A Note On Style Theories

Hello everyone! It's been a while since you've heard from me, so let’s catch up.

I had to take  time off social media because I felt it was leading me down the wrong path. And having spent  time away from creating content has allowed me to reflect on how my content is perceived and how I would like it to be perceived.

So let me reassure you that I am not a style dictator, and I have no desire to tell you what you can and cannot wear. In fact, that’s the whole point of the concept wardrobe: to create a wardrobe around your own style and one that works for you. So today, I would like to share some thoughts about style theories and what they can and cannot do for us.

The value of style theories

Style theories are as old as fashion. A semi-scientific approach to getting dressed if you will. And they all vary in their approaches. Some centre around body shape, some around colour, and others around personality. Some are very specific, while others try to create an all-encompassing system; some cater to a certain audience, and others aim to work for everyone.

The point I’m trying to make is that there is no one size fits all theory and not all theories will be of use to everyone. Nevertheless, style theories do have their benefits.

First and foremost, of course, is that they can help us to find and refine our own style and to feel more comfortable in our clothes. Knowledge is power, and knowing what suits us and what kind of clothing flatters us can give us new confidence. Who doesn’t love a makeover once in a while?

Secondly, if you’ve ever been clothes shopping (and I’m sure you have), you will be all too familiar with the cosmic amount of clothes available for purchase. Drowning in a sea of options has never led anyone to make a wise investment decision. But being able to cut down on our choices allows us to make better decisions. If we know that black makes us look off, we won’t take another look at black garments, instead leaving us free to spend more brainpower on the garments we know will make us happy in the longterm.

And finally, having created our own style, we can cultivate a wardrobe that’s efficient and effective for a very long time to come.

Style theories are not rulebooks

But with the good comes also the bad. And sadly, there seems to be a misconception that style theories are some sort of holy rules that must be followed religiously. Not that there is anything wrong with someone following these ‘rules’ if they want to do so.

My philosophy and the one I would like the concept wardrobe to relay is that style theories are guidelines that can help us navigate through the endless masses of clothing options and help us find our own style. So instead of being overwhelmed by the sheer amount of choices, we can cut out a huge amount of wrong options and make investment-like decisions on what clothes to buy based on what flatters us and what we actually like. And what those clothes are will be different for everyone. And it’s up to each one of us to set those criteria.

We shouldn’t feel suffocated or boxed in by style theories. And it certainly doesn’t mean that, for instance, as a pear-shaped person you must not wear skinny jeans because that’s what the body shape theory tells us. No. It’s a suggestion, an option. If you feel that guideline is useful to you, make a note of it. If you love skinny jeans with all your heart, ignore it. And go and rock those skinny jeans.

The same applies to colour theory. It can be a great relief knowing what colours harmonise with our natural colouring, and this knowledge can help us create a natural image. Having a personal colour palette is also another great way of reducing decision overwhelm. But that doesn’t mean we should feel restricted by that palette. If your colour season’s palette doesn’t include your favourite colour, it doesn’t mean you can’t wear it. If you don’t like your seasonal colour palette at all, don’t feel compelled to use it.

And here’s the point: it’s not a rule, it’s a guideline. It's up to you whether you want to follow it or not. The guideline is there for you to use it, think about and come back to it, or simply discard it. Only you can define your personal style and no theory is a magic potion that will do that for you. The style theory is the tool, but you are the one that makes the decisions.

So should we just get rid of style theories altogether?

No style theory is perfect and many were created a few decades ago. Some have aged well, others haven’t. As our perceptions of beauty shift to a more individualistic and inclusive ideal, some theories will inevitably fall out of favour. But does that mean we should ban them and not discuss them? My personal opinion is no. There might still be some value in them. And if not that, we can at least learn from them in order to update them or create brand new theories opposing the old ones.

As I am building the concept wardrobe and adding more content to it, I am hoping to explore more of these style theories in detail, including very niche ones. And just like those theories, this website was not built in a day. There is still so much more to explore, and I’m hoping to create a resource where everyone can find something useful to help them on their own, individual style journey. And if you have a suggestion for a theory that you would like to see on here, please do let me know.

In conclusion, there are so many style theories out there. Some will work for us, others won’t. But they should all be taken for what they are: guidelines, not rules. Otherwise, fashion becomes formulaic science, and where’s the fun in that?

PS. At this point in time, I’m not sure whether I will continue updating my social media. So if you would like to stay updated with the concept wardrobe, please subscribe to my newsletter.

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