Nothing annoys me more than when people criticise someone else’s style. Well, a lot of things do, but for the sake of this post, we’ll go with it… Style is subjective. It’s just like an opinion in that its definition is limitless, ever-changing and personal to that of the person holding it.
I work in fashion and absolutely love it, however I’m not a slave to the ‘trends.’ Sure, I’ll take notice of them, as season in, season out, how that trend has been adapted, how it’s grown can give you a new lease of life or help you wear the trend that you already own in a new and exciting way. As the old saying goes: “Fashion is what you buy, style is what you do with it.” It’s just like buying a new property that 200 other people in your complex own. You’ve been given a blank canvas that to the outside eye could be anyone’s apartment. But it’s what you do with it that makes it a home. Taste, opinions, likes and dislikes shape your surroundings, just as they do your style.
Growing up I was way more conscious about my style, and conformed to what I thought was cool. Why? Because of school, because of peer pressure and ultimately I guess in fear of being bullied if I didn’t blend in. When I look back at old photos of myself, I don’t cringe because of my retro style but because the style I was inhibiting wasn’t me, it wasn’t what I wanted, it was for someone else. I cringe because I wasn’t being true to myself. Sure, it’s only style but the way you feel about yourself and the message you give off to others is reflective of the way you dress. Everyone remembers the scene in Pretty Woman where Vivienne says to Edward that she would have felt more comfortable defending herself against verbal abuse if she’d been wearing her clothes. Sure it’s not the best reference but it’s true. There’s a reason you feel comfortable in your style. It’s because you feel it suits you, you enjoy the pieces you’re wearing and your style makes up a part of who you are. Some people claim to not ‘care about style’ and the way they look but that’s kind of a style in itself, whether they want to admit or not.
“Girls do not dress for boys. They dress for themselves and, of course, each other. If girls dressed for boys they’d just walk around naked at all times.” Betsey Johnson said this famous quote and I agree to an extent. Working in a female dominated office, when a fellow female compliments you on your clothes, there is a little internal fist pump/high five. Most men don’t always get female fashion. I remember sporting the ‘cold shoulder’ trend as a teen and my uncle asking why there were holes in my top or getting questioned why I’d purposely buy ripped knee jeans. The scandal. And as for men, I have never and probably will never dress for men. If you do that’s fine too.
Whether it’s your friends, family or partner, life is too damn short to dress for anyone but yourself. I’m not advocating you turn up to a black tie in Converse and a kimono - event specifications do still exist but there’s always still room for movement. If you have to go to a fancy do but dresses aren’t your thing, try a smart suit combo, a co-ord or how about a jumpsuit? Heels don’t always have to be worn, I just find I personally walk better in them.
Whilst I dress quite similar to that of the friends I’ve grown up with, I look at my work colleagues (and by colleagues I do mean friends) and see that we couldn’t be any more different and I love it. Why? Because seeing their unique style inspires me to break out of what I define as my style. You might see a piece on the runway that you may ordinarily ignore but once your BFF at work rocks it, you change your mind. Or there may be a piece you own that that girl on your team wears a few days later completely different and suddenly you’ve got an extra way to wear it.
On the flip side, your friend may have a style so different to yours you wouldn’t (and I mean this jokingly) ‘be seen dead in it.’ Great. That’s because it’s their style. Remember sometimes if you haven’t got anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. Sure you may think this about your friend’s fashion, but style IS so personal. It’s like critizing someone’s taste in books, films or music. As long as they enjoy it, why give them grief or make them feel it’s not okay to express who they are? One friend of mine wears crochet and bright colours - whilst I’m a ‘never say never’ gal, it’s not up my style street so I don’t wear it, but I appreciate that she does like it. I am honest with her when she asks me what I think. A simple ‘It’s not my style but I think you really rock it’ usually suffices.
The world would be a boring place if we all were the same. So don’t change who you or your style is for anyone, unless YOU want to. Not unless you want to be a clone of someone else, and no-one wants that.