Get excited about fashion trends that suit your own style, but ignore all others.
It suggests that fashion is the equivalent of a law that it is our duty, as respectable people, to uphold. It suggests that the key to dressing well is following the rules and wearing whichever trends and must-haves the fashion world is prescribing that season, regardless of whether we actually like them or not.
Of course, that’s a very literal interpretation of the phrase, but it nevertheless captures the underlying message that the fashion industry is sending to women to drive sales, using headlines like “5 Skirts You Need This Spring” or “Essential Trends for This Year.” And because of that, most women I know still do feel at least some pressure to dress in line with the trends, worry about certain things looking “outdated,” and use current fashion do’s and don’ts as the deciding factor when it comes to choosing outfits.
Being fashionable is totally optional.
Some of the biggest style icons of the last century were people who explicitly did not follow every new trend out there and instead had their own very distinctive looks from which they rarely strayed. Think Marlene Dietrich, Grace Jones, or Marilyn Monroe and also modern style icons like Jenna Lyons, Tilda Swinton, or Angelina Jolie. In fact, some of the most consistent style icons of today come from the fashion industry itself, like Karl Lagerfeld, Anna Wintour, and Emmanuelle Alt. All these people are stylish, not despite the fact that they don’t follow trends but because of it. They know exactly what they like and what they don’t like. Their style is iconic because it is completely authentic.
Fashion is an art form
That’s not to say I am against fashion, not at all. And having your own personal style and being into fashion aren’t mutually exclusive. What’s key is that, rather than seeing fashion as a ubiquitous standard, you see it for what it really is: an art form. Like music, architecture, and literature, fashion is a form of art and an important part of human culture that reflects both bigger cultural shifts and smaller movements (such as seasonal trends). Now, what separates fashion from many other art forms is that it is much more prevalent in everyday life. In that sense, it is perhaps most comparable to music, another art form that most people have an opinion about. But unlike with clothes, you wouldn’t make yourself listen to songs all day just because they are at the top of the charts right now or because a “hip” person told you to, right? Of course not; you listen to music that you like. And that’s exactly what it should be like with fashion as well.
Just like music, fashion should be about celebrating creativity and having fun. You should not feel bad about wearing a supertrendy head-to-toe look if you love it, but you also shouldn’t feel bad about wearing something that’s not in line with what’s currently considered to be the look. If you are a creative person, fashion can be a great outlet for experimentation, inspiration, and just having fun. I personally still get just as exited about Fashion Week nowadays as I did during my shopaholic phase. But what’s changed is that now, instead of treating all the new trends and pieces like a to-do list, I think of them like a buffet. I’m free to pick and choose. If I see a look and immediately love it, I will look to buy something in that style and continue wearing it long after it’s gone out of style again. But if I don’t see anything that suits my style, I’ll just stick to my old favorites for that season.
In this blog, we’ll focus on style rather than fashion. Fashion can be fun and inspiring, but it is volatile, and there is no guarantee that the trend you’ve so madly fallen in love with just a few months ago will still look just as enticing to you once the season is over. If your ultimate goal is to build a great wardrobe that you will love for more than a couple of seasons, your personal style should always be your primary compass.