Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Fashion vs. Personal Style - A contemplation

Denim overalls, lace shirt, crazy hair
Fashionable, stylish, well dressed and chic are four words that relate and yet have very different meanings, and despite this, tend to be used interchangeably.  As I have grown older, I have taken the time to understand these ideas and the reasons why I am interested in the fashion industry.  I have realized that fashion and personal style are both forms of expression, but in very different ways.  I have also come to the conclusion that I would much rather be stylish then fashionable as I am far more interested in having a strong sense of personal style then physically embodying a subscription to the latest trends.  But while I feel this way, I recognize and understand the difference between the two and how they relate.

Successful personal style is forever growing and changing along with the person that it reflects, since it is a reflection of that person and his or her self awareness and understanding. Where he or she is now, their aspirations, goals, dreams and accomplishments are all amongst the things one with strong personal style must understand. They let these factors influence their choices in clothing and fashion along with the colours, shapes and textures that work for their body and personality.  With this knowledge and confidence one is often fearless and can take risks – it is most important to know when and where to take these risks.  Style is a very personal harmony between personality and dress, and because of this it’s timeless.  To be stylish is to be yourself in your clothing and your choices – a concept I whole-heartily believe in.  
Despite the art and expression within it, fashion’s need to constantly be driving the market leads to its ephemeral nature.  With the constant need to renew and re-inspire consumers, trends become quicker and shorter lived.  Often trends are so outrageous and unheard of that consumers jump on pieces that will quickly look dated.  To be fashionable implies that one is in with the trends, but trouble lies within this.  With the growth of mass media and marketing, trends target too large a group of people to thoroughly flatter all of them. Let’s face it – the possibility that a product will suit the needs, shape and personality of all sorts of people is practically non-existent. This is where solely following fashion and not realizing the importance of listening to one’s self reveals flaws.

This is not to say a stylish woman is entirely void of trendier and fashionable pieces.  Let’s just put our facial regions to it (i.e. let's face it!) – self-knowledge does not translate into clothing.  I mean I guess it could if you’ve got a talent with a sewing machine, but I for one have tried to be once, and am not. 

Helmut Lang cardigan, Commes des Garçons tee shirt, Zara basic skort, white chuck taylor converse

The fashion industry produces a multitude of clothing and trends, but personal style is what you do with it.  Your personal touch can be big or small – it may be as simple as contradicting looks or a hat – it’s the individual flare that counts!  Above I wear the famous Zara basic skort.  This is one only one of the ways in which I choose to wear this trendy piece, but others may wear it very, very differently, and that is the beauty of personal style.  (Outfit details for this photo can be found here.)

Zara embellished bomber jacket, denim overalls, lace tee shirt, white chuck taylor converse

It’s not just personal flare that makes one’s style individual, but also the self knowledge that helps dictate what trends to participate in and when to take risks.   The self-knowledge required for strong personal style allows one to effortlessly play with fashion in a generally positive way.   I have wanted overalls also known as the dungaree (the G is actually, technically a J, if you are me and other people of my genre) for more then a year now, and I only finally got them a few months ago when they came to Zara.  Sure, I love them with a multitude of O’s (loooooooooooove), but they aren’t for everybody, and the ability to recognize that comes from personal style.  Just because a look is in fashion does not mean you have to engage in it.  (Outfit details can be found here.)

I have always viewed my interest in fashion as primarily based on self expression and it is for these reasons that I wanted to document the evolushing procedure that is my personal style, through this blog.  It is also why I have tendencies to dislike uniforms (and I have to wear one everyday to school!).  But that’s just to touch on this subject – perhaps this is a discussion for a later date.  My main goal through my clothing is to express myself and I make a conscious effort not to jump into trends that don’t suit me.  Because yosif, last time I checked I was put here to be Zoë and not someone else’s puppet or doll.

Sources and Inspirations
Armstrong, Lisa. Harper's Bazaar Fashion: Your Guide To Personal Style. New York/London: Hearst Books (A division of Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.), n.d.. 1-138. Print.
Armstrong, Lisa. Harper's Bazaar Fashion: Your Guide To Personal Style. New York/London: Hearst Books (A division of Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.), n.d.. 89. Print.
Armstrong, Lisa. Harper's Bazaar Fashion: Your Guide To Personal Style. New York/London: Hearst Books (A division of Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.), n.d.. 145. Print.
Thomas, Isabelle and Frédérique Veysset. Paris street style. New York: Abrams Image, n.d.. 10-12, 29, 78, 79, 166, 167. Print.
Thomas, Isabelle and Frédérique Veysset. Paris street style. n.d.. Print.
Zoe, Rachel and Rose Apodaca. Style A to Zoe: The Art Of Fashion, Beauty & Everything Glamour. New York: Grand Central Publishing, n.d.. 1-19, 165-179. Print.
Leave your thoughts in comments below! Thank you for reading. 

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