Friday, September 30, 2011

individuality vs dress codes.

What makes someone's style unique?

I'm sure everyone likes to think of themselves as having a personal style/individuality, but it's probably easiest to fall into the cookie-cutter masses of readily available chain-store apparel.

After reading Susie Lau's (aka Susie Bubble) piece in Elle UK, it got me thinking about how, on many occasions, I have been too concerned about what others would think about the way I'm dressed instead of catering to myself first. This "the public before me" thought process is inevitable: we need to dress appropriately for job interviews, weddings, etc. There are social norms, protocols, and whatnot that are drilled into our heads at an early age.

I'm not saying that dress codes are bad; I am all for them! To me, following a dress code is showing respect. Does following a dress code mean you have to be boring? Not at all. Working within restrictions is a great way to exercise your creativity. Push the envelope; see how far you can skirt the line between acceptable and wholly inappropriate.

While I was in design school, we were given projects with very little restrictions and encouraged to go crazy. Our instructors knew that once we graduated into the working world, we'd not have the same type of freedom for projects. When I first started working, I felt like my creativity was being stunted, but over time I've learned to inject little details that maybe the client didn't ask for, but definitely ends up appreciating.

Subconsciously, I have used the same attitude for design work as I do with my wardrobe: always let the details speak out for your creativity and don't let restrictions be the end all.

/random incoherent spiel

What do you feel makes your style unique? I'd love to know your views on this topic.


  1. This may sound cliche, but I think the attitude/confidence of the wearer is just as important. You and I could be wearing similar outfits, but what makes us stand apart?

    Also, I think having a sentimental piece of jewelry or accessory also gives character to an outfit. I have a necklace from my Bestie that I aLmost always wear, and I don't care if it "matches" my outfit or not.

    Great post!

  2. Hmm, I think there's only so many 'looks' that someone's style can fall into that in the end everything looks redundant. But for someone who isn't very fashion conscious or open minded then seeing someone dress the 60s or 70s style might just be considered unique in their books. I think it's great that we have so many fashion bloggers out there for inspiration! And it's great we take inspiration from the trends of different eras too. I also agree with jewelry and accessorizing to make an outfit your own.

    I think for myself I just wear what I'm comfortable wearing and seeing myself in. As long as I like it and it's appropriate for the event. I think that also plays a big factor, the environment you're in. When there's a dress code, I think I find little ways to break the dress code just to incorporate a bit of me in there unless it's super strict.

    I find thrift stores have great unique pieces to make an outfit more personal while helping me stay on trend. : )

  3. Even if you fall into the trap of buying chain-store apparel, as you say, I think the person's individuality and style can still shine through. It's all in the mix (high/low, vintage/new, obscure/mass market).

  4. Totally agree with you - dress code is about respect. And just because you show that respect doesn't mean you can't inject your own interpretation within reason.

    Sometimes it's about how you wear the pieces and mix them. As Lisa already said, mixing things unexpectedly whether it's colours or patterns or high/low, it's all about how you pull it off. And I do agree, the devil is in the details. I love having an heirloom piece that had a story or something I picked up on my travels.


merci beaucoup!