The words fashion and style are often used interchangeably. However, their meanings and connotations are substantially different, and getting it wrong could be wasting you money. So what is the difference? And why have you been getting it wrong?
On a basic level, fashion is the clothes you wear, and style is how you wear it. Style refers to an individual’s aesthetic and self-expression. It incorporates all items of clothing, accessories and (most importantly) your mannerisms. This includes the way you walk, sit and your behaviour towards others. In short “Fashion fades, style is eternal.” – Yves Saint Laurent
Fundamentally, fashion is a trend, which drastically fluctuates with the seasons. Runway fashion is completely unwearable. Even every-day “fast fashion” does not suit everyone. Many of us dispose of clothing items even if they are still in great condition due to the cultural “need” to stay on-trend.
What Is Style?
Since a person’s style is unique to themselves and their preferences, it does not fluctuate as dramatically as fashion would. Style can be influenced by many factors, such a religion, culture, body type, profession and many more. Since it is a long-term preference, purchasing garments that fit your style is an investment for much longer than just one or two seasons, making these items more sustainable for the environment and your bank account.
Saving Your Money
Many people waste a lot of their money on items of clothing that they hardly ever wear. Either they don’t feel comfortable in them, or it doesn’t suit their body type. Identifying your individual style and developing a flattering wardrobe can save you a lot of money in the long run and revolutionise your image. And, if it compliments your wardrobe and fits with your overall aesthetic, there is nothing wrong with having a few “fashion” pieces, too. It is important, however, to make sure you really love those items and are not just jumping on the popularity bus.Developing Your Style
The most important thing to be aware of is to not get swept up in modern trends. Understand what makes you feel comfortable and confident. What is practical and appropriate in the climate you live in? Think about what flatters your body. What assets do you want to enhance, and what would you rather conceal? What do you like and why?
Of course, along with choosing what you like and feel comfortable in, it is also important to consider which occasions or dress codes you must cater for. If you have a professional clothing policy at work, this is something you must incorporate into the garments you buy. If you attend many weddings or other formal events, you must have some appropriate outfits for these occasions. How can you add your own twist to these outfits? What steps can you take to make formal clothing modern?
Why Your Image Matters
What you wear and the style you choose is a form of self-expression, and tells others a lot about your personality. Most people realise how important your dress sense is to your image, especially in the 21st century. So many of us buy into trendy fashion which is current and popular, but it frequently results in a lack of uniqueness and sometimes depleting confidence, when we wear things that don’t necessarily flatter us.
When re-inventing or developing your style, I believe it is important to think about what image you would like to create. Everyone in our culture already has a narrative built into their subconscious which we can make use of if we know how to. For example, did you know you are more likely to be seen as attractive if you wear red clothing?
Personally, I like to express an air of femininity and sophistication in my style and use the subconscious association of success with formal clothing to make myself feel more confident. I achieve this by combining timeless and classic garments with bright colours, asymmetry and practicality, to add a modern twist to more traditional clothing.
If you’re struggling to identify or reinvent your style, look for inspiration wherever you find it. It may be on the street or at work, and there are hundreds of photography blogs and Pinterest accounts (see mine here) exactly for this purpose. Mimicking the outfits of real people is much easier than those from fashion shows, and it may bring your attention to garments or other details you may not have noticed before.
Building a wardrobe of items you truly love and wear frequently will create a much more harmonious and put together closet, saving you money in the process.