Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Sytle* (for Style*)

The way that some people dress sometimes (myself included), you'd swear they have no sense of style. (Or in typospeak, Sytle.) To cite ol' Quentin Crisp in his 1975 book How to Have a Life-Style: "Style, in the broadest sense of all, is consciousness. More specifically it is a consistent idiom arising spontaneously from the personality but deliberately maintained." Susan Sontag (who may have maintained the coolest hair streak in literary history) penned the classic "Notes on Camp" in 1964 (along with an essay entitled "Styles of Radical Will" in 1969). Nina Garcia, editor of Marie Claire magazine, wrote The Little Black Book of Style in 2007. And in 1993, the somewhat snarky style-related word "fashionista" was admitted to the OED. The subject, it seems, covers a lot of ground. Simply put, though, style is in the eye of the beholder, and maybe even more so, in the mind of the beheld. I've turned quite a few heads in my time and, what's more, they haven't all been appalled at my apparel. (I was once told by a coworker: "It's not that you wear weird clothes. It's that you wear clothes weird." Hey, I resemble that remark!) The yellow pages have separate listings for clothing and apparel, which makes me wonder which side'll eventually win out. Clothing, apparel, and style ("I'm stylin'") can be verbs as well as nouns. Apparel can also refer to a ship's sails and rigging, for example, in addition to something that clothes or adorns ("as," the dictionary sweetly adds, "the bright ~ of spring"). Brighten up this fading summer's day by sidling up to today's typo and giving it a style makeover. Sytle* was found ten times in OhioLINK, and 183 times in WorldCat.

(Camille Styles, from Wikimedia Commons, sampling a plate of macarons, the stylish little pastries featured in yesterday's blog entry.)

Carol Reid

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