Style deconstructed

Style is such an individual, essential attribute that it is impossible to give it a single definition. A bit like explaining a colour, it is only possible to give examples of it.

Image from source TBC asap - Vogue, probs

Stylishness can be described as the possessiveness we feel towards attributes we observe in others that we would like to see in ourselves.

Style is not emotion. I was going to say that style is when a person’s inner happiness shines forth and they are comfortable in the world and confident of their place in it.

However on further consideration and seeking to be as honest as possible, style as I see it can exist in times of angst and loss, too.

It exists on a separate level, then, to emotions. Being original – saying something that feels new – is a much quoted, key aspect of style.

People who manage to achieve originality: this is indeed a luxurious mode of living.

But we are all original combinations of nature, nurture and physiology. Therefore style must be what we do with our innate originality.

Inert originality is not stylish. Originality expressed and put into motion is the differential. The style formula then is to let innate originality shine through.

This requires a level of self awareness and freedom, and this combined with a flair for cultural nuance, may ultimately be the thing we envy in each other and call style.

Symptoms of style:

When people seem to have chosen things to wear based on the feel of the fabric, the colour that draws them in, the length that makes them feel good, the unusual cut, the quality of the embroidery, the zingyness of the stripes…In other words, they have made their own bench marks for style, as opposed to following the current fashion tick boxes.

People you just can’t imagine looking any other way, because they are just so comfortable with how they look. How on earth, and at what moment, did they develop their style?

People that look inexplicably good in work boots, muddy jeans and a t-shirt, like my archaeologist friend Mary Jane.

People who are happy parents.

Women who do that thing with their hair without even looking in a mirror.

People who are obviously totally over or under dressed but don’t appear to be in the least bit self conscious.

This list has evolved into a list of the things I feel I lack and is therefore now serving as a case in point for my possessiveness theory.

Ultimately, when someone feels stylish, they usually are.


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