The classic: a piece that stands the test of time. In the ever-changing world that is fashion, it is the classic that remains eternal. The classic remains everlasting, when all other pieces sizzle for a brief moment, then fade away. Yet what is it about a classic piece that makes it so permanent? What is the allure that allows generation upon generation to fall in love with the classic?

From the CEO to the average student, it seems that classics have that something to lure everyone into their powerful hold.

FDU junior Sierra Hayes thinks that classics have that special appeal because, “They are so simple and can go with almost any piece of clothing. It just makes a quick, easy outfit.”

And it is this reliability and simplicity that makes junior Tara Graziano believe that just about everyone has a classic piece in their closet. “I think that everyone does own at least one of the classics…I know I do,” she said.

Junior Krystin Barnett agrees. “I love classic pieces in fashion. I find myself always turning to staple outfit pieces when I want to feel comfortable and put-together at the same time.”

Sophomore Dennel Avellana feels the same way. “I appreciate the classics. They are easy options when you feel like you don’t have anything to wear, and you can never go wrong with them.”

Thinking of the classic in our very own closets may, in fact, help us figure out what makes them such a staple in our wardrobes. Take jeans, for example. It seems that no other pant has been cut, colored, ripped, and adorned so much, and yet they still hold their natural allure. Jeans may also be the only pants that can be worn under a broad range of social situations. Wear them down with a pair of flats to class, or glam them up with heels for a night out on the town. It’s this very flexibility that makes us rely on them, love them, and keep them throughout the ages.

“I love jeans,” said Avellana. “I’ll never get tired of them. They’re timeless, comfortable, and they look good with pretty much everything. I rely on jeans as a staple for my wardrobe because of their versatility.”

The same sense of reliability goes for the crisp white button-down shirt, tank tops, and t-shirts. Change the cut, dye it a different color, put little frills and bows here and there, they all still remain utterly the same at their base and core. And who can forget about the reliable little black dress (LBD)? Need to go to a last-minute party or a lunch with the boyfriend? Slip into the LBD and you’re flawlessly set. Trench coats, peacoats, leather biker jackets, pencil skirts, cardigans, cashmere, ballet flats, Chanel pumps, Louis Vuitton luggage, Gucci’s leather shoulder bag, the Hermes Birkin or Kelly bag and even Calvin Klein underwear were all pointed out as classics in an article in last month’s Glamour. Under the category of jewelry, who can deny that a simple strand of pearls, a quirky charm bracelet, a pair of diamond studs, or a Rolex or Cartier watch can complement any look?

In fact, there are even some unique and semi-outrageous pieces that have become “unexpected classics,” as the article in Glamour puts it. For example, big sunglasses, animal prints, and even Pucci’s bright acid prints have all become staples throughout recent decades.

What may make all of these pieces everlasting, and termed “classics,” may in fact be that they are subject to change and can morph and mold themselves to fit the times. Just because they are permanent pieces does not mean that they don’t get tweaked and altered to blend in with the changes in society around them.

“Classics change,” wrote Lisa Armstrong in the Glamour article. “Yes I know, that sounds like a
total contradiction, but allow your mind to expand a little…The point is that updating a design doesn’t devalue its core values…classics need to be tinkered with from time to time.”

Hayes said, “Well classics do change, but not dramatically.”

Avellana added onto this idea, “Classics…simply go through phases of variation. A jean is always a jean, distressed or not. Their changes aren’t really significant enough for them to contradict what they stand for as classic pieces.”

Barnett believes that classics may change slightly but they, “still hold that something that makes them a classic in the first place.”

Yet even if classics do change to blend in with the times, they still remain utterly timeless.

“I think it is very funny to see how no matter how much styles tend to change throughout the years. The classics are the ones that still remain…even if they are altered,” said Graziano.

But what exactly keeps classics in style, despite the fact that they are changed?

Avellana sums things up, “Classics remain stylish because even with slight variations, they look great.”

Not only do classics themselves change from time to time, but their individual importance changes from person to person. Not everyone looks good in a trench coat or a tailored jacket. Classics are not the entire society’s uniform, but rather a personal statement.

“We’ve all got classics,” wrote Armstrong. “It’s just that they’re not necessarily the same as everyone else’s. That’s probably why classics have proved so adaptable and enduring. Or to put it another way…Sort out your own classics and your style will take care of itself.”

Many FDU students admit to having their own personal classics.

“The classic style that I can always rely on is the little black dress,” said Graziano. “It always comes in handy for many occasions. Whether it be a fancy dinner or just out with your friends, everybody needs a little black dress!”

Barnett said, “I love nautical, especially with dark browns and beiges. I think classics can be edgy and funky, never boring. For example, I love my aviator jacket, especially with tall boots, aviator lenses, and hoop earrings! Oh and I always wear this large face silver watch I got on the street in France…it’s got a very timeless look to it.”

It’s all about “nailing your personal style,” as Armstrong puts it. We all love mixing and matching a few classics with a very now piece, to recreate our image and establish ourselves as different from the pack. Yet it is the classic that we always turn to for that sense of security and the knowledge that we will look stunning, and effortlessly put-together, when that out-of-this-world fad piece is, simply put, so not you.

“Thank goodness for classics,” Avellana said. “What would we do without them?”

So, what’s your classic?

Published in the February 28, 2008 issue of The Metro.

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