As a professional stylist, I am often asked about personal style. Is it dependent upon how well you keep up with the latest trends? Or how much money you have or don't have to spend on clothes?
Although these are perfectly legitimate questions, there are probably as many answers out there as there are so-called "fashion experts".
But, I must tell you that I am not a fashion expert. I am a wardrobe and personal style expert. Big difference. Please allow me to explain.
First, let's talk about style. As Martha Stewart likes to say, style is a “good thing". Just look around! We can see hallmarks of style in just about every aspect of life. From fine art to fine architecture, from interior design to movie set design, from great literature to great (and not so great) music. It all has a certain style. And of course, so do people . . .
When I saw 85-year-old Tony Bennett singing with the young Amy Winehouse recently, I got a little teary to think that she is gone.
But, I also thought how extraordinary! And how beautiful. They each have such distinct singing styles and I love them both; yet what truly intrigued me was the difference in their physical appearance. Tony, wearing his perfectly tailored suit, classic tie, and crisp white shirt made quite a dramatic contrast next to Amy in her black provocative Goth garb and smokey dark eye makeup. Could they be more different? I don't think so. Could they be more perfect? Again, I don't think so.
They each clearly reflected their own personal style. Their appearance spoke loudly and clearly about who they are, what they do and how they do it.
As for fashion? Here's a quick example. A red coat with a big ruffly collar is fun and fashionable right now. A classic trench coat in the traditional tan color with no embellishment, on the other hand, is not necessarily fashionable, but it is definitely classic and always "in style". Either can be very stylish depending upon the way it compliments a person’s individuality.
Hard to picture Tony in a red coat. But Amy? Absolutely.
And that, my friends, is what style is all about. It's not about being trendy and most definitely not about the money.
Your style needs to tell your story, just like it did for Amy and Tony.
And I plan to buy that CD, by the way.
It's going to be a classic.