Superstyle Me!

by Katie on August 24, 2010

Are you a stressed-out, slightly weepy, middle-aged mother-of-three with low self-esteem, a sludge-coloured wardrobe, who hyperventilates every time you visit Marks & Spencer or Kew?

Do you harbour a secret desire to have sassy gay men pour you into a cheap tea dress, accessorise you to within an inch of your life, and then throw you down a catwalk in front of adoring family and friends? If so then Gok Wan’s team want to hear from you…..

What has led the UK’s women to line up in their thousands so Gok can grab their “bangers” in a shopping centre, declare their clothes sense the dowdiest in the postal code, and unleash their inner drag queen via the medium of coloured tights? Is the homogenisation of our cities’ high streets dulling their sense of individuality? Uncertainty over disparate sizing policies? A recent survey on British women’s shopping habits, commissioned by low-fat frozen dessert brand ‘Skinny Cow’, made for depressing reading as 83% admitted that they had experienced remorse after buying clothes and accessories, lied to their partners about the cost, and often felt dissatisfied with their purchases before even getting them back home.

Are Gok and his fellow Superstylists helping, or is the pressure to give each outfit a “Gok twist”, or to steal a certain celebrity’s style, adding unwanted anxiety to an activity that the average women spends 8 years of her life engaged in (and, allegedly, as much time thinking about as men think about sex)?

Economic circumstances don’t seem significant. Witness pop star and Nation’s Sweetheart™ Cheryl Cole during the last series of ‘The X Factor’. Cole, who endured endless reports during filming of a collapsing marriage and an alleged rivalry with fellow judge Dannii Minogue, obviously ran crying into the clothes rail of her stylist, Frank Strachan of gay men’s lifestyle magazine Attitude.

The result was Dressing as Armour – and Cheryl looking increasingly ill at ease, probably aware that the edgy dresses Strachan was choosing were losing out in the sartorial stakes to opponent Dannii’s more demure wardrobe decisions.

Across the Atlantic, American women are hanging off the fashion advice of rake-thin, nonsensical celebrity stylist and media star Rachel Zoe. Zoe, who rose to fame during the early noughties obsession with casual So-Cal brands such as Juicy Couture and skinny, bleached beach-babes, was recently the subject of a 5-page spread by US glossy Harper’s Bazaar, where she poses in the throes of fighting off ingenious attempts on her life by various high-end fashion designers, such as Marc Jacobs.


In the photographs, Jacobs along with Michael Kors and Vera Wang play second fiddle to Zoe, currently celebrating a third series of her reality show ‘The Rachel Zoe Project’. And, you have to wonder how the stylist became more important than the designer?

Maybe it’s time that the Superstylists owned up, admitted that there are simple rules to dressing that everyone can learn, and (most importantly) that a good, well-cut dress and discreet jewellery will always win out over a cheaper piece dipped in Bostik, dragged through a haberdashery, and worn with an armful of bangles?

Maybe then women everywhere will learn to have faith in their own sense of style.

This article was researched, compiled and written by Lee Clatworthy.

What do you think of style over substance? Do you think the stylist as superstar has gone too far? Is there a crisis of confidence in the UK’s women? What do you think of Lee’s piece? Please leave a comment in the comment box below or start a conversation in the ‘shout mix’ box opposite.

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