Identity Crisis: Do You Really Need to Have a Signature Look? | Savoir Flair
Op-Ed
Identity Crisis: Do You Really Need to Have a Signature Look?
article @ALEXACHUNG
by Grace Gordon 5-minute read January 5, 2016

Savoir Flair's step-by-step guide to finding your signature look.

article @MATILDADJERF

If you were allowed to freely explore my closet before ever meeting me, you might come to the conclusion that I’m schizophrenic. My wardrobe is so wildly varied that it contains everything from a 1970s kelly green glitter gown that once belonged to Diana Ross and authentic Moroccan red leather slippers to a Navajo patterned cape. There are representative styles from every era back to the 1920s in my closet, and plenty of pieces purchased while traveling to places like Hong Kong, Paris, and India. As a lover of fashion, I’m a collector of anything and everything that catches my fancy, and I love experimenting with unexpected combinations. Yet, since I can remember, I have been told by magazine articles and stylist friends that I need to have a signature look, and for years I’ve admired the dedication of those who have well-honed signature style like Karl Lagerfeld and Diane Pernet. This signature look idea has been hammered into my head for so long that I never stopped to consider why this advice might actually be useful to someone like me, who has too many odd bits of clothes and not enough occasions that call for wearing them.


A signature look is a uniform, one that you can easily reach for on any given occasion that defines your personality, but if you’re currently lacking such a uniform, do not despair. As of 2016, fashion is in such a state of flux that dominant trends are disappearing and you can dress in a host of styles that still look current. A quick scroll through the #streetstyle hashtag on Tumblr or Pinterest will prove a range of styles are on-trend. Just look at the current landscape – whether you’re a hipster, a sneakerhead, a grunge girl, a goth maven, or a polished professional, there is room to accommodate any and all fashion categories in a single wardrobe. That said, there is no fashion mantra that says you need to have a signature style, but there are plenty of good reasons to embrace one anyway.


For starters, having a signature look helps tremendously toward effortlessly selecting your outfit of the day. Instead of being crunched for time in the morning, you can simply step into a version of your “uniform” that makes you feel comfortable and put-together. In other words: signature style saves brain space and demolishes morning “what to wear” panic.


Second, your signature look should convey a consistent, cohesive message about yourself. Cara Delevingne‘s penchant for tailored tuxedo suits tells you that she’s concerned with smashing gender-based prescriptive dress codes, while Lady Gaga‘s avant-garde, experimental ensembles signal her artistic credibility. The first step in defining your signature style is to define your message. What do you want the world to know about you at first glance?


Third, having a well-developed signature look will make shopping for yourself so much easier. In knowing that you prefer tailored separates to floral feminine dresses, you can hone in more easily on the boutiques, brands, and e-tailers that support your preferred aesthetic.


Personally, as a clothing and accessories collector, I’ve come to the point of being overwhelmed by choice. In order to gain clarity, I’ve developed the following steps toward defining one’s signature look, which, if followed, will bring you closer to the perfectly styled, ideal self that we each have in our minds of what we want to look like, dress like, and ultimately, feel like. Follow along for helpful tips on learning your own style strengths and weaknesses.


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