Monday, June 11, 2012

Style Dictionary: Versatility

Like learning anything new, the process of acquiring style takes time. You have to learn multiple basics before putting them all together, like how a stripper learns how to work the pole before being able to really “Wow” you with a dance. Not that I’d know.
After last week’s post, I figured thought that I probably lost some people with my confusing rhetoric. In the past, I’ve talked a lot about balance, but also about versatility, without really establishing what I mean by these terms. So today I’m going to help clear the air and hopefully explain things more fully.
Versatility is a piece’s ability to adapt to many different functions, activities, settings, or outfits.

How do versatility and balance interrelate?
They do, in a sense, which I’d be more than willing to delve into in the comments below or a personal email. But for the sake of clarity, and since we’re all style beginners here at Midwest-Dressed, the simple answer is: they don’t. Balance is something you consider when you’re standing in front of your closet at 7 am (or in my case, noon), trying to decide what to wear for the day.
Versatility, on the other hand, is something you’re more likely to consider when you’re in a store, acquiring something new.

The idea is that, when you’re considering what to buy or whether to pull the trigger on something, will you actually wear it? Can you style it differently, can you wear it with several things you already own, or does it only really work well with your one pair of moss-green trousers that you never wear that often? 
If a piece isn’t versatile, if it can’t be mixed and matched and thrown on with whatever you’ve already got, chances are, you won’t wear it that much, and it’ll sit in the back of your closet where you’ll slowly resent it and yourself for spending the money on it. 
A white OCBD is versatile. You can throw on a tie and wear it to the office, throw on a blazer and wear it to a wine-tasting (if you frequent those sorts of things), or you can roll up the sleeves and wear it to a baseball game. It goes everywhere, does everything. A neon, yellow Brazil soccer jersey? Chances are you’ll only really be wearing it to theme parties or the rare Brazil soccer game (excuse me, soccer match). 
Simply put, when you’re buying new clothes, take the time to really consider how it fits into your wardrobe. It might seem girly to ask, “What will I wear this with?” But if the answer is nothing, put it back on the shelf and save the money for booze, because you know you’ll always drink that. 
Thanks for reading,