Fashion is the relationship to the external.
It is concerned with “what’s out there” (fashion items, in the stores). It’s a matching process between what’s out there (fashion’s primary interest) to what I’m wearing. Is what I’m wearing a ‘match’ for what’s ‘out there’, to what’s been deemed ‘in fashion’?
Style is the relationship to the internal.
It’s about “what’s in here” (my sense of self, my identity, my perception of who I am). The matching process is between what’s in here and how that is reflected and expressed in what I’m wearing. Does my clothing ‘match’ my sense of who I am, at least for today?
Fashion distracts, style connects
If we go with that definition, it’s easy to see that there’s a huge difference in the orientation of our focus if it’s on fashion vs. style. Fashion takes our attention away from ourselves, style brings our attention directly to ourselves.
You, or the clothes?
This definition also recognises where the emphasis is placed. With fashion, it’s on the clothing, the items deemed to be fashionable. With style, it’s on the person.
Fashion can be away to distance yourself from yourself, which may be a desirable thing for some people at some points in time.
Style is a way to make closer your relationship to yourself, as its focus and orientation is on the self and how it’s informed and expressed by clothing choices.