Living with and through the novel Corona virus pandemic, and the stress that goes along with it, has made many of us reflect about our lives, our loved ones, and what’s most important. For me, these reflections have meant figuring out and focussing on the priorities of my little family, adapting and evolving how I operate as a fashion professional, simplifying the parts of life that are too complex, and adding enriching dimensions to the parts that are bland.
I’ve reflected a lot about the fashion and style platform because it’s both my hobby and livelihood. It’s awfully uncertain how manufacturing, retail, and the way we shop for future wardrobe items will shape up, but one thing is for sure: Our relationship with fashion and style has changed forever.
New normals have accelerated changes that have been brewing in the rag trade for a while. They have also solidified my own thoughts on what the future pillars of great style, fabulous dress sense, and effective wardrobe management will be. I think these six pillars will capture the most important elements of an effective and enjoyable personal style.
It is important to make sustainable and ethical decisions about the way we live. This includes how we add and subtract from our wardrobes. As far as possible we should also consider where and how wardrobe items are made, who makes them, what they are made out of, and how their laundering needs and longevity factor affects the environment.
It’s tough to make extremely sustainable and ethical wardrobe choices. There are no slam-dunk solutions, and many compromises. The socio-economic implications are huge, and reliable information is lacking. But we all have to start somewhere or things will never change. Try to make the most sustainable and ethical choices that you can manage. The good news is that more and more brands have strategies to become more transparent and sustainable over time. And if you purchase thoughtfully, you are also doing your bit to wear what you have for years instead of regularly adding to the landfill.
Sartorial preferences differ greatly between people, and these should be celebrated. Make sure YOU like what you wear, and don’t worry too much about what others think. Select a few people from your life whose opinions matter and seek their advice when you’re unsure. For the rest, wear what you want.
I get that this is harder to do within the confines of restrictive dress codes, mandatory uniforms, and even the expectations of your audience. But it helps that fashion trends and dress codes are becoming less important. There is zero need to chase a fashion trend unless it tickles your fancy. The concept of dated wardrobe items is in itself dated, and so-called fashion rules were made to be broken. Doing your own fashion and style thing with ease and confidence is where it’s at. Be individualistic.
There is no point in having a fabulous style that you cannot manage in terms of time, resources, laundry, and fuss factor. Figure out how much time and money you’re prepared to put into the fashion and style space of life and stick to it. This includes your hair, nails and beauty regimens. You also have to figure out what is the correct size of wardrobe for your needs and wants. A wardrobe has to be large enough to service all your dressing needs, but small enough that it’s easy to manage.
Your wardrobe and grooming routine should support your needs and not an imaginary life. That means it has to align with the internal factors that impact your style like your aesthetic preferences and body type (although body type guidelines have greatly relaxed over time), as well as the external factors like your lifestyle, climate, and budget. Choose affordable-to-you clothing, footwear and accessories that are flattering and comfortable to wear in your climate, and a hairstyle and grooming regimen to match.
Soul search a little, or a lot, and sport a style that feels genuine and true to who you are as a person. The way you pull yourself together each day should be in line with your beliefs, values, and personality. Strive to be a fabulous version of and honest representation of yourself, and not a fake imitation of someone else or someone else’s style.
Have fun with fashion and style, relax into your style journey, laugh a lot, and don’t take it too seriously. Allow your style to boost your confidence, and be the non-stressful part of your life. Allow what you wear to create calm, be soothing, and make you feel good about how you visually present yourself to the world. Your interest in fashion and style can also be a creative outlet, a social adventure, and an effective distraction from the challenges of life. Take from it what is empowering and therapeutic, and reap the rewards.
I’m starting to refer to these six pillars with the acronym SIMPAT.
Remember that style is beyond age and size. It’s an energy, attitude and confidence that is expressed through clothing, footwear and accessories. For some style is an innate and intuitive thing, but more importantly, it can be learned.