Is STYLE prenatal, inherent in one’s genes(nature) or is influenced after birth by external factors(nurture)as the result of exposure, experience and learning of an individual. I grew up in a fashion and creative environment. I would say my love of fashion and sense of style was by osmosis and definitely nurtured by a mother who exposed me to travel, art, entertainment and the ability to attend International Fashion shows as a buyer. My mother was the first boutique in South Africa to bring Designer labels to South Africa setting a trend while herself being considered a purveyor of all things stylish and fashionable. She was able to effectively merge both fashion and style and blurred the distinction between the two. Being fashionable does not necessarily mean you are stylish but rather that you follow the dictate of a designer, blogger or stylist often wearing the look in its entirety. Being considered fashionable is someone who follow latest trends and wears not only designer clothing but also street’s fast fashion by companies like Zara, Top Shop to name a few and often uses images on said sites to emulate the look head to toe. This begs the question can one be determined to be Stylish when purely following Fashion’s lead. Is STYLE timely and FASHION trendy, and is it possible to be both stylish and trendy? The answer is Yes, when one creates a look of their own volition, adding an article that is deemed to be fashionable and of the moment, but adding one’s own sense of proportion, color, and balance. Being seen as having style, usually belongs to an individual, who often wears clothes as means of self-expression and more often than not as an extension of their own personality. Personal style is about a confidence in one’s sense of self often taking a risk to be seen as not main stream but to continue on a path of self-expression rather than following a current fashion trend. Taking an element of a total fashion look or trend and mixing it with items already in one’s closet recreates an image of personal style and more importantly renders the wearer STYLISH and true to their own aesthetic.
Sharon Stone’s Gap T-shirt worn to The Oscars with black tie skirt comes to mind of a stylish individual who then turned a look into a fashion trend. The ubiquitous basic white T-shirt became the must have item of the season leading into the yin – yang dressed-up dressed-down look of jeans with sequins seen at many a fashion or black-tie event for seasons to come. Being stylish might not necessarily follow the fashion of a current season but often the wearer, as in the case above, creates a fashion trend, which is picked up and worn by the public thereby merging and blurring the lines creating an image of the disrupter as both STYLISH and FASHIONABLE.
We often incorrectly term a celebrity as Stylish when in fact the look has been created by a stylist to match the occasion, award show or costume required in a TV or Movie. One of the best examples of this was when the fashion press began calling Sarah Jessica Parker a Fashion Icon and Stylish when in fact her character and wardrobe on “Sex In The City” were curated, designed and merchandised by Patricia Fields. I know this to be true as I supplied several items and designs for the dressing of Sarah Jessica Parker on the long running show. I still to this day, see my gold metallic shrunken leather blazer pop up old reruns in addition to seeing many designer’s interpretation of my jacket. I had created a STYLE that had become Fashionable. Many of the looks seen on that show became fashion trends and at the same time created a style of dressing emulated by many. Who in the 90’s wasn’t wearing a fabric flower pinned to one’s jacket or dress? Today The “Carrie” name tag necklace has become an iconic item and has had a resurgence with jewelry designers giving a nod to the 90’s and is seen on the necks of many a celebrity, lest we forget their name! Fendi’s Baguette bag and Dior’s Saddlebag worn by Sarah Jessica Parker/ “Carrie” on this show have transcended fashion and the wearer of either vintage or redesigned versions of these bags are now regarded as Stylish rather than purely fashionable. These bags were the first time that Designers lent and collaborated with Patricia Fields as she curated the wardrobe for “Sex In The City” characters. Just recently Patricia worked on “Emily In Paris”, another Darren Starr Production, once again creating a Style for lead actress Lily Collins (daughter of musician Phil Collins)and making her wardrobe part of her character’s personality. Fans the world over as well as fashion houses now taking their cue from many of the ensembles worn in the show and are already being re-interpreted as fast fashion by retailers like Zara.