The definition of ‘Fashion’ (according to the Cambridge Dictionary) is a “Style that is popular at a particular time”. While current fast-fashion culture means that trends change every day, I believe that fashion should be something more personal that we embrace, finding our own style preferences rather than trying to fit into a particular category.
As the winter season rolls around, all most of us want to do is wrap up in the biggest warmest coats we have and sometimes style is overlooked in the winter. Personally, I find autumn and winter my favourite time of year for fashion as due to the colder weather, there are no restrictions on what you can wear as layering is a requirement and all the clothing needed to keep you warm allows you to play around with different colours, styles and textures. In addition, with the hot summer months, wearing less clothing in an attempt to stay cool brings the battle with self-confidence for some as you’re limited to what you can do with your outfit to make yourself feel comfortable with your body.
While the immediate response may just be to stop trying with your style for a few months and cover everything up, I think that winter is the perfect time to start experimenting with your style, using staples such as coats (see Pam’s guide on the previous pages for a place to start), scarves and boots to bring your outfits to life and try new colours you wouldn’t normally go for. Winter fashion doesn’t have to be as grey as the weather outside, so use this season to find what is truly you. Once we reach spring, with your new found colour palette and a better sense of the style you want to have, you should feel more confident to try new things and develop even more.
In reality, what I think most of us should be doing is just embracing who we are and how we want to dress, despite the amount of pressure there is to conform to a specific style. I go through phases where I’ll wear my Nike Air Force 1 Sage every day, then the next week it’s my Emmeline Dr Martens turn, and then suddenly I’m wearing a skirt and blazer co-ord suit and loafers. It really just depends on my mood on the day as to what style I’ll go for. I used to struggle with the idea that I didn’t really have my own set style and that I fluctuated so much that I lost a sense of who I wanted to be. Now when I get ready in the morning or go shopping for clothes, I try and look at every day uniquely, rather than conforming to a certain style.
I think that this pressure also stems from the use of stereotypes in the media, film and on TV. Many media theorists such as David Gauntlett and Stuart Hall talk about how media producers use stereotypes and connotations within their characters to help their audience relate to and to easily represent a particular class, gender, personality or group in society. These hegemonic values then transfer to us when we are choosing our outfits because we feel a pressure to adopt a specific style according to the influences around us. If you’ve seen films such as Grease or The Breakfast Club, then you’ll know how the main characters are reduced down to their stereotyped personalities, also represented by their fashion sense (the bad boy who wears leather, the popular girl who wears pink skirts, the intellectual who wears glasses and a trench coat, the emo that only wears black).
In The Breakfast Club, one of the most famous quotes is – “You see us as you want to see us – in the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions. But what we found out is that each one of us is a brain… and an athlete… and a basket case… a princess… and a criminal.”
This perfectly encapsulates how we are quick to try and make ourselves fit somewhere when actually, we should just embrace who we are and the many different styles we might want to explore.
Overall, we should try and let go of these restrictions in fashion and discover our true sense of who we are, channelled through the many different style options available to us. Develop the meaning of ‘Fashion’ into a style that is popular and important in representing you, rather than trying to imitate or fit into a certain trend or subculture.