The difference between fashion and style is something a lot of people still battle to understand. Quotes like “Fashion is what you’re offered four times a year by designers. And style is what you choose” by Lauren Hutton and “Fashion you can buy, but style you possess. The key to style is learning who you are, which takes years. There’s no how-to road map to style. It’s about self expression and, above all, attitude.” by Iris Apfel ring in our ears almost everyday but the truth is, not all of us know the difference between fashion and style.
I didn’t know there was a distinction for a very long time, and I think I realised it about 3 years ago. But I did however, know what I liked and what I did not like. I knew what I liked in fabrics, textures, silhouettes, colours, hues, fit and all that amazing technical stuff you probably don’t give a damn about. Finally I realised that style is personal! It has to be about you. Yes you can get inspiration from people if you like but I think that if you quiet down just a little bit, play dress up with the wardrobe you have, you’ll soon begin to cultivate a style that best works for you.
So if you want to learn about the style secrets I live by, keep reading….
- Comfort. First in the way the outfit fits my body and second in the style! I am most comfortable in a pair of jeans and a t-shirt so any other item I wear with it is like a cherry on top the cake for me. 5 days out of 7 you will see me in jeans and a t-shirt and it took me a long while to accept that this is where I am most comfortable. For my sister, it’s a fitted top, palazzo pants or midi skirt and a pair of block heels and she can wear this to buy ice cream I promise you and she is at her most comfortable. So if you like an item and you keep dreaming about it, if you don’t feel comfortable wearing it, please leave it be. There’s nothing worse than having to pull up your jeans every time you walk or pull down your skirt because its riding up!
- Quality over Quantity. If you live most of your life in Nigeria or shuffle between Nigeria and any other country where shopping is better than Nigeria, and trust me this includes Ghana, you’ll think that buying as much as you can on those trips is the only sensible thing to do. Truth is, we are constantly deceived by those big bright red tags in the stores and even though it feels rewarding and warm in our bellies when we have more, we end up with the “I have nothing to wear syndrome”. My secret is simple. Save up, buy the best quality items you can afford and wear it till it breaks or never breaks! So on the high street, I longer buy 6 pounds zara t-shirts, I invest my money in COS and & other stories. I wear each t-shirt for at least 15 months before needing to buy a new one.
- Pairing / Style Log. Manrepeller is one of my favourite pages on instagram because the images truly represent my style or what I thought was my style and all it’s different confusing stages and transformations. What I noticed however is that the images I like and comment on and sometimes take screenshots of have the same style aesthetic. E.g An oversized shirt and a short denim skirt, a boxy t-shirt with a floral print skirt, a classic LBD with lace trimmings etc. So i created a style log to track my own subconscious pairings to help me visually see what I wear more of and what I wear less of. I did not buy anything new and I dressed like I normally would and I realised that I actually wore what I loved. Now I wear pieces on repeat, stick to the styling the pieces I love in different many ways that express my personal style. I style log every 6 months.
There are a few other things like jewellery, sophistication and sharpness that I live by! But I did not know how to add them until I did 1, 2 and 3. I can’t dress up without jewellery no matter how dainty, even when i wear a t-shirt and jeans (which some may consider as boring) I always add something to make it sophisticated, like these pair of Gucci loafer and mango blazer, finally the sharpness of the outfit come from the pairing of all individual items together. When I pair items, I always consider how sharp each piece looks against each other, that’s how I decide if the go together!
Enough rambling! Now it’s time to create your own!