"A Model Can Make Anything Look Fabulous" The Fashion Versus Style Debate...

As the late, great Oscar de la Renta said, “Fashion is about dressing according to what’s fashionable. Style is more about being yourself.”

This month, I attended the TK Maxx Style By Me Debate, discussing all things fashion and style. 

A mix of classic and current influential names in fashion, took part in the debate, hosted by presenter Dawn Porter, at Skyloft, Milbank Tower. 

Designer Zandra Rhodes, menswear vlogger Jim Chapman (engaged to vlogger Tanya Burr) pastry chef turned celebrity stylist Andrew Davis and The Daily Telegraph former fashion director Hilary Alexander opined on what it means to be fashionable today and how to celebrate individual style.  

During the evening, Dawn revealed that according to a TK Maxx survey, most of us finally discover our style at the age of 29. 

"For me, I have to agree 29/30 was the point when I found my own style,'' confesses Dawn.

"Before that age, I tried to recreate trends and fit in with what was fashionable and it was always disastrous…

“As you get older you realise what does and doesn’t work for you...It's brave to step away from trends and embrace your personal style. That's what fashion is, being inspired by a different time of place."

Dawn is a vintage obsessive whose signature style is heavily influenced by sixties fashion.   

But forget vintage boutiques - Dawn can currently find inspiration from the High Street.

 "It's basically pick and mix right now," says Hilary. “You can buy 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s on the High Street… You don’t have to go out and absorb every single trend in a season, you can pick and choose…Find something you love and build your wardrobe around it.”

 Hilary has built her own wardrobe around statement pieces of tribal jewellery.  So whatever she’s wearing, Hilary is always true to her personal style. 

But although fashion should be fun and about pleasing yourself, the fashion doyenne implored us to take a long hard look at ourselves in the mirror before we even think about leaving the house.

“Before you go out,  stand in front of the mirror,  shield your face and ask yourself ‘what would I think if I saw this outfit walking towards me?’ Also always, check how it looks from behind!" 

"Fashion is the same as make-up, it's about concealing your physical imperfections and enhancing what you do like."

Even Zandra, famous for her colourful, edgy designs in the seventies, agrees common sense is key:  

“A model can make anything look fabulous. You have to know what suits you and what you feel comfortable in. 

“We’re lucky as individualism really flowers in this country,” says Zandra,  “People come to Fashion Week and you see them making their own statements - it’s exciting.”

The TK Maxx Style By Me campaign celebrates individuality and personal style. Share your thoughts and tweet a pic of what you're wearing today with #stylebyme.

Follow TK Maxx on @TK Maxx_UK

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