“The style is the man himself,” said George-Louis Leclerc, Compte de Buffon. (Le style c’est l’homme meme.) Though he meant writing—the word itself comes from stylus, an ancient writing instrument—the expression has come to mean style of all kinds.
“Just because someone wears a hoodie does not make them a hoodlum,” said Congressman Bobby Rush, shortly before he got thrown off the House floor for wearing a hoodie. But, Geraldo Rivera says, a hoodie can make people think you’re a hoodlum, and in rhetoric, what people think determines the persuasive world. When in Rome, wear a toga. (Figaro does this every time he’s in Rome, and for some reason people keep mistaking it for a hoodie.)
Why are we talking style in a rhetoric blog? Because style is an essential quality of decorum, the art of fitting in with an audience. On the House floor, a hoodie seems indecorous. On the street, it certainly shouldn’t get somebody killed.
And when you’re pretending to be a journalist? Nice suit, Geraldo!