Despite the variety of styles people experiment with, there are only so many "looks" you can go for in a jacket or a pair of pants, and a lot of fashion comes back into vogue from one decade to the next. Other pieces wait patiently on the back racks of thrift stores, biding time until their turn comes round again.
A lot of the clothing items hip millennials and Gen-Zs are wearing now would have fit in just fine decades ago, to the joy (or the cringe) of older generations.
The sagging jeans epoch began in 1995, and it mercifully ended 27 years later. Today's jeans are back up above the waist, maybe not as high as Steve Urkel would have hitched them, but close to it.
After decades of cool guys competing with each other to see how close their belts could get to their knees without actively preventing them from walking, a simple hitching up above the waist and belt closure have returned to save us all. Scores of millennial influencers are singing the praises of feminine high-rise fashions, too, stoically refusing to return to the days of 1-inch zippers.
Mom and dad jeans were the iconic legwear of thirtysomething baby boomer parents all through the '80s and '90s, and, as a result, they came with a bit of a cringe factor from the start.
Those GenX bad vibes have had time to wear off by now, which may be why high school kids are starting to turn up wearing these straight-cut, generous-in-the-backside denim angels of mercy today.
Cargo pants are just plain good. Full stop. Comfortable, durable, lots of pockets, easy to size, and resilient to stains and ordinary wear, these eminently practical pants were laughed off the street by 2008, but you can't keep good pants down.
Today, more folks than ever are likely to turn up to formal occasions, like court dates and family weddings, wearing durable khakis with enough pocket space to smuggle exotic fish out of a pet store. And that's a good thing.
Ladies in the '50s were all about silk scarves. Wartime silk shortages flipped into a silk boom for hair scarves, neck scarves, and just-so scarves all through the mid-century era.
They fell away when wool and polyester got big in the late '60s, but they're quite the thing again and getting as popular as they were when Marilyn Monroe was using them to protect her hair in those convertibles she was forever catching rides in.
If you were a teen girl in the '90s, it would be weird if you never wore a choker. These form-fitting lace-look necklaces usually come in black and subtly draw attention with a complicated zig-zag weave.
They're low-maintenance enough that you can just leave one on all day, and they go with basically every outfit you own, so the real question is, why did this resurgence take so long?
Scrunchies were the fun way girls kept their hair back in the '90s, until fashion shifted to smoother, less ostentatious hair bands in the 2000s. A couple of young celebrities and social media influencers have been caught wearing them lately, so they might be making a comeback soon (and yes, that includes the velvet and sequined options).
Folks who grew up between 1960 and 1985 will never forget the whish-whoosh sound of a person walking in corduroy jeans. For some, it may be their earliest memory. This thick, tatted cotton fabric is maybe not so hot for jeans today, but for jackets, it's beyond reproach.
Brown corduroy sportcoats and the occasional dyed-black vest have been spotted on the streets of London and New York, and a bottoms in matching material have begun to surface on the odd ahead-of-the-trends website.
Big, bulky boots were all the rage in the early 1970s, not long after people actually used their inspiration to walk on the moon. Civilian versions were a pop hit in the incense-and-patchouli '70s, only to drop off the map during the Bosco-and-Sky King 1980s.
They're back for a bit just now, with tall white boots made from cruelty-free faux leather being some of the more popular footwear choices, mainly for women, but there's still hope for them in men's fashion.
Round eyeglasses are the trend that comes back into style maybe more than any other. You can find pictures of old-timey shopkeepers wearing round frames during WWI, clever-looking hipster poets sporting the look in 1930s Paris, company men wearing them again in the '50s, John Lennon in the '70s, Liam Gallagher from Oasis in the '90s, and probably some kid at your local bus stop today.
They're timeless, and if they go out tomorrow, hold on to yours. Your kids will be almost certainly be asking to wear them in 20 years.
Canvas-and-rubber sneakers started with Converse, when old Chuck Taylor stuck a set of basketball shoes onto a hot waffle iron and melted treads into them. First adopted for basketball players, then catching on with '50s-era Harley guys, the All-Star look got really hot in the '90s when everyone was in flannel shirts and putting chains on their wallets.
They went out for a time in the early 2000s, but if you look closely, you will see the prices on Chucks slowly going up, implying an increase in demand worldwide.