Magazines love labels. Yes, labels like Prada or Dior, of course, but this time I’m talking about a different kind of labels. You know, the ones like “rock chick” or “bohemian” or “sporty” or “romantic”. The use these labels to describe the styles of celebrities, to create fashion editorials, and to tell you how you should define your own style. In short, these labels define pretty much anything related to fashion. You’re expected to choose one, maybe two, and stick to them, otherwise the threat of becoming fashion road kill is imminent. But I don’t think this is a good idea. In fact, I think it’s slightly condescending, and not very helpful in the long term. Why, you ask (maybe because you’ve thought “Finally! I’m not alone.”)?
First: I AM NO SPICE GIRL. You can’t simply label me “Posh Spice” (yes, I always was Victoria) and expect everything about me to be defined by that. It might work when trying to sell an image to a crowd of young girls, but I’m not for sale. I don’t have to be easy to understand, or easy to market. What I want, is to express myself. It’s as simple, and as complicated, as that.
Second: Most labels aren’t timeless (well, okay, Chanel probably is, but we’re not talking about those labels now, right?). Very few can do the “rock chick” style with credibility after they’re 50 or so. And fifteen year old girls who try to look “classy” usually just look like they never had a childhood. Not to mention: who wants to look the same for their entire life? That sounds so boring it’s almost cruel.
Third: These labels have everything to do with fashion, and very little to do with style. Some seasons the shops will be absolutely packed with bohemian dresses, feathers and beads, whereas the next year everything will be all sporty fabrics and clean lines. Yes, the possibilities are much bigger now with online shopping, but most brands still have to deal with the concept of fashion to be relevant. This means that years can pass without a specific style being in vogue (pardon the pun, I couldn’t resist), and once it’s back, everyone will be wearing it, head to toe. This, my darlings, does not a stylish person make.
By now you’re probably (hopefully!) a bit impatient, with a voice in your head going “yesyesyes, you’ve made some fair points and I think I agree, but WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO TO DEFINE MY STYLE, THEN?”. Don’t worry, I’ll show you. In my next post.