In the 16th century, national differences were at their most pronounced. Ten 16th century portraits of German or Italian gentlemen may show ten entirely different hats. Albrecht Dürer illustrated the differences in his actual (or composite) contrast of Nuremberg and Venetian fashions at the close of the 15th century (illustration, right). The "Spanish style" of the late 16th century began the move back to synchronicity among upper-class Europeans, and after a struggle in the mid-17th century, French styles decisively took over leadership, a process completed in the 18th century.
fashion, style, and fad mean the way that up-to-date people do things. fashion is used of any custom (as a way of dressing or behaving) that is widely accepted at any one time or place. It was once the fashion for everyone to wear hats. style may suggest a fashion that is approved of by people with taste. The house was decorated in the latest style. fad is used for something that is very popular and often only for a short time. Beach tennis may be just a fad.