I think my mother finally gave up on me.
Ever since she stopped buying my clothes—early on, because you can't reach sartorial détente with a kid who's not afraid to go to kindergarten in bear pajamas—she's shaken her head at my tendency to buy flashy, one-off Pieces with zero thought about how they might relate to anything else I own. "Look at your closet," she'd say. "You don't have a cohesive wardrobe—you just have clothes." (I have since conceded that this is a personal weakness.)
But recently, when I consulted her on a jewelry decision, she didn't tell me to go with the graphic silver Young Frankk discs that would still be wearable in 2077 A.D., the year of our lizard overlords—she said yes to a pair of gold wire earrings from the same designer bent into the shape of hands. The Mayan calendar was only off by a few years, I tell you. Run.
Fashion scripture has long dictated that the "smart" buy is the safe buy: the LBD or ballerina flats or pearl studs that would never, ever budge from acceptability as long as Coco Chanel or Audrey Hepburn aren't erased from history. But shopping this way—unless it's just for part of the time, because there really are some things everybody must have—simply doesn't support the multidimensional/chance-based/even contradictory nature of accumulating the parts that make up your true personal style. And with a single argument, you could puncture the whole concept of classics: If you buy things you actually like instead of things "you'll wear forever," you *will* wear them all the time, which achieves the same result of longevity.
Fashion scripture has long dictated that the "smart" buy is the safe buy
This isn't putting down anyone's aesthetic—Jeanne Damas and Camille Charrière have made careers out of wearing navy peacoats and white T-shirts and look damn good doing it. Nor is it preventing anyone from buying as many beige cap-toe pumps as her heart desires—so long as she isn't buying them because she feels some invisible pressure to do so.
All it is is a firm declaration that we are past this—categorizing clothes into "this is worthy of your money because it is supposedly durable" and "everything else." Practically anything can be classic if you want it to be. And if my mom has evolved, you can too. (JK, love you. #thechicestforever #whenyourbrotherisaboutobecomeanonlychild)
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The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect those of Hearst Magazines