How To Wear It: Has Styling Become More Important Than Designing?

Is fashion on its last legs? Not really. It’s not that ideas are lacking, but the constant reinvention of classic cuts and masterpieces has its technical limits. Without rethinking clothing, some designers and professionals in the field (e.g., stylists, consultants, influencers) are reinventing the way it is worn. These days, standing out does not mean rethinking the cuts and textures of clothing, but rethinking the dialogue between clothing and the body – to enhance what’s worn to look better.

Picture by Anna Palermo for NOWFASHION.


In this context, the constant search for novelty is a question that haunts fashion designers from one season to the next. Designers strive to find the formula that will set them apart from both their real-life (those they will rub shoulders with during fashion week) and virtual (all similar brands accessible online) competitors in order to stand out in an industry that is now saturated with visual and creative impulses.

And the street has a say in all of this. Whether we like it or not, so-called “street-style” has been the new advisor of good taste for years. Trends are no longer displayed only on the fashion week runways – they are made and unmade in front of our eyes, not only in the city but also on social media, thanks to influencers and the way they wear clothing and appear in a streetwear picture taken by a photographer or a selfie posted on social media. “As a stylist, I am often photographed at the end of fashion shows… And some of my streetwear pictures can already be found on a few brands’ mood boards,” says Elisa Nalin, a stylist and fashion consultant who, in recent years, has become a leading influencer, a muse of street-style photographers. “The stylist’s role in fashion is becoming increasingly important. Especially nowadays, in a luxury industry saturated with brands that seek to stand out from one another – it’s style, how you wear and enhance the clothing, that makes all the difference.”

Picture by Anna Palermo for NOWFASHION.


But it’s also our everyday rhythm that imposes a more restrained and conforming stylistic choice on us, with a wardrobe adapted to the hours of the day and distinguished not by the variety of its pieces but by the way they’re worn. In fact, the age of multiple outfits worn and designed according to the hour of the day and the occasion is long over. A breath of freedom has been circulating through our wardrobes for a while, and the frenzy of everyday life compels us not to wear “more,” but to wear “better”. Designers are thereby obsessed with finding a style adjusted to our various day-to-day activities – a fluid and spontaneous wardrobe adapted to our schedules.

“I like to tease our clients,” adds Glenn Martens, creative director of ready-to-wear brand Y/Project, which stands out thanks to a variety of eclectic and offbeat men’s and women’s collections. “Everything is based on the understanding and versatility of the clothing. The idea is that, when you pull on a coat in the morning, you really question yourself. Do I feel more minimalist today? Or more opulent? Or maybe even sexy? The key is to find the answers to all of these questions in a single piece.” The challenge given to today’s designers is to be able to go from a yoga class to the office, then a professional meeting, and finally a cocktail party in the blink of an eye, all without having to change outfits thanks to a playful style solution. If the way clothing is worn seems to have become important, then it’s because women want to be “ready” for whatever happens without making life complicated. And that’s where the term “ready-to-wear” makes sense.