Although it’s not always easy to describe, there is a definite distinction between fashion and style. You can be stylish without following fashion trends and you can follow fashion without having the least bit of style. As Yves Saint Laurent said, “Fashions fade – Style is eternal”.
Style is about much more than what you’re wearing. You don’t need to spend lots of money on clothes, hairstyles and manicures to be stylish. You may look fabulous but it doesn’t make you any happier or more popular because it’s all just temporary decoration - and it’s hard work! And then there are those who have a natural classiness about them even while wearing their oldest jeans and digging in the garden - those who other people can’t help being drawn to.
But we’re not just talking about clothing here. Have you noticed that some people just seem to have a knack for decorating a room, initiating a conversation or organising a function, all while looking serene, relaxed and confident? I want to be one of those people.
Real style is more about what we project than what we wear or what we own. We don’t need to stand out, to fit in, to have the most or be the best. I’d rather be admired for my inner attributes and my individual style than for my latest gadget.
My theory is this: Stylish people have learned how to develop their character, to recognise quality and suitability and they have complete faith in their own choices. It doesn’t matter one bit what everyone else is believing, doing, wearing or buying – people of style believe, do, wear and buy what is right for them. They’re not out to impress anyone, copy anyone or to show anyone else up. While style does seem to come naturally to some, I believe we can all acquire style if we are willing to put our heart into it. It’s about attitude, grace and mindfulness, and not following the herd.
Here are some key things to consider about style:
-We should choose clothes because they flatter our shape or are appropriate to the occasion instead of because it’s what everyone else is wearing.
-Sometimes it’s good to adopt the ‘less is more’ attitude to jewellery and accessories. A single pearl drop can add class that a chunky plastic beaded monstrosity can’t.
-We should cultivate a clever sense of humour. Does the witty but rude bumper sticker on our car really reflect what we want it to about us?
-Our conversation should suit the occasion. Have you ever noticed that the loudest person in the room is often the least interesting? Or that complete strangers will not hesitate to disclose intimate details about themselves to you? We want people to be genuinely interested in what we have to say.
-When decorating our homes, instead of just looking at what others have done, we should look also at what works with the layout and the light etc. Our main purchases should be timeless and versatile.
-Do we really want those new Chinese-look bowls, candle holders, ornaments and wall prints that are in every store or would classic white bowls be more versatile? We can add character with colourful serviettes. That’s stylish.
The same goes for hairstyles, cars, houses and just about everything else. While something may be the latest craze or a particular colour may be the ‘in’ thing at the time, we need to consider whether we really like it or just want it, whether it reflects our style or whether we’re just following the crowd and buying into the hype.