What Fashion is Considered "Timeless"?

by Anna Villaruel
(Seoul, South Korea)

April 27, 2012: I’ve touched on the topic several times on the website as well as on this blog, but I think this deserves yet another post where I highlight and define what kind of fashion/clothing is considered timeless and what a closet/style staple is for the majority of women. As an image consultant, I always recommend women to secure pieces that stand the test of time and can be worn with various color and outfit combinations.

These items are timeless and help you save time and money by making sure that you always have something to wear for any occasion, and that you always have something that looks good on you. They're considered to be your wardrobe indispensables :-)

So what defines a garment or accessory as timeless?

When I refer to the term timeless, classic or basic – it means that it’s versatile and flexible to wear for a multitude of occasions and seasons. An example is a trench coat - it works for work, school, leisure and evening attire throughout the year – from spring to winter:

Timeless trench coat for multiple occasions

A timeless piece can also serve as the foundation of your outfit - like for example a tank top worn underneath another top, or a cardigan for layering with your tops, t-shirts and dresses:

Basic tank top is one of your closet essentials

A classic piece also evokes little to no emotion and is less likely to affect the rest of your outfit. This is why basic colors such as black, white, beige, browns, olive green and dark navy blue are considered to be basic – they won’t compete with other colors, prints and textures. Click here to learn more about neutrals

Neutrals are flexible and versatile

Let me explain in further details how a timeless piece works:


A classic garment or accessory always looks right for any season. Fashion trends come and go, but timeless pieces will always be there without ever looking outdated. So if colored jeans are the hottest "IT" item for any given season - you’ll still look stylish wearing a pair of dark blue denim jeans:

Timeless denim jeans work for all seasons

You’ll also find general trends (or "trendessentials", as I call them) that show up every season. Examples are popular Fall colors such as purples, black-on-black-on-black, greys and mustard yellow. If you have a garment in one of these colors then it will last you a good 2 or 3 years, depending on how fast your style and taste evolve. However if you've secured these colors in a versatile clothing style then I don't see any reason why you can't wear it until it starts to fall apart :P

Learn more about the Fall & Winter Trend Essentials

Learn more about the Spring & Summer Trend Essentials


A timeless piece go hand in hand with your lifestyle and the activities you partake in on a week-to-week basis. Having a classic, solid closet also means that it consists of the right amount and the right type of clothes for where you spend most of your time.

Lifestyle circle diagram for figuring out what clothes to buy

For example, if you’re an office worker 8 hours a day, 5 days a week – then your wardrobe should naturally consist of mostly clothes appropriate for your office dress code and the long/frequent amount of time spent there.

I know that some women may have a few reservations about the items listed on the Wardrobe Essentials-list. I mean, why would you need a white dress shirt if your work’s dress code is casual or you live in your tees and jeans?

The list is meant to be a guideline for women who appreciate classy and chic fashion. So if you happen to have rejections about these classic pieces, then skip them and rather focus on the garments and accessories appropriate for your lifestyle.

The inevitable occasions

However, you can never escape the occasional dressy event that happens at least once or twice in a year, such as weddings or other occasions where you have to look semi-formal.

Top 3 Wardrobe Essentials for fashionistas

This is where the Little Black Dress, Black Pumps and Crystal Stud Earrings come in handy. These can last you for 3-4 years or more depending on their quality and how your lifestyle changes.

Add your own flavor

These closet essentials are also flexible enough to be worn with all clothing styles – creating an ultra-chic outfit juxtaposition.

Creating a casual-chic outfit with a basic black dress and pearl stud earrings

See how well a bohemian-print cardigan looks juxtaposed with a classic black wrap dress and stud pearl earrings? And the snake print clutch and the red sandals add the perfect amount of interest to this neutral-colored outfit. If you really think about it, essentials help play down and balance out prints, colors and attention-grabbing details.

Your Personal Style

The essentials for clothing types and accessory types on the Wardrobe Essentials-checklist give you a minimum on what clothing types you need. So if your style is far from minimal or Classic – then feel free to select basics in a style that suits your personal style and what looks good on you.

The best basic is what looks good on you and suits your personal style

I always recommend securing your first piece on the Wardrobe Essentials-list in a plain and simple style as possible, and then build on it from there with styles that resonate more with your personal style. For example, if you already have a basic white v-neck t-shirt, try other necklines, sleeves shapes and top lengths.

What looks good on you is your closet essential

I also want to stress that the term “basic” varies in definition based on your fashion persona. A basic, timeless piece should be an essential in a sense that it looks good on you and reflects your personal style. So no matter what the current fashion trends are telling you - what looks good on you is the BEST basic for you. Not on the catwalk model, your best friend, your sister, your neighbor, nor your mother – but for YOU, for your body and personality that will be wearing it.

For example, if simple rounded sunglasses are considered versatile – but your face shape looks best with angular frames then you should always choose what suits you to be your fashion staple.

Or if black looks too harsh on your skin tone, then try dark chocolate brown or dark navy blue. Or be flexible by topping (warm it up or cool it down) it off with colors from your personal color palette.

I hope this clarifies it! :-)

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Jun 30, 2012
My absolute essentials for a timeless chic foundation
by: Expat50

Reading this blog has really got me fired up! So please forgive me for having a second bite at the cherry (the last post was mine, too!)

I've been thinking about my own personal 'timeless essentials' - the things I could probably fit into one large suitcase (as long as I was wearing some, too :-)), and without which I'd be totally lost, because they are my personal building blocks of style. Here goes:

1. A warm cashmere and wool coat in a neutral colour.
2. A black jacket which I can wear as an element of a skirt or pant-suit by day, and add a sparkly top and some stilettos to take me out on the town at night-fall.
3. (Following 2. above). A well-cut skirt and a classic pair of dress pants in the same fabric (I prefer light-weight wool.)
4. A few classic cashmere sweaters (but cashmere/merino, cashmere/silk, or cashmere/cotton all work well too) in basic neutrals, but ALSO in some of my favourite accent colours (bright emerald green and scarlet, in my case).
5. Need I say it? A truly beautiful black dress. Long-sleeved, short-sleeved, sleeveless, A-line or sheath, your choice, but the simpler it is, the more versatile. ie. it can take you from work to an evening out. A black cocktail dress is more limiting.
6. Two pairs of jeans, one dark-blue boot-cut for versatility, and at least one white pair.
7. A high-quality Breton top, which will look great with 6. above.
8. A clutch of accent-colour tees to do the same.
9. A well-cut navy blazer, to go with items 6-8.
10. The essential ballet-flats to add both French je ne sais quoi style and comfort to 6-9.
11. A great pair of knee-high boots (I like stretchy suede ones with a heel, cos I can tuck jeans into them, but also wear them with the more formal items on my list. Black for me.
12. A pair of patent leather pumps with a medium heel I can actually walk in!
13. A classic Burberry trench, to go over ALL of the previous items.
14. Some discreet real jewellery, including pearls, pearl studs, diamond studs, and a classic but stunning watch.
15. The best leather handbag affordable. A good one will last for many elegant years.
16. The finest underwear I can afford. Both sexy, and capable of pushing up and holding in. A tall order, but the French manage it brilliantly.

And that's my list. I'd like to take my collection of Hermes silk squares, my cashmere scarves, a few extra shoes, a bit more jewellery, but hey, I'm talking about my absolute indispensibles here, right??

Jun 18, 2012
Timeless chic, and eco-friendly!
by: Expat50

Can I use this blog to place a plug for an item I simply couldn't live without??

I read, and thoroughly approved, of your remarks about using re-newable shopping bags. It was a great piece! But you know what, Anna? There IS a timeless, oh-so-chic alternative to the canvas bags you showed: it's the simple French Panier du Marché, such as Brigitte Bardot and Audrey Hepburn were always seen wearing slung nonchalently over their shoulder(s). In natural-coloured straw, with leather handles just long enough to hang from the shoulder, it is one of the ultimate timeless classics, and, if you'll forgive my saying so, far more chic than the fabric offerings!! As you've probably seen from my other postings, I have a very definite classic clothing style, but I have been using my basket today with a simple breton top, white jeans, navy ballet flats, and my Jackie O sunnies. Perhaps because I am actually living in France, it certainly didn't look like a pastiche, or in any way contrived. Several shoppers at our local market were using the same basket. Having taken my lovely fresh produce home, I then went on to the office, still carrying it with files and my cosmetic purse, money and other essentials. You see it has a cotton drawstring lining, so contents are quite safe. I love my panier du marché: it's a great eco-friendly shopping bag; a stylish tote; and sometime doubles up as a beach-bag when I go down to the Côte d'Azur. Best of all? It cost 10€ (about $13)!

Jun 15, 2012
by: Anonymous

Amazingly helpful! Thank you! This site is amazing!

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More Shopping & Chic Inspiration at the TCF Blog:
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