Fashion vs. Style or Style That's Fashionable?

by Neal Kielar, Tastemaker in Residence

There are differences between fashion and style that make each distinct but neither superior to the other.

Fashion is something that, for most of us, comes from external influences. Of-the-moment trends, excitement, emulation and even innovations. Fashion can be fleeting, a failure or a force with very long coattails that changes perspectives for years to come. We embrace or reject fashion. Feel enlightened and inspired or puzzled and put off. It's what's new.

Style is organic and evolves over time. It's the amalgam of heritage, culture, circumstance, personal preference and, yes, even fashion trends that stay with you. Style is personal and defining - much like a brand is to a business. It's what is constant.

So what does that have to do with food, drink, entertaining and traditions? A lot, it turns out. The way you structure your culinary and cultural life is most likely to be deeply rooted in your personal style. Fashion is the fun, unexpected guest that lets you mix things up a bit and keep your style fresh.

Here are five fresh - maybe even fashionable - ideas for 2015:

  1. Find a new food to incorporate into your routine. Kale was the "it" food in 2014 and I hear that cauliflower will take its place this year. But you can do better than that!
  2. Same thing with beverages. Kombucha is riding a wave of curiosity right now but what refresher can you embrace that will please you, your family and guests?
  3. Set a fresh everyday table with high-quality vintage (or even newer but fashionable) finds at retro stores. You can score reasonably priced dinnerware and glassware that doesn't look like what everyone else has - and then pass it along when it no longer feels fashionable to you.
  4. Start a new food tradition with family and friends that allows for fashionable interpretation. A few years ago I started a "soup club" dinner party allowing everyone to bring a pot of soup that either came from their heritage or featured a fashion food like quinoa or chia.
  5. Create a new backdrop in your home, prioritizing the space you use most often for socializing. Repaint the walls. Hang new art (or just move around the art you already have). Use lighting as an accent. And by all means incorporate something trendy, especially if you can be an early adopter that makes you a trendsetter within your circle.
Soup Bowls come in all shapes, sizes and vintages...Check out Neal's Soup Club idea!

Soup Bowls come in all shapes, sizes and vintages...Check out Neal's Soup Club idea!

NEAL KIELAR is owner of MidModMen+friends, a Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN-based boutique offering a classic modern mix of home furnishings, from vintage to artisan and artist originals.