Style rules…what are they and should you follow them? I have been asked this a few times now, and it got me thinking, is this a question one asks themselves (or others) when they are embarking on a style transformation? Or is this a question people ask when they feel as if they don’t have any ‘fashion sense?’ Whether you love fashion and you’re wanting to try a new style, or you feel as if you don’t know much about fashion at all, the whole process can be daunting.
To tackle this, I think we first need to understand why one needs rules (or guidelines), and then secondly separate a rule set by someone else versus a set of disciplines you decide for yourself. Hopefully then, you will have the tools to try that new trend you’ve always wanted to try, or go for a total style transformation.
I’ll tackle ‘rules’ first. We, as human beings are social creatures by nature and therefore rely on the interactions with others to guide us. Then we set social norms to avoid clashes within those interactions. If someone were to break one of those social norms, there would be some sort of punishment, i.e. everyone lines up in a queue and then someone tries to cut the line, resulting in harsh words being said or violence displayed towards the offender. However, when those ‘punishments’ are removed, people don’t tend to follow that particular social rule anymore.
So, let’s put that into a fashion styling perspective. I’ll begin with an extreme example, then move to a more realistic one. It’s generally not socially acceptable (rule) to walk around in public naked, in fact it’s against the law (the rules). If you were to ignore that and parade around in your birthday suit, you would most probably get punished, not only by the law enforcing officer, but by the ’embarrassing’ remarks said by society. But let’s look at it more realistically. Some people believe that the fashion industry, or those that are associated with it, make up rules on how to dress, so as to demonstrate what’s deemed ‘stylish.’ And if one were to ‘break’ one of those rules, that there would be a ‘punishment’ by the means of disapproving looks, or snide comments, diminishing one’s confidence level.
I get it, there a lot of disapproving fashionistas out there, as well as disapproving members of society. But, to be honest, the biggest ‘punishment’ stems from yourself and how you choose to interpret or act upon those comment/looks/judgements, etc. To embark on any change, requires one to take the leap of faith, or ‘feel the fear and do it anyway.’
My suggestion, would be to remove all of your preconceived rules on style, as well as the punishment you dish out to yourself, and focus on what you love, and dress for YOU. Start with understanding what styles accentuate your good qualities, and styles that you want to avoid because they don’t make you feel good. Again, this is not based on what someone else tells you looks bad (unless you seek out that opinion), but based on the research YOU did, and the experiments YOU conducted on yourself. You owe it to yourself to invest that time.
This brings me to my second point, and that is replacing rules with a set of disciplines that you set for YOURSELF, not by the industry or someone who told you what is acceptable. These set of disciplines can be categorised in any way you like, and will most probably stem from your core values.
My style disciplines are that I always aim to buy quality over quantity, source out quality materials by educating myself, and avoid highly on-trend items that will only last a season. These disciplines are in line with my values around contributing positively to the environment, not wasting my money, and always having something beautiful to wear, as all my items fit well, and can be styled in multiple ways. I love that I take time to evaluate every purchase, which forces me to be more informed about the clothes I wear, and the brands I purchase from.
You would have noticed that I didn’t mention anything about the actual styling process. That’s because I believe it’s an art, and that can’t be taught, but instead inspired. I like to think that I can wear anything I want, but what makes me decide what to buy, is based on my values.
In conclusion, and in my opinion, there are no universal style rules, and nor should you set any for yourself. You should feel free to wear anything you like, giving yourself artistic freedom. But rather, choosing to wear certain items because they fit in with your core values, and give you confidence. I have always loved the quote, ‘discipline is freedom,’ because it denotes that you get freedom when you set value based disciplines on yourself. For example, if I buy quality over quantity, I save more money in the long run, which gives me freedom to live how I wish to live.
I have always loved fashion, therefore have always read magazines, or sourced out inspiration. Like anything, what you give attention to (or put effort into) is where you find your ‘talents.’ If you are serious about your style or trying a new trend, read everything you can on the look you’re going for; save pictures on instagram or Pinterest (I’ll link my accounts below!), follow bloggers & stylists, read books on art & history, and educate yourself on the brands you buy from. After all, it’s all about the journey!
What’s your thoughts?
Katrina – Leather & Soie
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What I wore:
Leather jacket – Zaliah
Faded black t-shirt – Jac & Jack
Leather pants – Viktoria & Woods (similar)
Heels – Alexandre Birman