The Difference Between Fashion and Style?

The Difference Between Fashion and Style?

Fashion is commonality. Style is individuality.

You maybe fashionable, however you may or may not be stylish. Fashionable people are those who follow fashion without any regard to whether the fashion actually suits them or not. Nevertheless, there are also stylish people who are not considered fashionable. This is mainly because while what they are wearing is stylish and shows off their body and personality; what they may be wearing may or may not be currently in fashion.

“Fashion and style is hard to define because it’s not something that can be explained, but seen, heard and experienced,” said Anthony Melo, a junior majoring in apparel design. “It doesn’t settle for boundaries. It’s always taken to the next level. It’s honestly a personal preference.”

The terms fashion and style are commonly thrown around these days, however many people find it difficult to distinguish between the two. According to Oscar de la Renta, “Fashion is about dressing according to what’s fashionable. Style is more about being yourself.”

Oscar de la Renta

Joan Ellishair, associate professor and chair of the Apparel, Merchandising, Textiles and Design Department, defines style as a way of life – fashion being that which is accepted by a larger group of people.

“Style goes beyond the body,” she said. “It’s the clothes you wear, your facial hair, the food you eat, the movies you watch…computers, phones, cars, houses…. All of those are a part of fashion and lead into one’s sense of style.”

New York designer Isabel Toledo says in her must-read new book, “Roots of Style”  that, “Fashion is ephemeral. It is the flavor of the day, and useful for refueling your style inspiration when you feel you’ve run out of gas. Fashion is easy to apply because it’s all surface. Fashion may be the most democratic of all the art forms because we all have to go through the ritual of dressing ourselves every day.”

Isabel Toledo with her husband Ruben Toledo

According to Toledo, style “is an effective way to carve out your individuality. Style is content . . . common property. It belongs to no one, and to everyone. A person with true style is displaying a fertile and thinking mind. The truth is, we’re all born with an inner voice that serves as our personal style guiding light. People with style dress in harmony with their inner, most authentic selves.”


Fashion and style are the only two words that can effectively explain the who, what, when, where and why of proper clothing application. Yet they’re used as synonyms and misinterpreted on a daily basis.

“Fashion is a general term for a popular style or practice, especially in clothing, footwear, accessories, makeup, body piercing or furniture. ‘Fashion’ refers to a distinctive; however, often-habitual trend in a look and dress up of a person, as well as to prevailing styles in behavior. ‘Fashion’ usually is the newest creations made by designers and are bought by only a few number of people; however, often those “fashions” are translated into more established trends”, according to Wikipedia.

Fashion is what is currently in fashion right now, that is, what is being featured in magazines, on TV and on the fashion runways.Fashion is very versatile. It keeps on changing. Things that are fashionable tend to go out of fashion by next year, or next season, or even next week. Fashion is what is trendy right now.

A fashionable persons are following the current fashion. One must constantly keep changing their wardrobe to keep up with all the current fashions. It doesn’t matter if the trend is ugly, if it doesn’t go with your personality, if it’s not flattering to your body shape, if the color that is in season does not go with you at all, one must conform to it, in order to be considered fashionable.


Style, on the other hand, is considered more permanent and timeless, as it does not need to change. It may only change when the person does, or this style or personality is redefined. It is unique to everyone. This is the person’s own opinion, their own choice in clothes and accessories. Style is something that has been modified and customized on an individual level to suit each person’s own personality and body.

A stylish person wouldn’t necessarily care about what’s in fashion right now. They will be more concerned about what suits their body type better, or their skin tone or hair color, etc. A stylish person tends to show a great ability to balance individuality with conformity, a good grasp of their body’s strengths and weaknesses, and most of all, intelligence and a strong sense of self. However, style can also be considered as an extension of fashion as you can use what is in fashion and incorporate it in your own style giving it an altogether different touch.





What are your thoughts?