Style has had several definitions over the years. Out of all these definitions, one thing stands out: style is something personal and unique to every individual. It is what you make of or how you wear the clothes you buy.
Out of its many definitions, one, in particular, which is a common definition, stands out to me; the definition of style as a means of expression, a way to speak or communicate who you are without actually opening your mouth or engaging in a conversation. While there is nothing wrong with this definition, I don’t totally agree with it.
When defining style in this manner, we often forget that as human beings, we are not made of one element. We are complex beings: we are usually multidimensional. This is because we have multiple role identities. By multiple role identities, I mean we all have several roles to fit into depending on where we are and with whom we are with. For instance, with your parents, you are to be the good son or daughter. At your workplace, you are to be the good employee or boss. To your spouse, you are to embody the role of a good spouse; to your children, you are to embody the role of a father or mother.
These multiple roles lead to multiple identities that reflect on the way we dress, speak, carry ourselves – our style. Your style when you are visiting a friend will obviously be different from when you are going to work.
Putting this multiple identity factor into consideration; the definition of style as ‘a way to express who you are’ would be incomplete.
Apart from the multiple identity factor effect on our style, we as human beings have varying moods and emotions. These emotions also affect how we express ourselves. Since style is a form of self-expression, these emotions have an effect on our style.
For me, the correct or complete definition of style would be ‘a way to communicate who you are to the world per time’. This means that I can choose to wear a skirt suit today and a distressed jean tomorrow because they both represent who I am.
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At the end of the day, you can’t have just one style. The way you dress is made up of two or more styles. Hence it is only right to consider a person’s style in a particular day as how such a person wants to communicate who he/she is that particular day, and not to view it as the totality of such a person’s style. This would lead to more open-mindedness on our part as human beings as regards to how we view a person’s dressing.