“a man should look as if he had bought his clothes with intelligence, put them on with care and then forgotten all about them.” – Sir Hardy Amies (1909 – 2003)

By Maria Lavigina London 10/10/2015



So what is the secret of true elegance, sense of style and sophistication in people’s choice of clothes? After photographing numerous people on the streets I came to the conclusion that the secret to a great personal style is the effortless balance and posture that is found in people’s style! It’s almost seems like they didn’t put any effort and thought into it, but I quickly learned it’s quite the contrary… most of them probably cultivated, experienced and refined their personal style over the years until it became flawless and uncontrived! Like the great English fashion designer Sir Hardy Amies once said: “A man should look as if he had bought his clothes with intelligence, put them with care and then forgotten all about them.”



One of the most valuable lesson that I learned from my time at Central Saint Martins, is to know how to look… how to really look at something and to analyse it. There is no such thing as an ugly shirt, boring colour or outdated fabric, it is the combination, proportion and balance of everything put together in coherence that makes the final look stand out and be synchronized with the person wearing it – the same sweater can look great on one person but put on another can look just horrible! I learned a lot as a designer about balance and proportion in clothes from just observing people on the streets, how they dress and what choices they make. There are people to whom style and sense of proportion in clothes comes very naturally, even their posture and the way they carry themselves is flawless! While a student in CSM I learned a lot from the students themselves. Every day my walk from the Kings Cross central tube station till the CSM 1Granary building was like a catwalk show with the most creative and imaginative looks! After a while I could, with a little effort, recognize a CSM student. For people who have personal style their source of expression is what makes them unique and tells their own personal life story – by just looking at them it is easy to tell their own life story a “character” they’re trying to portray – style is not just in what you wear, it’s in the music you listen to, the perfume you choose, the way you hold yourself and an overall “life style” that you embrace.

Most of the time people who fill their wardrobe with just big labels and the most up to date fashion are trying to compensate, in a way, for their lack of creativity and originality. The most interesting individuals are the ones who know how to mix and match, whether vintage, high street, couture or something that they crafted themselves, the final look would be memorable. However, I learned that the most important factor in dress, and actually in all aspects of art and design, is the proportion! No matter how good a person’s attire and taste is – a wrong hem length can kill the final look!

Over the years I learned that It is very important not just to look at the magazines, fashion shows and up to date fashion in stores, it is very important to look around you, how people dress… whether it’s a dapper man, stylish woman or an old lady with a singular style.

In my personal blog I’m trying to show my own personal view on people’s style. A part of street photography that I do, I always make a little sketch and try to show their characters through my photos and illustrations. I usually don’t ask people to pose for me on the streets. I learned that then people becoming aware of the camera the natural magic and natural flair of the moment vanishes, most of the time the magic disappears and what is left are just clothes…

There is a quiet element to the people in my photos, they are in their natural milieu, not aware of being photographed, therefore it comes from a true place, not in the studio where many people are involved in creating the perfect shoot, its beauty is so natural and effortless.

I would like to share with you some of the original street looks that I came across, which are stylish, elegant, original and sometimes funny!