We can thank social media, in particular TikTok for the recent ‘wearing versus styling’ trend (+100 million views on TikTok and still counting) which took platforms by storm and influenced a whole new audience on how to dress and refresh their wardrobes. So, what exactly is wearing versus styling clothes? Quite simply it’s going back to basics and styling clothes you already own to create a brand-new look.
Wearing refers to the act of putting on clothing and accessories to cover our bodies and protect us from the elements. We choose our clothing based on practical considerations like weather, comfort and occasion. On the other hand, styling is where the magic of fashion happens, it’s the art of combining various clothing pieces and accessories to create a coherent and visually pleasing look.
Putting on my fashion stylist hat, I truly believe that style is about how you put a look together as opposed to the actual clothes. The phrase, “fashion is what you buy, style is what you do with it”, comes to mind here as personal style is authentic to each person and a way for everyone to express their personality through clothing. It takes time, experimentation and a little bit of confidence to achieve your own style - and own it. Wearing versus Styling is not about going out and buying a whole new outfit every time – it’s about buying less and buying smarter and knowing how to pull it together and layer items to create different, timeless looks.
‘Quiet luxury’ is a trend that is not going away anytime soon, and I personally truly believe this epitomizes wearing versus styling clothes. It’s all about the simple basics in your wardrobe and building from there, keeping the look easy, effortless and elevated. A capsule wardrobe is the key element to begin with (ensuring you have good quality, timeless items such as a neutral colour blazer, pair of jeans, white shirt, black dress, plain t-shirts, slip skirt, cashmere jumper, black trousers and classic trainers to name but a few) plus following a few simple styling tips as follows:
Adding a belt to a dress to create shape and change the silhouette.
Wrapping a jumper around your shoulders (over a white shirt or t-shirt) for a preppy look. You can also experiment with different ways to tie, by throwing one arm over your shoulder and tie the other from underneath your underarm for a crossbody tie.
Mix patterns and textures to create interest.
Layering your jewellery and mixing metals (silver and gold).
Colour pairing (and a style tip I personally live by). Try have no more than two colours present in an outfit. Shades can vary but by doing this – you will avoid the look from appearing messy.
Socks can instantly change the look of an outfit. Not for everyone but if you’re brave enough and want to experiment for a different, fun look – pair your socks with ballet flats or loafers. If you want to go that extra mile and completely elevate your style – wear a pair of sheer socks with some kitten heels or pumps.
Layering is probably one of the oldest tricks in the book when it comes to styling and making a look appear more interesting. It can be both a functional tool as well as a fashion forward one. Wearing a slip dress over a white tee for example and a blazer over a hoodie instantly signals a different style.
By understanding the distinctions between wearing and styling, you can make fashion not just something you wear, but a true reflection of who you are.
“Fashions fade, style is eternal.” - Yves Saint Laurent