9 May 2013

Brand v’s Style

I read this statement… a bold one… and thought to myself… I agree.

Fashion in the last few decades has become synonymous with brand to the point where style has often taken a second place.

Style should never take a second place. Style should be right up there with health and beauty. Style is personal, style is independent and style is not financially driven.

Fashion brands should guide and lead… not dictate…

Which is not to say that I haven’t fallen into the trap… forsaking personal style in order to be ‘current’… Guilty…

It’s difficult to defy the fashion world… they are powerful promoters… arbitrators of the who’s who… and the who wears what… Remember that wonderful scene “You Think This Has Nothing To Do with You” in The Devil Wears Prada … It made me think… Brands are promoted, encouraged by fashion leaders and brands can be annihilated as quickly as they triumphed…

 

Where does Brand v’s Style leave us?

I like to think that age has made me wary of falling under the spell of a brand for brand’s sake. I like to think that I buy a certain brand because it enhances my personal style… I am hopeful that I wear it and not the other way around.

This is not to say that I don’t wish to be fashionable… that I won’t adopt trends or colours… I will… but in my way.

Adaption is the key to style and the way to navigate brands… Knowing yourself, what works… and identifying the brands that work with you, not against you.

Confidence plays a huge roll… Having the confidence to forsake a brand, even if it is the word on everybody’s lips, in favour of the one that is more flattering.

This sounds all too obvious.. but I suspect that women fall under the ‘brand magic’ much more than we think… especially with shoes and handbags…

 

How influential is a brand on your way of dressing? Are you brave enough to let your style shine through?  xv

 

 

 

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68 Comments

Faux Fuchsia

I sort of have my own style, but I luff to mix my high end designer stuff with my el cheapo chain store finds.

I am loyal to some brands though, like Malene Birger for basics and Hermes for scarves.

And I am always partial to a Pucci frock and I loathe imitations.

I don’t really follow fashion but I love knowing what’s on trend.

And as with everything in life- parenting/career/relationships/decorating/cooking dinner for friends/gardening-self knowledge and confidence is the Key.

In a way I think it’s not about money but in another way, it’s much easier to dress well when you have the cash to afford different Options. I know I’m much better dressed at 40 than 20 because I was so poor then.

x

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Vicki

A better budget does help… and hopefully we are all much more confident now that we were at 20… Style is something we are always evolving with and working on…
Imitations… now that is a great idea for another chatty post… Thank you…

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chicatanyage

For me Style is about those pieces that I love to wear, that make me feel good whenever I put them on no matter what the Brand or make. I too have fallen into the style trap from time to time however I have begun (better late than never) to study those garments that I keep in my wardrobe and that become old friends. I think the trick is to change if a Brand is no longer going in the same direction as you are it may be time to find another.

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Vicki

And there is no shortage of great brands… :)
I think we do get set in our ways and sometimes that makes it hard for us to give up an old faithful…

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simone

I also love the quote that I read recently – “fashion is what you buy, style is how you wear it….”

Great post Vicki Xx

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This is Belgium

agree with the statement
but some “Belgian” brands, you can not get around.. Delvaux handbags for instance.. (not that I own one :) )
have a great holiday!
anni

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Vicki

I don’t know of many Belgian brands… but we always want what we can’t find… Right? :)

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Penelope

Such a great post! I enjoy checking out brands for what to buy then look for items I can afford. Black and white seem to always be in style, add color with scarves and jewelry! The bright jeans this year are so tempting and so fun (owner of a couple)! Trying hard not to be set in my ways! :). Hope your day is beautiful!

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Vicki

I think it’s hard to find that balance between knowing what is right and being set in our ways… :)

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Anita Rivera

Bonjour Vicki,

I agree as well. I am a rebel in many ways, and I have always refused to go with the mainstream of BRAND LABELS. I do however, keep a close eye on fashion and decide what would look good on me; I even do this with home décor. With fashion, I’m really good at putting things TOGETHER for example, a scarf with a simple black turtleneck and a skirt I’ve had forever….or I keep with the simple but timeless Chanel look or the young Audrey Hepburn style…as for home décor, I have selected classic antiques and vintage pieces that remain in my home, but just get shifted around to different places to give a new look but with the same items.

Fashion is about personal style. Who wants to look like everyone else? NOT ME!

I hope you will have a chance to pop in my blog after Friday; thank you AGAIN for the French grace you have given us. I hope you enjoy my post. Anita

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Vicki

Isn’t it amazing how reinterpreting the same items… whether fashion or home wares can make everything new again… I will be over later Anita… xv

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Anita Rivera

Bonjour Vicki! I just posted a while ago….thank you for giving me permission to share your glorious book. BISOUS! Anita

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Francine gardner

ok, i will admit I am guilty to take brands into account when shopping. I am faithful to Prada shoes, clothes, accessories but love to mix with anything that catches my fancy, designers or off a market stall. My style has changes very little over the years, i love creative dressing, no embellishments but always a touch of funk and unexpected.
Loved reading this post!

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Vicki

The touch of the unexpected… there is that French girl coming out again Francine… :)

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Pamela Terry

Well, I am logo-phobic; loathe to advertise with my style of dress. I gravitate to what I love and let the chips fall where they may. That being said… I do adore a Mulberry bag.
xo

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Pam@over50feeling40

Brands have very little to do with my way of dressing…I am loyal to my style and my rules for looking the way I desire…and the brands that fit within those guidelines are what I wear. I hope you can come over to my blog today and meet a fabulous woman who went from a biochemist to a fashion designer at 57!! She is doing some cool designs with her own textiles! have a great weekend ahead, Vicki!!

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Karen in CT

.. I find that certain brands are best cut for a certain shape. I stick to the brands that are best cut for me. I also like well made clothes, and like having some clothes made for me. But we’re not talking Chanel or Dior. I try to keep my wardrobe to a minimum, as I stick with a certain classic look. Too many choices are time consuming. That being said, I do like special brands for purses and wallets and watches and scarves.

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24/7 in France

I generally buy only what I like, what suits my personal preferences and basically forget trendy items (except for the occasional “in” accessory)- Voila!

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Vicki

Accessories are easier to stay on trend with… and more easy to change when fashion moves on…

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Robyn

Enjoyed this post, Vicki. I think the key to style as you get older is editing. I still love to peruse Vogue and Bazaar for ideas, but I am much less likely to “try” a trend at this point. I love a Hermes scarf, a Burberry trench, a Tiffany bangle…but I also realize that quality and elegance are not about price (except maybe with shoes and bags!) My closet is less full now than 20 years ago…I am more likely to wear the same things over and over again. I just mix it up…and edit:) I’m also more likely to get something tailored, because it is all about the fit!

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Vicki

Thats a great point Robyn… I think my closet is less full too… editing is super important… and I don’t mind at all wearing something the same if I love it…

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Katherine

I buy what I’m attracted to, and tend to shy away from ‘the latest’ for the sake of wearing the latest. It’s not to say I don’t have some of the trends in my closet, but I like to incorporate them in a way that says ‘me’.
One thing I avoid always are brands with their logo splashed all over the product. Smart branding is recognition by showing their style and not logo placement. And really, I don’t want to be a walking billboard for a brand.

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Vicki

I don’t think many of us want to wear logos so I wonder why the designers do that?

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Heather in Arles

“Fashion fades, only style remains the same.” -Coco Chanel

So few brands actually represent a continual aesthetic that I am not sure what a brand means anymore…and now that nearly everyone makes those shoes and handbags that we lust after in China, well, a certain brand is no longer a guarantee of quality…

I’ll aim for making myself happy instead…wearing red lipstick even when it is not in fashion, tying my over-sized men’s shirts at the waist…

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Coco

I have never been faithful to one brand since it just doesn’t matter to me what brand an item is. In fact I loathe obviously branded things. As long as an item suits me and is well made I’m happy. Yes I can afford better quality products now than when I was younger but my style hasn’t changed much. I don’t follow trends but do like to know what is current.

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Vicki

I think knowing what is current makes it easy to adapt the fashion to what suits us… and I agree, I still love the same things that I did when I was younger…

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The Paris Apartment

Love tis topic cause it’s an interesting dimema. Live good stuff but loathe
The logos. Especially if you’re wearing two or more at a time! I try
To make sure my shoes and bags are logo free. It’s enough that I know
It but hate wearing it like a badge on my clothing. It makes me feel so
pretentious like I am calling for attention!

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Karen Albert

Vicki, I do mix high/ low. I believe in quality accessories; however would not ever spend 1500 on a bag. When I was young and started earning my own money, there was a boutique near my home. They had beautifully made classic styles at very reasonable prices! Having had my share of Valentino, St John, Donna Karan, etc.over the years;there are too many areas pulling for my dollars now (like medical bills and rehab!!)

Good Taste is something inherent and one can look very elegant or chicly casual on a budget.

Xoxo
Karena
Art by Karena

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Vicki

I agree Karena… style is intrinsic, it cannot be bought… and it doesn’t relate to budget… Some of the most stylish people I see are not wearing all ‘designer’ …

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french cravings

Love this introspective topic, Vicki. I’m a devotee of Coach handbags and David Yurman bracelets, but some of my favorite shoes are no-names from the discount shoe warehouse. The first two are my feel-good-in classics for every year–and every day– while the third is my wardrobe pick-me-up, meant to be replaced by the following season’s selection. (Although on a recent trip to Paris, I did spring for a pair of gorgeous cobalt blue Repettos, another true classic.) I suppose I represent a blend of both. x Katie

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Cathy

Several years back I fell into the trap that a designer label was very chic. So I bought the Vuitton and the Rolex -which fortunately are both classics and fairly timeless- but now I nearly refuse to wear something with it’s label showing. The best fitting jeans with the crispest white blouse and comfortable well cared for shoes (no scuffs please) are to me far more stylish than running around in in head to toe labels. I want to wear fashionable pieces but I prefer them to be classics.

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Vicki

There is nothing too chic about a big label shining through… unless perhaps its a sweet little CC… ;)

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Vicki

Italians do love a good designer… and they are super stylish with it…

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Yvette

My mother was very fortunate in being able to study in Paris on scholarship during the early 50’s. For the rest of the her life, she was a strong believer in dressing with style. She never, ever bought anything based on a label(or brand). She couldn’t afford to! She taught me that trends always take a back seat to quality, and how the garment looks on your body.

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Sarah

I will pursue a particular brand if I’ve saved up for it and if the brand is honestly known for Quality. I’m developing and reinforcing my personal style in my mid 30s. When I find pieces that I really like and suit me, I will pay more for lasting quality and good construction. I don’t want a favorite, really useful piece pooping out on me after a few wearings!

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Vicki

Quality is worth paying for… but sometimes even the expensive brands can let us down… I have favourites too… and I want to wear those forever… :)

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Geri

Your post is so spot on for me especially the shoes and handbags!

Love your blog

Geri

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Hallie

Wonderful post – you are right about falling under the spell of a brand. I happen to love one particular designer and I buy items that I love and that go on sale because they are prohibitively expensive, but I wear the things I love for years and years as long as they fit! I keep my bags and my shoes. I’m probably too frugal but I learned a valuable lesson when I lived in Paris. Buy good things and mix them, buy things that suit you (as you said above) and little by little you discover your own style, and it helps to observe French women! Truly it does.

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Jennifer

This is a great post Vicki! I definitely have my own style and don’t bother with brands at all. I like the new trends I see with the younger generation. Style is everything to my 20 year old daughter. She finds items at thrift shops and inexpensive stores but puts them together in a style all her own.
Have a great day!:)
Jennifer

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Vicki

When you are younger I think you care so much about style and I think you work much harder at it… which is a good thing :)

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Dorci

I think a lot of us are just lacking in style savviness so we fall back on brand to bridge the gap. I’d give anything to be one of those who can grab a pair of old jeans, just the right top and pull it all together with some accessories and a chic pair of shoes with barely a thought and have it come out looking stylish. Instead I usually stand in the closet for far too long and end up with at least a fourth of my wardrobe on the floor in the end. Oh to be a shi shi French girl.

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Vicki

The art of style… it does take practice… and those French girls have been stylish for a very long time… :)

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Rosalie Carmichael

I have a few favourite brands but that is because of the fit. I love to look through the fashion magazines each season and work out within my wardrobe what I’ll use and then maybe purchase something extra to capture the style I’m looking for. Otherwise I buy a garment when it says “please take me home”. A book I enjoyed reading for bookclub and which generated much discussion, when wearing or bringing a garment along to the meeting, was The Secret Lives of Dresses. Each piece in your wardrobe has its own story. Rosalie

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Vicki

I love the thought that every dress has a tale to tell… and of course that is so true… The tales our closets could tell… :)

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Botanic Bleu

Great subject…

I have never wanted my clothes to have brand logos or brand patches on them. Not even when I was a teenager or college student. I’ve never wanted tee shirts that have writing on them or that advertise a location, etc…

Several years ago I saw this statement, “Fashion can be bought. Style you must be born with.” This is probably a paraphrase of the original statement, but the message is clear.

However, there is one brand (not a designer label) from whom I have bought most of my clothes and shoes. For over five years now, I have hardly bought any pants from any place including my favorite brand because I do not like the way pants cut to fit low on the hips feel or look on me. The style had better change back to waists on pants soon or I will be wearing rags.

judith

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Vicki

I think you can learn a ‘particular’ style… your own style… but it requires time and practice… and if it doesn’t come naturally… it’s not easy… :)
Pants… they are the hardest item of clothing to find a good fit… and when you do… after a short time they change them!

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miss b

Great post and food for thought! I believe our style evolves constantly as nowadays there are so many influences with all the style guides that are published and particularly since the internet took hold. I have favourite brands that I can rely on for fit and especially for a special occasion but it’s good to mix things up from different stores too.
I read an interesting observation just the other day ‘Fashion is what you’re offered four times a year. Style is what you pick out of that fashion.’ I suppose it’s about not being a slave to fashion but knowing what suits, feeling confident and comfortable in an outfit.

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Catherine

I am clearly not in the same economic group as the other commenters. There is no question about wearing a designer label because that is not in my budget.
I wear Ann Taylor Loft pants because the cut always fits, even in a smaller size than I usually wear, bless them. I have some Ralph Lauren shirts, not because they are RL, but because they have fabulous cotton. A French friend who doesn’t know RL commented on a shirt the other day, saying that the quality was obvious. I have a Russian-style winter coat from 1-2-3 that looks as good today as when I bought it 15+ years ago.
So I count on a brand for consistent fit and quality. Not for status.
My stepdaughter, who is 30, will wear only certain brands. Namely Guess, but also Cop/Copine and Armani Exchange. She definitely has image issues, with big eating disorders. I suspect she thinks that by slapping on a Guess logo, her rear will shrink (not that it needs to–her problem is in her head) and she will become one of the pinup girls in the Guess ads.

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Vicki

That’s the test of a great buy… that you can wear it and love it 15 years on…

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Millie

Over the years I’ve had lots of comments/requests begging for me to release a range of The Laurel Hedge-branded renovation tools & stuff. Things like a pink hydraulic Brick Cutter, a chinoiserie print Sledge Hammer & even a range of clothing styled on MOTH’s famous recycled rowing shorts & skungie t-shirts complete with 37 different paint shades & holes in just the right/wrong places. Your post has given me just the impetus I need to forge ahead & get a global licensing agreement bedded down pronto. Lots of great advice about branding & style from your astute Followers Vicki!
Millie xx

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