Short Term Fashion Trends vs. Long Term Style

Short Term Fashion Trends vs. Long Term Style

It’s the fashion paradox – does being fashionable necessarily entail following trends? If some styles are immortal, then why continually experiment?

In the words of Yves St Laurent ‘Fashion is temporary, style is eternal.’

The fashion industry thrives off innovation, and if it were not for trends then the industry would die. However, most fashonistas observe trends with cool discretion, picking and choosing adaptations to their styles. Others follow trends more completely.

To take the examples of two male icons – David Beckman and SteveMcQueen. David Beckham was constantly reinventing his look during his twenties and early thirties, while Steve McQueen stuck to his classic style.

David Beckham (left) was famous for multiple haircuts and changing looks during his playing career. In this photo just before the 1998 World Cup he was wearing a sarong, leather sandals and sleeveless t-shirt and garnered raised eyebrows from much of the media. Steve McQueen (right) stuck to long term style, and while this picture was taken in the 1970s, the look still works now.

Nowadays, both fashion and style are driven by celebrities. Often people merely get into the papers for what they're wearing and little else, which is often total trash. In extreme cases (think Beckham's sarong), not that many people will take up the particular trend. But in other cases when the timing was right, such as when Beckham sported a mohawk, a look could influence a great deal of men's hairstyles for the next couple of years. Much of this in and out fashion is driven by fast moving news media and television.

Style is not so much driven by fast moving media as by icons - so think iconic musicians and classic films. For instance, the black leather jacket appears regularly in iconic films from the 1950s. Not only that, but often the coolest character is wearing one.

Some Recent Fashion Trends

Here are some of the strongest mens' fashion trends of recent times:

  • Hipster: Tattoos, beards, pipe-cleaner jeans, huge Doc Marten style boots, plaid shirts.
  • Geek Chic: Smart trousers and shoes, shirt (short-sleeves optional), bow tie (optional), vanity glasses (essential).
  • Preppy Man About Town: Blazer, quaffed hair, block colour shirt tucked-in, chinos, boat shoes.

3 Timeless Style Items Every Man Should Own

Below are items that we sell on The Idleman that won't go out of fashion. If you buy them, as long as you take the appropriate care, they'll last you a very long time. In the case of a leather jacket, it might last you forever.

Polo Shirts

As well as being a versatile item, polo shirts are timeless - spanning boundaries between sporting and formal occasions throughout the ages. They're the casual outwear of James Bond - who could better to create timeless style?

James Bond polo shirts
Sean Connery and Daniel Craig both playing James Bond, both wearing polo shirts, despite the separation of more than 50 years.


The Farah Vintage Polo shirt above is timeless because of the simplicity of having one colour. Various patterns and prints come in and out of fashion.

The Leather Jacket

It's become a classic because so many celebrities wear them, and if a character wears one in a film he's usually a badass (The Terminator) or the cool protagonist (John Travolta in Grease, The Fonze in Happy Days).

McQueen, Travolta and Arnie all pulling off the leather jacket in various guises.

This Bellfield Rex Leather Look Bomber jacket will always look sharp with a white t-shirt.

Slim Jeans

Skinny jeans are obviously pretty popular now, but slim and straight jeans will outlast the trend. Slim jeans are more versatile, in that they can be worn with smarter getups for more formal occasions.

Are You Fashion Trend or Timeless Style?

Ultimately whether you want to follow adhere to new trends religiously or ignore them entirely is a personal decision. If you're prepared to take time to find out what's in, outlay on clothes very regularly and take risks, then following fashion trends is the right move. If you're a bit more casual about your attention to fashion and want clothes that will last, then you should go for more timeless pieces.

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