Timeless vs. trendy patterns: 4 experts tell you what's up

Loud pants like bell-bottoms and skinny jeans are fashion trends, and trends are like random dates — super fun experiments and adventures that amount to nothing more than fleeting crushes and really hilarious stories. On the flip side are looks that will be around for as long as clothing itself: timeless looks are trustworthy standbys. You date bell-bottoms; you marry straight leg.

We asked a handful of sage fashion experts to give us the rundown on Trendy versus Timeless patterns. Their advice is extra helpful for anyone trying to get a grip on what to wear right now (pants are probably a good start). Think of these pros as your sartorial matchmakers — use their advice to purchase and plan your wardrobe accordingly. Read on to find your fashion — and perhaps your passion (hey now!) — below.

Who she is: Manager/buyer at Emerson Grace boutique in Nashville, TN

Why she’s an expert: Constantly scoping what’s hot so she stays at least six months ahead of trends, Mallory needs to constantly stock the right stuff for her fashion-forward clients.

Trendy: Camouflage — "It’s a bold print and versatile — you can wear camo and plaid, camo and stripes... but it’s so noticeable and too shocking to wear every day — it’ll stand out too much."

Timeless: Plaid — "Plaid’s versatility has preserved its reputation throughout the years. It has the ability to stand alone or be a perfect accent piece. Men can wear plaid swim trunks or wear plaid with three-piece suits."
Who She Is: Buyer for 7 For All Mankind

Why she’s an expert: Meghan has worked across the country for multiple premium brands, and as a buyer she needs to be both on trend and in tune with traditional styles.

Trendy: Florals — "Florals are really having a moment in men's fashion. What used to be reserved for tropical getaways is now being considered a top trend for Summer. From woven button-downs to swim trunks, florals are the next big trendy print idea for men. It’s a look that will not go unnoticed and shouldn't be worn over and over again. "

Timeless: Stripes — "Stripes are one of my absolute favorite patterns which can be worn multiple ways and can look different every time. A good striped shirt should be a staple in any closet and can appeal to both preppy and adventerous guys alike who want to look effortless yet pulled together. Stick to a thinner stripe layout vs. a thick, bold stripe, which starts to feel a little more trendy and specific."
Timeless patterns are everywhere you look — from the stripes of a seersucker suit to various Tartan plaids on a traditional kilt. Patterns like stripes, checks, gingham, and plaid are simple and unobtrusive, which is exactly why our experts chose them. 
Who She Is: Celebrity, editorial, and commercial photo stylist

Why She's An Expert: Nicki has dressed high-profile celebrities and makes her living ensuring that models in print shoots and commercial ads — as well as photos for yours truly, Thrillist.com — look their very best.

Timeless: Plaid and Gingham — "These are my go-to prints for guys. They're classic and timeless."

Trendy: Florals — "These are big now too, but you need to wear them in a modern way. NOT your father's Hawaiian short-sleeve button-down. It is best to choose floral prints that are darker, since they make such a bold statement on their own. Or start small — maybe with a tie or hat."
Who She Is: Celebrity stylist

Why She's An Expert: Cara has worked in fashion for the past seven years, styling both celebs and friends — from television personalities and their red carpet appearances to first dates and everything in between.

Trendy: Florals and Watercolors — "For Spring/Summer, fun prints are popping up all over — from florals to watercolors, it's all about color and having fun! These are definitely trendy but they’ll be in and out before you know it."

Timeless: Stripes or Checks — "If you’re looking to invest in timeless pieces, stripes or checks are the way to go. They're the most basic patterns and will remain a classic staple in your wardrobe over the years."
The takeaways: Especially in patterns, trends tend to be quite eye-catching and even controversial. As our pros point out, keep bold patterns to a minimum, as they can come off too obvious at times and throw off your look. What makes a solid wardrobe is balance. Stock up on standbys because they'll always work, but don't be too afraid to blaze your own fashion trail. Trends need to be set by someone!


Nick Caruso has been called many things, but "trendy," "trendsetter," and "aware of the basic concept of what a trend is" are none of them. Call him names on Twitter @thenickcaruso.

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