June 17, 2011

Style and Identity


The Sartorialist


Style says “This is who I am- this is my signature, my voice, my scent, my colors, the cut I like best. This is me, good as I am.” It’s in the eye, the smile, the gaze, the laugh. It’s who I saw crossing the street in front of me in Florence… From Acquired Taste by Carol Edgarian 
Ever so often, I come across an article in a magazine that stays with me. Carol Edgarian’s  “Acquired Taste” from the April 2011 issue of W is exactly that type of article. If you haven’t read this article, you can read it- Here. It's a true gem. The premise is the origin of personal style and how it's informed by the world around us. It's hard to define exactly what style is, but it's more than owning beautiful clothing. Edgarian beautifully captures that moment when you see a woman with great style and want to be let in on her secret.
I had this article on my mind when I went uptown to preview Bergdorf's McQueen windows last month. On the corner of 58th street I ran into Giovanna Battaglia. I have seen her on numerous occasions at the collections, but that's different. At Fashion Week everyone is very self aware. What I noticed about Giovanna wasn't her striking beauty, immaculate grooming, beautiful dress or gorgeous bag. Instead I noticed the elegant way she draped her scarf over her head to protect her hair from the wind (teach me) and her gracefully crossed legs as she perched on the ledge of a storefront. There was something extremely elegant and ladylike about her clothing and mannerisms. Her clothing could have looked like a girl playing dress up on another woman, but they matched who she is perfectly. I prefer a bit more simplicity when it comes to dressing, however I always enjoy seeing how polished Giovanna looks.
For me, style requires a knowledge and appreciation for the classics. If you don't have any reference points when it comes to fashion- how can you even begin to cultivate your own personal style? Style and identity are interrelated. Having style means that you have perfected your individual point of view. Personal style requires a degree of confidence in oneself and choices. Once you've found your style you build upon it. Experience and lifestyle allow you to make adjustments along the way. You become discerning and learn to admire items that don't suit you from afar once you develop your own personal style. I can only hope that one day I acquire this innate sense of style.

11 comments:

  1. That was a wonderful article to read. It inspires me to keep searching for the right thing, whatever it is for all of us.

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  2. I concur - you have to appreciate the classics before breaking the rules and making your own mark, whether it's learning how to write, dance, or dress. And of course, as I go along, I make my own rules as I learn what works for me. And add little tweaks as I go, based on practical lifestyle changes and on the images that inspire me. Style is a marriage of the past and the present, and of the practical and aesthetic influences.

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  3. Prêt à Porter P- Thank you!

    Joy- Such an inspiring article to read. It's so easy to settle for something that's OK but not great. I'm all for waiting for the right thing.

    Ammu- It's all about appreciating the classics. I agree that goes for so many things. I like the idea of using subtle changes like a new lipgloss or nail polish color to make a look feel new. Once you understand the classics, you can make your own rules. Lifestyle definitely helps steer my choices.

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  4. You said it brilliantly. I like to think that my experiences in life has informed my sense of style. It's easy to know what I like but it's harder to figure out what actually works on me.

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  5. Lin- It is so difficult to articulate this idea, so thank you. I think knowing what you like and dislike is key. Figuring out what works is so challenging.

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  6. Love this article. I think I am just coming to terms with my style rather than trying to fit into someone else's mould. It's a struggle but a rewarding one for sure. I find watching children an interesting exercise as they work purely with what they see as aesthetically pleasing on themselves. Something we could all learn :)

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  7. La Fille mal Gardée- It's such a great article. I'm still so surprised to see it published in W.

    Finding your own style is so rewarding. There's something nice about not having what everyone else has or purchasing items simply because they're the items you're suppose to purchase. Children are funny to watch. Even at a young age some kids have really strong opinions about style and what they prefer to wear. So funny.

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  8. Beautifully written. I also think that style is about knowing what works for you, finding some consistency and knowing what you feel comfortable in. Quite a challange!

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  9. Garderoben- Thank you! Finding your own style is such a challenge. So many things to balance.

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