Have you ever tried to define style?  I mean what is it? How is it distinguished?  We all know what we mean when we hear ‘her style is…….’, ‘the design style is…….’, ‘the writing style follows …….’.  But what do we mean?

20170316_201506In my endeavour to define style I went back to the start, the dictionary.  Collins Gem Dictionary & thesaurus defines style as ‘design; manner of writing, doing etc.; fashion, elegance’.   Yeap, still have no idea how to define it.

The Business Dictionary defines style as ‘characters or elements combined and expressed in a particular, often unique, and consistent manner’.  Now that I can work with.

So, STYLE is the things, or better elements, that are put together, generally over a period of time, that have a common theme or thread.  They express an emotion, feeling, individuality, period, and tend to evolve over time, often on its own or naturally.  Unlike trends, Styles tend to remain.

Cocco Channel once said “Fashion fades, only style remains the same.”

Humans have a desire to group or classify the components that make up the world around them.  The word STYLE allows this to happen although it is used in a diverse manner, from the style of writing in literature, such as how words are used, the type of words, the structure and colour.


What is writing style?


From Slide Share, written by Mariette Du Toit Dodd 2013

A common use of the word Style is in reference to hair styles.  Here it is used to describe a cut or an arrangement of the hair.

The Pixie Hair Cut from BHLDN .com    Bun Styles from

When it comes to fashion, we say a style and we automatically have a vision of the ‘look’.

fashion styles

Businesswoman            Gothic                  Elegant                   Sexy                                                  images from

So too, when we speak of Interior design and Architecture.  The designs that have a common theme, thread, character, colours, lines, elements are given a Style Name.  This is handy when describing a room or building as it puts us ‘on the same page’ and can visualise what it trying to be described.

In Interior Design this visualisation is not clean cut, as styles can be blended or mixed.  However, in Architecture it tends to be a bit more definitive.

For Example:  Vintage Contemporary Style


Sourced from

Contemporary Style – Clean lines, large furniture, subtle colours, not cluttered.


Sourced from

Vintage Style – ornate, lots of curves and filigree, a cluttered or closed in look, ‘pretty’

Now if we combine the two styles, some elements from each are taken and combined.

vintage contemporary

Sourced from

Vintage-Contemporary Style – a mix of clean lines in the seating, and curved lines in the sideboard, cabinets, and chair which line the room, and the chandelier.  However, the overall style of the room is contemporary as it is uncluttered, and not ‘pretty’.


Old Duke of Bedford school, Cambridgeshire, 1958. © Edwin Smith / RIBA Library Photographs Collection Sourced from

Gothic Style Architecture. – Arches, small windows, high pitch roof tiled gables, rusticated stone, clasping buttresses, etc.

tudor styleSourced from

Tudor Style house – sculptured chimney, half timbers, nogging, high pitch gables, 2 to 2 ½ storeys.

 So, Style is difficult to define as a word, but the word allows us to visualise a collective of elements in a certain arrangement.  Style does not have to be definitive, but can be combined.  Finally, Styles tend to be long lasting, whereas trends tend to change, whether it be over a long or short term period.

Up Next: Trend Forecasting.


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