Does style matter?

Call it soccer mom syndrome. Hair pulled up hastily into a ponytail, yoga pants and runners on the bottom.

Who has time to get impeccably dressed each time we walk out the door?

And who cares? 

I certainly understand those pressed-for-time mornings and days when you just want to be in comfy sweats. But if this lackadaisical approach to dressing has become your every-day uniform, you may be doing yourself a disservice. 

Study after study has linked personal grooming with higher levels of self-confidence and career advancement. Like it or not, your physical appearance is your projection to the world; others’ first impressions of you are based on it.

And it has been thus since we emerged from the caves. 

But beyond the science and psychology of style, I’ve always found dressing to be a fun and rewarding expression of self. It’s a combination of practicality and personality, what you love and what suits the environment you’re in.

From Cleopatra to Coco Chanel to Princess Diana, woman have distinguished themselves, in part, by what they wear. 

Now in the 21st century, we are entering new and fascinating territory in the world of fashion. The internet has created a global marketplace, with some retailers now exclusively online, and has encouraged the rise of independent designers wrestling away control from traditional European couture houses. 

Social media is creating stars out of average people regardless of age or income, such as 65-year-old New Yorker Lyn Slater, who, after being mistaken by paparazzi as a celebrity, started the style blog accidentalicon.com and has almost half a million followers on Instagram (@iconaccidental). 

Some of the most successful start-ups on crowdfunding site Kickstarter have used technology and innovation to improve upon fashion, such as bra company Knixwear and Antonia Saint NY which claims its heels feel like sneakers. 

Dressing has become increasingly political. There is a growing awareness of diversity with new brands designing for religiously-motivated modest dressers. Another huge trend is sustainability as many realize the damage fast fashion and fabric processing has on our planet. 

Designers and retailers are partnering with non-profits to raise funds and awareness on issues ranging from homelessness to heart disease. One of the first such partnerships, Product Red, spawned a brand that has raised over 475 million dollars to combat AIDS/HIV in Africa since 2006.

So...(phew)...yes, style does matter. 

I grew up in Kelowna and remember shopping at Saan in Capri, and when Orchard Park was the one strip between the Bay and (now-defunct) Sears.

My style horizons expanded during stints living in Japan, the U.S. and Mexico, and travels across the planet. Though I have no formal fashion training, I’ve been doodling designs since holding my first Barbie and have spent far more hours than I’d like to admit in the pages of Vogue and style forums, acquiring enough information to fill an encyclopedia.

I’d like to share it through Fashion File. 

This column won’t be a typical fashion blog with carefully-staged Pinterest-worthy photos highlighting a trendy outfit. It will explore everything from wardrobe basics and styling tips to highlighting local retailers and international designers, and more.

If you have any style questions or topics you’d like to see here, please contact me at [email protected]


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About the Author

Marla is best known for her 19-year career in the local charitable sector as a fund development and marketing manager with the Okanagan Regional Library, United Way, UBC Okanagan, and Kelowna Community Resources. 

In 2014, Marla and her husband decided to take a break from the work world, and, four years, later they are still enjoying Okanagan summers, winters in Mexico, and extensive travel. 

Marla has had a life-long passion for fashion, designing her own graduation dress and formal gown for the 1990 Miss Interior competition before age 20.

In 2014, she was named one of nine Style Ambassadors for a year-long marketing campaign at Orchard Park Mall. Her motto is “Life is short...you might as well go through it looking good."

If you have a style question or topic you’d like Marla to cover in this column, contact her at [email protected]

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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