One of the great feelings I get as a trans feminine person is to be complimented in a secure manner from a stranger in public who appears to have no motive other than to pay me a complement on my outfit. To my surprise when this happens I am not looking, fishing or asking for anyone to give me any such kudos. I will see what I am able to write here to describe how I feel about the words in the title of this post in a way that could communicate in a broader context how I see these two similar and often used words as interchangeable.
Let me start with a recording from a poet and artist (you may disagree, but that is beside the point) Charles Bukowski and his statement on style in this work.
I began with style. This might say something, or not. The difference between style and fashion is wide, even as they share many parts. Quite simply my outlook is; Fashion is what is popular and has a fleeting or quickly changing aesthetic. It is a rat race or an endeavor to keep up with the Jones’s if you will. It is a idea that is more about pleasing or impressing others.
Style is personal and changes when the one that has a style decides to make a change. It is a reflection of self an artistic expression of whatever the one who is presenting a style decides.
I see the difference in many ways. One is who is an appearance for. Fashion is for others while style is for oneself. The aim or goal is the difference and this alters so many aspects of the results.
I am not one to want to impress others for the feeling that one gets in doing so. This is not a dopamine hit I want or need. When I chose to display my style I do this for myself and no-one else and this is where I start. What do I want, what will impress upon me the desires I am seeking. Others come into this as they may. Often I find that starting with self brings what many attempt to achieve with fashion to attract compliments or other self affirming reactions and responses. The difference is not in the result but intent. This makes the results that may appear the same vastly unique to the other. Starting with style I set off to bring myself to a better place and not to rely or ask this come to me. It is the contrast of style is giving and fashion is asking for what one needs or wants.
I am for the most part a confident person and it is so nice to get compliments I would be misleading me and you if I said otherwise. Yet, if I sought out approval from others to obtain confidence or increase this, I would not be the person I am.
I do as I do to be who I am and if others like what I do that is fantastic, but I can have the same experience regardless of any words or accolades from others.
I have style and care not to be fashionable. This is not a conceited statement, as anyone can disagree and I am not disgruntled or shaken. Be free to have style or pursue fashion and be just as free to think I am in the wrong… please.