Waking up and checking Facebook is my morning routine, today I noticed I was the topic of conversation amongst a group of women who have never met me, and clearly have little understanding of how I derive my sense of style. In a public forum they were discussing what a ‘sell out’ I was because I was photographed wearing a brand that wasn't a 'high end designer label'. Apparently, as they knew me so well, they believe I only ever wear expensive designer clothes, and in their opinion, that's why I have style. They continued to vent their disappointment and suggest that I was ‘obviously paid’ to wear a non designer brand and it was "disgusting, beneath me, typical to wear it for money" etc.  Sorry, but I find it hard to mask my frustration. These women  a) don't know that 80% of what I wear, and feel very comfortable in, are non-designer brands and b) have no idea what real style is. 

So I wanted to share my philosophy behind what having real STYLE is. Contrary to popular belief, looking good or stylish really doesn’t depend on your ability to exclusively wear high end fashion lables. Ignore the snobbery and wear non-designer brands that look good with pride. 

Style is very personal. It has nothing to do with fashion. Fashion is over quickly. Style is forever.
— Ralph Lauren

Don't get me wrong - I LOVE high end designer brands and really do enjoy shopping and saving up for dream pieces. BUT most of the time I can't afford to shop designer brands (hello…school fees!). Yet, I still can pull together an outfit and look stylish no matter the price point. It’s about the way I feel in my clothes that counts. In addition,  by being sucked into only buying designer brands you can unwittingly loose sight of your own personal style. Being in a frenzy buying the latest and greatest, listening to all the fashion news about what's trending and what's not, clouds your judgement about what you love to wear and what looks good on you. I see so many girls wearing 5 trends rolled into one outfit, brand logos clashing for view, clearly style confused. 

I was chatting to my friend the other day about this very subject. She is one of the most stylish women I know and has been even since she was a teenager. Style comes so naturally to her that she could be wearing a hessian bag and make it look chic. My friend said that in her  ‘pre-kids, high disposable income phase of life’, she would buy whatever she wanted at any cost. Now with the benefit of  hindsight, during this time she lost her personal style and the ability to create an outfit out of nothing.  Blinded by 'fashion', she would just wear it all without consideration of her true style. She did keep these amazing pieces and can now wear them without the "designer only filter" and style them her way. 

It’s not the appearance, it’s the essence.
It’s not the money, it’s the education.
It’s not the clothes, it’s the class.
— Coco Chanel

Something to remember about dressing is it's all about perception. Here are simple tips to remember.

Pay attention to detail. I am a big believer in grooming being a priority. Ensure your nails, hair and skin look good. Don't over do the make up and if possible have a tan (fake of course). If you look healthy people will think you are doing well. Some of my idols have very simple style - jeans and a white tee look like couture on them, and thats because they stand out when they walk into the room. They have presence because of their grooming and healthy appearance. 

Dress in basics but have one statement piece that can be noticed. If you can save for a designer handbag this is a good starting point. You can wear it everyday making the most of your purchase and no one will think anything of the frequency. It could even be a watch or a belt. People notice details. 

It is not about the price of your outfit!!!!!!! (I hope those misguided women from facebook are reading this!). I find beauty in clothes at any price. I wear H&M and Zara frequently and most of the time the item is about $40. I have no discrimination about the brand name. In fact, my whole philosophy is about mixing price points - high street with high end. If you are clever with your shopping you can maximise your wardrobe choices using this simple formula. 

Try not to only wear fashion fads. I talk about this alot, buy classics and basics as these have longevity. 

Know your style, know what looks good on you and know what makes you feel good when you wear it. Most importantly, believe in yourself. This way when you shop or pull together an outfit you are wearing the clothes because you know yourself not because a designer told you to. 

Fashion says “me too”.
Style says “me only”.
— Tash

Believe me, even if I was the richest woman in the world, I would still happily wear different brands and price points. Although I have had many fashion fails over the years, they are always lessons learnt and mainly because I went outside my 'me' box. 

So to the women who had an opinion about my brand choices I stand with hand on my heart and say “ I don't care! I am not a sell out because I wear a brand you don't approve of. If anything it's a compliment that I am not fashionably naive.” 

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Tash Sefton13 Comments