As I’ve started reigniting my “passion for fashion”, I had to ask the number one question you should always ask before pursuing anything in life – why?
Why does having a sense of style matter to me so much, and why do I feel so compelled to convince others that it should matter to them as well?
What purpose, besides looking good, does having a sense of style serve us and why should we go through the effort, because it surprisingly requires loads of effort, to define it for ourselves?
Whether we walk around in sweatpants and t-shirts or the freshest looks off the runway – what difference does it make?
Essentially, what’s the point of it all?
I’ve been wrestling with these questions for awhile now – making style a part of my business forces me to ask whether this is all some superficial commercializing bullshit that I’m trying to mold into something with meaning.
I will be the first to admit that some elements of fashion and style can be quite superficial, commercial, and bullshitty – HOWEVER, I’ve come to believe that there is another side, a side that isn’t splayed across magazines or Instagram feeds, that encompasses the true meaning of style.
But before we get deeper into it, let’s clarify a few things
The Difference Between Fashion & Style
You’ve probably heard this a thousand times, especially if you’re someone who follows the fashion industry, but I like reiterating things that I think are important to have them really sink in.
If you didn’t know, you’re about to find out that there’s a very big difference between fashion and style.
By definition courtesy of the Google, fashion is described as “a popular trend, especially in styles of dress and ornament or manners of behavior”.
The key word here is TREND.
Trend, another definition courtesy of the Google, is described as “a general direction in which something is developing or changing”.
And this is where the major difference between fashion and style comes to light.
Trends are something that are constantly in motion, changing from one moment to the next. As such, fashion is something that is constantly in motion. Why do you think they have fashion week twice a year, besides the obvious seasonal changes – it’s because a lot of things can change in a year, and by things – I mean trends.
Now if we take a look on the other side – style is defined as “a manner of doing something”.
Since that’s a bit broad and vague let’s try substituting “doing something”, since that really could be anything, with a few words:
A manner of creating.
A manner of designing.
A manner of expressing.
A manner of dressing.
A manner of being.
Style is the manner in which you relate and create in every area of your life. It’s how you define yourself and what you have to offer to the world.
At the end of the day, fashion is an art form with ever changing trends – trends that can be beautiful and authentic, but trends nonetheless.
Style, however, transcends beyond fashion and trends. It’s the way you wear your hair, how you walk into a room, the way you speak, and the colors you’re drawn to. It’s influenced by where you come from, your beliefs, where you live and what you do.
And when you have a defined sense of style, you don’t go chasing after all the latest fashions, you don’t dress just to look good, you do it to show up and let your truest self be seen.
How Having a Defined Sense of Style Can Impact Your Life
What this all comes down to is cultivating a sense of self-love. When you love yourself, you best believe you’ll dress yourself accordingly.
Now there are a million different pathways to self-love, and no one is quicker, better, or more effective than the other. All of them are worth exploring to find what works best for you.
But, I would highly encourage you to consider defining your personal style as a means to transform your self-image and improve your day to day.
Change Without Change
Body shaming is no light matter, and as much as we want to point fingers at the media for perpetuating images of “ideal beauty”, most of the time the actual act of shaming comes from within our minds.
Making changes to your wardrobe and style can affect how you may view your body – even if your body itself hasn’t changed. Selecting a skirt that works with your curves rather than against them can help you embrace those curves. Slipping into a tailored jacket can show you do have a waist, and a mighty fine one at that! Finding styles, colors, and textures that enhance your natural assets can help you see how gorgeous you are, and have been all along.
By simply changing the clothing, shoes, and accessories that adorn your body, you can change your relationship with your body for the better. Minus any oppressive workout plan or uber-restrictive diet.
It’s Your Choice
You’re the one who dresses your body, so you alone are in charge of how you appear to observers. You get to choose what to express and what to hide, what to show off and what to mask. Since you have to get dressed anyway – why not take the opportunity to showcase your best self and broadcast a few key pieces of information about you to the world.
I choose to wear my hair in it’s natural state because I believe it’s a more authentic representation of who I am. I also choose to wear glasses all the time because it makes me feel connected with my inner geek.
Being intentional with how you dress yourself and why can build pride, confidence, and establish your uniqueness.
One of the easiest ways to show you respect yourself is to dress with care. Your demeanor, dress, grooming, and overall appearance are the first levels of information you offer to the world. While it may seem superficial, the fact is humans are visual creatures and whether you realize it or not, you make immediate judgements of people by their appearance.
Dressing with care does NOT mean you have to super high maintenance, it simply means finding clothing that fits and suits your unique figure, given your daily activities and lifestyle. This means dressing with care will look different on each and every one of us as it’s about making sartorial choices that showcases our best selves. When you dress to show respect for yourself, people around you cannot help but sense your confidence.
Look Good, Feel Good
I believe the cycle of self-discontent is inextricably linked to self-neglect. If you feel bad, you look bad, which makes you feel worse, and in turn look worse, and on and on it goes. However, I also people a cycle of self-love can be perpetuated by self-care. If you feel awful about how you look and allow yourself to look as awful as you feel, you’re headed in a downward spiral, my friend. BUT if you feel awful about how you look and instead work against that negativity – beautifying yourself as you see fit – you’ll most likely begin a spiral upwards.
When you put effort into your appearance you’re no longer wallowing, you’re moving. Caring about how you present your physical self to the world makes you more present in your body and reminds you that you can control how you feel about yourself.
Why I Believe Style Matters
So back to my original thought – why does style matter?
Why should you feel compelled to define it for yourself?
In my humble opinion, defining your style is not limited to what you wear, or how you fix your hair or decorate your apartment. It is a culmination of your purpose, your values, and how you perceive your intrinsic worth.
And it’s only when you combine all these elements that you can cultivate a style and personal brand that reflects every part of your being.
Creating an exterior that matches what your heart is telling you on the inside. Which in turn, helps you develop the confidence to be comfortable with who you are.
Now, I don’t know about you, but I think that’s pretty freakin powerful.
Here’s the deal (incase I still haven’t convinced you on why style is so important), your body will change over time, certain clothing you may love now will no longer fit, fashions will come and go, and your own taste will evolve. BUT WHO YOU ARE will remain steadfast.
Now I’m going to get a little woo-woo (if I haven’t enough already), but the fact is your inner spirit needs to be expressed. It wants to be seen, heard, felt, rejoiced – and that’s regardless of the number of years you’ve lived, any numbers on a scale, or amount of dollars you have in the bank.
Personal style is so unspoken, yet so telling of a person – it’s a way to communicate without words.
And why wouldn’t you want to communicate the best, brightest, most creative, and lively version of yourself?
This is a journey that never truly has a final destination, and I would love to hear your thoughts on your own experiences and views on why style matters.
Please share with me in the comments. I can’t wait to read what you have to say!
Thanks for reading!
| Original photo via A Cup of Jo |