About defining style

posted on: July 18, 2012

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.

  • Trajena

    A CLIFFHANGER??? I didn’t even know blogs HAD those.

    Excellent points by the way. I have tried to label my style, the closest being either my friend’s quote “your clothes should make you look like a grandmother, but don’t” (I’m pretty sure I told you this one already… sorry?) But again, it doesn’t exactly apply when I wear skinny jeans does it?

    Thank goodness for you. Otherwise I might still be wondering if my collection of styles meant that I was somehow without guidance. Maybe there are just some days when I’ll wear a pretty dress and do my makeup just to feel pretty while I clean my house, and others when I’ll go to class wearing mismatched sweats and the t-shirt I slept in (that kind of sounds gross and smelly. Ignore that last point).

    I am anxiously waiting the follow up. Who will be having an affair next season? ;)

  • Martina

    I love the cliffhanger at the end of the post…

  • Maja H

    Oooh, finally! I’ve been anticipating this post :)

    You’re right, we’re not Spice Girls. Preppy-classic-yet-also-rock-chic-who-also-sometimes-looks-like-a-slob-and-ALSO-wears-athletic-gear-a-lot would make a terrible Spice Girl. I have no idea what her signature photo op pose would be – great posture and doing a lunge while flipping of the camera, perhaps?

  • tine katrine

    bleh, jeg hater hvordan så og si alle butikker heletiden skifter klesstilen de selger. enten er det så og si ingenting jeg liker, eller så er det alt for masse. bare upraktisk, haha.

    • Maria

      Jeg kjenner den følelsen, ja. For omtrent et år siden var det SÅ mye jeg ville ha overalt, og nå er det så godt som ingenting. Erfaringen min sier at det kommer til å være minst et år eller to før “Maria-stilen” havner i butikkene igjen.

  • Cecilie

    Venter i spenning! :)

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