Friday, May 4, 2012

"Mindset" 8: Style vs Swagger

Style vs Swagger

           This week’s article is about semantics therefore making it a bit difficult to tackle. However, we at TEF, made it our business to iron out the wrinkles to this sartorial question: Is there a difference between Style and Swagger?

Our stance on the matter is that there is indeed a difference between the two. And if you give us a few minutes of your time we promise to make a brief attempt to explain how.

Many believe that the two words are synonymous (as did we). However, if we take the basic root meaning of the words one can see that they are different; possibly very closely related but nonetheless, different. We did not find any formal dictionary meaning for the word “Swagger” so we will begin by defining the word that does; Style.

Style: is  a particular kind, sort, or type, as with reference to form, appearance, distinctive action or manner of acting, living with respect to display as in dress, fashion, elegance; smartness.

As described in our article before last (Mindset 6; What is style?), we believe that style is the manner in which something is developed or comprised to form a look, appearance or appeal. Your fundamental articles of clothing that your wardrobe is comprised of which you choose from to get dressed on a daily basis embody your style or look. However, how you present this look is called Swagger. Swagger is a colloquial that is heavily used today and shall eventually be indoctrinated into Webster’s Dictionary but until then allow us to take a crack at defining it.

Swagger:  is an aura of confidence; care-free energy that resonates a sense of effortless dominance and control of the individual’s very being and that around them.

Perplexed? Allow us to elaborate…

When we think of Swag we think: "Bond, James Bond". Its not just about his clothes but his sense of self and the way it shines through the clothes. Have you ever seen two people wear identical or similar outfits yet one looks or presents it somewhat better than the other? You can not readily pinpoint what it is that is “oh-so” different even though the outfits are similar. Or have you ever seen someone effortlessly pull off an outfit, pattern, color scheme or even an accessory that you would have otherwise found corny or ridiculously peculiar but the way they sported it peeked your interest to the point of gawking or wanting to attempt it yourself? Or better yet had you think; “I could never pull that off!” You may have a family member or friend that embodies this. The person could be simply wearing a solid plain t-shirt with jeans and a pair of loafers or sneakers but they make it look cooler than it really is. And lastly, you are not the only person that notices this person’s unexplainable aura for presentation. If the communal level of awareness for this person’s energy is over the 50% mark or close to unanimous amongst onlookers then my friends that individual might have a bad (bad as in good) case of Swagger.  But this is where the confusion of semantics lies because many people may categorize that as the person having a “great sense of style”. But, let’s remember, that style is the way something is comprised or formulated but it does not necessarily mean it has swagger or in other words is presented with that sense of effortless control and confidence.
            A person can wear a top tier designer suit or apparel and still not look as good as a man that got his suit or clothes from a thrift shop or more affordable designer. It is all about how you strut the garments you are wearing. How your personality shines through your outfit making all those around you believers and giving way to the saying “That a man makes the clothes, the clothes don’t make the man”. Still a bit confused? Okay so try this on for size: Different teachers may have similar teaching styles but may be neither good nor effective teachers. A teacher may teach a certain way and be good at it yet try another way and fail miserably. But teachers that can teach any which style and get the students to still get the picture; now that’s SWAG!

We understand that there’s a thin line between the way the two words are used and you can use it however you please but we just felt the need to have some fun with the topic and make it a bit clearer for those of you, who like us, that believed that the two words were not synonyms.

Enjoyed this article? Learned something? Got a debate going? Great, mission accomplished... Try it, its a great ice breaker, amongst fashionistas that is...

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