What’s the Distinction Between Fashion and Style?

I think there’s a fine line between fashion and style, making it confusing for people who don’t know the difference. Of course, as with anything, there are many interpretations of these two definitions. Just to give you a standard idea of what these definitions are, I looked them up in the OED.

Style, n.

1. A distinctive appearance, typically determined by the principles according to which something is designed
2. A manner of doing something 

Fashion, n.
1. A popular trend, especially in styles of dress and ornament or manners of behavior
2. A manner of doing something 

The way I like to distinguish between the two comes from Coco Chanel…

“Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.” 

“Fashion fades, only style remains the same. “

I believe fashion comes first. Fashion is what you see on the runway, in the stores and magazines. Fashion is what influences your style. Style is your very own personal interpretation of what you’re seeing.

Fashion is basically trends. When a lot of people hear that word, trend, it kind of turns them off. I don’t think trends are a bad thing though. Think about it: without trends, without people, places and things to inspire us, how would we come up with style? I do agree that you shouldn’t wear trends just for the fact that they are “in.” But in a lot of ways, trends help to define what we like and don’t like; one trend can be adapted millions of different ways to fit into our own sense of style.

So I think the difference between fashion and style, is that fashion is what we see and style is how we take what we see and make it our own. 

Do you have a different interpretation than I do? I’d love to hear it in the comments below!

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