Things Tom Ford Taught Me

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?