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Fashion Advice

[whitespace] Miss Pinkie Shears

Miss Pinkie Shears

Our Contest
The contest was to discuss in a cogent, concise and well-reasoned manner the differences between Fashion and Style. Thank you all for your fine entries. Some of you, however, although charmingly enthusiastic, suffer from an appalling use of grammar and vocabulary as well as some peculiar ideas. Supermodels should not be lauded as icons of style. They are dressed by others for a living. If they can't dress themselves on their own time, well, let us just be polite and say it's rather pathetic. Others of you seem to have forgotten the need for brevity. Once I had also cast out the abusive and nonsensical entries, I was left with an easy choice. I present our winner, Karen Guffy.

Dear Miss Pinkie Shears,
The difference between fashion and style can be understood as tangible and intangible forms of personality. Fashion is clothing and accouterment. In and of itself, fashion possesses personality and, for better or worse, describes the one who dons it. Style, however, is the savvy appropriation of fashion (and other means of expression) to the uses of one's own gloriously complex personality. Fashion has an ephemeral quality, as it is part of a culture's expression at a specific point in time. To be fashionable, au courant, one must be able to shell out cash. To have style, however, one doesn't need to be particularly wealthy. Style requires an appreciation and love for one's own personality; it comes from the need for expression. Style is the art of the individual. Fashion can be a means to this.
Karen Guffy

And now, of course, a few thoughts of my own:

  • Neither fashion nor style really has anything to due with clothing.

  • Both suffer considerable abuse and are often used interchangeably.

  • Fashion is about a moment in time. There are a multitude of layers to this moment. Fashion is quite obviously fractured along gender, class, racial, sexual and geographic lines. Fashion is an easy means of group identity.

  • Style, like art, is at its best an awareness, a consciousness, a critique and a transcendence of fashion.

    A continued discussion of this topic may prove intriguing. ...


    In need of style advice? Send all queries to Miss Pinkie Shears, San Francisco Metropolitan, 1776A 18th St., SF, 94107. Miss Shears cannot be reached by phone.

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  • From the June 1-14, 1998 issue of the Metropolitan.

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