What is fashion and personal style? What’s the difference between these two and why do they matter? What is it about fashion that makes it a trillion dollar global industry? Let’s find out what the true power of fashion really is!
What is Personal Style?
Hey gorgeous! What does personal style mean to you? To me, it’s a way of expressing your personality – not just to the world, but to yourself, too. Your style has nothing to do with the latest fashion. It’s about what you choose to wear, and how. That’s why style never goes out of fashion!
In fact, our style is everything about how we present ourselves – not just with clothes, but with our accessories, our hair, personal grooming, our perfume, everything, even what we carry in our bag or wallet. Even our body-language and our demeanor is a part of our personal style – how we carry ourselves.
It’s a part of our identity, and that’s why it’s for everyone – regardless of their age, gender, place of origin or personality. It’s something we carry with us, embedded within our personality, even when no one’s around. It’s what makes us feel like ourselves, feel comfortable, helps us feel confident and happy.
What is Fashion?
And what is fashion? It’s an art, an expression – it’s wearable art. Just like personal style is defined by how we present ourselves, fashion is the gist of how people in the current time period popularly present themselves – the popular trends.
Fashion is a 1.2 trillion dollar industry globally, and beauty another $95 billion, including skincare, makeup, haircare and perfumes. And yet, fashion is often considered a not-so-intellectual career choice. My alma mater, Harvard University, doesn’t even have a degree in fashion or fashion as a college major.
They say style is like charm – you either have it or you don’t. And although I personally believe that style can be learned and honed, I have often come across people who don’t “get fashion” or ridicule those who do. That’s like a non-athletic person ridiculing the Olympics. But we don’t ever see that happening, since athletics have known health advantages. But what advantages does fashion have?
Personal Style Matters
And that’s why our personal style translates into what we wear, not just when we go out, but at home, too, and even when we sleep. I love cute and soft sleepwear. For me to get a good night’s rest, I need to be in comfy sleepwear. I’ve been asked more often than I can believe, “Why are you going to bed looking this good? No one is watching you sleep!” or “Is it so you can look good in your dreams?”, as if dressing well is a reason to get ridiculed. All these people have one thing in common – they don’t realize what is fashion and what’s the importance of personal style.
And then some have asked me, “I can’t look good all the time! Why do I need to look good everyday?”, to which one of my friends had the perfect reply, “I don’t know why you would look bad when you can look good!” Not dressing up and looking totally terrible are two very different things. You don’t have to be too dressed up all the time. Similarly, you can’t let yourself dress terribly at any time. As I said before, it’s all about what makes you feel comfy, and confident, and like yourself.
A Positive Self-Image
What is fashion sense? Well, it’s the understanding (and love) for putting aesthetically pleasing outfits together. It’s having a good personal style. Your fashion sense helps you create your first impression, both at home and at work, with friends and even with strangers. In fact, it creates an impression for you everyday, even to yourself. It can help you create a positive self image.
The Power of Personal Style
Now that you know what is fashion and personal style, it’s a great idea to discover how powerful they can really be. Here are some of the points from my video. Your personal style sends subconscious signals to those around you. In an interview, it may make you come across as more confident, or speak against you. It may make others perceive you as wealthy or it may talk about your interests. It may make you come across as an introvert, a flirt, a traveler, a leader or just a generally happy person.
At work, your fashion style may get you fired, or get you a promotion. It helps us gel in, or even stand out in a crowd. That’s why your style needs to be carefully curated, and updated, too. Your personal style is something that starts developing when you’re a child, along with your personality. It can be worked upon, too. It keeps evolving, and you can control it.
So dressing well is one of the first steps to creating a good lifestyle. If you ever catch yourself feeling dull, or stuck in a rut, update your fashion sense. Work on your body language, change your hair, your perfume, or even your reading glasses, and you’ll feel new again.
Shilpa Ahuja a designer and entrepreneur. She is the editor-in-chief of ShilpaAhuja.com, which she founded with the goal of inspiring confidence in the modern working woman through fashion.
Fashion has traditionally been for the rich, white, thin woman. That’s how it evolved over centuries and that’s how it’s been represented in fashion media. But Shilpa believes that with the changing role of women in the society, fashion has changed, too. She believes that fashion is for everyone, regardless of their age, gender, color, body type and background. So she translates runway fashion into easy style advice that one can incorporate into their daily lives.
Shilpa’s work has been published in the University of Fashion blog and Jet Airways magazine. She is also an artist, illustrator and cartoonist. She is also the creator of Audrey O., a comic series that represents the lifestyle of millennial women. She enjoys creative writing and world travel. Her art has been exhibited at Harvard Graduate School of Design and the Aroma Hotel, Chandigarh and been published in Chandigarh Times.
Originally from Chandigarh, Shilpa also has a professional degree in architecture and has worked in interior project management. She is also the author of the book “Designing a Chinese Cultural Center in India”. Shilpa has a Masters in Design Studies degree from Harvard University. For feedback and questions, please email [email protected]