Inspired By: Stylish Thoughts…

Inspired By: Stylish Thoughts…

I’ve been thinking about style a lot of lately, possibly because I have been shopping excessively and going out at just as much – requiring the styling of many new ensembles for many different events, locations and situations. When I studied fashion two years ago I was lucky enough to truly discover exactly what it is exactly that beguiles me about fashion. Beyond the delight I find in dressing and dressing up, what I am so curious about and so deeply intrigued by is simple…it’s style. STYLE! That simple one syllable word that has such a weighty significance in terms of self expression. We all know the famous fashion quote ‘Fashion fades, style is eternal…’ But do we truly know how to define it? We know it when we see it -‘That’s stylish, she’s stylish, he’s got style etc.’

We all generally tend to have a universal understanding of who and what is stylish, hence why the world covets and henceforth creates style icons. And style icons vary from classic and sharp Victoria Beckham, to masters of the glam rock chic Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen, preened to perfection and always neat Olivia Palermo  or forever casual and cool in a leather jacket, skinny jeans and boots combo Kate Moss.

But asides from using the word to identify a form of dressing, Classic, Casual, Trendy, Sporty etc, what constitutes as style and how can we identify what it looks like?

I like to define style as fashion’s cousin, her much cooler cousin and a trend is fashion’s sister, possibly even twin sister. Without going too deeply into semiology and linguistics, fashion is the object – the signified and the trend is formed by the signifiers, in this case the consumers (us), who with our consumption of said object  eventually make the object fashionable or/ and trendy.

Style, I refer to as fashion’s cooler cousin because it’s more expressive and offers more of a personal communication. If we could all afford to wear runway looks straight off the catwalk of the season’s most coveted look, regardless of how fashionable and on trend it might be, we’d all look like clones, or the alternative terminology, fashion victims. Style is not the possession of, or the monetary strength to, own and dress in fashionable items.  Style is the dance between conforming and rejecting, between being predictable, ironic and unexpected.

We can all wear a runway look and be fashionable, but  we’d have no credit to take for our ability to dress, because the look has already been packaged and parceled by another stylist. In fact, the only thing we might express dressed head to toe in a runway look is our undying love for fashion and our ability to keep up with its capricious nature. Ask Anna Dello Russo, Fashion Editor and Creative Director at Vogue Japan, who’ll tell you ‘I don’t want to be cool, I want to be fashion’. I have never seen a woman wear so many runway looks, in fact so fashionable is the passionate fashionista that she has been described by Helmut Newton as a ‘Fashion maniac’.  Anna might be considered ironically cool, like wearing nineties patterned  Moschino in the twenty first century or a black woman wearing a t-shirt that reads ‘Blondes have more fun,’ but too much irony or too much of one thing is never good.

So, back to this dance of conforming and rejecting. Style is a personal interpretation of the signified object – the fashion item, it’s the way in which we  choose to hangout with fashion’s sister, the signifiers, the masses that form the trends and its how we choose to reject it, by refusing to wear it, altering it or manipulate it. A white shirt might be fashionable, neatly buttoned down and tucked into a pair of jeans, we conform to the trend by wearing the white shirt, but we reject it by tucking only the front of the shirt into our jeans and leaving the back out, wearing the first three buttons undone or placing a statement necklace around the collar and so on and so forth.

In my humble opinion, ‘styling’ is the way in which we manipulate fashion. The most stylish of people in my belief are those that always have their eye on fashion but have the ability to manipulate, to innovate, to be unexpected but respectable, ironic and predictable and know exactly when to conform and when to reject.  Style is formed once we develop a particular method towards the way in which we approach dress, over a period of time this will form a motif which eventually becomes our own unique style.

Here’s to some of my personal style icons at the moment…

Carrie Bradshaw Sex and the City
Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City movie wearing pink cut out dress and black studded belt.
Carrie Bradshaw
Carrie Bradshaw – Sex and the City
Victoria Beckham wearing DVB Jeans
Victoria Beckham wearing DVB Jeans
Victoria Beckham
Victoria Beckham dressed in grey
Rihanna dressed in pink and orange
Rihanna dressed in pink and orange
Olivia Palermo in pink
Olivia Palermo wearing pink lace at the Valentino Couture at Hôtel Salomon de Rothschild
Olivia Palermo in black and navy blue
Olivia Palermo in black leather peplum top and navy blue shorts with pointed wedges
Kourtney Kardashian casual in flats
Kourtney Kardashian casual in flats
Kourtney Kardashian
Kourtney Kardashian dressed in blue patterned dress
Kim Kardashian wearing black and grey
Kim Kardashian wearing staple skinny jeans, heels and waterfall jacket. Dressed in black and grey.
Kim Kardashian dressed in leggings and longline blazer
Kim Kardashian dressed in leggings and longline blazer with statement necklace
Kourtney Kardashian dressed casually in flats
Kourtney Kardashian dressed casually in flats and brown hat

Be charmed, stay inspired! x

Kim Kardashian – Kueen of the Kourt Shoe

Kim Kardashian jacket, jeans and court shoe ensembles

Denim skinny jeans
lipstickalley.com

My heyday, my early twenties, was a time of complete and utter frivolity – I suppose as it is for most. I had no concern for my health, no concern for my future and absolutely zero responsibilities. My main concern in life was how many new dresses I would need to purchase every month to go out dancing in, how long the fake hair I would apply to my own hair would be before I bordered on looking like black barbie and how few calories I could consume in a day to remain a size eight, to allow me to fit into the hundreds of Lanvin inspired party dresses I had accumulated but would never wear anywhere more than once.

During this period, which I always look back at with such delight, I had a number of completely impractical and ridiculous fashion rules. The kind of rules that nobody required to function in daily life could live by. My rules were, never wear black and white, to be fair I know a lot of people that implement this rule,  never wear flat shoes – possibly this one too, never wear jeans and never wear court shoes.

To be honest, I have been unable to shake the black and white rule. When I do wear black and white, it is indeed a conscious effort. I feel comfortable, even stylish, in a Breton striped t-shirt with black jeans and red lipstick ‘a la Chanel’ or a digitally printed monochrome pair of leggings with a black tunic and gold sandals. But pairing plain white bottoms with a plain black top, or vice-versa, I simply cannot allow myself to do. I associate the colour coordination too uniform, too predictable.

In regards to the flat shoes, barring intricate or shiny gold sandals and expensive riding or biker boots, I would refuse to wear anything flat on my feet…not even a ballet pump. In fact, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t still find ballet pumps pretty generic, but since commuting for work I am now the proud owner of a pair of brogues, a pair of driving shoes and a pair of moccasins.

You see there’s a pattern here with the rules that I had stipulated for myself; I clearly had a desire to display a more put together, thought out and contrived appearance as opposed to an effortless and simple look. More Olivia Palermo and Kourtney Kardashian as opposed to Kate Moss or the Olsen twins. I would avoid wearing jeans because anyone could wear jeans, now I struggle to avoid wearing my jeans and blouse ensemble, because it is so easy, never fails to look sexy and because I don’t have the time every evening to prepare a fashion forward ensemble for the next day. It sounds terrible, but it’s true!

The last rule to finally be broken is my rule of the court shoe- a rule that was only recently broken. Amidst my shoe collection, that my partner refers to as a disgrace to poverty, are every kind of shoe you can imagine; multi-coloured,  wedged, laced, zipped, red, nude, Mary Jane, Miu Miu, Gucci, Cesare Paciotti, spike heeled, stack heeled, banana heeled, mirror heeled, too big, too small, too painful to wear – you name it – I have it somewhere. What I did not own, up until recently, was a pair of court shoes.

In my early twenties the only shoes I needed were the shoes that I wore when I hit the club. Most had heels bordering on the height of a stripper shoe and were as intricate and as elaborate as possible. Studded, strappy and extremely seductive. Victoria Beckham has always championed the court shoe, most predominately those wonderful almond toe YSL court shoes, and anyone who knows me will know that Victoria Beckham has been one of my most inspirational fashion figures, but I could just never get down with the whole court shoe thing. I knew my shoe collection was missing a very important shoe and I knew it was the court, but I couldn’t bring myself to purchase such a simple shoe when there were so many more exciting heels out there.

Kim Kardashian has helped me discover my love for the court shoe. Recently, I was idly clicking through pictures of Kim online, as you do, when I noticed that the reality star often opts to adorn her feet in court shoes, even when she’s attending an event. Court shoes would be the last shoe I would ever wear to a special occasion or event.  I associate such a shoe with work or business meetings, but naturally Kim looks fabulous each and every time she dons her court shoes, no matter the occasion or the outfit. And that’s when it dawned on me, court shoes don’t have to be boring or serious and they’re not a fashion cop out.

Indeed they are simple, but how they elongate the leg, enhance the foot’s natural arch and leave the ankle exposed, the ankle being an appealing and understated sexy part of a woman’s body, makes them the perfect balance between sexy and classic – which is just what you need as you approach the maturer end of the 25 -29 age box. So, all the reasons that I had  refused to wear or purchase a pair of court shoes beforehand are now all the reasons I now can’t get enough of them. I love their simplicity and, more than anything, I love their versatility.

As I don’t go out as much as I did in my heyday, I no longer need that elaborate shoe that I once wore clubbing, but I still need an edgy shoe for the evenings. I love that the right court shoe can totally transform a jeans and shirt ensemble for the day, but with a high enough platform, will still look amazing with a little body-con dress for a night out. I love that they’re classic and that they’ll still look super chic twenty years from now – even after fashion has changed, reformed and reacted. But what I would love more than anything, would be to have a court shoe collection populated with as many Christian Louboutin pumps (as the Americans call them) as Kim Kardashian’s. After all, surely it was Mr Louboutin that made the masses realise the fashion credibility of a court shoe!

As they say in life, never say never. And isn’t fashion totally emblematic of that sentiment? Gotta love it!

Be charmed, stay inspired! x