Habitually Chic®'s Logo  

Style vs. Fashion

by habituallychic

08 . 26 . 23

Style vs. Fashion

There seems to be something afoot in the fashion world. One of my most fashionable friends sent me a message recently lamenting that “every (fashion) influencer has the same voice and cadence today” and was annoyed when they post the same items on the same day. “Nothing is organic or cool! Literally all at once like clockwork. Does that really move the needle for them?” She said a few other choice things as well and I thought, if they’ve lost her, maybe they are no longer as influential as they once were.

I’ve personally had to unfollow and mute quite a few who look like lemmings falling off the cliff for the all the same trendy items. The worst part is that many of them wear all of them at the same time and post themselves in the latest Khaite, Toteme, and Bottega Veneta with the mesh see-through shoes, while posting a link to Sambas for the tenth time, until they resemble a walking fashion victim. It’s exhausting.

I recently read the following in a New Yorker article about Larry Gagosian, “In 1984, the cantankerous art critic Robert Hughes bemoaned the new generation of art collectors: ‘Most of the time, they buy what other people buy. They move in great schools, like bluefish, all identical’.” This could very well describe most fashion influencers today.

Which led me to think a lot about style vs. fashion. When I looked up how the two are defined, I found this description from Gentleman’s Gazette, “Fashion is a way of dressing that is prominent and valued socially because of its innovativeness, novelty, and cultural relevance. Style is the distinctive way of dressing that leverages the wearer’s personal style, all while exuding self-confidence and still being generally appealing to others”.

I think you can add trends to your look. I bought the Bottega Veneta dupe earrings that I look forward to wearing this fall. But I also think it’s important to wear what suits your body type and lifestyle instead of trying every new trend that comes down the line.

I was hoping the all the talk of “quiet luxury” and “stealth wealth” would lead to a pendulum shift to more personal style dressing. Sofia Richie has been lauded for her new style and even though it’s made up of luxury designer brands. It is as personal as style can be with the help of a stylist. It’s more what I would call ladylike dressing and not true personal style but she’s still young and learning. Both Kendall and Kylie Jenner have toyed with the low key look and The Row but it hasn’t become their daily way of dressing yet.

One of the reasons I love to take photos of the older generation on the Upper East Side is that they are usually the best dressed and often the only people actually dressed. I went out to run errands last week wearing a linen shirtdress and sandals while carrying a basket bag. I was one of just a handful of people wearing real clothes instead of athleisure or workout clothes. It’s a conundrum because Parisians dress for comfort but also manage to look much more dressed up compared to Americans. 

From my recent experience, there are plenty of women who are striving to dress sophisticated and elegant like a grown up and not an infantilized girl. I was pleasantly surprised and also a bit shocked that followers sold out a brown knit cardigan and matching skirt set at Cos. They can’t get enough cashmere sweaters and other fall fashions this August. Note to brands and retailers, women don’t want just pre-fall in August, they want full fall and don’t have time to wait for it until late September.

Women, and men, are going back to the office this year and they need to dress to impress in a way that also says they mean business. One of my most popular posts a few years back was about the fashions worn by television anchor Alex Levy played by Jennifer Aniston on The Morning Show. She wore gorgeous camel and grey coats, a plethora of cashmere sweaters, and beautifully tailored suits. I received messages about what she wore for years from women trying to find particular pieces. It’s proof that quiet luxury is not a fad but a lifestyle.

When I think about style vs. fashion, I often come back to quote a Sigourney Weaver’s character, Katherine Parker, in the film Working Girl, “we have a uniform: simple, elegant, impeccable. Dress shabbily, they notice the dress. Dress impeccably, they notice the woman. Coco Chanel”. Her character may have been terrible but no one can say she wasn’t impeccably dressed, as I hope others will be this fall.