Words With Style
One of the frustrations I sometimes feel in writing about style is that images can often seem more powerful than words. I'm not sure if that's a result of the visual world in which we live; we are constantly bombarded through billboard advertising on the street, television ads at home, and now on screens we carry everywhere we go. I think about the power of words in the context of contemporary society, and they seem no where near as potent as they were in the era of Confucius or Epictetus or Shakespeare or Thoreau. Those were times when the written word was indispensable.
Yet, art has always been visual. Dalí couldn't have possibly written an essay about melting clocks that would have been as impactful as The Persistence of Memory. And if in fact style is art, then perhaps we can't expect words alone to act as the mediators between us and our relationship with personal style.
Still I believe words unequivocally have their place, because when we read something as opposed to seeing it, we can better exercise our creative muscles; better assert our individual point of view on how something should be interpreted. The actor Adrien Brody has said:
"How are you to imagine anything if the images are always provided for you? To defend ourselves...we must learn to read. To stimulate our own imagination, to cultivate our own consciousness, our own belief system. We all need these skills to defend, to preserve, our own minds."
- Adrien Brody via Nitch
So I will keep on writing, trying to curate a selection of words and thoughts that serve us on this journey towards understanding style. And I hope you keep on reading!! In the mean time, here are a few compelling words that say something about style beyond what is happening on the surface.
soigné (or soignée)
/[swänˈyā]/adjective (French): possessing an aura of sophistication in dress, manner, or design; presented or prepared with an elegance attained through care for the finer details
/[quAn-'trel]/noun (English): a woman who emphasizes a life of passion, expressed through personal style, leisurely pastimes, charm, and cultivation of life's pleasures
/[ˈesˌTHēt]/noun (English) : a person who has a deep appreciation for and sensitivity to art and beauty
/[keˈlän]/noun (Greek) : a beauty that is more than skin-deep; an outward sign of an inward noble character as conceived by classical Greek philosphers
Do you know of any words (in any language) that we can add to the list?