Why We Should Ban the Idea of Fashion "Classics"

Down with white shirts—unless that's what you want to wear.

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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Chelsea Peng
Assistant Editor

Chelsea Peng is a writer and editor who was formerly the assistant editor at MarieClaire.com. She's also worked for The Strategist and Refinery29, and is a graduate of Northwestern University. On her tombstone, she would like a GIF of herself that's better than the one that already exists on the Internet and a free fro-yo machine. Besides frozen dairy products, she's into pirates, carbs, Balzac, and snacking so hard she has to go lie down.