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In the realm of sartorial savants and luminaries of style from foregone eras, Aristotle Onassis is an absolute anomaly. Blessed with neither the height, the looks, the inherent elegance or the gentlemanly decorum of his jet-set contemporaries in Agnelli, Cary Grant and Howard Hughes, Onassis stood out in a different way.
Winston Chesterfield captured the unique charm of Onassis best when he said,
“Onassis was no dandy, but he wore his clothes with such louche disdain that the effect of his style was far greater than if he had worn daily buttonholes and polka dot bow ties. His was a deep, masculine style; less artful than Agnelli, but far more assertive”.
It is true; Aristotle’s stature as an enduring icon of style is not rooted in the artful or elegant approach to dressing that we’ve come to associate with sartorial style icons.
While others were born into high society - their paths forged by their families and their wealth inherited - Onassis made it there of his own accord by sheer brute force. He was a brutal businessman who wielded the ruthlessness and ferocity that only a self-made man could.
This bravado, coupled with a healthy contempt for the establishment, was borne out in his signature style of irreverent resplendence.
The lesson in all of this is that style is an extension of self. To be stylish is not to blindly emulate the trends set by others, nor is it to eschew convention for no other reason than to be different.
True style is to be true to oneself - it is the art of embracing authenticity. It may mean flying in the face of fashion, just as it may mean challenging the status quo of timeless style. Whatever it means to you, embrace it.
For if Aristotle Onassis has taught us one thing, it is that individualism reigns supreme when it comes to style.