Do You Have Style?

styleSome consider having style means carrying the latest “it” bag or wearing the most current trend taken from the pages of Vogue. I have a different take on the subject.

Any average Jane can rip out a page from a fashion magazine, bring it to her local department store or boutique and copy a look from head to toe. This says nothing of her intelligence, attitude, energy or character.

You can show up at the “right” parties, mingle with the glitterati and don your Jackie O shades, but at the end of the day, how do you treat people?

Real style is not about wearing the newest trends, getting your name on the list, or buying the most expensive bauble. Some of the chicest women I know are masters at mixing high and low. Dressing in designer duds from head to toe is the opposite of real style and gets you the “most boring” award in my book.

Style is not something that can be imitated. That’s because it is 100% individual. And being an individual in today’s copycat world takes courage, determination and just a dash of a rebellious attitude. To have style, you have to be willing to free yourself from convention and be true to who you are.

And while many equate style with having a certain fashion sensibility, that’s only a small part of the equation. Knowing what looks good on you and not falling for every fleeting trend is a good start, but style has much more substance than that.

It’s sending a hand-written thank you note instead of an email.

It’s surrounding yourself with things that you love and letting go of the rest.

It’s having an easygoing charm and self-deprecating sense of humor that puts others at ease in your presence.

It’s listening more than you talk.

It’s grace under pressure.

It’s please and thank you and generous acts of kindness.

It’s the knowledge that you’re not the center of the universe, but as an individual, you can make a unique contribution in the world.

It’s having a strong sense of one’s own developing taste – in art, fashion, décor – and not being afraid to experiment and express it.

It’s knowing who you are and embodying it with integrity, authenticity, effortlessness and individual flair.

It’s Kate Middleton, not Kim Kardashian. George Clooney, not Spencer Pratt. Michelle Obama, not Sarah Palin. You get the picture.

Real style will always be somewhat elusive. It’s a bit mysterious, alluring and altogether untouchable. It’s that special something you can’t quite put your finger on, but you know it’s there. It’s inimitable. Style is too individual and too complex to ever be copied.  It’s exactly this level of individuality that may be the most crucial ingredient of true style.

© Liz Dennery Sanders 2011

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