Sunday, September 5, 2010

Fashion vs. Style

Before I write about anything else, I wanted to write about this very important topic. From my relatively short and recent romance with “fashion”, I’ve come to understand a very important distinction that I wish more people understood. That is, there is a very big difference between "fashion" and "style”. Let me elaborate.
  • The key terms I associate with fashion are: industry, trends, labels, designers, models, capitalism, expensive art, inspiration
  • The key terms I associate with style are: individual, art and crafts, fun, emotional, within
Of course, “style” and “fashion” intersect. People who are “fashionable” can be very "stylish". But I think the motivation is different.  To be “stylish” is to want to express yourself outwardly, and have the clothes that you have (or are about to buy) express something about yourself, whether it’s that you’re eco-friendly with an organic cotton shirt, or that you feel sexy with a leopard print scarf. You are essentially the "Editor" of fashion. Breaking it down, ya know what i mean?

On the other hand, to want to be “fashionable” is to want to be part of the trend. Now, there’s nothing wrong with this of course, in fact, I read a lot on fashion, and I find it very interesting. For example, I love looking at the runway collections and seeing what designers come up with like new shapes, new fabrics, and new “styles” (next week is fashion week so I’ll talk more about this later). But how it translates onto an individual, can lead to a very superficial interpretation of fashion.  Example: "A Prada bag is fashionable."

Pero, the bigger problem is that people often reject fashion because they feel it doesn’t fit their own need, their own body, their own sense of self, and most importantly their wallets.  They say “I’m toooooo old or ugly, short, dark, white, brown, disfigured…etc. etc. etc.  This  I find depressing. It really is people not fitting into the fashion world, when really, people should find ways of fitting fashion into their own style. And of course, style doesn’t have to be static. I have many “styles” that I’m still working on (student style, work style, leisure style).

To develop style/s requires an investment of your time, emotions (most articles will not fit you right and its VERY emotional), and money (a little or a lot); but I find it’s an investment well worth it. For some people it improves their confidence because how they feel and how they look are synchronized. For me, styling myself fulfills a creative need that has been missing for a while. And I'll definitely acknowledge that for some people, their "style" is simply to not think about clothes at all, and they are perfectly happy with that.

Concluding thought: You don’t have to have a Louis Vutton bag to feel fashionable. You can be very stylish if you edit fashion and put together an ensemble of shorts and a t-shirt (I would add a hat, but that’s me), as long as it’s your creation, your process, and your style. And that's all that matters.

FYI, here is the official definition of style: The combination of distinctive features of literary or artistic expression, execution, or performance characterizing a particular person, group, school, or era.


  1. gracias. You reminded me of what matters (and that I really should think a tiny bit more about coordination of clothing, really, it wouldn't hurt...)

  2. here's the story about the comfy, high fashion shoes... for when you do have the $$$ to splurge on labels!,0,5824699.story

    but she is coming out with a QVC line for a more economical option.

    while on the topic of comfy shoes, makes some comfy and chic work shoes ;)