“FOR ME, ELEGANCE IS CHICNESS IS SIMPLICITY. WHAT IS SIMPLE AND NATURAL IS ALWAYS CHIC. BEING CHIC DOES NOT MEAN WEARING BRANDED CLOTHES.”
Each little girl gets acquainted with fashion when she begins to make dresses for her baby dolls. And each little girl reflects her own style on the baby doll she tries to dress. Aysun Şahanoğlu Kaba, began to develop a liking for fashion with the fashion magazines her father brought from abroad when she was small and her passion for fashion has made her one of the best-known fashion style advisers in Turkey. You know, one’s best clothing is his or her smile… It is the right phrase to describe Aysun. We had an interview with her for you, readers of Rail Life, with sincerity in her voice and smile, about fashion and style.
Aysun, would you tell us a little about yourself, please? How did you enter the world of style?
From early on, my visual tastes and my view of fashion were very different. I paid special attention to dressing properly and elegantly, followed fashion and adapted it to my liking even in those early ages. My interest in fashion began with my admiration for my father. I saw it in my father how cool and chic a man could be. He had a distinct taste and what made you admire him was that he had internalized his taste through his gusto, lifestyle, vision, manners and tact. I would like to mention my father’s name here; Müslim Şahanoğlu…
Well, when did you first discover the visual ability in you?
As the saying goes, ‘some things are inborn’, it is very true… Visual tastes are also innate. What is important is to improve them. When I was small, I used to examine the fashion magazines my father brought from abroad, adapt them to myself and make alterations on all the clothes I bought. It was impossible for me to wear them without changing or making a difference. Creating new combinations was my sine qua non. Believe me, this is nothing to do with career; taste is something totally different… I had come to an important junction by the time I was 17. I met my future husband and at the same my father was aware of the different feel in me. He wanted to send met o London but I was absorbed in love and not able to see anything else.
Did you experience women’s ‘career-marriage’ dilemma?
Yes, I got married at the age of 19, opting for love, not career. I had a son but the love for fashion in my heart never ceased. I was always writing things and taking notes. I improved myself by receiving training on style and media in seminars and during my travels abroad. My husband was a sportsman and my son studied fine arts… we all always helped each other. I benefited from being someone with elevated visual taste. I felt that I possessed in me the touches which not all had. I did everything with devotion and love. My inherent writing ability enabled me to be a fashion writer.
Your choices seem to have made you happy…
The fact that I have listened to my inner voice and done the job I like have always made me happy. My happiness and elevated energy has enabled me to present all clothes I have worn elegantly. Always listen to your inner voice. I have done it and at the moment you are touching my words.
What is the position you have attained in your profession?
I am a fashion writer and a style adviser. I have compiled my experiences and my different touches in a book and called it ‘Discover Your Style with Aysun Kaba’. I live in Ankara teach style in an academy, and act as a shopping coach. I touch people’s lives, and as I touch them, and share with them, I see smiles on their faces, which makes me very happy.
What is elegance and what is it not?
‘Elegance is a matter of personality rather than the clothes on you’ says Jean Paul Gaultier. It is very well put … For me, elegance is simplicity. What is simple and natural is always elegant. Elegance does not mean wearing brands. Elegance is a way of standing.
Are there some major rules to be elegant?
To be elegant, you have to avoid exaggeration; being elegant is different from having a style. We often see chic and elegant people at the parties we attend but people with style stand out among them. They are easily noticed with their standing, accessories, sophistication, the way they bring together different pieces. The rules for having a style, let’s not call it being elegant, are self-confidence, positive smiles, being natural and sincere (not imitating someone else) and having your own style.
How does one acquire a style? Is style something that settles with age?
Style is much more than just bringing together colors and designs and having people enjoy them. Therefore, you should do much more than merely creating a form for your clothes. The way to being elegant and having a style is through self-confidence. Attention personal care, knowing rules of etiquette, knowing what to speak where just like knowing what to wear are effective factors in having a style. Having a style is something partly to do with age and partly with experiences one has had. As time goes by, tastes settle and we pay more attention to simplicity. Keeping up with what is going on around not be outdated, adding color to your clothes, not acting like a shop window dummy, having a style of your own … Having a style is not being like someone else.
What is the significance of accessories in clothing? What should we consider in using accessories?
We should pay attention to the accessories we choose. The jewellery you wear may either raise or lower the impact of your clothes. Accessories enliven your clothes. The garment you wear may be a branded product but if your accessory is of low quality, it may ruin you instantly. You should always prefer quality products. Silk İpek fularlar, and pearls are timeless pieces who are never outdated.
What should make-up be like?
Your make-up should always be natural. A good concealer, under-eye concealer, blush, mascara and lipstick will suffice. Your concealer should not tire eyes when looked from across and match your low-cut dress. A clean skin is the most important of all. Make-up applied on a clean and well-cared skin enhances your appeal just as the clothes you wear on a clean body.
To what extent should one follow fashion?
Fashion is temporary whereas style is permanent. We should follow fashion but should not be a captive of it. Because, fashion constantly changes, and what you call old may come anew in different disguises. Style, however, is different. Style is that aspect of fashion which breathes, lives, challenges and makes a difference. Fashion is a tool; it is shaped through manners and its target is style.
While shopping, how can we distinguish pieces that are good investment from those we can wear “seasonally”?
The products you will purchase should be products which you can wear at least a few seasons. There are now pieces which we do not use for winter or summer only. For example, we wear silk shirts and silk dresses in both summer and winter. We combine our garment with cashmere cardigans and jumpers. If you are going to buy trendy products during shopping, you should invest in those at reasonable prices without spending huge sums of money. Because, they may go out of fashion or you get bored with them … It is always good to invest in timeless pieces, those that are classics.
What should you have in your wardrobe?
Well-cut black and white shirts, black cigarette trousers, grey cashmere knitwear, trench coats, black pumps, good quality shoes, bags and silk headscarves.
White shirts, dark blue blazers, trench coats, black cashmere knitwear and well-cut black and white suits.
Who are some of the people in Turkey who have a style?
Betul Mardin, Ajda Pekkan, Nebahat Çehre, Filiz Akın, Alara Koçibey, Ümit Boyner, Ayşe Kucuroğlu, Derin Mermerci, Özlem Önal, Hande Atazi, Ece Sükan.
Rahmi Koç, Mustafa Sarıgül, Hamdi Akın, Menderes Utku, Sezai Taşkent, Ayhan Sicimoğlu, Akın İpek.
How should you dress to suit your body type?
*Whichever part of your body you like, you should highlight it and camouflage those imperfect parts that you do not like.
*If you are small-built, you should choose tight-fitting clothes.
*If you have a thick belly, you should hang silk scarves from your neck and down the front of your body. This will camouflage thickness of your belly, conceal your paunch if you have one. Do not use belts. *If your legs are short, choose your trousers and shoes from the same shade of color; do not wear other colors and cut. Wear mini-sized clothes and skin-colored shoes so that you look taller.
*If you have thick hip lines, you should choose loose-fit shirts, which will conceal your hipline. Your choices should be for ones that do not stick to your body.
*If your legs are thick, do not prefer tight trousers. The selected trousers should not fit too tightly.