Be it an Armani dress, a pair of perfectly sculpted Christian Louboutin heels, a Gucci bag or a Cashmere scarf by Prada that makes you skin smoother at the touch - we all have our fashion dreams. Our designer wishes. But what do they really say about us? They say - I have money. I have class. I have good taste. Karl Lagerfeld once said : “Good taste only tastes good to the people who think they have good taste; a good taste can be very uncreative & boring. Good taste is something very bourgeois, very established, so it needs fresh air.”
Do we forget to remember that what one person thinks is of good taste, of style, of fashion, is different to what any other will think? We can easily walk down the street and pick out people, flick through any magazine pointing out celebrity faux pas, something we are all guilty of - but who are we, who is anyone to say what is right?
It is so often nowadays that we are told how to buy the right pair of jeans to best accentuate or diminish our backside that it seems a forgotten art to create ones own style. To show our personality, our resilience, our beliefs, our temperament, our whatever it is that makes us ourselves.
An expression of our inner selves.
Style is best seen in youth. As I child I was not fashionable. Far from it. But I had style. Looking back at old photographs of myself I was forced to smile, not only from nostalgia, but from the striking resemblance from how I dress then, to how I dress now. In our youth we don’t care about our backside, or our waist line. We care about comfort. About what makes us feel good about ourselves. So looking back at the baggy one piece swimsuits, the patterned shift dresses shapeless on my young body, the innocence and carefree nature - I see myself now. I see all the mistakes I made between now and that time; choosing ‘in’, choosing to follow the crowd. And I see how they’ve each created my style. Created me.
Style is the years spent every summer at Blackpool beach as a child. Style is Edie Sedgwick. Style is Francis Bacon paintings and Tim Buckley songs. Style is Danny Bolye movies and Erdem collections. Style is charity shops. Style is a scrapbook full of thoughts, poems and memories. Style is Esmerelda - my first real hero - it is her free spirit, it is forgiving, it is honest, it is beautiful, it is loving and giving. It is learning to play the clarinet, learning to play the guitar. It is paint splattered bed sheets and take-away pizza boxes. It is home comfort and walks through the country. It is everything I’ve ever admired and detested rolled into one.
What we forget to remember is that if we are happy - regardless of how our apple shape is best covered, or our legs elongated, or our wallets spent and empty on dior and channel - if we are ourselves. We are stylish. When someone looks at me, I want them to see me in the best way they can. Not just see a thousand pound dress and killer heels. Yes - I like those things. Love them. But I want them to be me. I want to mix them with a kaki trench coat and not be afraid of getting my hair wet in the rain. I want to be smiling because of how I look, and how I feel. Not just one or the other.
The easy part of fashion is getting dressed. Somewhere in all of us are embedded the rules of ‘less is more’ - ‘make-up to enhance’ - ‘short skirt or low cut top; never both’. We all know when to stop with the blusher, even if we choose to ignore it and go beyond that point. We all know how to tie our shoe laces, button our blouses, zip our skirts, curl our hair.
What we forget is to think about is whether we want that extra stroke of blusher because it shows an extravagant, boisterous, out there personality - or because Christina Aguilera did it in the ‘dirty’ video and was lusted after by tons of guys.
Are you tying your shoe in a neat bow because you’re precise, and neat? Or because Lady Sovereign would never do that - and you want to be the exact opposite of her?
The most important thing I find with ‘style’ is one simple rule. Wear what you like. Buy what you like. Don’t shop with a list in your head, with a constant niggling of ‘will this go with the red shoes I brought last week?’ Don’t restrict yourself to one image. Don’t abide to titles. So what if I own something by Adidas and something by Prada?
Style is expression.
Style is articulation.
Style is unmitigated me.
We only have the chance to make one first impression. Do it with style.