This week I’d like to dispel a myth about style. Just the one – I’m certain there are many – but this one is an important one.
The myth is that to be regarded as having fabulous personal style, one must be highly interesting, bold, brave and stand-out from the crowd in some way.
There are lots of reasons why we might believe this myth. For a start it is typically the visual standout, who on a daily basis catches our eye, to which we throw the comment, “Wow, she’s got amazing style”. We notice them, and admire the way they dress. Perhaps we admire their courage and confidence to “pull it off”. We believe they have great style in part because they are not afraid to be a little different.
From a social media point of view, this also stands true, and the effect is probably magnified.
As well as young, slim and beautiful people, the camera also loves people whose style is bright and bold, who adopt the most daring fashion trend from the runway, and who have the most adventurous looks. When we look at the pictures on our little screens, we are less likely to notice subtly, minor detail and simplicity. And we might not hit the “like” button so readily in relation to a short, plain, middle-aged woman whose style is quiet and understated. Even if she has mastered her look in the most sophisticated way of all!
In his first published street style book, The Sartorialist street style pioneer Scott Schuman writes:
I think that most people feel that great style has to be big, obvious and make a loud statement about the wearer… but it does not
I agree! Actually, great personal style can be any kind of style. It can be quiet and plain, unassuming and understated. It might also be weird, thought-provoking, bold and adventurous. It might seem plain and simple. It might be complicated, busy and bright, or subdued, dark, and moody…. whatever. You get the picture.
What matters is not what form it takes (or how loud it shouts), but that it is authentic and well executed.
Authenticity, being true to oneself and aligned with one’s character, is everything to great personal style. Great style, the best style, is about being real.
So, to all of you lovely Silk Purse, Oily Rag readers, own your own style, whatever it might be. And, instead of anxting over it’s ordinariness, embrace it, refine it, express it and enjoy it.