What IS Style?

The word gets thrown around a lot.

Let’s start by discussing the meaning of 3 related words which get used fairly interchangeably: TASTEFUL, FASHIONABLE, AND STYLISH.

"Tasteful" vs "Fashionable" vs "Stylish"


Dressing TASTEFULLY is what you do if you’re going to the Oscars, or if you’re a politician.  “Tasteful” means it’s everyone’s taste – classic, elegant, and completely inoffensive.  By dressing tastefully, you won’t end up on any worst-dressed lists.  You also won’t look back at photos of yourself in 20 years and say “WHAT was I thinking?!?”  However, you’re also unlikely to get stopped to pose for a “street-style” photo.

Dressing FASHIONABLY requires a lot of time and effort.  To dress fashionably, you’ve got to pay close attention to runway shows and fashion magazines.  You’ve got to buy new items every season so that you’re always wearing the latest trends.  You are probably known as the fashionista among all of your friends, but you also are going to look back at photos of yourself in 20 years and find yourself explaining “it was a very big look at the time.”

Being an arbiter of taste years after your death is no mean feat.

Dressing STYLISHLY is my area of interest.  You CAN be Tasteful AND Fashionable AND Stylish, but that’s a hat-trick of incredible difficulty, managed only by the likes of Coco Chanel.  If you ask me, being STYLISH is easier and more important than the other two.  To be stylish, you don’t have to pay any attention to fashion.  You don’t even have to be tasteful.  To dress STYLISHLY, all you have to do is choose a STYLE.  Any style.  You could choose to dress like Morticia Adams.  Or as a 19th-century prostitute.  Or as a nerd, or an explorer, or a hippie, or a movie star.  All you have to do is CHOOSE.

It may not be for everyone, but it IS a look.

Which brings me to what is NOT stylish: NOT choosing.  Failing to choose clothing which says something about who you are as a person is NOT being stylish.  Choosing out of FEAR is not stylish.  If you want to be a stylish person, then you’ve got to figure out WHAT you want to convey about yourself, and then choose your clothes accordingly.

I hope this prospect sounds exciting to you.  But if you’re the littlest bit frightened, or intimidated, or bewildered, about not just WHAT to say, but HOW to say it… well, never fear, that’s why I’M here!  My goal is to slowly take you through a series of steps to start you thinking about yourself and what you want to say with your wardrobe, and then show you how to do… whatever it is that YOU want to do, confidently and without apology.  If you want to wear cheap shoes, I’m not going to try to talk you into wearing expensive ones, I’m just going to encourage you to buy the most interesting cheap shoes you can.  If you have no money and need to build a wardrobe from hand-me-downs and charity shop finds, I can help you with that.  If you have plenty of money, but just hate spending it on clothes, I support that, too (and I can offer great tips on bargain-hunting).  If you’ve got lots of money and want to spend it all on expensive designer clothes – oh boy, call me, please!  The point is that I am here to support YOU, in whatever you choose.  Your style is about YOU making conscious choices about how YOU want to look.

And I, for one, can’t wait to see what you come up with.

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