Fashion vs Style: They are not the same!

The difference between fashion and style is not just semantics.

Guan Zhen Tan| September 01, 06:48 AM

Fashion and style.  Many of us use both terms interchangeably, as with how we would use “delicious” and “tasty”.

Is there a difference between the two? Of course!

Think about this: Why is it called a “fashion festival/week” and not “style festival/week” (Eg: Paris Fashion Week)? Or why are H&M and Zara termed as “fast fashion” brands and not “fast style” brands?

The difference between fashion and style is not just semantics. Let me elaborate.

Fashion is external – it is a relationship with fashion designers, manufacturers, magazines, editors, most of whom you hardly know. You impress others first. Fashion is ever-changing and is an interpretation of an era or a moment.

Style however, is internal. [quip float="pqright"] Style is a relationship with oneself, whether you feel happy and comfortably confident in what you are wearing – you impress yourself first [/quip]. Style is personal.

That was why we coined the phrase “slaves to fashion” and not “slaves to style”. We ought to aspire to be one who knows and embraces his or her own personal style. In other words, they should wear clothing that flatters them.

I am always puzzled by why one would want to wear something that only serves to highlight his/her flaws. I remember the bralet trend awhile back.


Photo Source: Bralet Top (


[quip float="pqright"]Bralet Top seems like the perfect trend for warm, humid Singapore, only if you have a flat (enough) tummy. No one wants to see you deliberately flaunt your muffin tops. [/quip].

One should not chase after the fast and fickle coattails of fashion. Have a walk around town. You observe that everyone’s outfits are like carbon copies of another. It's predictable.

If floral prints are hardly your thing, do not buy and wear them just because they are fashion’s most adored trend. When this trend fades away, what are you going to do with all those floral-printed items?  Never wear or follow a trend that isn’t you.



Photo Source: Alexa Chung (


It is easy to see why Alexa Chung inspires many. She hardly hops on the trends bandwagon. Instead, she sets her own style. These are just some trends that she kick-started – brogues/loafers, Peter Pan collars, cut-off denim shorts and of course, not forgetting the highly coveted Mulberry Alexa bag. Alexa is a true trendsetter, and definitely no slave to fashion.

One’s style is a visual representation of the individual preference of a person. It is personal. It is an intimate relationship with oneself - embrace that.

Featured Photo: Alexa Chung for Versace (