Stylish versus what is trendy. What is Your style?

Stylish and Trendy as seen by an Italian living in London

My personal view on the word stylish is timeless universal beauty. It makes me think of something that will always be recognised as beautifully crafted, designed or shot and will never go out of fashion.

Trendy focuses on what looks good in “this moment, this season”; an item is in vogue because imposed by the fashion industry that creates the desire to have it and therefore demand. In 10 years from now today’s trend will be forgotten.

Italy. Stylish but uniformed

Italy is considered the country of art and fashion.
Italians are known to have the innate ability to beautifully combine lines, patterns and materials to create unique designs or pieces of clothing that are worldwide admired as stylish.

I grew up in Italy where you breathe fashion and staring is not only ok but the norm. There if you look different you are different and believe me people’s reaction will make you feel different. And being different is not considered a good thing because when it comes to “what is cool” the country is aligned and uniformed.

To give you an example last year I was in Venice with Carlo for 2 days to shoot an editorial. We had a lot of photographic equipment so we decided to travel light and I did not take any spare pair of trousers with me (big mistake!). It was June – which is meant to be hot and dry – and it was pouring down rain. My bum was almost sticking out of my trousers that were soaking wet and slipping away because I had started losing the post pregnancy weight. I had to buy something fast. I went to every single shop in reach but I could find nothing that fitted my style or my figure. Skinny jeans were the only option. When I asked for bootcut trousers sales assistants literally laughed at my face.
This is Italy for you. If it is not in vogue it does not exist. Full stop.

London. The capital of Experimentation

London is the crazy buzzing capital of trends. Everything is acceptable here as it is labelled as “experimentation” and/or being alternative. Every time I take the tube I cringe a little because I see the most outrageous combinations of colors, patterns and materials put together on one single person. Sometimes the result is pure genius, other times my aesthetic sense cries in agony.

If you go around London you can see girls wearing winter UGG boots in plain August (I am not talking about this particular August but about a regular one!) and light dresses and sandals in December. And all of this is normal.

Being stylish or being trendy? Personal style is the answer.

Trends come and go. If want to be trendy you will have always to catch up on things and have the pressure to renew your wardrobe as soon as something new comes up or you are out of fashion.
The pro is that you can mainly focus on patterns and colors and compromise a little on quality saving a lot of money. You would hardly spend a lot of money on something that will not last, right?

Being stylish is timeless. People may have differences in taste but we all recognise when we see something stylish and it is going to be true no matter the moment in time. Generally we all like outstanding quality of materials, great designs, balance of forms and basic colours that is for me the base of what is stylish.
The con is that you definitely need a bigger budget. Quality does not come cheap.

In my opinion the best thing is developing your style. Style is the unique reflection of your personality. The world can dictate what is in vogue, how a certain post processing in photography is supercool but no matter the subject it needs to feel right for you and being expression of who you are.

How do you develop a personal style?

Look around to find out what moves you. When you feel the excitement coming up your chest that is the reaction you are looking for. And then stop thinking. Because your mind will give you 1000 damn good reasons not to chose what you laid your eyes on but remember that what you like is the result of your feelings that are expressed through your instinctive reaction not your rational thoughts.

Pinterest is a fantastic tool that will help you recognise what you feel attracted to because it gives you a visual reference of everything you like in life. It maybe some particular cut of clothing, a combination of colours or a certain type of photography or a kind of furniture it does not matter. It wil help finding out what you like because you will have it right in front of your eyes every time you pin a picture.

For me Henri Cartier-Bresson‘s quote explains how to feel what you like: ”People don’t watch enough. They think. It’s not the same thing”.

And what about you? Do you already know what is your style? Tell us about it.

Showing 5 comments
  • Michelle
    Reply

    Well said! I don’t think I’ve really hashed out the distinction between style and trend but after reading this it’s much clearer. I think the challenge is truly discovering your style in a sea of loud trends. Sometimes it really takes set aside time to listen but this post has truly given me a clear line of what to listen for. Thanks for sharing Fabia! And as always LOVE the images. Her expressions have me asking “what is she thinking” in almost every shot! Totally draws you in!

  • Reply

    Very very well said, im a HUGE fan of your musings and these photos are some of the most stunning I’ve ever seen!!!!!!

  • Etel
    Reply

    Somehow, this post reflects the way I fell back ro my hometown after my London phase. I like the experimentation on the streets, even if I don’t like the results.

  • David Hammonds
    Reply

    Beautiful photographs!

    My wife makes the same complaint about Spain – that you can only buy what’s in fashion, so you’re limited to a few colours, cuts and styles. Of course, in the UK you can enter a jean shop and choose from a vast range of different fits.

    I like a visit to the Sartorialist blog as it features such an ecclectic mix of people of all ages dressed in clothes from smart and formal through to shabbily casual – but worn, most of the time, with a great sense of style.

    I think style is a very nebulous idea. For me a stylish person someone that just seems to creatively and effortlessly wear what reflects their tastes and personality rather than self-consciously or awkwardly dresses in what’s officially on trend.

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