The Difference Between Fashion and Style

Fashion is an ever-changing, prevailing mode of expression—clothing, hairstyles, body language, or a way of speaking. It can be overt—a judge wears a robe, soldiers wear uniforms, brides wear white dresses—or it can be subtle, like the understated whisper or high-energy scream of a singer on stage. It is often linked to social class, age, and location.

Fashion develops out of a need for a sense of identity in rapidly changing times. Many people feel lost, and dressing in line with the current vogue can help to give them a sense of purpose. It can also be a form of beautification—as John Keats wrote, “A thing of beauty is a joy forever.”

People may follow trends to keep up with their peers, or they may dress according to what they think represents themselves best. Some of the styles that are currently in fashion may have come back into style after a period of time, such as the short skirts and boots of the 1960s or the baggy jeans of hip-hop. Other styles are more timeless, such as a tailored suit or a classic trench coat, which may remain in fashion even after the trend has faded.

There are advantages to both kinds of fashion. The fads of the moment can inspire confidence and a bold personality, while staying up to date with the latest trends makes it easier to communicate and interact with others in society. In addition, a focus on style can make it easier to build a wardrobe that lasts for years and has great cost-per-wear.

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