Tuesday, January 8, 2013


A quick sketch by me

I was on the Sartorialist the this morning looking at this photo and skimming through all the comments (both incredibly defensive and mercilessly vicious) and a simple but curious thought was triggered through my mind: what exactly is style?

We throw around the word 'stylish' (and I put this in inverted commas because the word is so transient you can't really categorise it) so easily to a point that it is an overused all-encompassing everyday adjective to describe anyone who looks like they've walked out of a designer store head-to-toe in a super expensive, super chic outfit; in other words, someone who dresses in a branded garment and believes that designers at the top dictate what style is and how clothes can be worn is 'stylish'. This to me is a very narrow-minded view of what I think is 'stylish'. Wearing designer goes not guarantee that you will be stylish. Think of all those top designers that create low quality product lines that are splattered with a humongous label across the chest or monogrammed all over, shouting the label but nothing else? Designer in its pure sense has nothing to do with a label; it is about innovation, quality and design, not about promoting the image of luxury on a plain cheaply made screen-printed promotional t-shirt.  

What is often overlooked is that style has nothing at all to do with fashion, it is simply an expression of the way a person puts on clothes in the morning in a way that they like. The clothes themselves become irrelevant; the expression alone gives the outfit 'style'. It is something completely innate. Style is something that stands out from the crowd, a way someone puts an outfit together regardless of what is trendy, or popular, or socially acceptable. It is the confidence to put taste and courage into clothes. 

What do you think? Would you agree? Disagree?


  1. The first thing is that your quick sketch has a great style. I did not know your blog and I like it very much, I am honored to have you as a follower.
    It is difficult to write something about style. I always look at The Sartorialist pictures and I love especially the ones he takes far from the fashion shows. He can catch something, maybe style, in people of really different origin and culture. I posted the comment “I don’t understand” on the photo you was watching yesterday because I have often seen men dressed the same way of the one he shooted in Paris and I did not notice any particular “style” in putting together these clothes. Maybe that man had an attitude, that does not clearly stand out in the portrait, that gave a particular style to his work suit.
    Have a nice day!

  2. Two things:

    1. I'm quite surprised that my comment made it up there first. Because when I saw the photo, I honestly looked at it for about a minute trying to figure out what to say. I liked the man's beat-up jacket, his fisherman boots (but in Le Marais???) and .. shredded jeans for an old man was ... a touch. He's obviously old-school but somehow got talked into the jeans being cool. But as an ensemble, I really just had no words. I don't know if anyone thought I was being negative, I don't think anyone did, but I was just speechless. Happens from time to time. I must say, I don't mind the vitriol on Scott's board when the discussion is squarely about style, or the style choice. It's much better than say, people complaining about someone being too skinny or fat (which is just mean). In regards to your question, nobody has a definitive answer on what style is, because style means so many different things to so many different people. It is more open ended than "fashion". Syle can be fashion, but it can be lifestyle, or attitude, or a method of operation. Some people personalise style, others globalise it. The pursuit of style for a person, I suspect, is merely a veil for the pursuit of one's own identity. I suspect that if a person knows they have style, it simply means that they know who they are. This may or may not have anything to do with fashion.

    2. That's a fantastic sketch by you. When I first saw it I thought it belonged to Garance. Cheers.