Fashion and Wine – Defining personal style, Pt1

John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Battery Park, NYC

The first questions I ask every morning is “What am I going to wear? What do I have to do? Where am I going?” Often before I even wake up or just before the alarm has gone off.


For some this is more than just perfunctory checklist of what is in their wardrobe, but turns into an existential question – “Who am I? Who do I want to be?” And for people with large wardrobes, “Who was I? And do I want I be that again today?”


Only if I am depressed I do not ask this question. If I am depressed, I do not care about the outside world and any strength I have is put towards picking up something off the floor. Perhaps after a particularly bad break-up, where everything is in disarray, this may happen. Or when I left school during a recession and was unemployed and felt the sting of being outside normal life. Or in a particularly bad time in my life when I experienced grief after my father’s death. This is zero fashion where clothes are simply there to do a job. Where you don’t care about yourself and you certainly don’t care about others. And it’s not a good place.


Fortunately, I have good friends who shook me out of it. For these are the times you need to stay as fabulous as possible and give yourself the best attention.

When I was thinking about writing on this subject, I thought about my good friends – who are now scattered around the world – and how when we were younger, sat for many hours pouring over magazines, analyzing looks and models, discussing styles, and all the while sharing a bottle of wine.


Many wine police critics will turn their nose up at even associating wine with fashion. Usually the ones who scream loudest are often the first to dump their no-frill wives by the pot plant at a party and chase the girls with the shimmeriest lipstick and outrageous heels. In fact, in my experience they have so little idea about the cycles of fashion, and hypocritical to boot, and it is not worth giving their shrill admonishments the time of day.


What is personal style? There are many people in wine who have personal style: Jancis Robinson who writes for the Financial Times has a distinctive style and I remember first seeing her in intellectual, Japanese designers (and I wonder if this translates into her preferences for certain wines?). Many friends who buy wine for a living tend to have a personal style – well, their every day work is to decide what not to buy. Sound familiar?


There are also many men in wine who have a lot of style. And it has very little to do with money, and a lot to do with attitude.


What I would like to do is look at wine as I did about clothes and fashion.


We spent many years analysing fashion and have spent the same amount of time working in wine. And as side interest, I have thought more about what I like and what works for me. There is the same question I ask, “why do I like this, in particular?”


Most people who have established a personal style are great studiers of not only wine, but also social interactions.


I would not say I am someone who has stabilised style, although I am always envious of those who are very sure of their style. Whether that is high fashion or a simple hankerchief in the pocket, or a beautiful pen. Yet I am constantly searching and looking for new ideas. Again, just as I am with wines.


“People ask me how can I be stylish, How can I be elegant and what can I wear? My only answer is study! You have to learn.” – Miuccia Prada.


You can’t buy style, you have to work on it. It has nothing to do with money. Wine, like fashion, is also about becoming a very canny shopper. Just as Yves St Laurent said, “To have style, you must believe in yourself.” The most important thing is confidence.

I hope I can help you feel good about your choices and have some confidence in what you like and give you some different ways of looking at why you like it.

Over the next few posts I will explore this more, I hope you can join me.


Juel x


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