I have been thinking recently about my personal style, or lack of thereof.
What is the difference between having a style and being fashionable or just dressing nicely?
I think that style is a purposeful expression of our personality through sartorial choices. Some people can be fashionable, but if it has no relation to who they are, it is not really their style. And then there are others, who just don't care about external appearances, and although this is reflected in the randomness of what they wear, it not a style, because it lacks the intentionality.
Style does not have to be thought. Most people instinctively select clothes that are consistent with their personalities. Not many shy, reserved women would choose to wear super high heels with a short dress in loud geometric pattern. But we do get sidetracked, most often by two things: what others tell us to wear, (including our peers, family, fashion industry etc) and by our ideas of who we would like to be and the lifestyle we don't have but which appeals to us (more parties? more travel? more romance? better career?)
For example, most of my clothes I love and wear in real life, but I also own a few fantasy outfits. Anything flowy and romantic, slightly boho and artistic, this is the personality I admire, but it is not quite me. Then there are the wanna-be-fashionista purchases, very high heels , stacks of bracelets, purses with thousand zippers and strapless dresses, things I don't really like, but I thought I should be wearing. All this stuff mostly sits in my closet and collects dust.
When I listen to myself I choose my clothes based on the fit. I tend to select styles that are flattering for my body type. I gravitate towards classics and simple cuts and to solids rather prints. I prefer to spice it up with color and accessories. I also define myself as much through what I select as through what I reject. I would rather dress a little too young than too old, too sexy than too prissy, too simple than too ornamental, sporty rather than glamorous, modern and urban rather than folksy and romantic. I also admit I would choose conventional versus flamboyant, and too cute rather than too austere.
I like my clothes simple because I believe that the most interesting element should still be your face (that hopefully radiates personality as well). I would rather spend money on a haircut that on a new frock. And I just realized why I don't wear brightly patterned dresses. I don't think I have a personality bold enough to compete with the attention they generate and I certainly would not want to hide it behind my outfits. I can handle a printed skirt, but that's about all I have in me.
I am still learning, from both my good choices and my mistakes. And I hope I will never be completely done with it. The journey is always more fun than the destination.
What is your style? How do you define it? Do you rely on your instincts or do you get influenced by others or carried away by your own big imagination? How did your style evolve over the years?
As a side note, it just occurred to me that if the style is indeed an expression of personality, this would explain why we often identify with bloggers that share our taste in clothes. Do you think this may be true?