The term “statement” is one of the most oft-heard (and maybe slightly overused) words in fashion, but... “Statement piece” is a buzzword for sure, but what does "making a statement" in fashion actually mean, and when did "statement" pieces become such a thing?
The first time I heard someone refer to something they wore as a statement piece was in 2009. A friend had come over to my house to do nothing but lounge, and he was wearing what you might expect of a close friend who had no plans but to watch TV on your couch: A pair of classic jeans, a gray pullover, and a t-shirt. Except one thing. He had on a chunky, silver chain necklace. The addition not only exuded a sense of style, but it also took the look from plain to noteworthy. Without the necklace, you wouldn’t notice his outfit if he were to walk past you on the street. With it, you would.
The concept of "making a statement" in fashion can be attributed to the ubiquity of street style blogs. Street style is the simple concept of seeking inspiration not from the runway but from the street. Well-established in places like London and Tokyo in the late '90s, it didn’t make a hit stateside until Scott Schuman started taking photos of stylish New Yorkers he passed on the street and posting the photos to his blog, The Sartorialist, in 2005.
Schuman's blog has expanded from its Blogspot site domain to two coffee table books, and taken him from the sidewalks of lower Manhattan to Paris, Milan, and quite frankly, all over the world. Despite Schuman’s skyrocketing success, the common denominator of his subjects remains the same: They dress themselves in a way that captures attention.
Wearing something attention-grabbing is not new. However, getting photographed because you’re wearing something bold, and having that photo viewed by thousands of people on the internet, is. It’s how trends start - we imitate the looks we like. Similarly, statement pieces have always been around, but street style photography gave them a name because they’re what captured the photographer’s, and the internet audience’s, attention.
So is making a statement in fashion important, especially if you aren’t a blogger leaving a fashion show with the hope of getting photographed? Yes, no matter what industry you work in and whether you care about clothes or not.
Clothes are a form of self-expression, and how we dress impacts how we feel about ourselves, and vice-versa. So if adding something bold makes you feel better, then voila, proof that making a statement isn’t a shallow “look at me, look at me” concept.
Statement pieces define your personal style. They give an identity to your personal brand. There are certain pieces you wear that stand out no matter what you pair them with.
Overall I want you to wear something that will put you in a good mood. Statement pieces may have risen to trend status in fashion because street style blogs put them on the map, but they’ve maintained a staying power because of their ability to pull outfits together.