Style Beyond Fashion

September Men's Room

TJ Dunn is a local men’s and women’s style consultant who dabbles in all things fashion, from personal shopping to runway shows. For those looking to rev up their wardrobe, go to


As a style consultant, one of the main aspects of my job is to assist individuals who are in need of help when it comes to their wardrobe. Some clients hire me because shopping does not fit into their schedule. Some simply need a little assistance when it comes to finding the proper clothing for their body type. While others will just flat out tell me that they are clueless.

At times, my clients who fall into the second or third category have found themselves lost to the point where they just feel like giving up. Why? Because fashion can be overwhelming, and to be honest, I can see why.

Whether you are a fashion lover or not, at some point the majority of us have found ourselves watching an A-list celebrity on a red carpet or late night show with the title of “fashionista.”

They are usually either half dressed or have more layers than a cake out of Southern Living. I’m sure most of us have also experienced standing in the checkout line when your eye catches the cover of some high fashion magazine with a pencil-thin model awkwardly draped in designer clothing that most couldn’t pronounce unless they heard it first. (I will confess I am one of those).

We wonder, “How does that outfit make sense for the average person?”

Sure you might be able to get away with it in New York or L.A., but this is Wilmington. “That look does not accommodate my lifestyle, budget, or my body type for that matter.”

But before you get all flustered, there is a solution: style.

Some say style and fashion are the same, but there is a difference. I view style as a more individualistic approach to fashion.

For example, fashion might tell us that full-length fur coats are in this coming winter. This might be suitable for Windy City

residents whose commute consists of public transportation and walking. However, for those of us who live in the South with less harsh winters and a walk that is twenty steps to and from our car, we might opt for a fur vest instead.

I view style as a reflection of one’s culture, hobbies, budget, personality, and environment. Fashion might look good, but at times, can be very impractical.

So the next time you see an article with the tagline, “The Latest Trend,” don’t immediately shoot it down. Get creative and ponder ways of making the trend work for you. The entire look may not be ideal, but maybe there are some elements – a new color, pattern, or fit – that are worth incorporating into your personal style.

Fashion is like any other art form. It is creative and has the ability to invoke numerous emotions; it is not intended to intimidate.

Sometimes fashion pushes the boundaries. Other times it sticks to the basics. Style is what one chooses to do or not do when it comes to fashion.

And whatever that is for you, be sure to wear it with confidence. Look good. Feel good.


To view more of illustrator Mark Weber's work, go to