YOU CAN'T BUY STYLE

To be the height of fashion, to be a la mode, is to be celebrated for doing, or wearing, the latest thing. Fashion is a business, obviously. It’s trillion-dollar global industry that designs, manufactures, and sells products. But style is something else entirely. 

AND THE BEETS GO ON: SARAH WILSON

AND THE BEETS GO ON: SARAH WILSON

I’m not saying fashion and style aren’t connected. Just that they are not the same thing.

Many stylish people bow to the gods of materialism – I could list you a fashion editor or six known for wearing the latest things – but it’s not a prerequisite.

These are a few of the things Diana Vreeland thought were stylish: the way a big cat walks, ballet, surfing, Arabian horses, freckles, blue jeans, the idea that “pink is the navy blue of India”… 

To her list, I might add: Vreeland's crazy-expressive hands, a swallow swooping, an old man with a pocket square placed just-so, good manners, grace in defeat, red nails (not chipped ones though), snow falling, Mick Jagger's swivelly hips, Noel Coward's voice, not dropping litter, picking wild flowers...The beat goes on.

A billionaire might buy herself a thoroughbred horse, but not freckles. Not the ocean, or the ability to leap like Nureyev. Not the slinky gait of a jaguar or leopard. She most certainly might buy herself an incredible dress - she might even order one custom-made from Gucci - but the confidence to wear it is not for sale.

As the saying goes, money can’t buy you style.

D.V. also said, “A new dress doesn’t get you anywhere; it’s the life you’re living in the dress, and the sort of life you had lived before, and what you will do in it later.”

My mate Sarah Wilson is anti-fashion, but she has great style. She makes minimalism and eating leftover veggies and not succumbing to the lure of the January sales look good. (She even makes those green shorts I write about in Wardrobe Crisis look good.)

I once bought Sarah a bunch of flowers, which she hated, not that she told me (she’s too stylish for that) but because flowers wrapped in paper from a shop are her idea of wasteful.

Sarah’s not interested in pretty for pretty’s sake. Sarah would rather receive a bunch of beetroots. She’d eat the stalks too.