There certainly is a difference and it’s something I’ve wanted to write about for a while but never got around to it. Until now.
If you aren’t familiar, I post on Instagram. A lot. I post on a mostly-daily basis of outfits that I’m wearing. Overall, how I wear the ensembles oftentimes showcases my style. And basically, style is how you wear clothing:
Almost every morning I post on Instagram the outfit that I am wearing for the day. I’m not styling a thing. I’m merely wearing clothes!
Style is defined (as a particular way of doing or saying something), or refers to a unique form of clothing or way of arranging your appearance.
As quoted above, it pretty-much describes what I’m talking about. What I find daunting is the misuse of the word style when it comes to fashion. It is up there with my chic pet peeve. Chic is another term that is ridiculously misused. There are very few women who truly personify the description of chic. It is elegance and sophistication blended with style. That’s a tough mix to come by. I’m veering off topic…
I have no idea who this woman is, but she personifies chic in it’s essence. Check out her hair. It’s gorgeous and styled without looking like a “do”. She’s elegant while being casual. Nothing fussy. She is both chic and stylish. On to the subject matter.
“Style” as a noun is used to describe the kinds of clothing and the way someone wears those clothes.
A little look-see at my personal style for work. blazer, heels (MUST BE POINTY TOED–that’s my style) and a scarf. I wear these clothes. This is my style but I don’t style any of it. Kabeesh?
For example: My personal style, I would say is more of classic-with-an-edge. A sort of preppy-going-outside-the-lines. And my style is literally based on the school uniform I wore for many years. Shirt. Skirt. Blazer. And I play off that. It could be jeans, tee shirt and blazer. Or pants, shirt and denim jacket. Or skirt, shirt and blazer. Or skirt and sweater. It’s very simple. But—it’s my style. My mode of dressing.
…or plaid kilt (PLAID is my favorite color) with sweater and tights (tights only in winter otherwise I’m bare-legged) with ballet flats.
And my three-season favorite weekend outfit (Fall, Winter, Spring when the weather is still chilly) Jeans, tee, scarf, blazer and loafer on sockless feet. It is my style–and again, I haven’t styled a dang thing!
My summer style is the dress. I would call it “”Lazy Lady Style”simply because I can’t be bothered wearing a lot of clothing during the warmer and heated months.
I’m a big Lilly Pulitzer fan for summer dressing. The bright colors are fun–it’s what I like to wear..
And when it comes to summer travel, I’m all about the dress. This photo was taken in St. Tropez in 2017. I just took this dress out of the storage bin and hung it in my closet. I paid ten bucks for it at Old Navy–this will be the fifth summer I’m wearing it. And it wears well–hmmm maybe my style is frugal!
“Styling” as a verb is where the over-use and misuse of the word comes in. Throwing on a pair of shoes is not “Styling”. It is “wearing”. Adorning those same shoes with embelishments such as bows or ribbons or gemstones is styling the shoes then placing the embellished shoes on your feet is still wearing. Sliding into a pair of heels or sneakers or flip-flops is not styling. It’s wearing and again, so many get it wrong.
This plain pair of pumps has been embellished. They have been styled. The owner of these shoes worked on styling them and she will wear them.
And don’t even get me started on this look. First of all the young woman is gorgeous. However, I’m tired of this look and even more tired when influencers say they are “styling” with accessories such as the hat. For the love of Pete, will someone PLEASE tell these women the hat is supposed to be worn lower on the forehead. This is not styling. It’s a trendy look that will be dated by next year. Oy vey!
And basically, I wear clothing. Sadly, I’m not much for styling and it’s mostly because I just don’t have that certain “thing”. I’m lousy at accessories. I’ll wear the same earrings until they lose the gold plating or they break. I have a necklace of big fake pearls that were purchased a few years back at J. Crew Factory. I wear them on repeat all year.
Quite honestly, these fake pearls have been worn so many times I cannot believe they aren’t discolored. My jewelry style is purely costume but I don’t style my fake jewelry–I wear it.
Scarves? I wear the basic double loop or tie it up on my neck to hide the turkey wrinkles! In fact, this winter I mostly wore but one scarf. It seemed to go with everything I wore and I wore it more than often!
My most-worn scarf this winter. I didn’t exactly style it but I did manipulate it to cover my turkey neck!
And the only other way I know how to wear a scarf is the double loop.
But here’s the thing—I wear clothing well. Trust me I’m not bragging or being full of myself. I know my body. I try to wear clothing that fits me well when I gain weight and when I lose weight. But as far as a unique ability to make a simple frock or pair of pants look unique, by styling– I’m not gifted.
Presently I’m in a “heavier” stage that has remained in place since February. But because I know how to wear clothing, these paper-bag waisted pants look okay. Nothing on this outfit is styled. I’m wearing the pants with a fitted knit top and pointy toed leopard shoes.
And therein lies the issue on social media. Wearing a pair of jeans with a shirt and sneakers is not style. It is simply wearing clothing. I see this all the time too. Women wearing clothing and telling how they’ve styled it—throwing on a pair of slides is not styling an outfit. Donning a sweatshirt is not styling.
Looks such as this are splayed all over social media–especially by the mature woman as “styled”. I’m sorry but this is not a styled look. It is a fine outfit for raking leaves or running errands but I would not say it the very “styling” is appropriate!
I’m going to show you two examples of proper styling:
Last week I was perusing through my Instagram feed and came across a little video post by Susan of Une Femme du Certain Age Blog. She showcased how she took a pair of jeans and a tee shirt that she was wearing and she styled it. The video is on the blog which I’ve linked. The addition of a Chanel-esque tweed lady jacket, a chain bracelet, earrings and white driving loafers changed the simple look into a stylish ensemble. And the little extra was the front tuck of the shirt. Honestly, I was so happy to see a bona fide style video I practically did a happy dance. She got it. @susan_unefemme
Oh look! Susan is wearing jeans and a tee! (Sorry about the blurred image).
Now she takes a Chanel-inspired tweed Lady jacket..
..and she STYLED her look. The use of a lady jacket with jeans is unique. The little front tuck of the tee shirt is that little nuance that adds the extra. The driving loafers and bag complete the styled ensemble. It’s taking that one element and styling a look. Had a barn jacket or windbreaker been worn with the tee, jeans and sneakers replaced the loafers, it would not have been a styled look.
Another Instagram true styler is my friend Josie of @living.la.vida.fifi. I honestly have never seen anyone work the magic that Josie does with a scarf. Her knack, knowledge and ability put her in a class of her own. It’s crazy. She simply does not wear a scarf. She styles them. She gets it. And I swear to you I’ve tried to copy her scarf looks and I just can’t do it.
One scarf, two looks…
..oh wait–there’s more!
Can you believe this? I can barely loop a scarf around my neck. THIS is how styling works with a scarf!
My big style moment came last week. I have a Dr. Fauci basketball tee shirt that I ordered from Regis High School, where he was a student. (Dr. Fauci is my hero). I wore it with a pair of black leggings. Simple enough—right? But I decided to turn those two items into suiting. I took a black J. Crew Schoolboy blazer and a pair of heels. Voila! I styled otherwise ridiculously casual items into a more professional style.
My bit styling moment from last week. I styled my Dr. Fauci tee and leggings into suiting. I tell you this tee shirt is epic greatness! I only wish it had been delivered before I had my second vaccination!
So, there you have it. You can wear clothing without styling—but the way you wear those clothes can be stylish. And when an outfit is styled to the true meaning, thought goes into the look. And it becomes unique.
I don’t think this counts as styling, but I love wearing a blazer with shorts. It reminds me of my high school days.
What are your thoughts on this? It’s been a while since we had a long comment discussion. You think I’m on track? Do you agree with my wearing v. style. I’m really curious because I’m wondering if others feel the same way! Don’t be shy now! Let’s hear it!