I was asked recently to compile a Best Dressed list of Australians and as I sat down with my notebook and pen, it dawned on me that those lists are completely stupid.
Being “best dressed” and having innate style are two completely different things.
Someone may be the best dressed on the red carpet because a stylist has zipped her in a Dior gown, but at home, left to her own devices she might look like a character from Kath & Kim.
On the other hand, the person who you can’t take your eyes off in a room might just be wearing jeans and a tshirt and have a cool haircut.
Julie Bishop is roundly cited as being well dressed and this is true. But if you have a great figure and wear mostly Armani, it’s hard to go far wrong.
It’s how you dress in your downtime that says whether you have style, not the party dresses.
For example, I think Lara Worthington looks fabulous of late, not against a media wall, but just walking down the street in a black cotton shirt and skirt with flat sandals and her sharp blonde bob.
The Aussie fashion director of Porter magazine (Gabriele Hackworthy) always looks like a million bucks, favouring tailored men’s-style suits a la Helmet Newton, or on the flipside, a floaty, haute boho dress. She never tries too hard, she just always has the perfect black swimsuit, or the best espadrilles.
Fashion consultant Yasmin Sewell is a regular, very stylish front row face at the international RTW, with her excellent hair and a knack for looking original and almost against trend.
Model Jess Hart always manages to bring a sunny Australian sexiness to whatever she wears as she crisscrosses the globe. It’s not even what she’s wearing so much, but the sort of careless way in which she wears it.
In terms of actresses, I would nominate Naomi Watts, who has never put a foot wrong on the red carpet in all these years and clearly knows her way around a designer dress. In a sea of nearly naked celebrities wearing dresses that are little more than burlesque costumes, it is refreshing to see someone channelling low key and elegant.
In terms of bloggers, I must admit no-one springs to mind immediately because chronicling what you are wearing sometimes feels so forced and self conscious to me. That isn’t what style is about.
Style is a combination of your energy, your intelligence, your sense of humour, and how you choose and wear clothes to reflect who you really are. It’s not about labels, or trends.
One of the best dressed men I know is designer Akira Isogawa, who will wear one gorgeous expensive piece, like a jacket or a sweater, or the perfect blue shirt and pair it with other more humble but beautifully chosen things, like a fab trainer, or a simple t-shirt.
Men in Australia are largely dressing better than ever before but you can you assume a guy has great style just because he is super hot and looks amazing in a tuxedo (like Chris Hemsworth )?
I see true style in skateboarders, and girl surfers, and goths and NBA players in crazy suits they designed themselves.
I had lunch last week with international Conde Nast menswear editor Grant Pearce and he was wearing the best blue denim shirt, a great pair of jeans, a pair of purple monk strap Italian leather loafers and a silver bracelet and a Cartier Tank watch.
Bingo. But he’s one in a million.