Pandora Sykes recently wrote a very thought provoking piece on her blog about personal style not being dead, and I must say that after reading it my thoughts have indeed been provoked.
I'm a regular contributor on couturesquemag.com and I remember a few months ago writing a piece titled "Has social media killed street style?" In this piece I am adamant that street style is not dead and social media simply democratizes it, which I still believe to be true. However, nowhere in this piece do I truly mention the concept of personal style. Why? Because I considered street style and personal to be pretty much the same thing. I now realise I was wrong.
Street style is the act of one person recording someone else's fashion they find interesting. It's someone seeing either a really crazy or really stylish outfit and thinking it will make a great street style shot to share with the world - and it's because of this personal style is considered to be dying. Fashionistas everywhere know the world's most prestigious fashion publications are roaming fashion week looking for street style shots to share with their audiences, thus many attendees dress in order to get noticed. It's when people stop dressing for themselves and start dressing for the cameras that personal style withers away and loses its integrity.
I personally can't stand peacocking. There's something so unbearable about watching others seek attention. In reality, it's not hard to notice someone who is trying to get noticed but if that's why I'm noticing them then they're obviously not being noticed for the right reasons (are you impressed with the amount of times I said noticed in that sentence?). Surely you'd rather be known for your real style rather than some ostentatious look you threw together for photo ops.
I remember a time when hipsters roamed the earth in their millions and accused those wearing popular fashions of being 'sheep' and completely lacking in personal style. If I had £1 for the amount of times I've heard that said in the past I'd be stupendously rich right now. I'd also be rather smug because I consider those comments moot and irrelevant yet in this hypothetical world they made me rich.
You see, the amount of people in this world donning a certain fashion does not make it less personal to the person wearing it. Popular or not, if something makes you happy and makes you feel like yourself then it is personal. I have black skinny jeans like billions of other people, but by wearing them am I a sheep? Does wearing them strip me of all personal style and individuality? No way Jose. I feel comfortable and like myself in them thus they are personal to me.
The taste of others is inconsequential in relation to personal style. The clue is in the name - "personal" style not "other people's" style. Taste is subjective. Just because one person thinks your shoes are ugly doesn't mean you have no style. For all you know, the next person to see those shoes will love them.
Popular demand of the clothes a person wears and the taste of others are not determinations of whether someone has their own style. Why one dresses the way they do is the determination of whether one has it. If you're dressing to get noticed then I'm soz but I don't consider you to be very stylish. If you dress for yourself and wear clothes because YOU like them then congrats - you got style babe.
It's time we stop confusing street and personal style. Quit dressing for the attention of others and dress for yo'self.