The Validity of Style and Fashion

I know that it has become a regular hobby of society to denigrate and mock and trivialise style and fashion, and I’ve read countless articles about how fashion is ridiculous, that it’s pointless and shallow and doesn’t offer anything of benefit to anyone. Thank you, writers of those articles, for reducing an entire industry, and the passion of many people, to little more than a childish game. Today’s post is a little different from my regular Style File Friday posts, as this is more of a philosophical discussion rather than my usual advice, tips, and recommendations (which will be back next week!); this is going to be my thoughts on the validity of style and fashion!

The Validity ofStyle & Fashion

Something that I love about style and fashion (not the same thing, but that is a discussion for a different day), is that clothing is a commonality between all of us. Aside from food, I think that clothing is the one thing that unites us all. (Yes, I know there are nudists out there, but I assume they do have to wear clothing at some point in life.) That clothing may come in an endless variety of shapes, colours, fabrics, patterns, and who knows what else, but clothing it is!

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Your clothing does play a role in people’s impressions of you, whether you like it or not. While we can obviously change and amend our opinions, I believe that a first impression is crucial in both personal and professional relationships, and it’s not something that you can get back. Do you need to be dressed in the latest, trendiest designer clothing to make  a good impression? Absolutely not, at least not for me. However, properly fitting clothing that is clean and wrinkle free is a must. If you won’t take the time to hang clothing, what other details are you overlooking? Especially if it is a pattern over time; that’s not just a bad day where you are scattered, it is a permanent lack. (You can buy wrinkle free fabric, so there isn’t much of an excuse anymore.)

When you rail on how “ridiculous” fashion and style is, you are inherently making comments on the people that do enjoy it. I find style and fashion to be an ever-changing puzzle, and each person is a different “picture” to work from- it is a challenge, and a flexible, evolving challenge at that. For me, and a lot of people who are much better at it than I am, style is an intellectual exercise that takes no little amount of ability and knowledge. What works on that particular person and frame? Does that fabric drape properly? And what colour suits them? There a million moving pieces to style, and I enjoy thinking through all of them. Do I mock people who are fascinated by cars because I think that they are little more than a way from point A to point B? No, because I am sure that they put as much time into learning the intricate details of an engine as I do into learning different fabrics, cuts, and stitches that make up clothing.

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Please remember before you proclaim anyone related to style or fashion ridiculous or out of touch that they may have spent years or even decades studying the clothing that we all wear, and that simply because you don’t find something interesting does not mean that it is trivial or unimportant. Because you may be ignorant of all of the workings of something does make it less important or skilled; no one wants to hear the things that they are passionate about denigrated and torn down.

I will leave you with this Oscar de la Renta quote: “Fashion is about dressing according to what is fashionable. Style is more about being yourself.” 

Until tomorrow,
The Historian
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18 thoughts on “The Validity of Style and Fashion

  1. Victoria June 29, 2018 / 2:15 am

    Loved this post! I always think that its funny when people think of fashion as trivial when like…. in the grand scheme of things… so are all interests? At the end of the day, if you don’t care about fashion, it doesn’t matter, but that doesn’t make fashion any less of a thing for the people who do enjoy it? And by calling it shallow or whatever, I think most people just reveal that they don’t know anything about it. Its the same as when someone says sports are pointless, you aren’t going to change the mind of a sports fan, you’re just being a jerk. I think fashion is so fascinating and style is one of those things that can be really powerful to the people who find value in it. I think there’s a great Blair Waldorf quote that sums up what I love about fashion and that is “Fashion is the most powerful art there is. Its movement, design, and architecture all in one.”

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    • anhistorianabouttown June 29, 2018 / 2:41 pm

      Ah, Blair Waldorf, one of my favourite on-screen characters 🙂 That is one of my favourite quotes, too!!

      Who decided that you could dismiss someone’s passion, but that yours is totally “acceptable” and “worthwhile”?? Keep those comments to yourself, grumps and jerks of the world. The society we live in can be so difficult and trying, why try and make it even harder for people by reducing the things that they love??

      Liked by 1 person

  2. jay June 29, 2018 / 2:23 am

    We are all affected by fashion, including those who deride it. The changes in the style of clothing of people who declare no interest in it is much slower, but still there . Sometimes they keep the style they wore in youth, but not the style their parents wore in youth! For me the interest in fashion watching is how clothing echoes currents of social change.

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    • anhistorianabouttown June 29, 2018 / 2:38 pm

      It is a fascinating lens with which to view society, and it’s part of the reason that I find the history of fashion so interesting- you can read a lot more into a society from examining their clothing than you can with a lot of surviving texts, because clothing typically isn’t made to leave a record but to serve a specific purpose at that time.

      Like

  3. Trula Marie June 29, 2018 / 6:28 am

    I’ve never known Oscar de la Renta to be wrong – at least when talking about styling is involved. I don’t always agree with the designs because I guess I think differently!

    Style is the only way I can express myself at my new job because I have to look professional. So I’ve been trying to find both chic and boho outfits that are good for the professional world. The latter is hard because I love both so much. Took my esthetic quiz on Mr. Kate’s website and I’m a jumbled mess LOL

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    • anhistorianabouttown June 29, 2018 / 2:35 pm

      I am fairly lucky person in that I have a fairly solid sense of style, and I don’t tend to move between different styles. Boho is quite difficult in the professional world, because I find it tends to be on the casual side of the spectrum by the nature of what it is. I’m a firm believer that one can (and should) have different wardrobes for work and play, so you could definitely have more of a boho look for the evenings/weekends!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Amy Reade June 29, 2018 / 9:01 am

    Great post. And the advice is true for all put-downs, not just fashion and cars, etc. I wish I knew more about fashion,and I certainly wish I dressed better and took more care in my appearance. I clean up okay, just not that often. I have a closet full of clothes, but I opt for the same comfy things day after day. It doesn’t help that I am a writer and I don’t get out that often. But I think you’ve inspired me to do better!

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    • anhistorianabouttown June 29, 2018 / 2:28 pm

      Thank you so much!! I’ve really embarked on a journey to educate myself on style and fashion this year, and I have learned so much that I didn’t ever know existed. I also made a goal to make all of my wardrobe what I love to wear, so I’ve been spending a lot of time playing with pieces to see if there is anything I can do to make sure I love them, or donate them to someone who will!

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  5. tahenryauthoress June 29, 2018 / 9:24 am

    Fashion has never been my thing. I am not built for most of the fashion trends that come off the runway.
    But I do feel one should always dress appropriately. I make an effort when I am teaching. Both in the preparation of my curriculum and in my appearance. There are many where I teach who think this is ridiculous – no one cares. I simply can’t show up in my yoga gear and ask a room full of teenagers to take me seriously while discussing global terrorism. I can’t.
    And there is a part of me that thinks the two are linked together, the professional demeanor and careful preparation of lecture is why have less trouble with “difficult” students than other teachers.

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    • anhistorianabouttown June 29, 2018 / 2:24 pm

      I am certainly not built for runway trends haha, I’m pretty far away from what they want! I’m not great with fashion per se, I really tend to focus on what is timeless and classic rather than trendy and in vogue. However, just because I don’t go after those trendy items doesn’t mean that they aren’t worthwhile!

      I am so glad to read this- I am a firm believer in a clean face, brushed hair, and clean and ironed clothing. I don’t think that anyone ever needs to be in a specific designer/style/piece but effort really goes a long way to a simple, put together image. The way people dress absolutely affects my professional opinion of them- and to pretend otherwise is disingenuous!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. thehomeplaceweb June 29, 2018 / 9:29 am

    I have always loved clothes and find them a form of creative expression, coordinating an outfit, playing with colors and accents. Today I don’t hear people comment so much on how frivolous fashion is, but I find they just don’t care. Casual is in. They even hate shopping?!

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    • anhistorianabouttown June 29, 2018 / 2:20 pm

      The Dressed Down Nation, my nemesis. I am really beginning to loath casual clothing, everyone uses it as an excuse to put zero effort in. You can buy clothing that is comfortable and functional that isn’t athleisure, but if I dare to say that, I’m an awful person!

      As for the shopping thing, I think that people really get caught up in numbers- if they don’t fit whatever size they think they are, they get terribly disheartened. We need to really shift to paying attention to fit!

      Liked by 2 people

      • lady sarah in london June 30, 2018 / 3:55 pm

        In London everyone is interested in fashion, but it’s not ‘cool’ to admit that you do. It’s hooded to happen in an effortless organic way… in reality we do agonise over it.
        Those who pretend they don’t are usually even more insecure and pretend they don’t care and it’s all a bit below them them and superficial…

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        • anhistorianabouttown July 2, 2018 / 9:50 pm

          Call me a dork and hand me a wool suit- I LOVE FASHION. I am hoping to move to the UK in the next few years, and I will just have to be the weirdo who is entirely upfront about it! (The people that I don’t get are the beauty people who spend hours on their make up and swear that you can’t leave the house without a fully contoured face but then wander around in sweatpants and a jumper….)

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  7. Maham Kamal Khanum June 29, 2018 / 11:28 am

    You’ve brought up a great point and presented it very well!!! I myself am not too fashionable but I absolutely love watching fashion documentaries, reading about designers and industry professionals. I believe it is a creative exercise and those who are in it, kudos to them for dressing us all up 🙂

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    • anhistorianabouttown June 29, 2018 / 2:14 pm

      Thank you very much for your kind words, I wasn’t sure if I was entirely cohesive 🙂 I am not terribly fashionable myself (I tend to strictly avoid trends) but I appreciate all of the talent and work that goes into my clothing and wardrobe!!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Mayer&Co July 13, 2018 / 4:46 pm

    OMG validation for one of my top passions 🙂

    Like

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