Related #8: Just what makes a person stylish?

So, yesterday’s column was about what makes a person stylish.  In my opinion (which is definitely not gospel, by the way) stylishness is contained within yourself and is limited to a few things.

  • Knowing what suits you.
  • Wearing an outfit with confidence and conviction.
  • Wearing clothes that say something authentic about you.
  • Not really caring that much about fashion (in terms of being on-trend and what’s hot right now).  Often when a person is deemed as being on-trend, it’s just a happy coincidence and not engineered to fit within a particular fashion moment.
  • And as an addendum, I ‘d like to add ‘having a great source of inspiration’ to the list.

Like a lot of people, I’ve digested my weight in fashion manuals.  I’ve read the Trinny and Susannahs, the Gok Wans, the Rachel Zoes (TOTAL DROSS), the Lauren Conrads (the less said about that, the better).  Simon Doonan, Diana Vreeland, Audrey Heburn, Karl Lagerfeld… if someone’s said something about being stylish, I’ve read it.

The best fashion manuals are the ones that compliment and celebrate YOU.  If you’re forced to squeeze yourself within a mould, you’ll be (and look) very uncomfortable.  Surprise, surprise, wriggling about in a pencil dress and battling with lip liner just because Jane Bryant told you to isn’t very stylish.  If you’re naturally a vintage vixen, you’ll probably look and feel amazing.

The worst fashion manuals are the ones that tell you to lose weight.  Slim people do somehow manage to look more put together (*shakes fist*)  by merit of their svelteness but that’s a product of the world we live in.  Being told to lose weight in order to look good?  That book is obviously written by a very lazy person with zero imagination .  Stylishness is not dependent on what you look like before you put any clothes on at all.

Oh, I’m ranting now. Excuse me.

Could this be the best style manual ever?

My favourite style manual, the one I impartially judge to be the best and the one that would suit the vast majority of women out there is probably The Cheap Date Guide To Style, by Bay Garnett and Kira Joliffe (whose dad drew the original Monster Munch monsters, how cool is that?).  Thrift shoppers and stylists extraordinaire, Garnett and Joliffe founded the now-defunct Cheap Date zine (someone bring out a compilation book please) which quickly developed a cult following for it’s celebratory, inquisitive, non-pretentious tone.*

Bay Garnett said in an interview (click here to read),

‘I have an ambivalent relationship with fashion. I sometimes think it is a force of evil. The yearning that it creates. Not for clothes, but for thinness, for beauty, for perfection, and of course for the thousand dollar t-shirt. But I also love fashion, it is what I do. I just did a ten page story for British Vogue. Loved doing it. Fashion is part of our times. Look back at old fashion pictures, they are such a potent and strong indicator of the age, of the time. I love that.’

If you’re down with that, then this book is for you.  Buying the book is highly recommended.  You can get used copies from a penny on Amazon, so now there’s no excuse not to.

Here are a few pages to give you a general idea of what the book is about.

Sources of inspiration

Interviews with interesting, stylish people

How to have fun with your wardrobe

A list of classics to compliment everything

*And to the person who just outbid me at the very last second for Cheap Date No.5 – you are an utter bastard.  Calm thoughts, Sarah, calm thoughts…

10 thoughts on “Related #8: Just what makes a person stylish?

  1. i agree with you 100%. being stylish is not actually imitating other people’s style just because they’re icons or they’re hailed by the internet. it’s finding who you really are and what you really feel comfortable, confident and beautiful in.


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