A matter of style

What is style? Wikipedia says „someone has style when he moves safely within a canon of taste.“ But what is the canon of taste? Is it what the advertisements show us? The fashion magazines? Is it something one is born with or does it evolve? Is style a matter of one’s wallet? And: doesn’t each of us have our own style?

It is interesting to note that the majority of people, regardless of whether they know anything about it themselves, immediately recognize good style. Style is, above all, looking confident and radiating it. It doesn’t matter what you’re wearing. Style is not how expensive the item was. Style is not that a certain brand is emblazoned over everything. Or that it’s „in.“ Style is how you feel in it and how you radiate it to the outside world. You wear the garment, it doesn’t wear you. And last but not least: Style is not style. When someone has found his own style, no matter how quiet it may be, he wears it with a self-confidence, which is much more important than an etiquette.

So what does good style look like?

Style is first and foremost color. You can see from a distance if a woman is stylishly dressed without looking at the details. Especially when you’re not sure, it’s best to stick to certain color combinations. For example, a color world, so brown combined with beige, light with dark blue, only gray, only black, and so on. Or you can combine the classic colors with each other, but no more than two. Complementary colors like brown (or beige) and blue (light or dark, but not both), black and white, or black and another color (again, only one). Pastels also go, like delicate lilac or pink (as a top, for example) with dark blue. If you want to be a little daring, try green or purple as a highlight on a garment – just make sure the color looks good on you. This basic rule also applies to men, however: women are allowed to reach much deeper into the color box. There’s red in there, and yellow, and turquoise, and pink, and so much more. Stand in front of the mirror and hold the color to your face. Does it make you shine or does it make you pale? And if it makes you pale, but you love the color so much: Use it as a highlight in your lower body, as a skirt or pants for example. The alternative would be a professional color consultation.

Style is also quality. Cashmere before acrylic, but acrylic before fuzzy. It only takes a few quality basics, such as a silk top, a wool or cashmere turtleneck sweater, and a pair of well-fitting black pants, to lay the groundwork for your style. Because style is also the fit of the garments: Sleeve length, cut, especially cut: loose pants may be cool, and cool also stylish, but if they make you two dress sizes bigger, tighter ones would be the better alternative. A cropped length only looks good if you wear matching shoes with it. And the length of the skirt has nothing to do with age but only with the content. Why shouldn’t you show off what you’ve got when you’re 40 or 50? Just make sure you „tone down“ the shortness of the bottom with the top – if that’s what it takes. Go shopping with your girlfriend, and ask her to photograph you in different pieces. That way you can decide for yourself – from a third party perspective – what looks best on you.

Style is also to combine different fabrics and shapes. Let’s think of Carrie Bradshaw: her tulle skirts were legendary, whether and preferably she wore them with cotton tops. And the boyfriend shirt with belt and heels remain unforgettable. Speaking of heels: shoes are the be-all and end-all of a stylish outfit. It may also be biker boots, if they fit the rest. Or deliberately „break“ the rest. But, there is really nothing like heels. And they don’t have to be killer. The main thing is elegant. So not granny-like. Quite a few outfits can be re-styled from a day look to a night look just by wearing shoes. Yes, they are not comfortable. And if your feet can’t handle it, stick with flats. But if you choose pumps, wear them with pride. Your legs will be longer, your gait will automatically slow down, and your posture will be more upright. Pointed pumps look more stylish than rounded ones, but that also depends on the wearer.

Another tip: Create your own Capsule Collection in your closet. Sort the pieces by color or by how you would combine them. You can see at a glance what doesn’t go with it. The most beautiful top (I have one made of velvet) may be exactly the piece that doesn’t go with anything. And then: sort out consequently. Sell, donate, give away. Give the clothes a second life. And reinvest in things that are still missing. For example, buy a nice scarf, a waist belt, a necklace or a pair of creoles. Or even a classic black wool coat. It may also have had a previous owner, depending on what your budget allows.

Last but not least, something to the few men who have bothered to read this far: As far as the color scheme is concerned, the same rule applies, except that it’s allowed to be a little less colorful. At least from the mid-30’s. Neat, clean shoes, a matching belt and a watch are the only accessories a man needs. Everything else like necklaces or bracelets work best on under 30 year olds or people who are in the hip hop business. But that’s probably my personal opinion.


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