Okay, so I have always been a bit of a girly girl. When I was a kid, I loved getting lost in my own world and dressing up in all sorts of eccentric outfits. It was all part of the fun, and I started building my identity with the clothes I wore. Clothes became more than just material coverage over my body, I began to stitch together my own unique style. My style became the thread through which I could communicate my identity — what makes me me. And we all have our own way of putting together our clothes and accessories that make up our unique style. But what influences our style? We are an evolving bunch of people with a web of influences drawn from the past, present and future. Fashion trends, culture, social influences are all weaved together to form the thread of our style. Join me on my journey as I set out to discover where our style comes from.

It’s an expression

To get to the needle in a haystack — where our style comes from — we need to look at ourselves as individuals and how we respond to external influences. In a way it’s a form of identity exploration. It’s our way of conveying an aspect of ourselves to the world. Someone who is carefree, open-minded and with a wide range of interests from travel, food, books and film may go for a bohemian style or something edgy that will make a statement. On the opposite end of the scale are those who are more practical, conventional, prone to routine — and this is carried through in their fashion preference. I have an artistic temperament which is showcased in the clothes I wear — I love mixing and matching textures, colours or a touch of vintage to my go-to black jeans and t-shirts.

Impressions count

Do we dress to impress? Do we want to stand out or blend in? Yes, first impressions do count, and we can certainly use our visual appearance to control people’s perception of us. When we know we look good, we also feel damn good. What we wear influences our mood. Our style may be just what we need to give us the confidence to conquer the day. Is it about our sex appeal and appearing more attractive to the opposite sex? There is also such a thing as a dress-code. So depending on our work environment, we may have to make sure the clothes we wear are on par with the company’s image. Luckily, my work environment is pretty chilled. So, as long as I do not wear anything inappropriate or revealing, I can dress for comfort or according to my own style preference.

It’s sewn into the history of style icons

I think we can all admit that we have been slaves to fashion at least once in our lives, buying an item of clothing because, well, our friends are all wearing it. And we are social beings. We want to feel part of something. So, we look to the people around us, what our friends are wearing and who we resonate with. If we look at our cultural history, it is evident that our style preferences resonate with famous movie stars, musicians or even political figures.

Welcome to the 60s

 

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An inspiring figure in the world of fashion, we can all recognise Audry Hepburn’s tight black dress, pearl necklace, french cigarette holder and luscious eyebrows. I know I’d do anything for her gorgeous brows!

Elizabeth Taylor dazzled us with her glamour and pioneered our love of diamonds. And who didn’t want to be a sophisticated princess like Grace Kelly?

Were you a Marilyn or a Jackie? In the 60s, women would aspire to the voluptuous sex appeal of Marilyn Manroe, wearing tight dresses, heels, cherry red lips and platinum hair of course; or the classic Jackie Kennedy look, mimicking her skirt sets with a box-shaped jacket, delicate gloves and smart hats sitting jauntily to one side.

And then there was Twiggy. The 60s It Girl for the edgy trendsetters, with the ultimate mod bod and thick mascara. Where casual meets cutting edge and downright quirky, Twiggy’s trademark fashion is a definite inspiration to me.

Lauren Bacall knew how to pull off the prints — whether it was a silk blouse, smart blazer, tight pencil skirts or pleated trousers, she made still professional attire look effortlessly stylish.

Swinging on to the 70s

 

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A style for him and her, drawing inspiration from social movements, pop culture and the psychedelic music scene, the 70s was all about the expression. And big names, such as Joni Mitchell, Cher, and Bianca Jagger awakened a mix match of hippie chick, glamorous rock and spunky punk fashion styles.

Pop up to the 80s

 

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Let’s not forget about Madonna, the ultimate 80s pop diva who morphed into an extravagant butterfly on stage. An influential fashion guru in the industry, Madonna changed the way people viewed artists.

What about the 90s?

 

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Grunge alternative rock subculture of the 90s inspired the heroin chic fashion movement, with supermodel Kate Moss and Jamie King epitomising the waifish moody look.

It’s the millennium baby

 

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The new millennium brought with it “apple bottom jeans and boots with the fur”, and not to mention (cringing at the thought) ultra glossy lip gloss, choker necklaces, gaucho pants and sweats — and the likes of Britney Spears, Beyoncé, Paris Hilton and the Olsen twins showed us the way.

Today it’s all about social media

 

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Social media is now our main style influence. I’m a big fan of Pinterest and I love browsing this platform to get an idea of what’s trending and to draw my inspiration for my outfits. Instagram is also a great tool to search for fashion and style related hashtags to see how celebrities are wearing the latest trends.

“Shopping every Sunday at the mall”

And then there is our consumerist shopping culture. I know when I casually browse the nearest shopping mall, I can’t help but be drawn to beautiful outfits that adorn the mannequins in the likes of Zara and H&M.

It’s in the way we wear it

So, it all comes down to how we use those trends and translate them into something that expresses us. “Fashion is what you wear, style is how you wear it.” So, it’s not just about the clothes we wear, it’s also about how we wear them. It comes down to knowing our bodies, what works, what doesn’t work, what we feel comfortable in and how it mirrors our way of life. I, for one, really have to be aware of my body structure when I choose my clothes. I’m a small, petite person, so trying to pull off wide legged trousers is just out of the question.

Where does your style come from? I’d like to know. Feel free to share in the comment section below.

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