Volume 93, Issue 85

Friday, March 10, 2000


Who wants perspective?

Searching for Western's style

Searching for Western's style

Whatever happened to style?

This is the question Esquire magazine asks in their latest issue and as I walk around campus, I have to wonder the same thing.

Before I can continue I must first define style – it's different from fashion. Fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi has said that "style is very specific to the person, as opposed to fashion, which is a general thing." Just because one is conscious of fashion does not mean they're stylish. Witness the droves of students who saunter around campus in their puffy black vests, their yellow jackets, their dangly buckle backpacks, their GAP clothing, etc., etc..

Sure these people have fashionable clothing and they might even look good in the process, but they aren't displaying any sense of style. There is a sameness – a homogeneity in their appearance which cancels out any attempt to achieve true style.

But style is much more than a look – style is also about attitude, an attitude that says, "I want to look my best at all times and I don't apologize for that." Style requires a certain vanity and in respect to this, Mizrahi states, "Vanity is a very good thing; I think it's a virtue. It's what makes us look good and it's only polite to look good."

This attitude is important because it sets the standard for how one presents oneself. As distasteful as it is to many, presentation is key. In our superficial society, it is not "what's inside that counts" – not at first anyway. To make an impression in any avenue of life it is vital to carry oneself with a certain savvy and exude as much style as possible.

Make no mistake, style continues to be paramount in our society. One needs only to look westward towards the glamour which surrounds Hollywood award galas. More important than the ceremony is the traditional procession of stars who put out their sense of style, or lack thereof, for all the world to scrutinize.

This brings me back to the initial question – whatever happened to style?

Let's explore this using a couple of examples.

Many students scoff at the girls around campus who sport their "pret-a-Ridout" day in and out. These girls should be commended for making an effort to look their best. However, I think they are a little misguided. In drawing attention by flaunting themselves, these girls certainly are successful in turning heads. The issue is that it doesn't take any degree of thought or consideration to throw on a tight top and flared pants. Which brings me to one conclusion – a lack of style exists at Western.

Another example is the people who proudly preen around in their sweats. I'm of the opinion that unless one is indeed planning to sweat, these articles of clothing should never see the light of day. These style Luddites will surely claim they merely throw on such clothing when it's not important to look their best and that they in fact look good when it matters. Again I draw the same conclusion after being confronted with this attitude – lack of style.

I think people are hesitant to forge their own style. We live in an environment where just about anything that doesn't tow the company line raises an eyebrow, so people are content to duplicate the person next to them. Think about it, if some dude was spotted around campus in a two piece on a regular basis, most would wonder who the hell this person thought they were. Personally, I would applaud that guy.

I'd like to take Mizrahi's comment one step further, it's our duty to look good.

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Copyright The Gazette 2000