Fashion & Style

What is a fashionista?

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A fashionista doesn't follow trends, she creates them

If there were an illustration in the dictionary beside the term fashionista, it would probably be of fictional character Carrie Bradshaw, aka Sarah Jessica Parker, in Sex and the City. What is a fashionista? Someone who falls into the fashionista category promotes high fashion, or even creates it. 


Fashion designers and editors, as well as the women who wear their products are fashionistas. The word "fashionista" first popped up in the very early 1990s.


A fashionista loves fashion, especially that which is high fashion, cutting edge and unique, but is not a slave to it. Rather she is the master of her own style. Carrie Bradshaw definitely qualifies. Who else wears a tutu for street wear and is able to pull if off? 


When considering the question, "what is a fashionista," one answer is that a true fashionista is not a trend follower; she is a trend setter. Consider the impact that actress Sienna Miller (the sometimes other half of actor Jude Law) made when she started sporting ensembles that were quickly labeled boho chic and copied across the world.  

Of course, not everyone is going to agree on what is a fashionista, who is a fashionista, and who is actually a fashion train wreck!


No one has the final say except for the late Mr. Richard Blackwell and his worst dressed lists. Every year, like clockwork, on the second Tuesday in January, Mr. Blackwell publicly skewered fashion faux pas -- from Princess Di to Barbra Streisand.


Apparently, the trash of one man is the treasure of another. Take for example Lady Gaga. She has trotted out some of the most bizarre ensembles imaginable. Some think she is already a legendary fashion icon while others think she is a hot mess and outlandish but whatever you think you have to give her points for ingenuity. Now whether that qualifies her as a fashionista in good standing remains to be seen.

In real life, Sarah Jessica Parker is no fashion slouch and is considered by many to be the poster girl of "what is a fashionista?" She wears fun, flirty dresses and definitely has a flair for funky styles and elegant shoes.

First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy was a fashionista long before the term was coined. She was a style-setter, and not a trend follower by any stretch of the imagination. Her style was not geared so as to shock anyone, as is that of Lady Gaga, but it was definitely a novel look for its time. She was an extremely young First Lady and was not having any part of the typically matronly clothing that was donned by Mamie Eisenhower and other older, less fashion savvy First Ladies. The style of Jackie Kennedy Onassis has endured and items from her wardrobe would be still every bit as appropriate as they were 45 years ago.

Back in the 1980s, Madonna made a splash with her corsets and fingerless gloves, which trickled down to the masses and young girls all over the globe began emulating her. Over the years, her style has become more mainstream, although never without her distinctive edginess. Madonna was definitely a style-setter, ever evolving, pre-dating Lady Gaga, who is similar to her in many respects. In the quest of "what is a fashionista?" thirteen-year-old Lourdes Leon, the daughter of Madonna, is being hailed as the youngest fashionista ever.

On the other end of the spectrum, we have actress Helena Bonham Carter, who refers to herself as the fashion Antichrist, and most would agree, although there is certainly something attention-grabbing about her idiosyncratic and rogue approach to dressing. At least she is not boring. Of course, she has next to no chance of ever being referred to as a fashionista and, obviously, could care less. The quirky actress, however, did launch her own fashion line called Pantaloonies, designed by Samantha Cole. The line features capes, bloomers and Victorian-style camisoles with a modern day twist.

Kate Moss, one of the uber chic super models, made heroin chic fashionable but over the years has morphed into skin-baring, strapless dresses, vintage tees, skinny jeans and blazers and manages to look very cool regardless of what she is wearing. Kate is no flash in the pan. She definitely belongs in the fashionista hall of fame.

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