks to Valentino’s hot pink collections, it is making a comeback in a very in-your-face way.

Trendy: Neon colors and primary colors

Timeless: Neutrals and dark colors


Blazers, loafers, slacks, and button-down shirts are all timeless items that everyone should have in their wardrobe. Not only do they make the wearer look smart and chic, but they are also great for mixing and matching.

Trendy: Extremely oversized

Timeless: Tailored or slightly oversized


While one of the more in-your-face trends on this list, you can’t deny that they rarely ever go completely out of style. 

Trendy: Baby tees

Timeless: Mini dress

Animal Print

Animal prints, if not one specifically, always come in and out of style, with major surges in the 60s, 80s, 2000s, part of the 2010s, and today.

Trendy: Cow print and Zebra print

Timeless: Leopard print and Animal patterns


Plaid is one of those few patterns that never truly goes out of style. However, it had major surges in the 60s, 90s, and 2010s. And like fringe, there are two main categories that plaid falls into: punk and grunge style (influenced greatly by Vivienne Westwood) and academia and old money Americana plaid (influenced greatly by the preppy style of the East Coast and Ralph Lauren’s aesthetic). One way that expertly combines these styles through plaid is by taking inspiration from Cher’s style in Clueless.

Trendy: Kat in Euphoria

Timeless: Cher in Clueless


The preppy-associated shoe can work as both workwear and fashionwear. 

Trendy: Paired with a miniskirt

Timeless: Paired with a matching suit


Bows are one of those things that always come back into style whether it’s in the hair or on womenswear clothes. Even bowties for menswear have been a staple for formalwear since the 1800s. 

Trendy: Big bow on a dress

Timeless: Hairbow

High waisted

Not only is this the most universally flattering trend on this list, but it’s also one of the most timeless. Audrey Hepburn, Jackie Kennedy, Madonna, Cindy Crawford, and Kim Kardashian are all huge fans of the high-waisted silhouette. 

Trendy: Flared jeans

Timeless: Short shorts


Satin is a material that rarely goes out of style and can instantly make your outfit look more chic and expensive, even if you ordered it from SHEIN.

Trendy: Cowl-neck dress

Timeless: Button-down


Velvet is another fabric that rarely goes out of style. However, it also has the added bonus of being both extremely comfortable and effortlessly luxurious. 

Trendy: Crushed velvet

Timeless: Smooth velvet

Hello! My name is Sami Gotskind! I'm from Chicago and graduated from the University of Kansas with a degree in Acting and Journalism. I also working on getting a certificate in Fashion Styling from the Fashion Institute of Technology. I was a writer for Her Campus KU from 2020 to 2022 and for Her Campus Nationals since 2021. I was also the Writing Director for Her Campus KU in 2022. I love film, TV, fashion, pop culture, history, music, and feminism. My friends describe me as an old soul, an avid Euphoria fan, a fashion icon, a Swiftie, an Audrey Hepburn-Blair Waldorf fanatic, a future New Yorker, and a Gossip Girl historian. Look out for me on your TV screens in the near future! Thank you for reading my articles!