Lessons from Tom Ford to an Unlikely Fashionista

October 6, 2011 · 40 comments

in Style & Beauty

Style is a personal thing. It is what defines you. It is not only about clothes (in fact, it is rarely about clothes) but is about the way that one handles oneself with other people. To treat people kindly, to look them in the eye, to shake their hand firmly and to try to always be proud of ones actions are key elements of style as far as I am concerned. With regards to clothes and dress I think that it is important to find out what you feel comfortable in [I am not talking about physical comfort here] and then to make that look your signature. Personal style, comes from consistency. Know yourself, know what you like and what you don’t like and then build a look around those likes and dislikes. Remain true to your own taste.

(via Full Time Ford)

Recently this quote was published on Full Time Ford, the all-Tom-Ford-all-the-time secondary blog created by Beautifully Invisible, in which Mr. Ford proved once again what a significant entity he, and everything his company stands for, is in the world of fashion. Tom Ford the man stands for elegance, refinement, adventure and timeless class; Tom Ford the label means all of those things, plus an exciting level of excess saturating the finest things in life. He’s easily become one of my favorite designers in the last two years…but only in the last two years. Because, believe it or not, I am an unlikely fashionista.

While Tom Ford was doing his gorgeous, gorgeous thing at Gucci I was wearing baseball caps, jeans and – most likely – riding boots. I worked at a barn and rode horses and my other favorite hobbies were videogaming, basketball and rollerblading. Ask my mom and sister and they will gladly tell the story of how they had to sit me down and explain to me: “Casee, you have to brush your hair once in a while.” Fashion was so far gone from where I was at that point. Then I got older, and all of a sudden at sixteen I lobbed off the ponytail for a short, spiky ‘do, discovered make-up and even, on one occasion, had acrylic nails. At a barn. One of the horses bit one off and that was the end of that.

But, even through all those years, I never established an understanding of fashion as an industry. I knew some names – Ralph and Diane and Donna and Tommy and Oscar, of course – but I didn’t know what made them them and I had absolutely no idea that fall fashion week took place in the spring and spring fashion week took place in the fall. I mean, what-the-what?!

In just the last couple of years I really found myself getting invested in fashion and following it with more than just a passing glance as I flipped through a magazine. I figured out that whole Fashion Week thing (and then came to terms with there being so many Fashion Weeks), I learned a lot of designers’ names, the signatures that set them apart, but there was still a certain element of the fashion industry that I wasn’t totally conscious of: how to hold on to who I am in the face of such an intimidating world. I had a long way to go and, at the apex of good fortune, I had Mr. Ford to lead me. I’ve learned a lot from following his career, through his womenswear and beauty collections now, his interviews, and through insights from such unswerving fans as Beautifully Invisible. For amusement, and perhaps even enlightenment, here are some of the fundamental lessons I’ve learned from Tom Ford:

Clothes don’t make the woman – the woman does.
Your clothes are there to empower your already thriving sense of empowerment. It’s not about what you’re wearing, who you’re wearing (okay, there might be a bias here, all the same) or how you’re wearing it. It’s about the fact that you’re wearing what you love and you’re owning it.

Beauty is subjective (and so is fashion).
Never let anyone tell you what’s beautiful, what’s ugly or what aesthetics your personal taste should respond to. You’re living life from behind your own personal pair of rose-colored glasses and it’s up to you to dictate to yourself where you’re happy. When you do that, you’ll be unstoppable.

Inner-strength is the height of glamour.
There’s a might inside of you that will motivate you to become your best self, a confidence that will propell you to the forefront of your own substantial life. Work to discover it, whether through fashion or any other means, and once you find it, embrace it.

Never try to stand out in a crowd; just stand out.
Your best way to make a statement is by tapping into the core of who you are and projecting it to the rest of the world. You, your beauty and your personality are extraordinarily unique. And what’s more show-stopping than the extraordinary?

Overindulgence…in moderation.
Excess in fashion, beauty and décor are art forms. That’s something people are fascinated with, but not something they need. Never lose sight of your most organic passions in life, the simplest things which money can’t buy that reveal to you what’s truly important and remind you just how exclusive your view of life is.

I may have had the potential to be voted Least Likely to be a Fashionista in my youngest years, but after all of this, and with so much more likely still to come from the man himself, I can happily say, without hesitation, that I am a Tom Ford woman.

Are you?


{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

Genny October 6, 2011 at 10:15 am

Casee, you are such an inspiration. I cannot thank you enough for this post. Around here, true fashion isn’t really an artform. People are more into wearing PINK hoodies, American Eagle jeans, and Uggs. Whenever I walk into school, I get looks, because I am different than from what they are. But this post really gave me the sense that I should embrace who I am, what my style is, and to never lose that. I can’t thank you enough for this, dear.


Casee Marie October 7, 2011 at 4:58 pm

I know I already said thank-you on Facebook, but thank you again for this comment, Genny! It really did make my day! I can so relate to where you live; it pretty aptly describes just about every place I’ve ever lived, really. I think for everyone who really, truly taps into their own personality and discovers their most original style there’s a feeling of seclusion, because nobody else in the world will have that style – everyone points out how great that is, but they never mention how strange it feels at first. You should definitely embrace it, because it’s you and that’s fantastic! You never know, the people who look at you funny could just be admiring how unique your look is and you could inspire someone else in the same way. ;)


Karen October 6, 2011 at 10:28 am

Wow. First thing that came to mind. This is such a thoughtful and real post. And also totally applicable to my courses at the moment. Especially the: don’t stand out in a crowd, but stand out.
Thank you so much dear.


Casee Marie October 7, 2011 at 4:59 pm

Thanks so much, Karen! That’s another fun thing about Tom Ford, so much of what he stands for can be applied to every area in life, not just our fashion and style senses!


Karen October 9, 2011 at 2:41 pm

Very true.
I need to pick up the newest collections soon. Off to style.com it is for me :)


Beautifully Invisible October 6, 2011 at 10:29 am


This is probably my favorite Tom Ford-related post… ever. And I didn’t even write it! HA!

Seriously, Casee, this is amazing… I knew you were working on something that had to do with the genius that is Tom Ford, and that had piqued my curiosity as is, but this… this is just amazing. And I relate on SO many levels (as you already know from my “Thank You, Tom Ford” post months ago).

There is so much controversy that surrounds this man – mostly related to the sex sells mentality surrounding so many of his advertising campaigns, and now the “no photography” policies at his shows – that sometimes the substance seems to get lost. Sometimes the way his work touches peoples lives gets lost, and that is the biggest shame there is! He certainly touched mine years ago, and he’s left his mark on you as well.

There is so much to be sad for Tom Ford the designer… Tom Ford the creative genius.. Tom Ford the marketer… TOM FORD the brand… but I think the glimpses we get of Tom Ford the man are the most revealing! And you captured ALL of this beautifully here. LOVE.


Casee Marie October 7, 2011 at 5:20 pm

I wish you could have seen me reaction to your comment. This is pretty accurate, actually. THANK YOU. So so much.

Your “Thank You, Tom Ford” post came to mind when I was writing this. (Did you see, I meant to link it so to remind myself I put ‘Tom Ford post at Beautifully Invisible’ and I accidentally published it like that? Yeah.) I thought it was funny that our introductions to Tom Ford were so alternate, you being a fan in his early days and me discovering him at sort of the “rebirth” of the label, and yet I think the affect he had on us both is in many ways a mirror image. It’s definitely a testament to how timeless he is, and how special. He has the ability to guide a lot of women in life as well as style.

The controversy will forever boggle my mind. Even in terms of his sexed-up ad campaigns, sometimes they’re so different from the image I get of his label. A good example is the fragrance campaign from…2007-ish? (You know, those pictures.) To me, that says something completely different than this season’s womenswear campaign; I see a lot more of the Tom Ford woman I relate to/aspire to be in that one. But he’s marketing different products there and it’s just part of what makes him Tom Ford – standing out in the crowd without trying to!

Thanks again, B! I’m so glad you liked the post. You know it means so much coming from the master of all things Tom Ford!


GRIT & GLAMOUR October 6, 2011 at 10:37 am

Love this! I’ve been in LOVE with Tom Ford since he revamped Gucci and YSL more than 10 years ago. He is a legend, and yes, he has taught me many of the same things. His wisdom, elegance, and graceful honesty have always been so inspirational for me.

Good to see B getting a shout-out too. Love her and Full Time Ford!


Casee Marie October 7, 2011 at 5:24 pm

Thanks, V! I couldn’t agree more, he’s such a special man and I’m sure he’ll just continue to build on his already outstanding legacy as he continues to create.

And I definitely owe B for bringing Tom Ford fully into my life with FTF. She’s such a star!


Bere October 6, 2011 at 11:47 am

One of the absolute *best* Fashion posts I have read in a while. Nearly every line/paragraph you wrote here, Casee, is quote material. Mr. Ford’s name will definitely go down in history as one of the greatest Fashion Designers / Artists ever, and you pay him such a beautiful homage here. Hehe, you and I are so similar, my teenage years were nearly the same as yours, Fashion-wise. As I have said before, I have good days and not-so-good days, but the bottomline, the core of who we are, is what matters most. That is the material true style is made of: personality. Bravo, Casee!! :) xoxo


Casee Marie October 7, 2011 at 5:27 pm

Thank you so much, Bere! You flatter me too much (again, haha). ;) But really, I’m so glad you liked the post and I absolutely agree with you, he’s already become such a legend in his own time, I can’t wait to see how his world and his art just continues to grow.

I’m glad I’m not the only late-bloomer, as fashion goes! I think understanding it fully can sometimes come with a certain sort of maturity, you know? I won’t always feel like getting all dolled up on any given day, but as the man himself said: it’s rarely about the clothes!


Heidi October 6, 2011 at 12:28 pm

Great post! Tom Ford is definitely a smart and wise man. I definitely agree that clothes don’t make the woman, the woman does. It is essential to dress for your body and not have the clothes “wear you”!
He looks so sophisticated too in the first pic!


Casee Marie October 7, 2011 at 5:33 pm

Thanks so much, Heidi! It’s so true, dressing for yourself is when fashion is the most fun! That’s one of my favorite shots of Tom, too, so stylish. And he’s totally rocking the polka dots!


Alexis Grace October 6, 2011 at 12:38 pm

What a fantastic post….. truly love this!

And confession: I had a similar fashion journey!!!!


Casee Marie October 7, 2011 at 5:34 pm

Thanks so much, Alexis! Ha, I wouldn’t have never guessed that, but I’m glad you confessed it. We unlikely fashionistas have to stick together!


Veronica of Best of Palm Beach Consignment October 6, 2011 at 10:07 pm

Love this post, very inspirational. Love the quote about style and completely agree is the way we carry ourselves. The images you chose are lovely.


Casee Marie October 7, 2011 at 5:36 pm

Thank you, Veronica! I’m so glad you liked the post. (:


Nnenna October 6, 2011 at 11:34 pm

So many great lessons to take away from this amazing post Casee! I think my favorite is the third one- I need to remember that on days when I’m not sure about my outfit or myself- gotta pull on that inner confidence! =)


Casee Marie October 7, 2011 at 5:37 pm

Thanks, Nnenna! That third one’s definitely something I have to work on, too. I think it’s the hardest to really get a handle on, but I love that designers like Tom Ford are really infusing it into their signature. It means a lot when you see it represented in the industry! (:


Jamillah October 8, 2011 at 1:21 am

I looooooooove this post. LOVE. I think the lessons you took away from Mr. Ford are really gems. I love: beauty is subjective. I think so many people judge and are afraid to be judged and it takes away from experiencing anything. Fantastic post, Cassee.


Casee Marie October 17, 2011 at 5:58 pm

Thank you so much, Jamillah! You’re too sweet. I completely agree, there’s too much judgement in the world and nobody ever stops to realize how flimsy those judgements really are. There’s no real-life beauty code that we’re all supposed to follow, and the world would be pretty dull if we did!


FASHION TALES October 10, 2011 at 8:20 pm

I agree with the above comments, and think that this is a marvelous post Casee! “Inner strength is the height of glamour,” now this is absolutely one of my favourite quotes… TRUTH!


Casee Marie October 17, 2011 at 5:58 pm

Thanks, Madison! I’m so glad you enjoyed the post. Tom’s just a wealth of inspiration, really!


theComplex October 13, 2011 at 7:05 pm

“Inner-strength is the height of glamour.” – love this. Congrats on being selected for IFB’s link roundup this week! Much deserved. Great site!


Casee Marie October 17, 2011 at 6:00 pm

So glad you liked the post; thanks so much for stopping by! And congrats to you as well! x


Dress Code: High Fashion October 13, 2011 at 10:22 pm

Tom rules!

Congrats on making the Links a la Mode!

Best, Jenny



Casee Marie October 17, 2011 at 6:00 pm

He certainly does. ;) Thanks so much for your comment – and congrats on your selection!


Emily Ulrich October 18, 2011 at 4:36 pm

This is a beautiful post, and I’m glad I came upon your blog. I read about Tom Ford in a book I read recently, and it immediately lit my intrigue of him. Ford is an innovator, no doubt, in every way and this post only enhances my opinion of him. Well said!


Casee Marie October 18, 2011 at 4:53 pm

Thanks for your comment, Emily! I’m so glad you enjoyed the post. I’d love to know what book you were reading that introduced you to Tom; he is definitely an innovator and he’s done a marvelous job of paving the way for his brand in the industry!


Emily Ulrich October 18, 2011 at 7:22 pm

“House of Versace: The Untold Story of Genius, Murder, and Survival” is the title. Obviously, as you can tell from the title, the book doesn’t center Tom Ford. But it does devote a section of one chapter to elaborating his rise within the industry. I’d definitely be interested in reading a book on Ford alone, though.


Charmaine October 19, 2011 at 1:54 pm

I love the message. Stay true to yourself.


Leave a Comment

{ 9 trackbacks }