The need for a conversation on Elegance versus Style arises triggered by the confusion thrown up by the huge amount of chatter in social media and newspapers supplements and publication on what is the best /recommended or latest in fashion and the right dressing style to adopt for the social DOs or the workplace. A few decades back when the world was not so globalised and internet and media did not exit in every nook and corner, women both playing traditional roles as well as those who were charting out careers as doctors, teachers, lawyers, actors etc did not have so many choices of fashion or so many advisors from designers and fashionistas and yet they actually developed an innate sense of style and elegance and carried themselves impressively with their unique personality and confidence and dressed elegantly for every occasion. Today we are spoilt for choice and in all these crowded sartorial offerings, we are swayed by ever changing suggestions. The result is chaotic dressing. While people are often fashionably dressed or even expensively dressed, the sense of elegance is not always represented. While many may claim to be fashionable, not everyone can claim to be stylish or elegant these days. Are we missing something? Are we loosing on some basic understanding? Is it important to understand and develop a sense of style and elegance?
In this modern world, men and women are working shoulder to shoulder on all areas of society, travelling for work, balancing home responsibilities with workplace responsibilities and meeting the world and encountering the diverse cultures of the world, the influences on fashion and clothes are many and continuous. The pace of life is fast and so is the pace of changing fashion. A profusion of designers within the country and the world are not just creating designs for clothes , they are also creating demands. The apparel industry and the designers apart from being triggered by creative urgency are also triggered by economic reasons to keep the changes happening, to innovate, to modify , to recycle, to shock but basically keep the movement and conversation going so that the focus does not shift from the fashion industry. Today a good section of media is focussed on capturing what the celebrities were and what is the ’right airport fashion’. The craze has reached a peak when earlier the focus was on comfort dressing while travelling. Some good may come out of it by way of new easy and comfortable dressing norms but the negative side is that people often blindly follow celebrities and ends up spend huge amounts of money trying to be righty dressed irrespective of whether it suits them or not.
Perhaps a few things will help to survive in this crazy rat race to outdo one another or even be at par with what is the latest. Also in this age where image makes a great deal of difference, developing a well put together look goes a long way. Perhaps a close look at what one’s life style is – what is the major aspect of one’s life? Is it largely that of a working woman, a student, a home maker, a frequent business traveller? That will decide what kind of clothes may be mostly required. A flashy unsuitable look gives a very wrong impression. Secondly while it is nice to get new clothes often to keep up with the trends, it is even nicer to opt for some classic styles which can be used for all occasions, mixed and matched with accessories. This is not just to manage budget but also to ensure that the constant buy and discard can be avoided. It is important to remember that style is more permanent and fashion gets recycled and if an apparel is stylish and versatile it will stand us in good stead. Thirdly the social context must be considered, as to whether the event is a business meeting or a evening dinner or a family gathering. Minimalism in jewellery usually works well for workplaces but a few light accessories which can be quickly added always help if one has to rush to a dinner afterwards. Sobriety and Decency in dressing is as important in workplace as well as formal social dinners and even social parties, it always smacks of class and good taste. Comfort and carriage is an important aspect while choosing clothes. Whatever can be carried well and lends comfort makes one look good. Developing a personal style over a period of time by choosing specific styles of clothes and cultivating an image is a good idea for some instead of a confused hotch potch look. Finally it is the personality which always outshines clothes, so the focus must be to groom oneself in carriage, speech, tonal modulation, walk and carrying oneself with confidence. With that in place, and a few well chosen classy pieces , a few Indian and few western which can be considered versatile for many occasions a person is well set for a fast paced lifestyle.