Individual style vs fashion, staying power vs passing fad

We’ve done some marketing work for fashion brands like ck Calvin Klein and TUMI, so we are part of the marketing machine that creates the consumerist demand for fashion season after season, year after year. Despite us aiming for the best sales conversion for the fashion brands that we work for through our marketing work, personally, when it comes to our own fashion buying choices, we don’t always aim for the latest, the most expensive or the most exclusive. Our Creative Director adopts this approach in his fashion choices also, being a consumer of high end luxury brands, high street brands, budget no brand stores and vintage and thrift stores.

For him, he chooses his fashion from disparate sources of different price points and quality because he feels that is the best way today to express any sense of individuality in our globally “homogeneous” fashion landscape, made “same-same” due to the pervasiveness of social media and accessibility of brands via online retail.

In this post, he shares his tips on choosing outfits and accessories that defy trends and have staying style power, so you don’t have to go along in an endless race to acquire the latest and the most expensive in order to compete in the style stakes of the fashionable and stylish. Honestly, who can afford to do that? Below are his Top 5 tips on beating the fads with smart style choices.

Signature style goes with signature accessories – Keep wearing the same item – whether it’s a bag, watch, sunglasses or shoes – to go with different outfits and soon everyone will identify that item as your signature. For him, his signature  accessories include his ASOS round flip sunglasses, a man bag of sorts, no sneakers at all times but leather loafers, with tassels preferably, his many vintage blazers especially his navy double breasted one and his circa 80s and 90s watches.

 

Get your basic foundations right – That means build your outfits with the wardrobe essentials. The staple plain T shirt (hush, but he actually finds some decent options at Kmart even), the dark denim skinny or fitted jeans, proper black leather shoes, a decent timepiece that suits day and night (he recommends the Emporio Armani one featured in an earlier post), a pair of sunglasses that suit your face, a blue suit, a casual blazer, a reliable trench coat (his is second-hand vintage London Fog), winter overcoat and a leather bag/accessory of sorts. Choose lots of black, white, grey. Only go play with other colours when you’ve nailed all of the above, and use colour as accents in your outfits.

It’s OK to be into brands – Yes, luxury designer goods do have some sort of bad reputation if you’re not born with a silver spoon, but it actually makes sense to splurge on them if they’re investment pieces. For example, take our Creative Director’s circa 1996 full leather Prada backpack, made in Italy, bought in Venice for $1000 lire (which equates to $AUS1000 or less). It’s now a good 20 years, so the Cost Per Wear of the bag is really cheap. Well let’s just calculate it in years, it would only cost him $50 a year to own/use the bag. A high street, non leather, probably made in Asia bag that costs more than $50 today will not even last the wear and tear of Christmas this year, and it probably looks 10 times uglier than a Prada.

And it’s even better when you’re able to find designer goods in op shops, like the black vintage Fendi bag shown below, that cost him only $4 from a Chapel Street charity shop, stuffed inside a bin.

 

Oldies are goodies – This doesn’t only apply to shopping old aka vintage, op shop hunting or second-hand. It also means looking through the garments and accessories of your younger days and see if they can be reworked into your outfits in new ways instead of throwing them out as soon as they fall out of fashion. This will help you think creatively about the options that your existing wardrobe offers, instead of buying new clothes season after season to widen the options and outfits from your wardrobe.

Checking out the oldies also means literally go raiding your oldies aka your parents’ wardrobe! A lot of fashion and trends these days are recycled from earlier decades when our parents were young and fashionable. If you’re ‘like father like son’, or ‘like mother like daughter’ in terms of size and build, you could easily “borrow” some retro pieces from your parents’ wardrobe, like your dad’s 70s printed shirts or your mum’s 70s hippy, flower power or wallpaper print dresses, which are so Gucci Spring Summer 2016 collection.

Lastly, wear it like you just don’t care – Fashion and style can sometimes be about sheer confidence. As the often quoted saying by non-models goes, “A model will probably look good wearing a garbage bag”, it’s about how you wear it, and more importantly, strut it. Our Creative Director has rocked up to work in outfits that had our team lavish him with compliments, and then for him to tell us at the end of the day, 80% of his outfit is vintage or second-hand, and they only cost less than $30 ( if you don’t consider his signature timepiece, his Hermès Cape Cod XL watch that is!)

All images are from the Instagram account of our Creative Director, to see more, check out @alvincheer.

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