We see others not for who they truly are, but for who we perceive them to be based on our five-second encounter with them in passing. Whether on the streets of New York City, or the suburbs of your microscopic hometown, our only true interpretation of the one's around us, the ones unknown, comes from the external—what they wear, the shine of their hair, their accessory combinations—one's personal style.
Why, you might wonder, is fashion such an enduring part of self-confidence and self-perception? Because fashion, in and of itself, is art. It is self-expression, self-discovery and a sense of identity. It gives power to those who feel powerless and a voice to those who feel voiceless. It allows for even the most introverted, seemingly invisible individuals to, for once, feel loud, feel heard and feel seen.
Personal style is more than an outfit that "will-do" or a color combination that appears to match. It goes beyond what is "in style" or "on trend" and births an identity that is uniquely you, through patterns, textures and layers. Personal style gives the rest of the world a raw glimpse of who you are in passing, freeing you from the constraints of fashion's societal standards and in-the-box stylistic thinking.
When it comes to fashion, you already have the industry at your fingertips. You are your own designer, your own stylist and creative director. Sidewalks and grocery store isles become your own catwalk, because you are the fashion model in your life.
Play with patterns and mix colors. Create mood boards and find your inspiration, because your style is the form of self-expression that can't ever be tainted or taken by others. It is uniquely yours, granting you the liberty of experimentation and self-discovery. There is no right answer, because it simply isn't black and white. Who we are-- as stylists, designers and simply as individuals—is an ocean of grey area, where fashion is what you determine to be so, and style is comprised of passion, expression and inspiration in its physical form.
Play with different knits and various fits. Accessorize and then accessorize a little more. When it comes to personal style, you are in full control. In their five seconds of passing, what do you want others to know of you?