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Falling in love with fashion again

By Denola Grey
09 July 2016   |   2:27 am
Have you ever felt like you were in a style rut? You seemed to be stuck in a loop of four-to-five outfits that were executed the same way? What about feeling slightly jaded ...
Denola Grey

Denola Grey

Have you ever felt like you were in a style rut? You seemed to be stuck in a loop of four-to-five outfits that were executed the same way? What about feeling slightly jaded about personal style? Or feeling little-to-no excitement at the prospect of dressing up and maybe sometimes feeling dread even? If you haven’t felt any of these things, you are super lucky. I definitely have, and as I am predisposed to playing the part of the stereotypically dramatic fashion enthusiast, I referred to this rut as my “style-apocalypse”.

It all started earlier this year, there were a couple of weddings and events that called for a dapper look. My usual “go-to” would have been a nice tailored suit, plain shirt and a color-complementing bowtie. After the first few events, It got harder for me to put on my “old faithful “ looks. I started looking for ways to avoid going to events all together and sometimes even deviated significantly from the advised dress code.

I began to wonder what was up with me. Was I in need of a dapper break? Or had I lost my sense of style altogether? The latter thought sent chills down my spine, as I began imagining a life in which I lacked the discerning eye for fashion where I would ultimately throw in the towel and become a tank-top wearing, sweat pants and crocs enthusiast. Whatever was going on had started affecting my mood and the way I dressed and I knew I had to address the issue quickly.

It’s important, first of all, to understand the difference between fashion and style. It’s a popular question that I get asked fairly often. My view is that fashion is a set of different tools that are deemed worthy of a trend while style is the subjective expression of individuality using the tools presented by fashion. Somewhere along the way, I seemed to forget my own musings. I started feeling pressure to be on top of all the trends but I couldn’t reconcile that with my personal style. The tension I felt lay in the crux of individuality and popular culture. I started seeing the whole thing as a cage and as a result, apathy began to ensue for it all; fashion, style and any event that made me have to think about it.

Now it was time, to pull myself out of this rut and return to my former (personal) glory. I did it in three steps. The first was through a lot of introspection. Personal style is a reflection of ones personality. Your style at any given point is a timestamp or measure of where you are in life. As human beings, we tend to be quite dynamic and it should only follow that because of our predisposition to change, our personal style should be dynamic as well. What happens when we change significantly, mature if you will, and don’t make the conscious effort to update our style is the beginning stages of a style rut. It’s important to figure yourself out, address what’s going on inside and then bring that out in your choice of clothing and overall ensembles.

Secondly, I decided to not take myself too seriously. If you noticed, I’ve had a bit of a serious tone teetering on the edge of gloom and doom when referring to my rut. As they say, “ it really isn’t that deep”. As I mentioned earlier, fashion is a tool, which makes style the finished product. Using different materials or tools over ones you’ve used in the past gives you an entirely different product. What I’m saying is, don’t be afraid to try new things. See if you can put a personal spin on a reigning trend for instance.

Switch it up every once in a while. Guys, if you are predisposed to dapper looks or a more laid-back vibe, how about you try something edgier? Ladies, if you are really into flirty, floaty looks, try something more androgynous. Keep tweaking the available fashion tools until you create a look you love and that has staying power

Finally, I “Remixed and Re-upped”. I basically, took my go-to outfits, and remixed them. The trick is to try on “old faithful”, add something on, take something off, under-accessorize or over accessorize the look. Tweak a staple style you have and make it work for you. Also bear in mind that trends never really go away, we have an entire library of trends that we can choose from and include in our wardrobes today. Whether it’s the sophisticated glam of the 40’s or the bright jarring colors of the 80’s, you can always bring a look back and add your modern twist to it.

So there it is ladies and gentlemen. I survived style-apocalypse and I came out on the other side. It is definitely not a science, but those three steps helped me get through my style rut. Try it and see how it works out. What I found during this journey was that a lot of how we portray ourselves with fashion tells a lot about how we feel about ourselves. I have never been happier than I am now, looking my best. Someone wise once told me, “you look good, you feel good, you feel good, you do good” and I couldn’t agree more. I fell in love with fashion again the moment I fell in love with who I had become.