What is Style?


Style is the way something is done or presented, and may refer to the general manner in which a person dresses, acts, writes, or speaks. It can also be used to describe a particular mode of art or design, or the way a building or vehicle is constructed. Many schools or firms have a distinctive style, publishers have a “house style,” and individual writers have their own styles of writing (e.g., a poetic style). The word may also be used to describe a person’s characteristic appearance, such as a flamboyant or sombre dress or hairstyle.

The term is also used to classify the various ways of doing or making, according to groups or countries or periods that are considered habitual—for example, gypsy style, French style, or eighteenth-century style. In such cases the distinction is a matter of taste, and the adjective “style” may be applied to both the choice and the manner of doing. Thus, a girl who chooses a particular style of dress expresses her intention to appear in a given role; and the board of directors that selects a new style for their firm may do so in order to convey a certain image.

In the case of visual arts, the concept of style was elaborated by Giorgio Vasari in the sixteenth century and further refined by J. J. Winckelmann in the eighteenth century. For him the essence of a work of art was the “harmonious balance between ends and means,” and the development of forms in art was seen as a gradual movement toward perfect form. This doctrine was reflected in the judgment that such masterpieces as Caravaggio and Rembrandt possessed classical style, while works that did not yet have this harmony were described as primitive or archaic.

Similarly, the manner in which an actor or singer performs or presents a play or musical composition is judged by critics to be either traditional or modern, and there are many theories about the origins of these styles. For instance, some scholars hold that a style of performance develops gradually, while others believe that it is an acquired character that may be influenced by environment.

If asked about your personal style, it is important to be able to answer clearly and confidently. A vague response to this question will indicate that you do not know yourself very well and will not be able to present yourself in a positive light. For instance, if an employer asks you to describe your leadership skills in an interview, and you reply that you are a good leader, this will not help them see why you would be a valuable asset to their company. Rather, be sure to highlight your unique and impressive leadership experience that will distinguish you from other candidates. A good way to determine your personal style is to use Pinterest or another web based tool to create a visual scrapbook or collage of pictures that exemplify your personality. You could then display this in your bedroom or on the back of your wardrobe door to serve as a daily reminder of your style goals.