Yves Saint Laurent once stated “fashion fades, style is eternal.” What I take from that is, fashion is an art that is notoriously difficult to keep up with because trends change seasonally; style is impacted by much longer-lasting factors. Style is affected by religion, politics, culture and subculture, weather, body type, profession, upbringing, I could go on and on and on.
Think about fashion vs. style in comparison to food consumption. You eat every day; you wear clothes every day. There are some days and some occasions you’re just not about that life. Then there are other days when you put more thought to your outfit, you want to be on “FLEEK,” and you really consider your meal for the day. There are some people, cloyingly called “foodies” and “fashionistas” for whom eating and wearing are a special hobby.
We can compare high fashion to 5-star restaurant dishes that show innovation, creativity, and expertise. A plate of soft-boiled quail eggs with a side of liquid nitrogen ice cream will look exquisite and show a great deal of culinary competence, just as so many gowns and suits on the runway look like moving works of art. However, there is something to be said for hot dog vendors, deli owners, and grandma’s kitchen. They may not make particularly progressive dishes, but their food is still delicious and meaningful. Their food may not be fashionable, but it has style. It is unique to them, and it is recognized as something special.
FASHION IS THE RELATIONSHIP TO THE EXTERNAL.
It is concerned with “what’s out there” (fashion items, in the stores). It’s a matching process between what’s out there (fashion’s primary interest) to what I’m wearing. Is what I’m wearing a ‘match’ for what’s ‘out there’, to what’s been deemed ‘in fashion’?
STYLE IS THE RELATIONSHIP TO THE INTERNAL.
It’s about “what’s in here” (my sense of self, my identity, my perception of who I am). The matching process is between who I am and how that is reflected and expressed in what I’m wearing. Does my clothing ‘match’ my sense of who I am, at least for today?