If you could be fashionable or stylish, which would you choose?
One incorporates fluro, Sass & Bide rats, digital prints and oversized tees; just some of the trends in the past few years that flatter most no one. The other consists of a personal style that transcends the trends. Think Kate Moss, Audrey Hepburn, Nicole Richie and Kate Middleton.
I know which group I would rather belong to, however, when people comment on my clothes, they usually call them trendy. Personally, I can’t think of a bigger insult!
Most of the clothes I buy, or want to buy, are things I’ve been lusting over for years, and are usually vintage or from a myriad of outlets, from “old-lady stores” like Brown Sugar and Blue Illusion, to second-hand markets, to Target, to Sportsgirl. I will admit to buying a plain red cami from Dotti a few weeks ago, but it’s the kind of item I’ll wear for years to come and is quite timeless… well, as timeless as Dotti can be!
One of my friends, whilst rifling through my closet, even commented that I really don’t have that many clothes. I asked why, then, can I not fit them all in. (I have several bags full of clothes hiding at the back of the wardrobe, which I alternate between seasons.) Said friend attempted to recover by saying, “well, you wear the same outfits a lot.” Like the Duchess of Cambridge?! (I wish!)
This is true, though. My favourite pair of shoes are five-year-old electric blue ballet flats that are hanging by a thread. My staple black trench coat for winter is also five years old. Long time Scarlett Woman readers might remember the fantastic mustard yellow dress I picked up at a vintage fair for $30, which is one of my most prized sartorial possessions. I have a marcasite leopard brooch that is permanently affixed to my pleather bomber jacket (about three years old), which I paid a pretty penny for at an antique store… Shall I go on? ;)
Really, the only things I buy frequently in the clothing department are plain white, black and grey tees, jeans, and underwear.
I do like to look good (and my walk to work, where I’m confined to the limits of an unflattering uniform, is always a fashion parade!) but, when it comes down to it, clothes are just clothes, as the sometimes-fashion victim, but usually stylish, Whitney Port said on The Hills.
And you can still have a personal style without subscribing to the skinny jeans, crisp blazer and ballet flat norm of Kate and Nicole.
I have a few co-workers whose style I don’t necessarily like, but who remain true to it. One favours printed tees, badges and Etsy jewellery. Another likes to match her dress to her boots to her tights to her scarf to her hat to her bag. The third is hipster through and through, and has the most amazing collection of bright coats and bags from her grandmother.
These are the items of clothing that quintessentially “belong” to them and their personal style: you can’t find them in Bardot or Myer or Sass & Bide. And even if you could, they ain’t got nothin’ on the original: priceless.
So what I’m trying to say here is that money can’t buy style. Or that fashion fades, style is eternal. Or something. What do you think the difference between “fashion” and “style” is? Can you have both at the same time? Which camp would you rather belong to?
Related: The Way We Wear Vintage Market.
Images via Hills Freak, Saskia 4 Fashion, Franc Trunner, People Style Watch.