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Sunday, November 4, 2007

what does style and fashion mean to you? (sam)

this is a toughie. after all, millions of dollars are spent each year addressing this question. and, just to set the record straight, austin came up with this question, not me.

to be honest, i had to look these terms up in the dictionary.

ok, so, according to dictionary.com

style means: “quality of imagination and individuality expressed in one’s actions and tastes.”

taste means: “one's personal attitude or reaction toward an aesthetic phenomenon or social situation, regarded as either good or bad.”

and, finally…

fashion means: “a prevailing custom or style of dress, etiquette, socializing, etc.: the latest fashion in dresses.”

like many women, i came out of the womb admiring fashion, but taste and style were not innate in me. i instantaneously gravitated to my barbies and loved dressing them in their fabulous and glamorous outfits. however, when it was my turn to get dressed, i had no idea how to put anything together. i never had real life practice. my mom bought my clothes and i wore a school uniform. my favorite “look” growing up was my “dino the dinosaur” t-shirt (which i adored…hmm, i wonder where it is now?) and coral pink shorts. i also sometimes wore my hair in not one or two, but three ponytails (don’t ask).

so, here are some thoughts.

to me, fashion is about acquiring the right (not necessarily the latest) clothes for my closet. however, to achieve that, it requires both emotional and financial investments. financial investment is a given. while not everyone can afford the new lanvin "shopper" bag, most people spend money on clothes. but, why is it an emotional investment? there is, whether or not you realize it, some sort of emotional response as a result of buying clothes. sometimes it’s the nostalgia that you feel after you inherit a cherished family heirloom. sometimes it’s the deep satisfaction that you feel after buying those perfect heels you’ve been admiring for so long after scrimping and saving for 2 months. or, sometimes it’s that impulse that says, “i gotta have it right now.” fashion needs both emotional and financial capital to flourish. if you are willing to inject that kind of capital into building the most amazing wardrobe (for me, it ebbs and flows) your fashion return-on-investment will be high.

style is a learned process and it is a reflection of my personality. through a bit of trial and error, my taste and style in clothes have refined over the years and will continue to evolve, otherwise i would still be wearing my “dino” t-shirt. even though i have spent many years cultivating my style, one datum remains constant: style is learning about and listening to what i think regardless of what other people think or say. and, as i learn more about myself, i feel more secure in making smart style and clothing decisions. my advice is don’t let current fads dictate what is in your wardrobe. listen to your inner monologue. mine says, “i like plaid and pink tutus, and i shouldn’t be ashamed of it.”

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