I didn’t quite know how to word this question, feel free to suggest better titles after reading.
At school w/ my 8 year old son this morning, I noticed a little girl wearing a flower in her hair (fake flower). The best way to put this is: She rocked it. It just looked right on her, and also not falling out or getting fiddled with.
When I was that age I would’ve seen this and wanted a flower for my hair. It would’ve been attached haphazardly, taken up all my awareness (does it look good? does it look dumb, it is falling out?), gotten tangled, sagged and eventually fallen out or been ripped out in frustration, taking hair with it.
Nothing has changed. I admire women who look “put together” and coordinate their clothes and wear accessories, but the only way I can approximate looking “put together” is to have very little to put together. All my clothes fall into a very narrow color range. I almost never wear jewelry. I don’t even like the way overly decorated clothes look on me. I could never manage a scarf. And I never wear white because I will somehow manage to get a mark or stain on it within 10 minutes.
What is it that lets that little girl wear a flower in her hair? Poise? Calm? Inner peace?
I know nothing about fashion, and it’s apparent to anyone who sees me. But I don’t care, and maybe that’s the secret - if you want to project a particular image, you just do it. You figure out what it takes and that’s what you do.
The flower is the ultimate origin of all human decorative art. The first man saw one right away, and was blown away, it was the only beautiful thing in his universe. Nothing man has done since has improved upon the idea. Back to basics never goes out of fashion.
Instead of “fashion”–I’d say “style.” Fashion is what you see in* Vogue*, on the runways–and what’s available on the stores each season.
Style is more mysterious. A physically perfect star, dressed by professionals in borrowed designer finery, can still look like the dog’s breakfast on the Red Carpet. A lady waiting at the bus stop. wearing an outfit she put together from Target or Goodwill, can look sharp.
We can each try to find what suits us personally. But some folks just seem to have been born with style…
I don’t have style, but my daughter does. One thing I notice is that she spends a lot of time thinking about clothes and what will look good, or work together as an outfit. She experiments a lot, and doesn’t settle for the same thing over and over. She looks at websites, watches Youtube tutorials, browses at the mall, tries things on just to see what they look like. It’s not really ‘work’ because she enjoys it, but she does spend a lot of energy on looking good. It looks effortless if you just see the end result but it really wasn’t.
Yes, this. Infuriating as it may be, it seems to be effortless to those who have it. I am not one of them. There are certain qualities that can help someone look natural and stylish in whatever they wear (thin but not too thin; tall but not too tall; symmetrical; physically graceful), but even those are no guarantee.
They say you buy fashions, but you have to be born with style!
You can buy the latest and most expensive fashions, at any mall. But putting it together, to perfectly suit you, who you are, and how you want to feel, really is an art. It seems like everybody can stumble into just the right look, from time to time. But some people can seem to do it every time with creativity and ease.
I definitely think it’s partly, watching others closely, watching fashion magazines and frequenting fashionable shops. Just flat out exposure to fashion. It’s not just that, but it helps I suspect.
I have style, always have. I think a lot of it is just being willing to try something and see if it works. Maybe that little girl tried a flower in her hair on Saturday morning and it fell out or got caught in her hair or it was too big, so she tried it again a different way-stronger clip, smaller flower, whatever-until by Monday she had figured out how to make it work and could wear it with confidence.
I do a lot of people watching for inspiration. When I see someone who looks good I try to figure out exactly what it is I’m reacting to, and then how I can make that specific element work for me. Here’s an example: it’s trendy to put a cuff in your jeans these days but I’m pretty short so I was nervous about trying it. I like the way it looks but instead of just doing it and feeling uncertain I started looking for short women who seemed to be pulling it off. I noticed that it looks better with no socks because that little bit of visible ankle lengthens the leg a bit, so I tried that and it feels good, I can wear that look with confidence. But somedays it’s cold and I want to wear boots, so I watched some more and figured out that with boots it looks better if the cuff is wider and rolled higher, so that’s two ways to wear a cuff in my jeans that feel right for me and my body.
I think it’s the study and understanding of those details that make it possible for me to put something on and know it’s right, and that knowing is what translates as style.
I managed to buy style. I hired a stylist - actually a personal shopper at Nordstrom who did have the style I lacked. And she could look at me (I suspect she could look at anyone) and put together clothes (given a budget) that looked good on me and fit my personal sense of style while also looking fashionable. Combined with a few makeup lessons and a haircut that works - plus bothering with decent posture, I end up looking like I have style that I don’t really have.
This has always been a mystery to me. I went to two different Catholic girls’ high schools where we wore “identical” uniforms. I put it in quotes, because even in uniforms, some girls just had a look about them that set them apart. The identical jumper hung differently, their saddle shoes were a slightly more stylish shape than the clunkier ones some of us wore. Even their socks stayed up and didn’t crumple down. We weren’t allowed to wear makeup or any kind of jewelry except a watch, or ANY hair ornamentation except a navy blue or black headband. But with all of this uniformity, some girls just had style.
I even noticed it with the nuns in their habits. And these outfits were identical. Even so, some nuns looks crisp, tidy, and stylish. Their hems just grazed the tops of their shoes, the pleats were neatly pressed, the wimples (white starched part around the face) were perfectly centered and flawless. Others frankly looked like they had slept in their clothes.
I’m guessing people who’ve been in the military have noticed this phenomenon with their colleagues in uniform.
I know the OP is about style and flair, but my point is that even in identical clothes, some people have it and others don’t – even without accessories.
Actually, you probably do, you just ignore it. Style, being fashionable or put together, whatever, is really like anything else in life - being aware and taking action. I can pretty much guarantee that at various points in your life you’ve got a compliment on your appearance and looked at the person like :dubious:. Style is pretty much finding that overlap between “what I like” and “what other people like” and staying in it. Most people don’t give a crap about that second area and ignore the overlap moments. Heck, most people will insist there is no overlap - there’s nothing they like that other people think they look good in. Pretty much never the case.
At Nordstrom its a free service - a personal shopper - but you need a budget big enough to justify it. When I was working and needed a corporate wardrobe, I’d go in twice a year with a $1k budget. For that, Rachel would find me two or three pairs of pants, four or five tops, and a jacket or sweater - maybe ten pieces - with tailoring, I’d generally go over (she was more than willing to shop sales and bargains).
Having worked with Rachel for several years, I can call her up with “I need a dress for my high school reunion” walk into a dressing room and have four ready to try on - all of which fit my taste and whatever budget I’ve given her and will look good on me. Better yet - she does my Christmas shopping for my husband for me