Fashion…or Style? Some Thoughts

What is it about fashion that people find dull, materialistic or daunting? Is fashion not just another art form –- much like photography, sculpting, or writing? The designer is the artist and the wearer a collector; there is a canvas and there are tools for the artist to use. So why is fashion so mischaracterized? It would seem that art, much like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.

I grew up in a modest home with self-described “sensible” parents. My father cared not for what he called “unnecessary fluff” -– to this day I swear his signature style still consists of just five pairs of cord pants in different shades of brown and green which he wears with five different plaid, collared shirts paired with thick socks, hiking boots and a black wool or brown cord beret. His passions do not lie in what one wears. (More on that in a later post about where my obsession with tech came from!)

My mother, on the other hand, loves working with fabric — the texture, the patterns and the colors. My whole life I’ve known her to always be knitting, sewing or crocheting something. In fact, both my kids’ first sweaters, blankets, toques, mitts and booties were knitted and sewn by my mother. And while she’s not highly fashionable, my mother has always been elegant (no yoga pants or leggings for this lady). She’s also a maker.

Growing up in “cowtown” Calgary, smack in the middle of the prairies, fashion wasn’t a thing. Especially not in the 90’s or even early 2000’s. Sure, there were fashionable people here and there, but at my age back then, fashion=labels. And I think that’s where everything gets lost in translation.

Fashion isn’t a status, unless your status is fabulous. Fashion isn’t merely a label, it’s what that label embodies — a lifestyle, a feeling, a memory, and more. And while certain fashion labels tend to be more expensive than others –- it’s not that which matters. It’s the quality and life of the garment.

As I walked through different clothing stores in the mall the other day — always touching the fabric of a specific piece before I take it off the shelf to admire it — I was reminded of how much I love fashion as an art form. Messages, moods, personalities and situations can be conveyed without saying a word. Colors are therapeutic. Fabrics — depending on the occasion and piece — can be comfortable or command attention.

After my children were born, fashion took a bit of a backseat. My style consisted of mainly practical clothing for work, home, and errands. Fashion was replaced by fleeting trends. It became predictable. Boring. Unartistic. I realize now, that a bit of the creative person in me had departed. However, once a year, for both mine and my husband’s work holiday parties –- I allowed myself to indulge in a fabulous outfit and gorgeous hair and makeup (my obsession with color started with makeup).

Today, I try to approach my style in a much more artistic way. To dress “on purpose” as much as possible. Realizing that while fashion isn’t all about trends or labels, they do play a formidable part in how one dresses — even one’s personal style. It’s up to the individual, then, to decide what fashion means to them. Whether their style embodies fashion from today’s magazines or yesteryear’s — if it does at all. What does fashion mean to you? Have you thought about your unique style? Let me know!

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