Winning Style

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by Leandra Medine
January 7, 2013
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In which we wonder, can style be learned?

As the inimitable Lynn Dell, a true decadent and octogenarian hailing from the Upper West Side, once told Advanced Style’s Ari Cohen, “fashion says me too, style says only me.”

Though my relationship with style is still effectively infantile (and I believe it will continue to be until I am comfortable ceaselessly abiding by a single uniform), I know enough to understand style’s relationship with clothing. It’s not very different from youth’s relationship with age in that the former will always project more space for change, and exceed the boundaries (no matter how extensive they can be) of the latter. If age is a number, youth is how gracefully you can throw that number away. If fashion is jeans, style is what you do with them.

But the million dollar question still stands: can it be taught? I for one, think yes. Weightlifting can aid the manifestation of muscular activity, and reading–provocative reading–can help put into motion the wheels of intellect, so there’s no reason an aficionado of self-doubt can’t figure out style, too. Over the weekend, I read a story in The New York Times by the editor of the magazine, Hugo Lindgren. In the penultimate paragraph he exposes an a-ha! moment, “Ideas, in a sense, are overrated. Of course, you need good ones, but at this point in our supersaturated culture, precious few are so novel that nobody else has ever thought of them before. It’s really about where you take the idea, and how committed you are to solving the endless problems that come up in the execution.”

The same can be argued on fashion–it will always exist and might never be new again–and style, like commitment to execution, is precisely where you take it. Take the sunglasses pictured above; sure you can wear them on your face, but why not dip them into your shirt pocket instead of above your head when you’re not using them? And that denim shirt–there’s no guide that demonstrates the art of the perfect roll (most likely because there is none) but why wear your sleeves down when you can expose an ever so slight glimpse of forearm and maybe the accoutrements decorating it?

Here’s a particular favorite: my coat worn as a cape. I can’t amount for why I prefer to let the cold condemn my arms or even quite articulate why a coat-as-cape makes me feel more elegant, but it does and I do, and the inexplicability is enough. Per the half tuck: this works well with a pair of low rise jeans, elongating your leg, successfully concealing your ass (such is the beauty), and making even the most obvious shirt and pant combination so subjectively yours. Jeans that nest zippers make the whole process a bit easier and it’s nice to remember that contrary to Happy Meals and show hair, in matters of the zipper, it’s never go big or go home–it’s graze the heel of your shoe, see how that makes you feel, lift up or pull down accordingly, et voila.

Yes, these are some of my own personal styling techniques. They’re simple, really, and you can do with them what you want. Take them, make them your own, shit them out and call my suggestions nothing more than residual fecal matter–this is your canvas as much as it is mine. The only commonality, we should after all share, is simply that personal style is, well, personal.

American Apparel denim shirt, DSquared2 jeans, Gio Diev heels, Mina & Olya blue coat, Ralph Lauren sunglasses. Photos by, duh, Naomi Shon.

REPLIES
  • Elisa

    I would argue that style is managing to wear all the above suggestions (the rolled-up sleeve, le half-tucked in shirt..etc) effortlessly, ideally by not feeling awkward and slightly uncomfortable, or more realistically by not looking awkward. Or maybe style doesn’t have to be executed. Maybe just knowing what is cool/beautiful/stylish is enough. Hm. I just don’t know.

    Elisa – Wandering Minds
    http://www.ourwanderingminds.com

    • Leandra Medine

      As F. Scott Fitzgerald once said, “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.”

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=16818116 Erin Francis

        Style is being confident in what YOU decide to wear and how you wear it. Fashion is choosing the “cool” to wear; where as, style is an effervescent way of wearing whatever you decide to wear. Everyone has a style, but the ones we (society) choose to write about, blog about, or idolize are those that are confident, takes risks, and have fun in the things they purchase and wear.

  • http://twitter.com/annarosaparker Anna Rósa Parker

    fantastic jean! coat as cape is always elegant… good stuff mr – as always.

  • http://twitter.com/Gbrlt Gabriel Tavares

    I totaly agree with u. There are people that are gifted and have a natural eye for styling themselves but that doesn’t mean that people who are curious about how clothes “work” and how to make them enhance your personal qualities can’t go out there and learn how to dress well.

  • Natali

    Your coat and sunnies are wonderful!

    http://lartoffashion.blogspot.com

  • Mary

    “Take them, make them your own, shit them out and call my suggestions nothing more than residual fecal matter” Love the way you write. Love it. and this is one of the best blog posts I have read in a long time. Thankyou and well done.

    Take them, make them your own, shit them out and call my suggestions nothing more than residual fecal matter

  • sophie

    love the jewellery!

    xx

    Sophie from http://www.aroundlamode.com

  • http://twitter.com/MariannePaulstu Marianne Paul

    Fashion becomes scary and is not a game anymore. We are overrated the value of style, based on our allure, we are judged not on the “social uniform” which allows people to identify you among the diversity of a population but as value added product or not. Are you in or not?
    I am not sure that we have to learn “how to be styled” but more what should I wear in some particular events. In example, a leather skirt + “fuck me” high heel shoes in front of the children school…Mmmm maybe not, it would be hardly understood by population.

  • http://www.facebook.com/afrose.direnc Afrose Direnc

    Fashion, just like any art, can be taught. The student painter painstakingly mimics Van Gogh, Picasso, Monet- until they develop their own personal style. Why not the same for fashion? Experiment until you don’t have to anymore!

  • http://twitter.com/contentnet contentnet

    Are you asking if fashion can be acculturated to the point that it becomes style? Are you suggesting that style can be self-cultivated? Even the best weightlifter likely has a mentor to teach how to use the weights properly. I am not sure if the same can be said for style, though. Style, to me is an outwardly expressed act that is nurtured by personal motivation. One need not necessarily have been taught how to be stylish. Although, I suppose it is plausible.

    On the other hand, it is possible that an astute stylist can dress someone in such a way as to reflect a mood, or a moment, thus reflecting fashionable-taste. But who is it who decides whether this is an act that imparts stylishness on behalf of the recipient of the styling? I would be curious to know how you and your readers view this conundrum.

    By the way, your cerebral postings are quite entertaining. Keep up the good work!

  • WNY

    Love your all blue look! Those jeans are damn good and love the heels. You look smashingly stylish!

    WNYFashion.blogspot.com

  • ZsaZsa

    I love this blog; your writing and approach is inspiring. But just about all of your personal suggestions come from the J Crew (actual) guide to styling. And I read a feature on how the thing for fashion editors to do (this past season) is to wear their coats as a cape…

    I think it’s best to know when you are tapping into the zeitgeist (Jenna Lyons and the rest) so that you can distinguish it from your personal twist, if that is your objective. Otherwise style remains in its infancy.

    Love the blog! Love style!

    • Leandra Medine

      I don’t know if I should feel strangely vindicated by my suggestions falling on par with J Crew’s (Jenna Lyons is at her zenith of style and we are all more or less following suit) or completely emasculated because I haven’t seen (didn’t know there was) the guide. Generally though, I think (and this is completely personal, subject to thoughtful argument) that style remains in infancy until you can forfeit the strive to continue evolving. My mom has been wearing velvet jackets, white blouses and skinny jeans for about five years now and all I can think when I see her, is that I can’t wait to feel so comfortable with myself that I don’t need to veil who I am with clothes. Michael Kors does this too!

      • Mattie Kahn

        +10. cc: Carolina Herrera. I can’t wait to grow up and approximate her.

      • cowgirl in the sand

        Thanks, Leandra, for recognizing that age has little to no bearing on personal style. In fact, I would argue the opposite and liken one’s style evolution to that of an aged wine (sorry in advance for those who see this as a cliche). I am well beyond 50 and have had the same style for decades. The only difference is that I can now afford to buy better versions (e.g., Marant, IRO, Acne) of the bohemian looks I bought at thrift stores in the 70′s, when vintage meant something more than a stylist’s perception that an item from two seasons past can qualify for the term). If style is your own personal truth, then truth is beauty, no (sorry, Keats)?

  • Ivana Džidić

    great outfit no mistake about that but what really caught my attention is the article. I just love reading little meditations upon fashion and style like this one. I totally agree with you, style is something that can be developed. If we don’t take a chance one in a while, we’ll end up looking like everyone. I’m following you. fantastic blog!

  • Nico
  • Holly-Bella
  • http://scattergirll.blogspot.com/ Sophie Lewis

    I really appreciate your opinion that style can indeed be worn when people have been arguing for years that style and taste must be inborn, and that if you do not instinctively understand these my nature, you can never be fashionable. Thank you for taking a different approach because I for one learn style from each and every blog post you create and apply and change those tips to fit my own style. Well done xx.

    http://scattergirll.blogspot.com

  • olive_brown

    I don’t believe style is something that someone can TEACH to someone else, but I think an individual can LEARN to develop their own style by ignoring what’s trendy, figuring out what works for them and what doesn’t, what they like and don’t like, what inspires them, and how they want to present themselves.

    Call me a pessimist, but frankly I’m a little sick of all these fashion vs. style quotes — the dominant ~*style icons*~ of the industry today are generally thin white women who have easy access to stylists and big designer labels. (I really don’t want to turn this into a debate about thin privilege or white privilege, but it is true.) The press is going crazy about Kristen Stewart’s newfound “style”, but she looks obviously uncomfortable dressed in head-to-toe Balenciaga and sky high heels. I miss her wearing sneakers to award nights — maybe not the most fashion forward thing to do, but I saw a hell of a lot more personality in her then.

    And if I hear someone say one more time that their style secret is “I like to mix vintage pieces with current labels”, I will vomit a bit in my mouth.

    • http://twitter.com/CassandraMLopez Cassandra Lopez

      I couldn’t agree with you more. It’s hard for the average woman to embrace style tips from celebrities and media because most of what they suggest isn’t accessible to the average person (I know it def. isn’t for me!) Not to mention that it can be a challenge for some to embrace said style ideas and apply it to more affordable clothing lines, without feeling like the affordable labels are even “worth styling”.

      People develop style over time, it’s all about trial and error.

      http://www.thegrannytreatment.com

    • Jessica

      I actually get moderately depressed looking at K-Stew now. She looks so far out of her comfort zone that I just can’t help but clench my teeth.

      The Lovelorn

    • Tiff

      Do you even know how cliche this sounds? She is saying what you are trying to say in a much more eloquent and unique way. And if your idea of style is a dress with Chucks then you mix vintage pieces with current labels. Barf.

      • http://olivezombie.tumblr.com/ Olive Brown

        I’m well aware that my writing is average at best. I’m not aiming for eloquent or unique, just wanted to share my two cents. What did I say that was cliche? I’m a bit confused by your entire comment actually.

        I’m not sure you understood the point I was trying to make in regards to Kristen Stewart wearing sneakers with dresses. I never stated whether or not I personally think it is stylish (but if you’re wondering, no, it’s not a look I would wear myself). What I meant was, Stewart is clearly more at ease with herself when she is dressed like that so I would say that that is more her personal style, and it’s a shame that only now, when she starts wearing heels and big name designers, she is hailed a style icon. This is why quotes like “fashion says me too, style says only me” really grind my gears.

  • effe

    my father knows very well the perfect roll!!! i will make a guide!!! hey man repeller i have an important question pleese reply to me: will be your book translate in italian???? thank you !!!

  • http://scattergirll.blogspot.com/ Sophie Lewis

    I really appreciate your opinion that style can indeed we learned when people have been arguing for years that style and taste ,use be inborn, and that if you do mot instinctively understand these by nature, you can never be fashionable. Thank you for taking a different approach because I for one learn style from each and every blog post you create and apply and change those tips to fit my own style. Well done xx.

    http://scattergirll.blogspot.com

  • Marly Wijvekate

    what an overload of denim! I like it!!

    x marly

    that-fashion-things.blogspot.com

  • Yuka
  • Cravingforbarneys

    You look fabulous! As usual!

    My xmas gifts in http://cravingforbarneys.com

  • http://twitter.com/elenavasilieva Elena Vasilieva

    loving it all blue with zipped slit. always found denim on denim so awesome

    http://www.vasilievablog.com

  • http://janmarcel.com/ Michiel

    Amazing look Leandra! I love how you’ve styled denim together with this amazing blue colour!

    http://www.janmarcel.com/

  • monkeyshines

    wonderful ensemble!

    Bises,
    monkeyshines
    http://monkeyshines-monkeyshines.blogspot.com/

  • Aitana

    Awesome outfit!!!^^

    Like Coco Chanel said: Fashion fades, only style remains the same.

    http://ladytrendy.blogspot.com

    xoxo

  • lavieenliz

    I love the denim on denim! you’re a damn amazing person btw!

    http://lavieenliz.com

  • http://twitter.com/ByEmilia Emilia B

    you’re absolutely amazing. I love how you blend non-fiction prose into fashion.

  • The Urban Promeneur

    Good point made. Besides all, the blue on blue is fantastic.

    http:/THEURBANPROMENEUR.blogpspot.com

  • Jennifer

    Love your writing!

    xo Jennifer

    http://seekingstyleblog.wordpress.com

  • Kathrin Cooley

    UUUUUuuuh… All denim outfit with black pointed pumps. Sharp dressing, darling :) Love your style. Style can only be taught to some extent, you definitely have a great sense for what’s in-trend, for what’s in-fashion. I think style is developing over time when one is studying the runways and style icons on a regular basis.

    You got it girl. I don’t think you’re relationship with style is infantile – your style is bold and radiates confidence. What more could you possibly wish for! XXXooo, Kat

    http://6footone.com/

  • the (un?)social butterfly

    To me style is about being truly in love with what you see in your mirror. It can mean wearing the same pearls every single day, it can mean mixing current with vintage, it can mean evolving and changing until the end of your days, but it cannot be about anything outside of yourself. A new trend can certainly be enchanting to someone with a strong sense of personal style, can it not? I do hope so, because I do not ever want to cease being surprised by fresh ideas.

    http://humanwomen.wordpress.com

  • http://newbornfanatic.wordpress.com/ Newborn Fanatic

    great tips! loving the coat and the jeans so much!!!

    http://newbornfanatic.wordpress.com/

  • http://lerablogs.blogspot.com/ Lera

    One can be stylish by having no style at all (“no style” judged by a popular view, of course). It is a personal interpretation, and quite a debatable issue.

    All these “new” effortless style tips(half tucked shirts, coats as cape, etc.) are so heavily used – it is not effortless anymore, but rather too obvious. I can’t wear it because I feel ridiculous, as if I am trying to be somebody I am not. It is so overused. I always rolled up my sleeves, now I am allergic to it! It’s, by all means, my opinion.

  • Oliver Lips
  • Felicity

    To me, style is akin to a second skin – comfortable and familiar. I think that you can almost read someone from their style, whereas fashion in it’s plainest terms is pretty disposable and, to a degree, anonymous. Love this post and the sunglasses are super cool x

    that-bird.blogspot.co.uk

  • Tiffany Wendel

    True style is having the confidence to own your look now matter what it is. In my work, I find what people need help with is defining their style and then taking some time to build confidence with their choices etc. In then end, they usually end up inspiring me!

    http://www.tiffanywendel.com

  • Jessica

    The coat-as-cape thing is something my awkward self has always tried but never managed to do. It won’t stay on my god-damn shoulders!
    I swear I move my little finger just a littleeee bit and it’s great enough to send the coat flying to the ground.

    The Lovelorn

  • kathryn

    i think the largest part of style is the soul of the person exuding it. the rest of it is just learned adaptation, imitation and experimentation: these are only actions. style itself cannot be taught because it belongs to the individual’s existence and is conveyed through the individual’s confidence.

  • Tiff

    I don’t think you were trying to explain how style can be taught. You were saying that if an individual were so inclined that they could pursue the specificities and subtleties that make up the fashion industry that, in turn, influence style. I think it is important to understand the differences between fashion and style because who really cares about fashion anyways? People are so caught up on black and white explanations for life and the things that make up life that some forget about what it truly means to be an individual. I am just discovering your blog and I think you are brilliant. I am looking forward to borrowing your style tips. Thanks for presenting it in a smart, savvy and well-written platform.

  • SuzanneDawn

    I think you have great style, and I am currently subscribed to your fantastic blog. I had to spot your shoes to my collection.

    http://www.socialbliss.com/chocolatefox/my-closet-GM2TIOBY/winning-style-GUZTENZZGY

    However, I love the entire ensemble! Keep up the great style and the great blog.

    All the best!
    Dawn

  • StyleNonsense

    Very Insightful, One Thing I Always Do Is Tuck In My Shirts, I Never Let My Socks Show & I Always Have To Have something Gold On!
    http://StyleNonsense.blogspot.com

  • yvonne ★

    Of course style can be learnt. I believe everyone, even the oh so great style icons had their dark days of bad taste/style, but with reading good books and observing and understanding one’s own art of living, we become more advanced. Well unfortunately not everyone.

    http://www.daretoduit.blogspot.com

  • rhodawong

    i think style can be learnt and be improved through time, however personal style and instinctive style is hard to say. I do think some are born with a great sense of style though!

    http://www.styleandshades.blogspot.com

  • ml

    maybe (now, while you/we become comfortable enough with yourself/ourselves) style is just about how (notice emphasis on the “how”) you wear fashion. it’s simple and no arguable, i believe.

  • Nora

    i feel like having style is mostly about being bale to pull something off. if you look super awkward wearing your shirt half-tucked, than that lookes strange, but if you think its the only way to go than it looks effortlessly. have you ever seen a bag/shoe/garment and didnt think it was especially cool or didnt even like it, and then seen it on somebody wearing it so stylishly that it became the best thing ever in a second? coping style can be tricky i think, because it might show that you wouldnt necessarily wear something like this; maybe a shirt with a half-tuck. my friend told me the other day that she thinks my bag is really ugly but somehow it looks cool when i wear it. best compliment! is that style?

  • EdgifyMe

    Re: Coat-as-cape, my theory as to why it makes us feel elegant/charming/confident is that it recalls the chivalrous act of a man offering a woman his coat by draping it over her shoulders as such, thereby making us feel warm, cozy and taken care of.

  • Thrifted and Modern

    The Man Repeller can do no wrong in our eyes! Check out our blog at http://www.thriftedandmodern.com/blog and shop our store!

  • NP

    The real question is how personal style can really be, when it is a reflection of our times, social status, gender, nationality, etc. If style was personal, it would be more like our personality, unique, random, always varying. So I guess, in as much style can approximate our personalities, then is personal (e.g a ‘loud’, outgoing person being more likely to wear ‘loud colors’). So then, in the vein of this line of thought, can style be learned? Well yes, and the more it is learned, the less personal (less reflective of our own personalities) becomes. But that is not necessarily a bad thing. Good post :)

  • Leandra Medine

    Co sign, teammates

  • http://olivezombie.tumblr.com/ Olive Brown

    Haha I feel exactly the same way. I don’t particularly love her as an
    actress/person but I just can’t handle seeing her looking so awkward.

  • http://twitter.com/looksharpWI Look Sharp Sconnie

    So, does having infantile style mean you don’t really know who you are yet? Or can you know, and just not want to commit?

    Or both? Or neither?

    And what if you know who you are, but who you are is just one of many personas?

    Never thought of it this way before – love the idea.

  • kaileykramer

    First, cheers to all the ideas (and tips) you’ve shared with us. This conversation is a favorite pastime of me, myself, and I — one in which I usually come to the conclusion that, somehow, style and confidence are inherently and inescapably fused. Although, adversely, I think it can be said safety and with some certainty that, in occasional situations, some of the most stylish people simultaneously harbor the most insecurity and lack self-confidence. Pickles, right? While, certainly, this isn’t always the case, I think style reduces down to way in which one carries the self, outfit aside. Is it not the wearer that who brings an energy to the thing and thus makes it ‘stylish?’ Without this energy, a spirit wedded to personality, why would we ever want to wear anything new? Why are dungarees cool again? Because Alexa Chung is a rock star, she wanted to wear them and thus *made* them cool again. Or in a less trendy example, why have so many traded in high-rise skinnies and equipment blouses for low rise denim flares and a collection of nearly identical plain white-t’s for a new day-to-day look? A uniform strikingly similar to that of Kelso or even, Joe Dirt? Well, because the energy Isabel Marant infuses that shit with is fucking rad and *makes* it stylish.

    So with all that being said, and by no means am dubbing myself stylish, I think style to be instinctual as it rises from foundations of personality, energy and confidence that cannot be taught. A person devoid of these basic elements can adorn the same outfit and take identical styling cues from the books of, say, a Lou Doillion or Caroline Seiber and ultimately, still lack what is ubiquitously recognized as being stylish.

    • Bibi

      Seriously, i agree with everything you wrote here.

    • Leandra Medine

      all of you fuckers are so insightful and smart.

  • La Peccata Minuta

    Due to my body shape (small waist, big hips) I have never truly been able to embrace trends, as they usually don’t flatter me or clothes from places that carry them (like Zara) don’t fit properly from the waist down. Therefor, for most of my twenties I have been wearing shift dresses, flared skirts and ripped boyfriend jeans, regardless of whether or not they were “in”. A few months ago I begun a blog, which has helped me push my boundaries and experiment more with my outfits. I was feeling somewhat frustrated at myself, for always falling back on the same shapes. Your post, however, has given me this huge sense of relief and validation, reminding me what true style is all about. Thank you, Leandra. Keep up your hard work, you are an amazing, witty observant of human pschye, and you inspire me.
    -Maria Conchita Arcala, author of lapeccataminuta.com

  • http://twitter.com/JennySueMakeup JennySueMakeup

    reading everyone’s comments on this subject makes me laugh. people like to get so “artsy fartsy” and cerebral about it all! style is personal, point blank. even if that style means you’re copying someone else’s because you think they had a great idea to layer their bracelets or frat tuck in the front of their shirt, you’re still giving it a try and making it your own. we’re all winners when it comes to what we wear if we love it. if we don’t love it, well, some changes need to be made and maybe we need to start copying some well known style bloggers…wink wink.

    • AshleyOlivia

      “Frat tuck”?? I love it. I’m stealing it.

  • Lauren

    I do think style comes from an intense focus and desire to create! Some creations happen to be more appealing to the eye than others! My grandmother could care less about creating something beautiful or dramatic in the way she dressed. And she always was just average looking! Yet my great aunt was hell bent on creating a statement with her clothes and accessories! And because she was so driven, she was always the exquisite standout in the crowd!!

    Does anyone agree with this perspective?!!

    -Lauren at adorn la femme

    http://adornlafemme.blogspot.com

  • http://twitter.com/Heirloom1982 Oana Leonte

    I love the way you write and in a world of bloggers that are cutting on words more and more so that they can show more clothes on each post, your blog is so refreshing!

    I think there are some things about the way one dresses that can probably be refined like rough diamonds so that the end result is a more polished look. However, STYLE, I believe to be something more related to education, culture, savoire vivre, so therefore I think it can’t really be taught. Or in any case, it takes a looooooot of time to learn. And for those who don’t have it from birth, it also takes money.

    In any case, I love your outfit in this post, I just think that the shoes are not that cool, but I guess it’s just my opinion :)
    Thanks!
    Oana

    http://heirloom1982.wordpress.com

  • Bonnie, Clyde + Marni
  • http://twitter.com/MuesliCouture Muesli Couture

    I certainly think that style is something you can learn! In your adolescent years you try a lot of crazy things and end up figuring out what suits you in the process. Then, being comfortable with your clothes – that’s where you develop your own sense of style!
    http://mueslicouture.com

  • YvonNe

    Being stylish def cost a lot.
    http://www.prettydaffodils.blogspot.com

  • Laura Ashton Barry

    I think style can be learned, I mean, why else do we read magazines and check into blogs? It’s all about developing and I don’t think there is a woman out there who was born with her sense of style fully manifested! We all have to learn things in order to make an educated decision!

    http://Www.lauraahtonbarry.wordpress.com

  • jurgita

    Nice simple look! looks very comfy :)

    http://www.afterout.com/

  • La Dolce Vita

    one can ‘better’ their style but only some are born with the knack!!

    http://ladolcevita-aus.blogspot.com.au

  • Dervla louli

    Best piece you have written.

  • MGF

    A lot has been said already, but may I add smthg ?
    I am not sure that style can be learned, nor taught. You can wear a high-5 cashemire sweater + APC skirt + cape-Celine-coat + up to elbow shirt+ Golden Goose sneakers, you can easily look like a dumb if you dont feel comfortable & free, gawky as Ignatus J Reily. It appears to me that people looking great are the ones focused on their well being, and a hint of ‘retenue’. (I dont know how to say that in English; ‘hold back’ ?). Too much comfort and you look like négligé (not the 19thc. interior male appealer lace piece of clothe, hein), slacky. This is way too unrespectful for the others. And too much retenue looks like you got a broom in your a**. Oh my. No matter what you wear (velvet jacket as you said about your mom, cape-coat, Celine-Birkenstock), as l ong as you feel free and you smile, well, I think it’s done guys.

    I may be too much optimist, but the king of cool SMcQ himself, and his female accolytes Lauren Hutton & the Man Repeller did/does not shine through style lessons (well, the MR does, actually).
    They just feel good. And smile. LM, can we have a post of your abilities to smile in 273 different ways please ? I am pretty sure you are capable of that

    Btw, thanks for sharing your thoughts

    des bisous

    • SR

      J’suis completement d’accord! I love your invocation of ‘retenue’ and ‘neglige’ — so true – it’s not that style resides somewhere between ‘slob’ and ‘fashion victim’…it’s that being comfortable dans sa peau can make a person rock even a slob or fashion victim look

    • Leandra Medine

      273 ways! Yes! I am so on it.

  • Tia

    I think this question could be debated forever. I’m happy to know that the general consensus is that style can be learned, which I am trying to do. I live in a small west coast city where good fashion does exist in a modest way, but only to a certain extent, and everyone does it the same. Only when I discovered the world of fashion and style blogs did I try something a different. If I stay away from the blogs for a period of time, I end up slowly dressing like everyone else again. We’re so influenced by our environments, and sometimes I wonder, do I really like what I’m wearing or am I just dressing this way because everyone does it this way too? It seems in learning style, you have to learn confidence as well, so that you can walk out of the door and face people with an outfit you truly like and aren’t afraid of standing out in. To have style you also have to know who you are as person, and I think that’s part of the beauty in learning style — you can find out in the process.

  • Barbara Schoen-de Bruin

    Love your views, your style & especially this quote : It’s really about where you take the idea, and how committed you are to solving the endless problems that come up in the execution.” thx for the inspiration ! xxx

  • http://viennarightnow.wordpress.com/ Chael

    Style is something that we acquire culturally and socially, so it depends on our environment – an environment that we can choose and shape to some extent. It is nothing we are born with. Style can be very important to us, if we use it as a ressource to form and create our identity. Of course there are various other sources that can be employed for building an idenity. Generally idenity is nothing we are born with, there is no idenity core in us that needs to be uncovered … identity or better idenities need to be created consistently

    http://www.viennarightnow.wordpress.com

  • Sarah

    Well this is a very interesting convo, and I’m convinced that the search for personal style is ever evolving for most, and that those born with it are actually blessed with a few physical advantages ( not necessarily legs). I confess, rather reluctantly, to being a forty seven year old woman still looking- precisely why I read such blogs as these. I’ve had to change my style icons, most recently from Kate moss ( and the like) to Julianne Moore ( and the like). Mostly because my body has changed ( I have developed boobs! And no longer wish to expose arms or thighs for fear of winks being replaced by grimaces)….wherein lies the issue. What once looked great, often times now looks contrived/ try hard/ too young, or just weird. It’s an uncomfortable position, and one I know many my age face, and often find defeated by. I conclude that true style is never giving up. Reassess and redress!

  • Carla

    I agree with you mostly, but I also don’t think it’s a simple issue. There are all these reality TV shows such as “What Not To Wear”, in which a thin ‘stylish’ lady picks out some snazzy outfits for considerably unfortunate dressers. I do not consider THAT teaching someone a sense of style. Not to sound corny, or like a third grade math teacher, but simply telling someone that one type of article of clothing is cooler than another is not helping someone develop a ‘good’ sense of style. People have to figure it out for themselves. Having ‘good style’, to me, feels like something that must come from within, but perhaps with SOME inspiration from others. I’ve seen people wearing the most ridiculous rainbow tights under plaid lace dresses and look super swaggy, and people dressed head to toe in intermix window material looking ridiculously wannabe-ish. That’s the beauty of style. It transcends any subjective definition and allows the opportunity to draw inspiration from within. I think the main thing any observer can learn about style from someone else is confidence and innovation. When I read your articles and look at pictures of you, for example, I am excited by all of the little quirky ways you distinguish yourself, whether with funky jewelry or an unexpected sunglasses-placement. You remind me every day that we are all individuals capable of taking risks and allowing ourselves to stray from the style norms. And in that sense, I believe I have learned a lot, and surely many others have, too. So thank you for that.

  • Guest

    Good lord you look great ..

  • www.LydiaWho.com

    Good lord you look great ..

    - Lydia // http://www.LydiaWho.com

  • britta

    wait – i’m slightly confused. are you suggesting that style is that which is purely personal or on the contrary, something to be “taught”? the limiting factor to style is that it will always be the product/iteration of ideas, creations, and decisions others have made for you (ie. brands, designers, biz peeps) as they manifest as garments. that the only way to get close to resolving any of those “endless problems” is to jump in front of the sketch book and/or sewing machine and self-create. i grew up in tokyo where style is a great many things and consequently, impossible to define. people don’t just consume, they re-make and reform and reconstruct like nobody’s business. i’ve seen clothing permutations i would’ve never dreamed of! so if it’s the personal element you’re getting at in your post, i couldn’t agree with you more. whether or not it needs (i’m not a big fan of the “can” in this context) to be taught? nahhhhh.

  • Ale

    hahaha true story

  • http://twitter.com/molinajorgel Tendencias By JM

    Loved the proposals, combinations of colors, textures, very apt in the proposals, a great proposal, for men with a lot of attitude for next winter in Argentina, super hits and full of personality, I think you have to daring

  • vittoria gallacci

    The sunglasses are too cool: love them.

    Vittoria from 5 IN THE MORNING

    http://vittoriafiveinthemorning.blogspot.it/

  • ZsaZsa

    On finding a signature style, this is a nice post http://amandalovesyourstyle.blogspot.ie/2010/11/american-women_26.html

  • Erin

    I definitely agree with this. I was forced to learn because my parents did not dress me after I was about two years old and could do it myself. Over all these years I have worn some horrid combinations of clothing, but I am grateful because I am forever learning from my mistakes. And that is style.

  • Anna

    style can be learned in a way that people who don’t have any education in design or fashion can see from others what goes well together. of course, not everyone will apply it properly but in time they will discover what is comfortable for them. i, for example, didn’t have much style or courage to combine certain things, but then i started reading fashion magazines, following what fashionistas wear and in time learned what goes well together. i won’t have the money for that chanel bag, but yes i will find a similar cheaper version at zara. you don’t have to have the exact same bag as in magazine or exact same body shape to be stylish, just use what works best for you. what is more, it’s more demanding to find something similar that just click and copy outfits. i can’t tell whether i’m stylish now, but i certainly am more happy with my fashion choices!

  • Tamara Nosseir

    I feel like style can be taught but only to a certain extent, a person who has been blessed with an amazing taste is always at an advantage.

    http://www.letitraindiamonds.com/

    Tamara Nosseir

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