Well said. :)
Ah, this, in a nutshell, is the very essence of what helps one create a personal style. I don't "follow" fashion although I am aware of latest trends, etc. Quite some time ago I developed a personal style that works best for me. I call it "classically feminine" -- classically styled clothes but with a softer edge. I've modified this style as my life has changed, but essentially it is who I am. Knowing this helps me eliminate a lot of distractions when I look for clothing. And it also says a lot about me -- a little formal but approachable, organized but playful, etc.
I like the concept, but I think we're all working within commercial parameters. Why do so many of the chic people in Paris wear similar ensembles? Ditto for NYC (as in some of Bill Cunningham's pictures). I am afraid we think we're more individual than we are--at least most of us. Today I am wearing black skinny pants, a long black tank, and a taupe sweater. Big leopard scarf . I think I look fine, but there are zillions of women in similar outfits.
That is an interesting observation. Would that make it fashion or style, or maybe a mix?
Yes, commercial and cultural parameters are really difficult to escape. It can be done, but it takes a strong willed individual.
Interesting point, Frugalscholar, I had not looked at it from that perspective.
Frugal Scholar, you've hit on it. Fashion is often about the What: little denim jacket supposed to be worn to take things "down" but style often said to be about the How. And yet there are prescriptions for every How. I don't want to look like everyone else and like I'm "supposed" to and yet I don't want to preoccupy myself with rebelling. Of course, the solution would be to stop taking in information and be guided by the clothes themselves. Can't make myself stop gawking yet, though.
Thank you, frugalscholar, for finally pointing out the elephant in the room. I think what you described is the "uniform" for women in a particular economic range (or those who want to be) in some large cities around the world. Look at women who don't fit that demographic in big cities and/or women in other locations and there seems to be more variety and personality shown by the way they dress. I think uniforms of any kind can be very efficient and cut back on clothing costs, but they can also be a way to hide among the throng of others who look just the same. They can also be a way to look awful by wearing the "right" colors or shapes instead of figuring out what is truly flattering. Hola from Tucson.
Style is a point of view, fashion is a point of sale. Like Frugal Scholar, when I see a woman in a clone outfit, I sense she has no individual point of view. She's copying what the vendor, the culture or her models tell her is "what to wear". At the same time, "style" does not mean dressing in "creative" ensembles like some of the eccentric elders on "Advanced Style". A few pull it off , but many are lauded for having style when what they have is just a cacophony of weird clothes. Part of the problem is the media, and then the consumer indoctrination. The apparel industry has a great interest in conflating fashion and style; it's what keeps us buying.
I had never been to Advanced Style before, so I took a look. When you define style as "fashionable elegance" I can see your point for some of the photos. When you use the more common first definition of "a distinctive manner of expression" then what you see as a cacophony of weird clothes IS style for whoever dresses that way. I think weird or boring is usually in the eyes of the beholder, not necessarily those of the wearer.
What a beautiful quote! My son and I have been talking about just this subject recently - how our style reflects, or should reflect, who we are. This takes time, confidence and self-awareness and is a continually evolving process. But it's a lot of fun!