Yep, I feel ya, Pal. It's a topic that gives you a lot to think about. Can you define them? Perhaps the most important question to be considered is whether there is in fact a difference between style and fashion. Can they be divided into two completely separate entities, with different meanings and purposes? Or are they too similar in context to separate? Of course if you took the physical definition of the two words you would find that they are in fact two totally different things, but in the context of clothes and being on trend is there still this same distinction?
The world of fashion is a fickle thing, to be a part of it you must be always mindful of your clothes and how you wear them. For those that take an interest in this world, it is easy to see that we must constantly judge ourselves and others. We do not do it in a malicious way, but still with a mind set on subjectivity; our personal opinion affects nearly everything. I am sure that nearly all of you will find yourself wandering around, quietly sizing up the outfits of passers by; gauging their confidence; deciding whether they are an individual or just following a crowd and whether they do actually have style or a concept of fashion.
Lets start by trying to define what style and fashion actually constitute. We should remember however, that this is a very subjective issue, you may not agree with what I say, but that is the basis of a good debate. You should however, form your own opinions. To me, style and fashion are completely different things, they purport to different aspects of clothing and its related world as a whole.
Being stylish or having style is about much more than just clothes. It is about the lifestyle you choose, it requires a depth of knowledge and understanding that would make you a well rounded person, it shows that you have passion for all those things we often take for granted: music, food, travel, culture and art. You should exude a careful confidence and have mastered the sweeping glance that makes women really want to be with you and men really want to be you.
Of course, style is just as much, if not more about the clothes than the lifestyle. After all there isn't any point in being the perfect person: cultured and refined, without a superb wardrobe. Style is eternal, it is classic, transitive, quality, considered and precise, each outfit should work perfectly for you and you should look perfect in it. This is not to say that everyone will agree with your assertions of perfection (subjectivity remember), but not everyone has an eye for style. Those gifted with such a thing however will almost always recognise the person who has made the effort, and while they may be few and far between, if you are observant, you will catch the odd glance, the quick look that will tell you that you have achieved what you set out to achieve – a perfect look.
For me, fashion is a thing of two halves. One half is the fashion based around trends; the latest brands and items and recreating the current looks – Military, Biker and Nautical to name but a few. It remains intrinsically linked to the constantly changing face of the fashion world and is far more temporary than style, but it is only temporary to the extent that it is always evolving and shifting. In this sense fashion is about the pushing boundaries, mixing new and old whilst always keeping sight of what is on trend.
The other half is the fashion of the masses. A key element of fashion or style is obviously the interest in clothes and fashion; you won’t take a particularly keen interest in something that doesn't really bother you, and this is the key to this half of the debate: can you still be interested in your appearance and how you look and what you wear, even be called fashionable, but not be the least bit interested in the latest trends or having style?
With this question we come back to good old subjectivity. We all have our own ideas, so it would be perfectly acceptable for example to argue that joggers (this is just an example, remember) are in fact very fashionable. Why would everyone wear them if they weren't? It is human nature to want to fit in, someone that is different in either action or appearance is often at a disadvantage. I experience it every time I go home. The look I have created for myself, which I should point out is not to far out of the ordinary, just doesn't work back in my home town (a small town in the middle of Ireland) – while in Dublin it fits perfectly well.
My home town is a place where the brands of choice are Superdry, Hollister and Jack Wills – but this is the fashion of the area, of the people. While we might sniff at these brands and the looks they produce, we should remember that the people who are truly interested in fashion and style are in the minority, so while we sniff at them, they probably sniff back at the chap who is being very fashion forward with block colour outfits, but to them looks just like a pack of skittles. When we consider both sides, it becomes a lot harder to distinguish which party is the fashionable, stylish one.
In my opinion Style and Fashion are two completely different things. It is clear that fashion has a much stronger link to the catwalk and its transient nature, whilst style is more permanent. However, being part of one or the other is no bad thing, its how you create yourself within either of them that will mark you out from the masses. As for the question of whether the style of the few or the fashion of the rest is the better side, of course I would choose the former. No matter what people think, it is nearly always better to be different – be it subtle or obvious, daring or reserved – following the crowd isn't always the best choice.