Style vs. Fashion: A review of ‘Love x Style x Life’ by Garance Doré

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It’s February 2016, which means the pages of every fashion magazine are filled with obsessions and predictions about what will be the biggest trends for SS16, and like every woman living in London on a budget, I booth swoon and sigh as I flick through the pages of my Vogue and Porter, taking in the catwalk shots from the big fashion house’s shows. Garance Doré’s book Love x Style x Life, has given me a different perspective on style and fashion, that they are two very separable entities and that perhaps, in the 21st centuary, we obsess about the wrong one.

Most people don’t like to be blinded by a crazy fashion item- you are the one who needs to shine.

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Being French, Garance surely possess the secret to being fashionable, especially having spent time living in Paris, one of the fashion capitals of the world; however in her book she completely dismisses the myth that French women have a natural understanding of what is chic, fashionable and trending, instead French women have attitude first and then style. So before you go Spring cleaning your wardrobe to death at the dawn of this new season, I urge you, as Garance does, to consider your style.

The French woman say’s no. No to what doesn’t flatter her, no to trends and no to sweatpants.

Step 1: Know your body! When I was younger, just beginning to be interested in the clothes a I wore, choosing them for myself rather that letting my mother dress me, I tended to choose something similar to what everyone else was wearing. I went through my tracksuit phase, and then my jeans with everything phase; I bought clothes because I liked how they looked on the hanger and not necessarily how they looked on me. Then what happened? A lot of clothes would end up hanging in my wardrobe not being worn. It then occurred to me that stylish women were not so because they knew what to wear, but because they knew how to dress their body shape. Being a naturally curvy girl I started to pay more attention to necklines and waistlines, I learned that tops with too much material do not work with a big bust and that good underwear is the foundation to a flattering outfit. So I would love to wear a backless dress, but it doesn’t work on my body, but I can rock bodycon in a way that some women would envy.

The secret is to own your own imperfections. No hiding them or trying to change them- you learn to make something interesting out of them. And clothes are there to help, not to instruments of torture. They’re at our service.

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Probably one of the biggest lessons I learned from this book is that what is trendy is not everything; style is about finding your classics and creating your capsule wardrobe, knowing the pieces that work for you again and again and then just updating them to meet current trends, rather than updating yourself to be ‘fashionable’.

Trends are fun to read about in a magazine on a Sunday morning, and shopping is the perfect time to catch up with friends, but that’s about where it ends.

There are pieces in my wardrobe (my stripy t-shirts and black leggings) that I wear all year round, and when I do clear them out it’s only because I’ve found a newer version of them. However that are other things in my wardrobe that rarely see the light of day and for some reason I find it hard to part with them, as I keep convincing myself that I might someday choose them over something I wear everyday. It is my growing opinion that all I really need is a LBD for occasions, jeans, white t-shirts, stripy t-shirts, some chunky knits for colder days, some black and white string tops for warmer days, a pair of good flats and a pair of heels. However, even after reading Garance’s advice and knowing that it is true, when I do Spring clean my wardrobe I know I will hold onto those pieces I hold back every year, for a rainy day.

There are moments that you need to let loose. Buy a totally incongruous fashion item that nobody other than you and the designer understands. Shoes you can’t walk in. Who said you have to walk in shoes? A coat that will scream “Autumn winteeeeeeer 200000015555!!!” to anybody who listens. A pair of  furry Céline Birkenstocks. A vintage unidentified… is that a onesie?

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Love x Style x Life by Garance Doré