Stop Calling Me Fashionable


By: Iona Bielby

I like the way I dress. It’s taken a while to find my groove, but recently, I really think I’ve hit the head on the nail to my own personal style. It’s been an evolution, for sure. But the equation of multiple places lived, people met, and fashion admired, has finally produced a closet of specifically curated items of clothing—items that, as unoriginal as it sounds, reflect who I am as a person—more so, as an observer of the world.

It all started when I wore my favourite Madewell cutoff jeans with my Kurt Geiger lobster sliders (if you see me wearing them around town, ask to touch them because yes, they’re velvet). Headphones in and Kendrick playing, I walked off fashionably late to art history, as I always do at 2:04. But as I crossed the street, I ran into an acquaintance who took a look at my lobster shoes and gushed that I was always “sooooooo fashionable.”

I’m sure that this comment was made with the best intentions, and although I could feel my little heart sinking, I smiled and said, “thank you ever so much,” before brooding over my tortured relationship with this compliment.


I don’t mean to toot my own horn, but -toot toot- because I get called “fashionable” a fair amount (I owe it to the lobster shoes). And although seemingly boosting, I actually find discomfort with the word “fashionable,” which sounds absurd, and perhaps it is, but if there’s two things I know how to do, it’s to overthink and romanticize. So here I am—a public cry—stop calling me fashionable.

The Merriam Webster dictionary defines “fashionable,” as “conforming to the custom, fashion, or established mode. The word, “style,” on the other hand, is defined simply as, “ a distinctive manner of expression.”

Do you see where I’m going with this?

Unlike fashion, style is woven into everyone’s lives. It’s a simple matter of existing as a unique person. From the pattern on my pillowcase to the type of pen I use in class, style, is what’s used to reflect my taste in how I navigate my own existence. In this respect, clothes are only one small way that style is manifested. Style is the same quality used to determine not only what I will wear on any given day, but it is also the quality that F. Scott Fitzgerald considered when writing his glittery prose, in The Great Gatsby. To possess style is to possess a sense of engaging with one’s own cultural bubble. While fashion is a statement, style is a conversation.

To be stylish is to possess the deliberate air of embracing the different, without acting indifferent—and that is a quality of being I would very much like to possess as a young woman in 2018. It is also a quality of being that is very difficult to achieve, hence the general public’s confusion with the two words. 

It takes courage to be stylish (read: yourself). And it’s frustratingly easy and frustratingly confusing to even begin understanding your self (read: style). So start slow. Because with every little choice you make, you’re giving yourself away. The time you get up in the morning, the way you turn a page in a book, how you laugh, how you love—it’s all adding to your repertoire of self—your style. 


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ST.ART Magazine