A MANNER OF DOING SOMETHING


19 August 1883 - 10 January 1971

Yesterday has been the coldest 19th of August in 90 years here in the Netherlands. Also yesterday was the anniversary of the 131th birthday of Mademoiselle Chanel (if my calculations are correct). I've been obsessed about her ever since I heard her name (way way back in time). At primary school, when you had to do a presentation, most kids would talk about their pets. I talked about Coco Chanel. When we had to write a short essay, everyone wrote about their pet. I wrote about Coco Chanel. This attitude hasn't changed ever since. I've just got very strong feelings towards the woman alright?!

For me Coco, I may say Coco, is someone with the most personal style ever. Ever. ever. You can't get more personal than her. She practically conceived the whole terminology of personal style and everything surrounding it. She's not even queen of personal style, no! In fact she is personal style. Whatever that naturally may be...

For some unknown reason I've always been obsessed with personal style. In my eyes there's nothing greater one can achieve than to possess the name-like thing (clothing wise speaking, naturally). Hereby I'm not speaking of just style. Style stands mere in the shadow of the personal. The individuality of it is something that entirely belongs to you and you only. Hence the word personal:

Personal style -- belonging to a particular person rather than to anyone else.
For instance:

1. Some lowly wonk writes a few personal remarks to go in at the top and you're laughing.
2. The only problem is if we go from the deeply offensive and personal to the deeply offensive and general.

3. the opinions expressed here are personal to the author
4. It does not necessarily, I think, involve the personal presence of the person claiming to occupy.

Style on the other hand gets to be explained with a manner of doing something. Doing what? Something. Just a general something. Can be anything. It's just the manner of doing it.

Thanks Google Translate.

I've often asked myself "What is style?". Style for me is as alienating as the word something. It describes what it is, but it can be anything. Style has the characteristics of a collective name. These characteristics are naturally bound to the specification of use. However, it all got something in common. It, namely, gives you specific features so you can identify the typical qualities surrounding that topic. Style, or personal style if you like, thus gives you the means to identify specific qualities belonging typically to the way one puts one's clothes on.

As far as I've gathered style can be seen as much more than that, but also much less. Although I use the word(s) very frequently in my speech ("Mum, do I've got personal style?" or another favourite of mine "Mum, what's my style?"), I'm very suspicious towards it all. My reason for this is:

1. Fashion magazines.
Every page of a fashion magazine is mostly plastered with the words style/personal style or variations indicating the same. Basically everything with a claim to fame has been stamped with a mark that says Style Icon, Best Personal Style or Best Dressed. This all is mostly done in a very judgemental way. Not every personal style is, as a matter of fact, as stylish as others. However, there's a main difference between style and stylish.

Stylish aka fashionable aka modish aka voguish aka modern aka up to date aka fashion-forward, smart, sophisticated, gracious, elegant, chic, dapper, dashing, trendy, natty, classy, nifty, ritzy, snazzy, fly, superfly, kicky, tony, spiffy, styling/stylin'. *breathes* Or atleast that is if you believe Google Translate. Being stylish means that someone's having or displaying a good sense of style. Style is, as typed before, a manner of doing something. Therefore having style doesn't mean that it has anything to do with the characteristic of a current popular trend --which I think is often meant with when a magazine titles someone as being a current Style Icon. Stylish is very much dependent on the age, the area and the main culture (norms and values/upbringing). Therefore one can say that personal style is more a manner of how someone *again* dresses, than to give it a value of how well this goal has been achieved. Or something among those words.

2. Clothing fabrication.
Coco made her own clothes. We (mostly) wear all that what hangs on the racks in the shops. Thereby making that what we wear to be identified with the qualities of those certain shops. Which doesn't make us stylish, but the shops (which are filled with clothes that are composed by our age, our area and our main culture). And yes, hereby not considering the thousands of different ways one can wear a certain item with all those other items. And yes, hereby not considering all those other things I ought've considered. But it always seems rather strange to me that when one walks upon a red carpet wearing Chanel from head to toe, one gets to be defined as the most Personal Style person. Ever. Because you're not wearing something you 1) created yourself. But ignoring that in this day and age of fast machines and consumption (in which I also participate, so no finger pointing or anything). 2) You've composed yourself. You're wearing the exact copy of the same same same. Although, typing this, there's indeed a main difference between people and their clothes. Meaning: We both can wear the same dress, but it'll both look differently. Although, yesterday I was with my mum in Amsterdam and looking around I saw mostly girls wearing the clothes you could buy in the shops. Literal copies of the mannequins. Which in itself isn't bad, but it was just a sea of the same looking people buying all the same stuff and also wearing it all the same with the same items and same same same.

What I was trying to say is... Well, I can't remember to be honest. The thing is, words are nice. Words are good. Words are comforting. But often words are limiting. And if not limiting they are foremost confusing into the meaningless meanings they become to fulfill. But this doesn't stop us (me) from using them anyway. Maybe it's up to us to give those unlimiting words, with so many meanings and reasons, our own reasons and meanings. Giving them our own defined undefined definitions. Therefore is Mademoiselle Chanel synonymous to personal style and can style become stylish. 
The End.

Love,
Dominique

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