Simple Street Style? Never Heard of It.

Street style is one of the few aspects of an individual’s life that he or she has complete autonomy. It has the power to influence the general public’s perception of the individual, including their beliefs, hobbies, personality, and occupation after a simple glance. However, street style does not simply refer to the outfit a person chose to wear for a certain occasion.

According to Brent Luvaas in “On ‘The Street’: A Conceptual History of Street Style Photography” on street style, “And the clothes worn on ‘the street’ are those that have somehow slipped out the carefully guarded gates of the fashion in-crowd to become an in-demand item among the urban populace… Street photography’s appeal… lies in its contrast with most fashion photography- a genre that is more ‘hyper-real’ than realist, flaunting its own falseness as if it were a prized knock-off handbag.” (Luvaas 2,12) In other words, street style has always been viewed as a facet of counterculture, separate from the mainstream fashion world and representative of those tastes, beliefs, and actions that are not represented in conventional popular culture.

But, in the photographs shown above, the individual featured on the right (next to the author of this blog), a 22 year old female whose primary occupation is pursuing her undergraduate degree in Business Administration from the University of Southern California, describes street style as “What people wear when they know that they are going to be seen by other people even when it’s not necessarily what they would wear in the comfort of their own homes…Because they are aware they will be seen they are way more conscious of they way they look. I wouldn’t wear the same thing at home, sweatpants, as I would to a restaurant when I’m going out to eat. Every street style move is very orchestrated.” In regards to her personal street style, she professes that it is “preppy yet comfortable, not super flashy….My go-to would be jeans, booties, and a floral top or a simple dress with a sweater.” The above photos are an example of street style. Although it appears as if both individuals are participating in the common, everyday activity of browsing a farmers market, they are dressed in a casual yet not-too-casual-like-they’re-going-to-bed manner that demonstrates their consciousness that they will be observed by others in public.

Both Luvaas and the featured street style individual acknowledge the fact that while street style is meant to serve as a type of fashion that is not over thought or an occasion in which people “try too hard” in regards to what they are wearing, any person who knows that they will be seen by others in public regardless of what it is that they are doing will care immensely about how they look and what they are wearing. While the general conception is that street style is effortless, spontaneous, and a departure from the calculated and deliberate nature of conventional fashion, this conception is actually the greatest misconception surrounding street style.

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