Monday, October 27, 2008

Buford Betty Fashion Week: Fashion vs. Style

As promised, dear readers, a week devoted to one of my favorite topics... FASHION! I dabble in a little bit of everything on this here blog, but you know I love me some wicked style. Grab a coffee and let's discuss! So what gives? "Fashion" and "style" are words that get thrown around a lot, but what do they really mean?

One of my favorite quotes of all time came from Edna Woolman Chase... "Fashion can be bought. Style one must possess." It just can't be said any better. Fashions are created everyday, bought everyday, discarded everyday. Fashions come and go. What is hot today will be unthinkable 5 years from now. I know this because I'll dig up something in my closet from a few years ago and shout, "dear God, what was I thinking?!" But, no worries... another 5 years and it'll be back in and we can call it "retro!"

"Style," however, doesn't come and go. As Yves Saint Laurent said, "Fashions fade. Style is eternal." Style is absolutely, undoubtedly something with which you're born. It's a gift and it's rare. It's a talent of sorts. I compare it to the likes of a dancer... anyone can take dance class after dance class and learn the steps, but true dancers are born - they're not taught. In the same sense, anyone (well, almost anyone) can put together a "cute" outfit, but someone with style defines "cute" on his or her own. Anyone can go out and buy the latest fashions, throw them on, and even be considered "in style." But someone with true style makes his or her own rules. You've heard people say, "she's got an eye" for this or that. It's true. There's an eye. I suppose it's in the middle of said stylish person's head, but we just can't see it. But there is definitely an "eye."

People with inherent style can see things others can't. They see potential in people, places, and things that others don't notice. When they put together an outfit, they're creating a look. And even if they spent two hours piecing an outfit together, they somehow make it look completely effortless. Bill Blass once said, "style is primarily a matter of instinct." That's not to say that the most stylish person on the planet never misses a step... but the difference is, they know they have killer style and they make it work. They have impeccable taste and it shows in all areas of their lives. So not only do they have that "eye," but they've got the confidence to pull it all together. Those with style, more often than not, are thinking outside the box and stepping outside of their own comfort zone. Their comfort zone is redefined daily. They're constantly trying new things and experimenting. Blending in just isn't an option... sure, they keep up with the latest trends and fashions - but they take it to the next level and make it their own. And they never really can be defined by just one look, because they're always coming up with new ones.

As Edna Woolman Chase implies, money won't buy you style. Labels may impress people, but I rather see someone with style rocking out a Target wardrobe. That's way more impressive - and I guarantee they'll get noticed more. I'm sure you can think of someone you know that just bleeds uber-style... whenever they walk in the room you just think, wow. What is it about them? They've got it goin' on from head to toe, and it just looks so easy.

I can probably count on one hand the number of people I've come across in my life that I think are truly gifted when it comes to style. I honestly believe it's a God-given talent, or whatever you want to call it. And yes, it reveals itself in how that person dresses and carries himself - but it's so much more than that. That "eye," that amazing taste, that crazy confidence - it can be used to do great things. A couple of weeks ago I sat down with a 15-year old girl in my neighborhood who, to me, is proof-positive that style is something you're blessed with at birth. At such a young age, she already exudes such tremendous individual style and confidence. She's truly amazing and I can't wait to share a little taste of her style with you tomorrow! Stay tuned...

So now that we've created some distance and distinction between fashion and style, I encourage you to seek out that friend, family member, or co-worker with killer style and pick their brain. What inspires them? How do they put together an outfit? What looks are they trying to create? I think you'll be amazed at how differently they see things. And shoot... if you're the stylish one - you already know it. Rock on.


Preppy Pink Crocodile said...

I can't wait to see neighbor girl's post tomorrow. And I totally agree- style is something you are born with- it's there from the get go.

E.B. in Tennessee said...

What a great post! I also totally agree -- you can't buy style, it's something you either have or don't.
Funny you should mention your 15-year-old neighbor. I have a 15-year-old cousin in Atlanta who I think is so stylish! She's got her own thing going, and I love it. She's a lot cooler than I was at 15 :p

Preppy Pink Crocodile said...

hey- what happened to the neighbor iview? are you ok?

Capegirl said...

Great post. Style is so instinctive with some people. Everything they do has a certain flair.
I like to stay with the tried and true-it works for me. My "style" represents things that are important to me. In my home everything is classic (I have furniture that belonged to gr gr grandparents). The things I wear are never fussy-khakis-cashmere-needlepoint shoes-good leather thats me.

Buford Betty said...

PPC... oh yeah, she's a comin'. Check back later tonight.