Saturday, October 31, 2009

Style vs. Fashion

"Fashion fades, only style remains the same."  - Coco Chanel

"Fashion can be bought.  Style one must possess."  - Edna Woolman Chase

"Style is knowing who you are, what you want to say, and not giving a damn."  - Gore Vidal

"Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months."  - Oscar Wilde

"Fashion is made to become unfashionable."  - Coco Chanel

"Fashions are the only induced epidemics, proving that epidemics can be induced by tradesmen."  - George Bernard Shaw

"Every generation laughs at the old fashions, but follows religiously the new."  - Henry David Thoreau

Don't confuse fashion with style.  You can be quite fashionable, yet completely lacking in style.  You may be considered fashionable by blindly following the latest trends promoted by retailers, designers, magazines and television.  This is true even if that trend is ugly (who ever thought Uggs were sexy?), the fit does not flatter your body shape, or the color of the season fails to suit your complexion. 

Style is about individual expression rather than conformity with the masses.  A stylish person wears timeless clothing that flatters their body shape, complexion and personality.  But style goes deeper than just the clothing on your back.  It includes intangible elements of individual personality:  confidence, grace, intelligence, humor.  That mix of attributes combined with personalized choices about external expression results in an individual's style.

I'll leave you with one last quote from the American Unitarian clergyman, writer and philosopher William Henry Channing:
To live content with small means; to seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion; to be worthy, not respectable, and wealthy, not rich; to listen to stars and birds, babes and sages, with open heart; to study hard; to think quietly, act frankly, talk gently, await occasions, never hurry; in a word, to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious, grow up through the common -- this is my symphony.
 Now that's style.

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