So, I was recently having a tea date with my lovely friend Annie Bean and we were discussing London Fashion Week, which she was lucky enough to attend – and if you are interested about it – you definitely should check out her blog posts about the event (including the gorgeous Minnie Mouse themed collection made up of various designers – I am drooling a little over the Giles Deacon prom style dress….)
So, off this conversation we (inevitably) began a discussion around the nature of fashion.
Working in retail
When I used to work in retail, I saw many different types of customers, from the young girl trying to emulate the latest style section of Cosmo, to the 40or50something who has been told she dresses like an old lady and needs to update her wardrobe.
During these years, I became shop assistant, personal shopper, friend, psychiatrist, husband etc to many women of different shapes, sizes and insecurities. I felt pity for some, admired others, and downright just wanted to help them all.
There would occasionally be a rare customer – the ‘Self Styler’ I’ll call her, who would know what styles suited her, colours, fit, neckline, shapes, everything. She would not be afraid that the item she picked wasn’t ‘high fashion’ – just as long as she looked and felt great in it.
The thing is with fashion – it’s unforgiving.
Not too long ago, I remember seeing a pair of gold leggings, a metallic pink puffball skirt, and a boob tube on a mannequin in a local shop. Upon looking at this, well, only one word for it, monstrosity, I thought ‘how would a person actually look wearing this?!’
How ofter do you see the pages of Vogue, Elle, Cosmo etc and think ‘I would never wear that?!’ to a crazy ensemble on the catwalk of the latest designer at the latest fashion week.
I am interested in clothing, yes, I’m interested in the retail industry, yes, and I’m definitely interested in style. But fashion? Interesting…
I think where fashion is concerned, many (mostly women and girls, rather than men) feel the pressure to keep ‘in the latest trends’. This can leave people feeling very insecure, for example, knowing that you are a curvy girl, then wearing a pair of skinny jeans, or short shorts/hotpants probably won’t make you feel great (I know it certainly wouldn’t make me feel confident!)
Fashion is so short lived, moving from season to season so quickly that items become virtually obsolete the second they are on sale.
When it comes to style, however….well, style is different. Style is timeless. For me, style can be adapted, every woman can have her own style, (where she can’t have her own fashion) developed so that she always looks and feels great, in the clothes she knows suit her physically, and also suit her personality.
Fashion, of course, influences style, and I am not saying for a second that people should forget fashion, just, place less importance on it.
Example? The trend for brocade during Autumn/Winter 2012, if brocade cigarette style trousers really aren’t for you, it doesn’t mean brocade isn’t for you, it’s about adapting that trend for YOU. Perhaps a brocade clutch bag, cute brocade pumps, or some detailing on a jacket would fit better into your style.
If you aren’t a bandage dress kinda gal, don’t feel bad that you don’t look right in them and therefore ‘can’t wear one’, feel great that you’re wearing that swishy A-line dress which nips in your waist perfectly, and is different from other girls out there.
Of course, people do get into ‘style ruts’ from time to time, and this is where magazines, fashion shows, shop staff, clothing websites etc can all provide inspiration.
Have fun with your style, and if a particular fashion trend fits into your style, embrace it – if not, don’t feel bad about leaving it behind, and don’t envy others for it – if it suits their style and they look great, tell them, you’d want them to do the same for you…
Who knows, while you are jealous of your friend for looking great in a peplum skirt and cage stilettos you know would look terrible on you, she may well be just as green eyed over your effortless, boho chic maxi dress, or perhaps those great shoe boots you wear to sharpen up that pencil skirt.
I’ve rambled on long enough I think, and my point has somewhat been lost. To summarise:
Develop YOUR style
Adapt fashion trends to work for YOU
Not the other way around.
Jo out 🙂