I think that most of the times, women look at fashion and clothes from a wrong perspective – and maybe this is the reason I see so many bad combinations and cheap clothes and styles.
The other days I was thinking that women should approach style in the same manner they do with gardening, cooking, or arts. Before they find a celebrity from who they’ll copy the style, so to say, or before offering her “expert” pieces of advice collected from various magazines, women should learn the basic knowledge. Before completely changing their look, they should understand the process and necessary stages.
For example, if you like to cook, you first learn to use what you have: the pan you received as a gift when you moved alone in your first apartment; the knives set you bought from IKEA out of your first salary; the spices you purchased from the supermarket. As you cook, you will want to try out your skills on more complex recipes, which means that you will buy several utensils that are slightly more sophisticated. Maybe you want to bake the best pastries. Maybe you want to surprise your friends with some Asian recipes. You start reading recipes, subscribe to gourmet websites, watch cooking shows, or read about the utensils you may still need. You start looking for speciality stores, which have ingredients that are usually hard to find. In time, you end up inventing recipes or improving the old ones, from which you started.
If you like gardening, you probably started with a few flower boxes on the balcony or with a small piece of land in your back yard, where you planted plants bought from a gardening store. After you read and made sufficient research, you learned which flowers enjoy the sunlight and which prefer the shade, what you need to do to feed the soil, when and how much you need to water the plants, which are the best fertilisers, and which tools make your tasks easier – in short, everything you need to know so that your garden will enchant your eyesight.
Fashion and style…. Ah, fashion and style. For most women, the style began with clothes chosen by their parents. Around adolescence you realise what you like to wear and how you’d like to look – maybe you wanted to imitate a certain musician or the way your bigger system dressed or, who knows, maybe a classmate. Style and fashion were not “subjects” you decided to be of interest – most of the times it was all about the clothes, just like that, which you had to wear no matter what.
This is why, on many occasions, young girls have very firm opinions about fashion: it is superficial, it is idiocy, it is an entirely materialistic thing, it is whimsical. Not to mention that it can bring back negative memories: clothes worn by the big sister that was given to you once she grew out of them, clothes that were out of fashion, clothes that made you feel too fat/skinny/weird/ordinary/out of the ordinary/poor.
All these firm convictions, formed during the adolescence years, can lead women in one of these directions: they are either afraid or avoid fashion, or they worship it. In the last case, we talk about purchasing, on a monthly basis, of all the fashion magazines, accumulating debt because of the must-haves written on some list, purchasing cheap fakes with the hope of obtaining a bit of extra style or that “cool” factor, which comes along with a particular item. In other words, not a sign of thinking and consideration upon materials, terminology, work tools, background story and, after all, the main idea: you.
To understand what style is, you need to look at fashion as a tailor does, as a potential designer, or, at least, with a somewhat judging eye.
Learn the names of materials and seek to find those that fit your style and silhouette. Understand the terminology of styles, silhouettes, and instruments. With each cut and each brand you discover and like, and fit you, you learn more about yourself and the style that characterises you. Do some research, learn a bit about designers and trends, find out what inspires them (art, music, architecture, films). Start from the bottom, from the base, and work with what you have and what you know, instead of rushing into stores to buy everything that’s new and shiny. Find yourself a niche.
When you start to fathom fashion and style just like you would do with a hobby, they both become easier to understand. On your way, you will continue to come back to your most important pieces: the conic skirt that fits so many tops, leather escarpins bought from your trip to Italy 5 years ago that still look amazing, pearls inherited from your grandmother. In the end, you will manage to pass the mystical aura of style, you will understand it, you will acquire it, and you will know how to take it one step further.