The difference between fashion and style

The difference between style and fashion

When I see teenage girls today, I just can’t fathom how trendy they are. I know that sentence makes me sound like an old grandma, but seriously. In the age of instagram, being a teenager would be HARD. Especially being a teenage girl who wants to look good and fit in. HOWEVER: I feel like teenage girls of today are fashionable and trendy, but not stylish.

To be fair, your style takes a long time to curate and understand. As an older teenager, I loved fashion, but from my wardrobe you’d never know it. While my own cupboard was heavy on hoodies and t-shirts, I actually knew designers, could recognise items from collections, knew fabrics and cuts. It just didn’t translate into my own wardrobe as a teenager living in small rural town with limited funds and limited access to shops in the pre-online shopping world – there were really only two places in town where someone my age could shop, and the look de jour was very much surf brands and skater shoes, plus the heyday of Supre (Australia’s then answer to Forever21, I guess) and JayJays – think terrible slogan tees and the whole ‘emo’ look that reigned supreme from approximately 2003 to 2006.

Full disclosure, I never really got into the emo look. I just didn’t understand it, even if Avril Lavigne’s CD was high rotation (second only to Michelle Branch). I’m pretty happy I didn’t get it to be honest – with glasses and braces, I don’t need any more hallmarks of that painfully awkward time evidenced in photographic form. From the age of 14 on, I basically just wanted to wear American prep clothes – if Marissa Cooper wore it, I was game. This meant lots of pastel polos, ra-ra skirts, pearl studs, keds, and Ralph Lauren perfume bought after months of saving pocket money we occasionally received. So much of my style was influenced by what I was seeing on American teen shows, and in American magazines.

Anytime I went to a new town, I’d insist on going into the newsagency to check if they had Teen Vogue. I vividly remember being in Wagga Wagga (the nearest city which is really just a large country town) with my parents on languid summer Saturdays, tar blistering in the main street, and me jumping out of my skin with excitement at the thought of maybe, just maybe, finding a newsagent’s that stocked Teen Vogue and had some back issues. I think I made them go to every newsagency in central Wagga in pursuit of what was then my bible. To tell the truth though, Teen Vogue is even now one of my favourite magazines.

As a teenager, I’d hoard these magazines away. In my mind, Australian magazines were for cutting up to make collages and to cover school books. American magazines were for pouring over every detail, then treasuring for weeks until I could find a new one while passing through another town, or the local newsagency got the latest issue, which only happened intermittently.

When Gossip Girl came along when I was 18, I really wanted to think that I had the same taste as Blair, but in reality I was much more Serena in my day-to-day: denim cut-offs, stripes, loose waves. I loved Blair’s aesthetic but it doesn’t translate to the Australian lifestyle very easily. Instead I took different cues from Blair for getting dressed up, which meant dark curls, pearls, perpetually painted nails, black lace (remember that black lace dress she wears in the first ever episode?).

Even now, fashion is very much something I admire and read about, but more through the lens of style. To my mind, style is how you interpret fashion to work for you. I know there are key trends each season that just won’t work on me. I know that a Blair Waldorf knock off outfit isn’t really me. Conversely though, I know what is me – classic, understated, muted with pops of red and pink, lots of black, white and navy, stripes, leopard print, jeans, dresses with sleeves, gold jewellery – essentially, just really simple basics with pops of trends. Getting to your style is a journey, and one that evolves your entire life. I highly doubt that three, five or ten years time I’ll be wearing the same styles that I am now, but I know the basic tenants will stay the same – classic, relaxed, polished.

If you’re still here through that rambling diatribe on finding your style, well – onto some fashion that my teenage self would have been equally impressed with.

Alexandre Birman vibes…

I’ve been obsessed with the Alexandre Birman Patty and Clarita heels for months now, and stumbled across this verrrry similar pair from Seed Heritage, in red suede (!), for a fraction of the price. Call that a win.

Waste of shiny clams, or investment piece?

Would it be completely frivolous if I got one of these Simon Miller mini tote bags? Probably. At $580 it’s not a throw away purchase, but it’s a bag that’s been on my mind.

If you don’t have hips, you’ll be fine…

H&M is so good at the moment! Never mind that I can’t buy pants or skirts there because I have, (quelle horreur) hips and a bum, but there are lots of cute tops for the picking. If you are more straight up and down in build, get thee in store now and buy all the pants and skirts I couldn’t, please! I loved this this gingham ruffled mini, these cream ring loop pants and this ice blue, so-Kate-Middleton-it-hurts wrapover dress.

If you do have hips, buy these instead:

To continue the H&M love, I picked up this black crepe ruffle strap singlet (wear with jeans and simple black sandals for a casual vibe, or team with a black skirt and heels for nighttime), a blazer-slash-field jacket to wear with leopard flats, denim shorts and a white tee, and this simple two in one white t-shirt with blue and white striped poplin hem (you know I can’t pass up blue and white poplin!).


Image: Garance Dore



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