There has always been a great debate over what and if there is a difference between fashion and style. It could be considered ‘the same thing’ by some people but quite simply put; no it isn’t!
Personally, I think having style comes from years of getting to know your personal likes and dislikes, experimenting with fashion trends to carve out your own unique sense of style. This is your way of packaging and marketing yourself to the world.
Someone stylish has a certain je ne sais quoi about them. The way that they stand, the way that they hold themselves and the way that they wear their clothes. Someone fashionable is a follower of the fast-paced trends set by the big fashion houses and quickly adopted by the high street giants. It’s not necessarily about finding a trend that suits or flatters, but rather to be part of the current season.
As I get older I like to mix a handful of trend-led pieces with timeless stylish classics. I have to! I work in the fashion industry and my knowledge and understand has to be on top of these things.
When you are younger image is everything, led by celebrity and social media. David Beckham is seen wearing a distressed denim jacket? Gotta have it? Kim Kardashian uploads a picture of her in Puma sliders? Sold out instantly. This eternal chase to look the best in your youth can cause not only money problems but also psychological ones too. “I don’t fit in amongst my friends! I can’t afford it! I don’t get as many likes as X” This mentality instills a sense of self-worth purely through possessions and approval of others.
Discovering your own personal style takes time and practice. I used to spend a crazy amount of money on following the latest trends to look fashionable and compete with my peers and do you know what? I looked ridiculous in some of the outfits! I would say honestly, I only really started to know what suited me around my mid-twenties. That’s not to say my personal style has stopped evolving! I just started to embrace the idea of ‘Quality, not quantity’ and realised I really only needed some select pieces to do most of the hard work for me.
Looking back, I don’t think of the money spent in my younger years as a waste, but rather by spending it helped me to find my own personal sense of style. Nowadays I get a lot more compliments on what I wear then I ever did back then. When you are younger and conscious of being seen as ‘fashionable’ you are so caught up in your own self image and the competition that you forget sometimes the simpler things speak volumes.
So, what are the defining differences between fashion and style?
According to the dictionary, Fashionable means “characteristic of, influenced by, or representing a current popular style.” whilst it lists stylish as “fashionably elegant and sophisticated.”
We can expand on what each of these means when identifying with what category you tend to gravitate more towards in the choices you make when buying and wearing your clothes…
Style: Invest in timeless classic garments and accessories that transcend ‘seasons’ and can be styled in a variety of ways to offer a truly personal sense of style. You can check out my Wardrobe Essentials post to get an idea of a good place to start when investing in these key pieces.
Fashion: Trend-led and has a short shelf life, maybe a few seasons of wear if you’re lucky. Referred to as “throwaway fashion” for a reason!
I think in some ways even the most stylish people look to others for ideas and inspiration. I’ve never really looked at celebrities for fashion or style queues but rather the men that work in or around the industry who have carved out their own unique sense of style for themselves rather than having a stylist tell them what looks good. There are two men in my life whose style I admire.
Nick Wooster – Nick is a prominent face on the NYFW scene having worked for Barney’s New York, Calvin Klein, Polo Ralph Lauren and Thom Browne. I adore the way he mixes well structured tailored pieces with more casual, fun accessories. Nick’s outfits always look well considered but not over-thought.
Bruce Pask – Fashion Director at Bergdorf Goodman, Bruce knows a thing or two about how to nail a killer look. I always take styling queues from Bruce’s more casual looks as they are always so well executed; the roll of a cuff, the denim jacket draped over shoulder.
Both men have managed to walk the fine line of being both stylish and fashionable. Have a look for yourselves at each man’s style, it’s all about taking tailored pieces and mixing perhaps with a bandana or a colourful pair of shoes. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing to follow trends or desire to be part of the ‘fashion pack’, rather on reflection I wish I knew then what I know now. I’d be quids in! C’est la vie!
What do you guys identify as? Fashionable or stylish? What wardrobe wins and mishaps have you made? Be sure to leave a comment and please follow me on Twitter & Instagram and subscribe to my YouTube channel!