Pretty or Chic?


I used to go to this early morning support group. 6am early. In order to get there, I would just roll out of bed, throw on a sweatshirt, ratty jeans, sneakers and a baseball cap and go. For months, I did this. Then I got a job which required me to be there at 8am, so I woke up early and got dressed, put on makeup, etc. before leaving the house.

“Woah! You’re… pretty!” said one of the guys in the group.

Sure, it makes sense. We ALL look “prettier” when we dress up and wear makeup. The late Isabella Blow was notorious for using fashion to feel better, “If I feel really low, I go to see Philip [Treacy], cover my face [with his hats] and feel fantastic… Wearing a hat is like cosmetic surgery.” Blow would transform herself from what some perceived as “plain” into an exotic beauty with the extraordinary use of hats and clothes.

“If I feel really low, I go to see Philip [Treacy], cover my face [with his hats] and feel fantastic… Wearing a hat is like cosmetic surgery.” ~Isabella Blow

On the flip side, think Kim Kardashian or Lana Del Rey. They are both “beautiful”, and they obviously put a lot of effort in their image, but do you think they have great style? Beauty does not automatically give you style.

This year, with the rise of normcore, dressing down has never been more trendy. Baggy jeans, the more ripped, the better paired with Birkenstocks is practically the most trendy thing you can wear this summer. The no-makeup look is also super hot this summer. After several years of over-the-top styling and six-inch platform shoes, I do have to say dressing down is a welcome shift in trends. However, I have to wonder if the people who really carry it off, carry it off because they’re… pretty.

To put it into perspective, if, for my outfit posts, I were to wear the same exact outfit as pictured above, would it get pinned all over Pinterest?

No. I probably would just look like I gave up on life.

Now, this by no means is a ploy to get compliments or support. I’m completely comfortable with my looks …and my insecurities.

But it does make me wonder where the line between beauty and style lies.

Is a person beautiful because they have great style? Does a person have great style because they’re beautiful? Or is it their personality that makes them have great style and/or beauty?

Where do you draw the line between beauty and style?

[Image via Pinterest]
jenninePretty or Chic?

Comments 10

  1. Rachelle

    Beauty and Style are very different to me, a lot of celebs like Kim, Lana are very beautiful but I’m not sure they are stylish. They have the resources and the help necessary to help them look stylish. To me style is about knowing yourself, your body type and understand how to dress it. See I would totally pin the pic above while I would never ever wear that outfit. With Bircks making a come back I see a lot of girls wearing them, by the way I HATE birkenstocks. But I have seen once in a while a girl that pulls it off perfectly. Style is not about money, you don’t need expensive clothes to look stylish. You just need to be you.

  2. Ivy

    When I was 20, I’d wear the above outfit and look waifish, spunky, even sexy. Now, at 40(ish), I look homeless and sad. But it’s not because I’m shockingly more or less beautiful (obviously I’m older, but I still look similar enough). Yes, it’s easy for very naturally beautiful women to get away with both more casual (torn jeans, no makeup) and more outrageous style. But there’s a generational aspect too.

  3. Lisa

    Oh I’ve thought that for a while. The same holds for skinny jeans, heels and a blazer though. It’s a uniform that showcases the tall young woman with long hair. We “like” those pins because the women are beautiful, IMO.

  4. Save. spend. splurge.

    Beauty and style are two separate concepts for me but being beautiful AND having style is a magical combo. Beauty of course, being that you are confident in yourself and able to let’s say, leave the house without wearing a stitch of makeup.

    I will say that beauty seems to be most prevalent if people have very clear skin and well rested eyes, both of which can be faked by makeup for that natural (not really) look. I myself have hereditary bags under my eyes and if I cover them up I look so much better.

  5. ...love Maegan

    I think this photo and photos like it get pinned and liked so much because they look dreamy in a way rather than stylish {even though she is on trend}. People may wonder who she is and make their own story up about her and are thus intrigued ~ the same way some magazine editorials offer “a life that only exists in fairytales”…

    You can’t even see her face… but you assume she’s pretty. {not “you” but you know ;)}


    I often wonder if it’s a size thing vs a pretty thing when it comes to what people assume is stylish {not based what straight men think is pretty or stylish, of course}

    I think it is assumed that Skinny = Stylish vs Pretty = Stylish {unless we’re talking about Victoria’s Secret models, in which they are both} …. What I notice about pinterest is all the super skinny girls/women/models/bloggers get pinned like mad no matter what they’re wearing, what their face looks like, or if you can even see their face or not.

    Look at some of the highest people in fashion {and fashion blogging}. Not all of them are pretty - in fact, many of them are far from it {sorry :/}, but they’re all RAIL thin.

    In this photo, her jeans and sweater hang on her making her look a little frail instead of strong… Why do women lean toward frailty even if in reality they are strong? Do we all have this need to be saved based on what we were taught as children in fairy tales? Or is it simply a control issue? You can control your body size but not the face you were born with? I’m not sure and I’m probably overthinking it… but it’s something I often wonder.

    But also… beauty is relative ~ and I guess so is style ;)

  6. Ulli

    It is interesting that the number of women in the world who are even remotely able to approach the stick thin level keeps dropping, the size of the average woman, if there is such a thing, is somewhat increasing …and those two extremes move away from each other at high speed.

    Being stylish and being pretty to me are completely different things. One doesn’t include the other automatically and that is really a beautiful thing, because otherwise our world would be so so boring.

  7. Kristen

    I would also look like I gave up on life if I wore this! And often I do wear almost exactly this to my suburban grocery store, with fingers crossed I won’t see anyone I know. Definitely no one has ever snapped a photo to post on Pinterest (which i’m grateful for).

  8. Simona

    It is not so much that being pretty makes you stylish, but you can pull off outfits that less pretty people, and it is all relative, can’t. Instead of Pinterest, I used to collect magazine images, but here is the catch, I used to rip the head off, haha, if the outfit still worked it was a great outfit.
    pretty girls can wear anything, the less they try, the better they look.

  9. Sakoiya

    When I think of style, I think of personality….and taste. The way you move, the hair, makeup, clothing choice and jewelry, those all to me makeup the personala style and that’s also what makes someone uniquely beautiful. In this day and age, most celebrities that are beautiful, can afford to wear expensive clothing, and that gets mistaken for style.

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