Updated: Jun 10
Explaining what it means to me, exploring what it might mean to you, and why it matters more the older you get.
Welcome to my first blog post, I appreciate you taking the time, as whilst there has to be a first post by necessity, at this stage you don't really know me...or whether or not my musings should be trusted or indeed found to be entertaining in any way whatsoever. I'm confident you won't regret checking in, but thank you anyway.
The word 'style' itself can have a very broad meaning or interpretation, so I feel it's important for me to start by defining what it means to me so you are able to orientate your own views in relation to mine. This broadness means its interpretation is a very personal choice - and this for me goes to the heart of what style is all about and why its so important. It is not necessarily about spending a fortune on new clothes.
Style is a little about knowledge, and a lot about attitude and confidence
Style is not the same as fashion
For me, style is not necessarily about being fashionable or looking 'on trend.' I am not, nor ever have been at the forefront of either. Style is a little about knowledge, and a lot about attitude and confidence. Knowledge will provide you a better understanding of what clothing, accessories etc. might best work for you, but its your attitude and confidence which will ensure you carry it off with ease, but also allow you not to care too much when your experimentation is not entirely successful.
It's more about you than pleasing others
I've read elsewhere that style should be viewed as a courtesy to others, and I understand the sentiment that it displays a certain respect for other people...but I also feel this inaccurately suggests that 1) Other people are preoccupied with what you're wearing, when in many cases they are not particularly interested, and 2) You should be aiming to exude style in order to please others, whereas I feel this should be a happy by-product rather than a primary motivation. If you dress for yourself, in clothes you genuinely like and feel at ease and confident in you are half way to understanding what style is all about and defining your own sense of style.
There are the gratifying titillations such as receiving compliments and being noticed when you walk in to a room, but there are less obvious rewards for conveying style.
Making an effort is rewarding on many levels
When you make an effort to dress well and look after yourself there are many benefits. There are the gratifying titillations such as receiving compliments and being noticed when you walk in to a room, but there are less obvious rewards for conveying style. Dressing and presenting better will increase your personal confidence and self esteem greatly, and this then feeds back in to the 'style circle' as confidence contributes to style. This boost, and the fact you look more impressive and in control of your life can present greater opportunity, or at least improve your chances of reaching your goals. Spending time on style makes you look better, feel better, helps you make an impression, improves your gravitas, and perhaps most importantly provides a positive focus for you in terms of the way you view yourself.
Ignore advice to 'dress your age' (but not entirely)
There's a significant amount of advice out there which will strongly advise you 'dress your age', suggesting you avoid any colours other than black, navy or burgundy. Ignore this, it is nonsense. Now clearly if you're over 40, wearing skin tight ripped jeans and tatty converse is probably not the way forward, but also donning your dark denim, brown brogues and navy oxford shirt (or suburban camouflage as I call it) will pretty much guarantee you'll be invisible in most rooms. There is, quite possibly, a time and place for this but I'm not sure it's something you should aspire to in general. Colour, pattern, texture all have a place in your wardrobe, you will just need to exercise restraint with it and take some time in front of a mirror understanding what works and what doesn't.
Texture is your Friend
In autumn and winter months in particular, texture can play a major role in creating impact in a number of ways. You should find that combining contrasting textures will really boost how you feel about your clothes and footwear - both in terms of interest to your eye and to the touch. Once you add the art of layering to this you'll discover ways you've perhaps never considered to really deliver a look that will bridge comfort, practicality and style.
Having successfully negotiated life for over 40 years does not mean you should not now be bold or original
Get Inspired and Express Yourself
Quite obviously, when you're young you enjoy the benefits of youth - you look younger, in many cases you are more body confident, and mostly you can get away with wearing whatever you like without looking ridiculous or too 'try-hard. Whilst it's important to be more discerning the older you get, having successfully negotiated life for over 40 years does not mean you should not now be bold or original. Style can be an expression of your identity...the way you feel about yourself, the 'you' you wish to present to the world. As such your style should be adaptive and flexible - when you're feeling mischievous and playful don't be afraid to dress accordingly, when you're feeling more mature and sophisticated then follow that cue.
One of the most common misconceptions about style is that it should be consistent. Life is not consistent, human emotions aren't either - adapt, change, experiment!
I will be looking to explore some of these ideas in more detail, and with practical suggestions over the coming months, but I hope this has been useful in giving you a steer about my general outlook on this subject and what you might expect in future.