At lunch last week a pair of colleagues were in deep debate over semantics. “So is her handbag in style or in fashion?” one asked. “Quite the same,” the other replied. “No, no, quite different,” came the response.

This continued for some time. And yes, it made for a boring lunch.

Although the two words are often used interchangeably, there is – in fact – a distinct difference. The divide comes down to the what, the when and the who.

Let me sum it up for you. “Fashion” is all about the clothes. What is the era? What is the context? How do these pieces fit into this time and place? “Style” is all about the individual. How do the clothes relate to you as the wearer? How do they complete your image?

Simply put, clothes are in fashion while you have style. Models on the runway are fashion. Your neighbor, the one who always looks amazing and on trend, has style.

Consider my dear friend Iona. She has the cheekbones to wear hats. Her Kate Spade beanie certainly is in fashion this season. A few years ago, it was hot pants, lace accents and summer stripes. Fashion is temporal and part of a larger, evolving picture. It must change and adapt with time.

Her style, however, is more deeply personal. It is how she, as a unique individual, represents herself through fashion and other Iona-specific choices. How she pairs the beanie with classic prints and tasteful layers perfectly captures her larger-than-life personality. It’s her style, her signature.

So ask yourself two important questions. What is in fashion? And what is your style? The answers don’t have to be one and the same.

You’re best served by answering the second question first. Who are you and how do you want to represent yourself in an image-aware world? What makes you who you are? Now, what trends compliment that image? Not everyone should wear a beanie. If the fashion doesn’t match your style, stick to your guns. Fashions will change, and as I always say, true style is timeless.

If you’d like to shop with Vince in person, check out his online calendar to find out when he’ll be in your area. You can also visit Vince’s shop at the Lovely Boutique in Orlando’s trendy Audubon Park neighborhood.

Vince is always uncovering new treasures, so to stay on top of his new dates and latest items, follow Vince on Facebook and Instagram. You’ll always be one of the first to know!