Why Style Is NOT Fashion

“Fashion is what you buy, style is what you do with it.”

—Unknown

Why Style Is NOT Fashion | GENTLEMAN WITHIN

I quickly wanted to address this topic because it’s been on my mind of late. It’s the idea that style and fashion are the same. They’re NOT.

People always ask me, “how’s the fashion thing going?” They tell me that I’m so fashionable or that I have a great fashion sense. No one ever refers to it as style. I’d like to clarify that there’s a clear distinction between the two.

GQ Style Conor McGregor Cover
GQ Style and Fashion Magazine—Spring 2017 | credit: GQ

I was at Barnes & Noble browsing through the latest issue of GQ Style (GQ Fashion seems more appropriate) and came across a few spreads that slightly irked me. I know GQ is all about pushing boundaries and seeking the hottest trends, but what I saw made me realize why so many men hate fashion.

The GQ’s of the world often push outlandish styles that will have you looking ridiculous and inappropriately dressed for most occasions. No practicality whatsoever. Which leads me to believe that fashion sucks.

Okay, but what if $2,695 cardigans are your thing? Then maybe you love fashion. Go ahead and check out GQ’s take on trends worth trying in 2017.

All of this may seem trivial, sure—but I’m not a ‘fashion blogger.’ I don’t really care to be known as the ‘fashion guy.’ I just appreciate good style and dressing the part.

FASHION IS ART

You can scroll through the images above.

Fashion can be many things, but it is not style. A friend of mine who’s a fashion photographer occasionally does shoots for Fashion Week. Subjects on the runway are often abstract and aggressive, leaning much trendier than the norm.

The above slideshow takes it to an extreme, and the first image is downright unwearable. Style is NOT about Fashion Week. And though fashion as art can serve as a political statement or social commentary, it ain’t style.

WHAT’S HERE TODAY IS GONE TOMORROW

“Fashions fade, style is eternal.”

—Yves Saint Laurent

Ah, the often quoted Yves Saint Laurent saying. It couldn’t be any truer. Though it kills me that their t-shirts cost this much. I get it. High fashion has to be expensive or else people wouldn’t buy it. So long as celebrities, athletes and people with cash to burn keep buying, high fashion’s not going anywhere.

GQ Kanye West Guide To Fashion
Achieve God-Level fashion courtesy of Kanye West | credit: GQ

I don’t really understand high fashion and designer labels. Or why GQ loves to endorse every style move by Kanye West. Just because someone has influence, doesn’t mean everything they do should be taken as gospel.

With fashion, what’s here today is gone tomorrow. And then the cycle repeats itself.

If you’re like me, then you probably pass on the latest and greatest trends in menswear. I wear what I like and what looks good to me. I couldn’t care less if what I’m wearing isn’t in season.

Designer brands? Forget about it, style doesn’t have to be expensive. People think I spend a lot on clothes, but I don’t. I’m frugal as hell and try to be thrifty whenever adding to my wardrobe. I shop sales and find online deals. I’m working on paring down and have become more intentional with what makes it into my wardrobe.

Want to talk fashion? I don’t really want to hear it. But we can talk about style.

STYLE AND FASHION IN THE END

Though people will continue to lump style and fashion together, I hope that I’ve illustrated why they’re not the same.

I think fashion (or the perception of it) is what prevents many men from dressing better in the first place. It’s a choice a man makes to consciously care about his appearance, starting with what he wears and ultimately how he presents himself to the world that can make all the difference.

Hating fashion is no excuse for dressing like a slob. Understanding that style is a journey and that style is worth caring about, (not fashion) puts you way ahead of the pack. Still not convinced? Here’s 10 reasons to dress like you give a damn.

Style Comes From Within | Gentleman Within

On to you. What’s your take on style vs. fashion?

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  • Yes I agree! I’ve noticed that some people call themselves fashion and style bloggers, which is why I first started thinking about the distinction between the two, though I never really thought about it enough to articulate -Audrey | Brunch at Audrey’s

    • Yeah, it’s so common to use the terms interchangeably, but by continuing to do this we blur the lines. Men shouldn’t have to care about fashion. But style is another story and the more we can create this distinction, I think the better we can be!

      Thanks for reading, Audrey!