People in uniform are always standing out from the crowd. I am not talking about soldiers or nurses or other professionals who wear uniforms as art of their daily life; although, I do admire a lot what they do. I am referring to those who have, over time, created their signature style or identity in terms of how they dress up.
Names like Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor or even the latest kid on the block, Harry Styles, pop up in my mind. Wearing the most “fashionable” outfit on the market or the “latest” trends does not necessarily make someone have a signature style.
That is more about creating an image. I mean, think about Steve Jobs, he was having a very distinctive look, with his turtleneck sweaters paired with his jeans and sneakers (the sweater was designed for him by Issey Miyake). Hell, even someone like Amy Winehouse, with her huge beehive and messed-up ballet flats, had a signature style.
One doesn’t necessarily admire the “uniform” itself, instead he admires its very existence: the idea that the person wearing it has created a “signature style” that is instantly identifiable. When you see something in that style in a store, for instance, it makes you think “that’s SO Audrey/ Stevie /Harry / whatever”.
This, for me, is what personal style is all about. It’s somewhat very different from fashion. Fashion is about following trends and changing your look from season to season, at the command of those who dictate the (ever) changing trends.
Anyone can shadow fashion, dash from one look to the next and, of course, there’s certainly nothing wrong with that. It can be exciting to experiment with different looks: to try one before moving to the next one, then the one after that … rinse and repeat!
Some people are just born with it, I guess: they’re the fortunate ones. They instinctively know what they like AND what suits them and just like a warm knife cutting through butter, they effortlessly get to go through life looking stylish – no second thoughts required. I, personally, envy (read: hate) those people, don’t you?
As for us, mortals, style isn’t always effortless. Sometimes, in fact, it can take years to understand and recognize what YOUR personal style is. When I look back at photos of myself from my late teens and early twenties (and, OK, my late twenties too, if I’m being honest…), I realize I had absolutely no idea what my style really was.
I was just copying other people, following trends and buying things I liked how they looked like, without stopping to wonder if they actually looked good on me, if they suited my body type or worked with my wardrobe. Which I think is probably pretty typical, right?
Gradually, though, I’ve managed to talk myself down from the impulsive shopping habits and discover a style I’m comfortable with and which is identifiable as my own. I rarely stray too far from that style and I’m OK with that too, having learned the hard way that following trends just empties your bank account and gives you some really embarrassing photos to look back on.
For me, this was something that happened naturally, over time: I’ve never sat down and said to myself: “OK, today I’m going to work out what my personal style is” or anything like that. If I had, though, I think this is how I’d have done it.
For you, this is easier: you can ask a professional to guide you in this process, help you discover who you are, what you like, how best to express your personality, which is your signature style.