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What sets apart a woman with good fashion taste from a woman of style? Two words: signature style. Because when you focus on fashion you are focusing on the current trends and popular styles that have been deemed fashionable. With a sole focus on “what’s in”, you lose your originality and start to look like everyone else. But when you focus on style, you are focusing on cultivating a look that speaks to your unique aesthetic and reflects your own personal taste, no matter what’s in at the (ever-changing) moment.
The more you dress in a way that reflects you, the more confident you feel and the more you love your wardrobe. Fashion is like a painter’s palette, while style is like their signature brushstroke. A painter’s palette may have a variety of colors that they use for different paintings, just as fashion has a range of options. However, a painter’s brushstroke is what sets them apart and is unique to their personal style.
But how do you go about dressing your style? Good news: It’s a lot easier than you think. Follow this guide and you’ll be dazzling in your signature look in no time!
Understanding Your Personal Style
Before you start selecting pieces to add to your wardrobe, it’s important to have a clear understanding of your personal style. You may have already done this step, and if so, congrats! In that case, your style is already a reflection of who you are, your personality, and your lifestyle. You already feel comfortable and confident in what you wear, and you’re looking for tips to take it to the next level.
If you don’t feel confident in your personal style yet, one way to understand your personal style is to think about your favorite pieces of clothing. What colors, patterns, and fabrics do you tend to gravitate towards? Do you prefer casual or formal attire? What styles do you feel most comfortable in?
If you need a step-by-step guide to understanding your personal style, I created a course for you that will help you do this and build your dream wardrobe – start to finish!
Evaluating Your Wardrobe
Once you have a better understanding of your personal style, it’s time to take a closer look at your current wardrobe. Begin by sorting through your clothing, assessing each item based on its fit, comfort, and how it aligns with your ideal signature style.
Identify pieces that you love and wear frequently as well as those that no longer fit or are out of style. It’s also a good idea to try on some of your favorite outfits too and see how they make you feel. If they don’t reflect your ideal signature style or don’t make you feel confident, it might be time to retire them.
One of the best ways to find inspiration for your signature style is by looking to those who have already established their signature look, whether they are current pop stars or from a past time.
To get your brain warmed up, I’ll start out your inspiration thought process by giving you a list of the top 10 style icons and what they are known for fashion-wise.
- Audrey Hepburn: Known for her classic and feminine style, Hepburn often wore fitted dresses and sleek, tailored pieces. And can we talk about her iconic and adorable pixie cut?
- Twiggy: Known for her mod and youthful style, Twiggy often wore mini skirts, bold prints, and statement makeup.
- Kate Middleton: Known for her elegant and timeless style, Middleton often wears chic and tailored pieces in neutral colors.
- Princess Diana: Known for her iconic fashion moments, Princess Diana often wore statement pieces and elegant gowns, with her signature look being the “off-duty princess” style.
- Olivia Palermo: Known for her effortless and chic style, Palermo often wears timeless pieces with a modern twist.
- Jackie Kennedy Onassis: Known for her sophisticated and classic style, Onassis often wore tailored suits and dresses in soft colors.
- Victoria Beckham: Known for her sleek and modern style, Beckham often wears structured pieces in bold colors.
- Blake Lively: Known for her bohemian and laid-back style, Lively often wears flowy dresses and casual separates.
- Kate Moss: Known for her edgy and cool style, Moss often wears rocker-inspired pieces and statement accessories.
- Grace Kelly: Known for her timeless and elegant style, Kelly often wore structured pieces and classic dresses, accessorized with statement jewelry.
Take a look at each of these style icons and determine which style resonates with you the most. Do you lean towards classic and feminine like Audrey Hepburn or do you prefer model-off-duty-meets-rocker-chic like Kate Moss? Once you identify which style speaks to you, use it as inspiration for your own wardrobe.
And don’t feel like you have to limit yourself to just one style either! Experiment with different looks and mix and match pieces from different style icons to create your own unique look. This will help you to develop your own personal style, rather than simply copying someone else’s.
Another idea that works is to find your signature designer – even if it’s just aspirational. For example, Chanel is my favorite designer. Though I have a few splurge pieces, I bought them used and I’m hardly adding a new piece to my wardrobe each year, nor do I know everything there is to know about Chanel.
But Chanel embodies the style and aesthetic I love and aim to shape my wardrobe by: timeless, chic, neutral, and classy. I can look to Chanel for inspiration on the key pieces to include in my wardrobe, such as a tweed blazer, even if I get it from J.Crew instead of a high-fashion boutique.
Once you’ve identified your personal style, it’s time to identify your signature clothing piece. This is the item (or items) of clothing that you feel most confident and comfortable in and will represent your personal style!
Finding Your Signature Clothing Piece
Though we want our signature style to feel unique to us (which it can with different styling), it doesn’t hurt to look at other style icons to find our own signature clothing piece.
Here are 20 examples of things that could be your signature clothing piece (or beauty trademark), along with the famous icons they originated from:
- Leather jacket – made popular by Joan Jett and James Dean
- White t-shirt – made popular by Marlon Brando
- Little black dress – made popular by Audrey Hepburn and Coco Chanel
- White button-up shirt – made popular by Audrey Hepburn and Katharine Hepburn
- Trench coat – made popular by Parisian culture
- Red lipstick – made popular by Marilyn Monroe
- Black turtleneck – made popular by Steve Jobs
- Polka dot dress – made popular by Lucille Ball
- Bohemian maxi dress – made popular by Stevie Nicks
- Denim jacket – made popular by Bruce Springsteen
- Oversized sunglasses – made popular by Jackie Kennedy
- Tights – made popular by Twiggy
- Oversized coat – made popular by Anna Wintour
- Tailored blazer – made popular by Coco Chanel
- Pearl necklace – made popular by Coco Chanel and Grace Kelly
- Silk scarf – made popular by Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn
- Beret – made popular by Parisian culture and Brigitte Bardot
- Leather pants – made popular by Olivia Newton-John
- Floral dress – made popular by Princess Diana
- High-waisted jeans – made popular by Marilyn Monroe
These items have stood the test of time and are still considered fashionable today! Choose the one (or two) that resonate with your personal style and make it your signature clothing piece.
How to Incorporate Your Signature Style Piece
Once you’ve found your signature clothing piece, you may be wondering how to incorporate it into your daily wardrobe. Here are some ideas to get you started!
- Make it the focal point: Your signature piece can be the star of the show, so make it front and center! Whether it’s leather pants or an oversized leopard print coat, keep the rest of your outfit simple and neutral to let your signature piece shine.
- Mix and match: Don’t be afraid to mix your signature piece with other items in your wardrobe. For example, leather pants can go with a tailored tweed jacket. The end result is uber-stylish. Experiment with different textures, colors, and patterns to create unique outfits that showcase your personal style.
- Dress it up or down: Your signature piece doesn’t have to be limited to one type of occasion. Dress it up for a fancy event or dress it down for a casual day out. The versatility of your signature piece will make it a go-to item in your closet.
- Build your outfit around it: Start with your signature piece and build your outfit around it. This will ensure that your style is cohesive and showcases your unique fashion sense.
- Layer it up: Layering your signature piece with other items in your wardrobe will add depth and dimension to your outfit. Depending on what it is, try pairing it with a simple blouse or tee, then add a jacket or sweater to complete the look.
How to Choose Pieces That Will Perfectly Complement Your Signature Look
Now that you have identified your signature clothing piece (great work!), it’s important that as you continue to build your wardrobe and/or add new pieces to your closet, you choose other pieces that will perfectly complement your style. Here are some tips on how to do that:
- Stick with your color palette: If your signature clothing piece is a neutral color, make sure the rest of your wardrobe is in colors that complement it well. Stick with your chosen color palette to create a cohesive look.
- Consider the occasion: Choose pieces that are appropriate for the occasion you’re usually dressing for. If you work in the corporate world and are frequently going to business meetings or fundraising galas, you may want to choose dressier pieces that complement your signature style.
- Yes, mix and match textures: Don’t be afraid to mix and match textures to add depth and interest to your outfit. Just because your signature look is a cotton trench coat doesn’t mean that your whole wardrobe has to be cotton. You can pair a cotton trench coat with leather pants or a fitted turtleneck with a flowy linen maxi skirt for a stylish look.
- Pay attention to fit: Of course, make sure the pieces you choose fit well and flatter your body shape. You want your signature style to enhance your overall look, not detract from it.
Dressing for your personal style is all about finding pieces that make you feel confident and express your unique personality. Whether it’s a pair of black cigarette dress pants à la Audrey Hepburn or a pearl necklace inspired by Grace Kelly, your signature clothing piece can be the key to elevating your personal style.
Now that you know how to dress your style, you may be needing some confident tips to help you stick with it. Up Next: How to Embrace Your Personal Style and Not Worry What Others Think