Why it keeps coming back: Since its invention in the early 1800s, the high-gloss finish has been hot (think Jazz Age Mary Janes and swingin’-60s go-go boots), not, and then hot again―repeatedly. “Patent leather gives your outfit an instant wow factor, but it’s still an approachable and wearable trend,” says Verdi.
Keep it if: It’s an accessory in a timeless style, such as a clutch or a simple handbag, skinny belt, or pumps, “especially in a basic color that will always resurface, like black, nude, red, or Bordeaux,” says Malka. Also a keeper: a patent trench coat with a classic cut.
Toss it if: It’s used in conjunction with another fad, like “a shiny shrunken jacket with shoulder pads,” says Kressley. “Joan Collins gave hers away, and you should, too.” The odds that two trends are going to be popular again at the same time are slim to none.