Whether or not someone “has style” gets bandied about a lot, without a lot of thought to the deeper meaning of the word style. Yes, it refers to how someone is dressed, their haircut, & how they put things together, but it’s not just about having the latest It Bag or a pair of incredible Balenciaga shoes.
Style equals expression. It’s how you put your elements together in the way that’s unique to you. & it’s not just your clothes! It’s how you walk, the way you talk, the pen you use, your handwriting, the dishes you put your food on, the non-verbal cues you send out (here are some great links to body language cues), the theme you choose for your Twitter page… You get the idea! It’s how we express what is in our hearts and minds to the rest of the world.
Style does not slavishly follow fashion. Style marches to its own drummer, & yes, pays attention to fashion, but adapts, absorbs, carefully selects what fits & discards the rest. Style is constantly evolving. Style, whether you like it or not, affects our individual interpersonal relationships. People are influenced by what they can see—we humans don’t have a lot of faith in each other. Therefore we make judgments based on our senses. We see each other as objects, rather than as people.
Okay, so I can hear the chorus now: “Why should I care what other people think of me? Isn’t it most important that I care about me & damn the consequences? Why should I strive to be my best when there are people everywhere just getting by? It seems to be working for them!”
Well, yes and no. We all have an ideal vision of who we want to be. Close your eyes. Picture it. Is it exactly how you are now? Probably not. I’m willing to bet that it’s a rather small percentage of people who are actually happy with themselves exactly as they are. Those areas where you don’t match? That’s where the growth comes in. In many of those areas, a little stylish wisdom wouldn’t hurt at all. The closer you get to the ideal version of yourself, the closer you get to having through-the-roof self esteem, & the closer you get to having amazing relationships. Like it or not, your whole entire life is built on relationships, from your love life to your career & more.
However, style is individual. How you choose to express yourself is not the same as how I choose. My tattoos, favourite purple sparkly bracelet with my name on it, or my extra-comfy and glittery sandals, these may not be your cup of tea. That’s alright! It doesn’t have to be! What are your favourite things? How do you express them? That’s where your personal style comes in to play.
Your reputation is part of your style. Make sure it’s impeccable. If it’s not, figure out how to clean it up! Guard your reputation very carefully, because once it’s tainted (& I’m speaking from experience), it’s very difficult to clean it back up again.
Confidence is part of your style. Enjoying yourself and not caring what others may think of that says far more about you than standing around at a party, too cool to get involved. I actually wrote about this recently, in my post On Enthusiasm.
Be distinct. Be unique. Be different. Most importantly, be you. Express yourself in everything you do. Because life is too short to be the same as anyone else.