Fashion vs style: Choose to stand out in the new year

Saturday December 31 2016

Things that people love, and are vintage, or

Things that people love, and are vintage, or off the flea markets are unique and trendy. Style is preferred over fashion. PHOTO | FILE 

By CAROL ODERO
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If there is one thing that has become confusing about fashion it would have to be the fact that trends are nearly impossible to ignore. The 80s and 90s are both in, but not really. Quirkiness is celebrated. Things that people love, and are vintage, or off the flea markets are unique and trendy. Style is preferred over fashion.

Fast fashion means clothes are worn and discarded. The rule books don’t particularly seem to exist and every year or season is an extension of the previous one with a few die hard blips as determined as barnacles, sticking around for what seems like centuries. Case in point - skinny jeans. At this point in time the only thing that does not seem to be fashionable is the thing you are yet to discover or make up.

It makes it rather redundant when attempting to list what precisely you should make room for in the coming year. Should you even bother adopting any particular trends? Or is that just something that will suck up your time unnecessarily?

Predictions around colour, fall/winter, a specific cut or a must-have piece are no longer a thing. People are becoming more conscious of their choices, and with the rise of slow fashion and concerns over the environment, how we look at fashion is going to change unimaginably. What used to be trends will start becoming lifestyles; the natural hair movement and athleisure wear come to mind.

With the rise of plus-sized models, there is no body type that is trendy. Instead, embracing and celebrating your uniqueness is style.

Even though it might not seem like it from where you are sitting and observing, there is no longer a single way to be beautiful. You could be into menswear, someone else into thrift, another into vintage while someone else could be lost in the 70s. If you all find ways to make it work and leave jaws dropping not just with your daring, but with your sense of putting stuff together, then that becomes your fashion.

 If you are exhausted by the feel and smell of synthetic fabrics, over time you will phase out such selections from your closet, eventually turning your wardrobe into a wonderland of natural fabrics. In such a case trends will come and go, but you will pick what works for you, which would be strictly breathable, natural fabrics that feel good against your skin, last beyond a year and are environmentally friendly.

Chances are this will dictate how you dress your family, especially children. And while plenty of parents declare how their children make their own choices, you will train yours on the kind of choices you think they should make for reasons beyond fitting in.

It brings us to the idea of standing out. Something that is frequently presumed to be outre. After all, it is those eccentric people who walk around looking radically different who stand out, right? Not necessarily. People evolve. Tastes, influences and budgets change. And often, that is all we have to work with.

The seasons in your life whether it be a career change or rise, a baby, relocating to a different place or marriage, your interests, physicality, presence, body and mindset will all change severally in the course of your life. What you wear will stop becoming a drift and start becoming a choice.

This soundly eliminates a swath of trends. When you become grown you marvel at men who don’t wear socks and think about hygiene, you finally realise an entire generation of trends stands between you and your budget, a preference for classics may set in and suddenly you will love platinum when before you thought gold was the mark of sophistication.

This will be just fine because like other eccentric folk, you will begin to appreciate the power of being yourself and getting to do that time and time again. That would be you standing out.

Fashion can be hard to take seriously. Yet the world is not a nudist colony. We all have to be dressed. Every passing year your fashion is influenced by a host of things you might not even be aware of. It could be nuances and shades of adulting, or self discovery and deliberation. Whatever the trigger, chances are by December 2017 you will have figured out a trend of your own.

It could be the kind that shocks, leaving friends and family rolling on the floor. Or it could be a silent assassin, paving way for the next lucrative step in your career or business.

I certainly am most interested  in the risk takers, the daring, the envelope pushers, trendsetters, classics, sophisticates and everyone’s transition from the old to the new. All I care about is that it is fascinating enough to talk about. I wish you all a thrilling, hell raising year.