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What is avant-garde?

Avant-garde, means the vanguard or advanced guard. It generally refers to people who ‘go first’ and lead the way in art and culture. The term has been applied to art and artists such as the impressionists. It has been mostly applied to art and artists of the Victorian era, but the expression is still used today.

Avant-garde can also be applied to films, music, writing and even 21st century digital art. It applies in particular to dress. I see young people who dress differently, they experiment with style and use colours and accessories in a way that makes them look stylish, but different. That is the key to looking avant-garde, to be different, to stand out from the crowd, but still be stylish. You will stand out from the crowd if you wear garish colours, but that isn’t stylish; it isn’t avant-garde. Some people lead fashion, other people follow like sheep. If you lead fashion by experimenting with style and other people follow, that is avant- garde. People won’t follow you if you wear shocking pink inappropriately, but even shocking pink can be avant-garde, if it’s not too overdone.

Style means different things to different people, but it’s interesting to look at what people think avant-garde is on Pinterest. Most people seem to regard it as something new, but within certain rules, not too unconventional.

If you’re trying to re-invent yourself and need a new look, try looking at avant-garde images, most of them seem to take their inspiration from Parisian style or French style. You have to be quite brave to wear something different, do something different and attempt to lead the way where others fear to tread.  You don’t have to spend a fortune in order to wear something cool and trendy. A lot depends upon matching colours and accessories. The designer labels don’t really matter to fashion leaders and trend setters.

You have to be prepared for criticism. I once wore a silver jacket with an orange lining. The men made fun of me, the women wanted to try it on! Try to push the boundaries of fashion, don’t blast them out of the way all together. If it’s cold and you want a scarf that looks different as an accessory to your clothes. You might have to knit it yourself or have it knitted. The best designer clothes are the ones made for you, not the ones with the well known label. Hand crafted knitwear is really trendy and the design can be yours, that is much more avant-garde than a designer name.

I hope today’s relatively short psychology post has made you think a little. Can you lead the way in art, design or fashion and inspire your friends to follow? Please comment and share your thoughts with the world.

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