Shop Assistant: Good afternoon. Can I help you?
Anne: I’m just looking.
Shop Assistant: Ok. If there is anything I can help you with, just give me a shout.
Anne: Excuse me, could you tell me how much these shirts are?
Shop Assistant: Certainly. They’re actually on sale at the moment – 25% off – so ₤22.50, down from ₤30.
Anne: I see. Are those the only colours you have?
Shop Assistant: I’m afraid so. What sort of shade are you looking for?
Anne: Something a little less garish: these are all a tad bright for my taste.
Shop Assistant: Well, this is the summer line. I’m afraid bright colours are all the rage at the moment.
Anne: I guess I’m not ‘with it’. I suppose I’ll have to come back when the fall collection is in.
Tailor: Can I help you with anything?
Dave: Yes, I understand you do tailor-made clothes. I’m looking to get a coat made.
Tailor: Ok. Do you have any idea what sort of style you’re after?
Dave: Something relatively smart. I was thinking of a ¾ length cashmere number.
Tailor: Right. Well, we have an extensive range of cashmere coats and fits, so why don’t you have a look in our catalogue and see if anything jumps out at you.
(a little later)
Dave: Hi. Yes, I think something akin to this.
Tailor: Very good. What grade of fabric would you like?
Dave: I have no idea. What’s the difference?
Tailor: This is the sample book. The first page is the highest quality, the second is the next…you get the picture. Most people opt for 1 or 2. And I’ll need to take your measurements, if that’s alright.
Dave: Of course, although I’ve put on a bit of weight recently.
Tailor: No problem: a good tailor’s job is to hide that.
Some different clothing styles:
Retro: Dressing in a fashion from the past, such as the 1950s
Thrift store/Oxfam chic: Cheap clothes turned into a style for rich people
Androgynous chic: could be either gender, but usually women’s clothes that look like men’s
Skater chic: based on skateboard fashions: baggy clothes, skateboard brand names
Hip hop: baggy, often using basketball vests, branded baseball caps, and over-the-top ‘bling’
Understated: not wanting to draw too much attention. Dark colours, not showing much flesh
Power dressing: dressing like a company executive
Ethnic / ‘Ethno yah’: middle-class or rich people dressing in clothes from poor ethnic areas (ethno yah is a negative word for rich people trying to look ‘ethnic’)
Scruffy: Just-got-out-of-bed look. ‘Bed head’, unshaven, un-ironed clothes.
Goth: lots of black, often including dyed black hair and dark make-up.
Cosplay: ‘Costume’ + ‘play’. Dressing like a cartoon character.
Most people don’t consider themselves to be fashion gurus, but looking good can help build confidence. It is no coincidence that makeover shows are so popular. Avoiding ‘mistakes’ such as looking ‘frumpy’ (looking like a housewife), ‘mutton dressed as lamb’ (an older woman desperately trying to look young), or being just another face in the crowd (a problem for many men), are all major worries.
One of the most common worries people generally have with clothes is the worry of trying too hard or going for overkill. This is understandable as the majority of the populous is not blessed with movie star looks – chiseled cheekbones, perfect symmetry, a well-toned body – and do not have a stylist to aid them in their selections. Getting it wrong can be a faux pas. Yet simplicity does not have to mean boring if one can pick a piece. Indeed, whilst some icons are trendsetters, many of the world’s most stylish people make use of ‘classic looks’.
There are some ways to tell which clothes will both look fashionable and survive the test of time (versus those that will fall apart): the quality of stitching, the fabric, and how well buttons etc are attached are all indicators of how much effort went into the design and creation process. Colour coordination is also important, as is being true to who you are as a person: if you are a modest person by nature, there is no need to be outlandish. Know who you are, be comfortable with it, and pick the best pieces you can.