I've observed in a previous post that style is not about what you wear, but HOW you wear it...and the more I've pondered this notion, the more I've wanted to dig into it. Discovering and cultivating your own signature style is the key to creating a refined wardrobe and emulating confidence. I've looked to some of the greats to put "signature style" into words, and I simply could not choose one quote. SO before I take a deep dive into the components of building your own signature style, here are a few to inspire you...
“Style is the only thing you can’t buy. It’s not in a shopping bag, a label, or a price tag. It’s something reflected from our soul to the outside world - an emotion.” - Alber Elbaz
“I say dress to please yourself. Listen to your inner muse and take a chance. Wear something that says ‘here I am’ today.” - Iris Apfel
“Style is something each of us already has, all we need to do is find it.” - Diane von Furstenberg
“Reinvent new combinations of what you already own, improvise. become more creative. Not because you have to, but because you want to. Evolution is the secret for the next step.” - Karl Lagerfeld
“Real style is never right or wrong. It’s a matter of being yourself on purpose.” - G. Bruce Boyer
“Create your own style…Let it be unique for yourself and yet identifiable for others.” - Anna Wintour
Ready to cultivate your signature style? Here are some essential steps to getting started...
1. Find Inspiration
We have access to so much content these days. Between Pinterest, Instagram, magazines etc, it's safe to say most of us are pinning, saving or following what we are drawn to. Consider looking back and taking a deeper look at what you save. Is there a common thread? Are there certain looks you gravitate towards? What colors draw you in? What is the overall mood? The perfect starting off point for discovering your own signature style is to find a muse...or a few. You can learn a lot about yourself when you look back at what you may have mindlessly saved.
2. Describe Your Style
Once you've pulled inspiration, write down a few adjectives that describe your style. For example, I would say my personal style is minimal, casual, and classic, with a feminine flare. I often look to French and Scandinavian style muses.
It's important to be honest with your list of descriptors. Loving a certain look does not mean it fits within your lifestyle. I hesitantly wrote 'casual' on my list, because I WISH I dressed up a bit more. If I'm honest with myself, every time I buy an item of clothing that is super dressy, it goes unworn. Having a few definitive words to describe your style is a GAME CHANGER. You'll know what to say "yes" to in the store, and what to admire, but pass on. And there is nothing more sustainable than loving the clothes you have. Loved clothes LAST.
3. Ignore (Most ) Trends
I include most* in this title because MOST trends will come and go, leading to a closet of out-of-date clothing that ends up in land fills way too quickly. The exception to this is a trend that fits your signature style. As Bruce Boyer said, “Real style is never right or wrong. It’s a matter of being yourself on purpose.”
So, if there is a trend that fits your style, it will never go out of style for YOU, no matter how long the trend lasts in the mainstream.
Trends definitely make it more difficult to stay true to you. We are all influenced by the store fronts and ads that constantly bombard us with "must have" or "it" items. In those moments, I challenge you to take a step back and really think about how many years you will love that item for. If it's less than 3 years, try your best to walk away!! Future you, the planet, and your bank account will thank you!!
4. Mix Old and New, High and Low
Shopping second hand is great way to experiment with prints, textures and styles that can add a new dimension to your look - and at a fraction of the cost and no further harm to the environment, it's a win-win. I also use ThredUP all the time to find designer deals for high-quality pieces that remain part of my capsule wardrobe.
5. Find a Signature Scent
This is something I am still searching for myself, but I absolutely love the idea of a signature scent. Perfumes I have used in the past bring back good memories with one whiff. I once heard someone in an interview say they only buy perfume on vacation so that once back home, the scent reminds them of their trip.
Just as places and foods ignite an emotion through scent, so do people. I bet you can name at least one person in your life that has a scent, and anytime you smell it somewhere else, you think of them. A subtle scent exudes another layer of your personality and essence.
Ultimately, I am still exploring my signature style. I don't think there will ever come a time when any of us feel that we're at a stopping point. Style is ever-evolving with our lives, personalities, and beliefs. Your signature style should always be a reflection of who YOU are.
I would love to hear your thoughts and comments below!! How is your journey to cultivating a signature style going?
What adjectives describe your signature style?