Fashion or style? Do you know the difference?

Fashion icon and legend Yves Saint Laurent said: “Fashion is fleeting… style is eternal.”
We know from experience that fashion moves and evolves from season to season and year to year – otherwise our fashion shows would be repetitive in the extreme. Fashion is a transitory feeling or movement, which is influenced by a huge number of external, artistic and cultural sources.

What is Style

So what of style? Clearly, some people will blend the two terms so that their style will follow fashion, and if they can carry off the look they’ll forever be described as having a sense of both. Note that the key words are ‘if they can carry off the look’, because clothes sense is also dictated by many other factors such as age, body shape and overall look.


Style does not just apply to clothing. Look around – why do we still see people sporting the same haircuts 20 years after Madchester and Britpop? Why do some homes live in the 1980s, or Dickensian eras? It’s because the word style has depth and deep meaning; a person, room, car or business ‘has’ a style and it is part of them. Someone can still be stylish in their look even if it is decades old. Another unattributed quotation on the difference perhaps applies here: ‘fashion is what you buy, and style is what you do with it.’

Being Fashionable is Easy

This perhaps leads to another distinction – if you have the money, being fashionable is fairly easy, as you simply buy clothes that are recent and ‘now’, soon after release. These are the people who keep a keen eye on their emails for news of new lines and brands, or new stores opening in their area, or even at the top end create new fashions by being the first to branch out.


Conversely, far fewer people have a sense of style, but those that do are timeless. Look at Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor and Grace Kelly; forever paragons of style and substance, but only ‘fashionable’ when their trend comes round again, for a few months or a year, before moving on to something else.



Therefore, can something that is not in the stores now be fashionable? One would instinctively think it is possible, especially if it has essences of today’s fashion or indeed if it’s a long-lasting trend. Most fashion trends remain in the shops for longer than one would think; Sheila Aimette, writing for trend-forecasting company WGSN in Huffington Post, said that fashion trends have a much longer lifespan than just six months; ie the gap between summer and winter and back again. “Things start slowly on the designer end and it takes several seasons for it to take off.”

Colours For Style and Fashion

Colours and materials used can also span the gap of both style and fashion as terms. For example, denim can be fashionable across multiple styles of jackets, jeans, coats, handbags, and it is the same with leather, suede, black, brown, gold and many others. Sport, urban or streetwear as style concepts can last for years but different brands such as SilkSilk at Clues Fashion will each have their own takes, which can then be fashionable.
As Menswearstyle notes, it is easy to find examples of the latest fashion on Instagram and Twitter, but that doesn’t mean you should latch on and try to ‘follow suit’. Your style is who you are. As you evolve as a person so does your style, and it might have no relation to fashion at all. Be yourself.

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