Written on the 16 December 2007 by Psychology Today
We live in a culture that constantly bombards us with inducements to buy, to accumulate stuff. But when it comes to clothes, no matter how full our closets are, we can often be heard to wail, "I have nothing to wear." That's because we often confuse fashion with style. Style is the ability to distinctively sort through the maze of things, make a selection and do so in a way that is in keeping with how we see ourselves. With style, we stamp our personal identity on an arrangement of things. And our closets always seem full of possibilities—it just depends on what aspect of our identity we want to make palpable in clothes that day. Style is important, often undervalued because it is so widely misunderstood. Style is what we really want when we say we want to be fashionable. Style delights because it is always fresh, is a little ode to creativity and novelty. It gives a hint of personality. always a little excursion into self-expression. It is a reflection of your unique complexity as a human being.
More than anything, style is more than mere clothes. For one thing, it takes less in the way of clothes to express style than you might think. Style is a little excursion into self-expression through clothes. It is self-knowledge and self-confidence expressed through what you choose to wear, a life-affirming expression of your character and spirit.
And for that reason, it always suggests that you are in control of your personal environment. That's one reason why it is an invaluable tool in moving through the world, whether the social world or the business world. It communicates that you are on top of things—the kind of person you want to have around for almost any task. Style, therefore, is persuasive all by itself, before you open your mouth or present credentials.
Fashion is in the clothes. Style is in the wearer. The distinction between fashion and style could not, therefore, be more important.
• Fashion stuns. Style delights.
• Fashion costs. Style is priceless.
• Fashion is mindless. Style is intelligent.
• Fashion is fascistic. Style is individualistic.
• Fashion changes. Style evolves.
• Fashion is matter. Style is spirit.
• Fashion comes from outside. Style comes from within.
• Fashion is self-conscious. Style is self- assured.
• Fashion glares. Style glows.
• Fashion is slavery. Style is mastery.
• Fashion is literal. Style is original.
• Fashion declares. Style insinuates.
• Fashion is serious. Style is ironic.
• Fashion is reproducible. Style is inimitable.
• Fashion is safety. Style is courage.
• Fashion is clothes. Style is character.
• Fashion is this minute. Style is forever.
• Fashion restricts. Style liberates.
• Fashion is rigid. Style is spontaneous.
• Fashion is surface. Style is substance.
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