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Styling in everyday life? That is: what is (really) the difference between dressing and creating a style?

The power of personal expression, one might say, is what truly moves the world today. The stylingthat is to say the art of creating unique combinations of clothing items, and in harmony with the wearer, is one of the most influential manifestations. Capable of exalting – and sometimes even bringing out for the first time – personalities, starting from the public ones: in fact, they are above all the pop stars, political figures, or even CEOs of renowned companies, to be supported by professional stylists and image consultants to take care of every detail of your image. But are we sure that styling couldn’t be (even) more democratic?

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Appointment at the Lirico theater in Milan on 25 and 26 November


After all, the desire to “recognize” oneself truly in the mirror and in what we wear is universal, and styling can become, in this sense, a faithful companion on the journey to self-discovery and the clothing that best enhances us: a way to match one’s self with the image that is reflected in the world.

The interest in this creative discipline is increasingly broad, as demonstrated by the trend Wearing VS Styling exploded in recent weeks, that is Wear VS Create a style: the theme is precisely to demonstrate the – clear – difference between the two concepts, showing the before and after of a look. Initially, the latter is composed in a rather simple way, only to be radically transformed thanks to an unconventional approach in combining garments and accessories.

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An exercise in creativity that can only do good, but are there any tips that anyone can start adopting to really find their own style? We talked about it with the stylist Susanna Ausoni, co-author of the book The art of styling with the journalist Antonio Mancinelli.

layering (or “dressing like an onion”): the 10 tricks you need to know” class=”external-link external-link-embed__hed-link button” data-event-click='{“element”:”ExternalLink”,”outgoingURL” :”https://www.vanityfair.it/article/layering-vestirsi-a-strati-cipolla-trucchi-che-devi-conoscere-stratificazioni”}’ href=”https://www.vanityfair.it/article /layering-dressing-in-layers-onion-tricks-you-must-know-layering” rel=”nofollow noopener” target=”_blank”>The art of layering (or “dressing like an onion”): the 10 tricks you need to know

Layering is the watchword of any self-respecting winter wardrobe. How to deal with the drop in temperatures without lowering the style bar? Here is a decalogue of tricks infallible to be implemented immediately


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How would you explain what styling is to those who don’t know exactly what it is?
«It is the ability to listen to oneself and one’s own extension. We haven’t been particularly used to doing this: we mostly suffer from external trends or are chaotic in our approach to dressing. Instead, paradoxically, styling has its roots in the decomposition of a “composed” idea: each item of clothing is in fact offered to us in pre-set ways of use, and this art allows us to decline it in a different way. The objective is to move every garment or accessory from so-called common use.”

So where to start from to begin the journey to discover your own style?
«The starting point is personal listening, especially for those who are not in the profession but want to express themselves visually at their best: you should look in the mirror and decide what you want to enhance about yourself, which may seem trivial but is not at all. Suffice it to say that the proportions between clothing items are always shown to us according to the designers’ canons, and given the mostly passive reception of trends, it is important to move away from those images to adapt the garments to our physicality. Clothes are “envelopes” of personality, and it is very beautiful to see when they correspond to the person wearing them. It’s a closing circle.”

What does a stylist do in practice?
«First of all, I start from a collection of inspirations, in which I imagine through mood boards and specific visual references to represent what I will create. I therefore organize my creative ideas through a rather “mathematical” lens, even if it may seem like a contradiction in a similar field. These are the prerequisites – as well as the most dreamy part – to then present my idea to the client, speaking thanks to images: this is my working tool, because I couldn’t do it in words. Then we move on to the operational part, i.e. identifying the right designers for the project, reconciling the DNA of the brands with the personalities of those who will wear them, taking into account the context and situation of use. For the rest, there is no such thing as a typical day!

In your personal style, however, do you have any cornerstones?
«I like to wear Maoist uniforms – and no reference is of a political nature! My uniform is the sweatshirt, I have lots of them and I always wear them. In the summer, I replace them with T-shirts. Then, I decline both items depending on the occasion, with a heel for example. I am very different from what I create for the artists, photography projects and companies I consult for. For me, a stylist should enter other people’s worlds without bringing their personal taste, “sticking” their own image on top: it is a figure that should lead the client towards awareness. I find it horrifying to see stylists dressed like artists! It’s not my way, but obviously everything is worth it.”

Let’s move on to some practical examples to help us understand the difference between wearing And styling: I will mention three timeless clothing items, and for each I ask you to illustrate three ways to wear them and create different styles.

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Oversized sweater:
«On its own, with a sock on the sofa and some beautiful lingerie, it can be an extremely sexy piece of loungewear! With an even more oversized jacket and a gold or silver sandal, contrasting with the roughness of the wool, it can be worn as a minidress. Maybe with a silk slip that peeks out slightly; or again, with a nice masculine shirt underneath, and combined with denim, a tweed jacket – in British style – a wide heel and a wool hat”.

Long, neutral coat:
«I find it gorgeous with an extremely masculine look underneath, perhaps with a 70s boot with a pair of jeans tucked in, and a Victorian shirt on top; with a long evening dress, perhaps of a bright texture, with a stiletto heel and a coat placed over the shoulders like a dressing gown; with very wide trousers with pleats, a turtleneck sweater or cardigan with a V-neck and flat shoes.”

Tailored palazzo trousers:
«I really like them with high-heeled ankle boots, which could be combined in three different ways: with a shirt and vest, with two overlapping shirts, or even with a turtleneck sweater and the shirt on top».

Classic black loafers:
«I love them with denim and white socks: I bought them many years ago, when they were still considered a real horror! Then, I think they are interesting with a minidress and Parisian stockings or tights with designs/patterns and even white socks; finally, an unexpected combination could be with a terry sock and an acetate tracksuit.”

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Source: Vanity Fair

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