Developing a signature look is the epitome of personal style. It’s a sort of holy grail that anyone who tries to consistently dress well reaches for.
Think back to your teen years. Yes, I realise it might be a bit painful, but indulge me here. It was a time when we were all a bit lost in a sea of influences, trying to paddle our way to a safe haven called a personal identity. In other words, we were trying to find out who we were. Finding your signature style is sort of the same thing, but on a different level.
Even if you’re not all that fashion-conscious, having a go-to look is beneficial to living your best life. Here’s why:
It saves time and effort. I get it: you’re busy trying to make the world a better place. We all are. This is why, when it’s the crack of dawn and you’re bleary-eyed, the last thing you might want to do is decide on what to wear. I mean, really. Wouldn’t you rather sleep in for 15 more minutes, or spend the time having breakfast with your family? I would. Even not having to run around, taking my time to wake up, puts me in a better frame of mind.
Think about the tech giants Mark Zuckerberg with the jeans and grey t-shirts, or the late Steve Jobs with his black turtlenecks. Why do you think they have their signature work uniforms? It’s because they’d rather spend all that time and brainpower on building something great (and making lots of money in the process).
Good looks, guaranteed. Developing a signature look practically ensures that you look great every. Single. Day. It may sound like a small thing, but being confident about your looks leads to being confident about many other things. Maybe you’re going in for a job interview or asking for a raise or a promotion. Or maybe you’re looking to lock down a new client. Being un-self conscious allows you to focus on being your most bad ass self.
Branding. This is especially useful if you work in the communications field, or if you’re a business owner trying to make a name for herself.
Like it or not, the first thing people will notice about you is how you look. You’ll want to make a strong first impression. After that, you’ll want to have strong recall. This is where a signature look comes in handy. Your total package is not only composed of how well you speak and how intelligent you are — it’s also how well-put-together you appear.
So how exactly do you go about developing a signature look? Here are a few tips:
Know what works. By now, you would have noticed that there are a few shirts and dresses that you keep wearing over and over. You’re also familiar with cuts and styles that make you look good and, more importantly, make you feel comfortable.
Do knee-length, a-line dresses fit you well? Are you able to pull off dark lips with aplomb? Keep these in mind the next time you go shopping. Also important: keep these items in an easy-to-reach part of your closet so you don’t have to spend time digging around for them. Remember, one of the reasons you’re developing a signature look is to make your life easier.
Look back to your greatest hits (and repeat them). You know that one outfit last summer everyone complimented you on? You know, the one where you felt 10 feet tall and like you could take on the world? Wear that again, but not exactly that.
Consider the elements of that outfit. Is it a dress? If yes, what kind? What makes it work? Is it the colour, cut, or style? Which designer made it? What was your makeup like that day?
You’ll want to remember these things when you go shopping again. Consider Anna Wintour and her dresses: her signature silhouette is slim and close-fitting but not tight, and she wears a lot of floral. Her clothes are bright, but her shoes are always nude. The combination (along with her signature bob) works, and so she repeats it over and over.
Consider your work. Again, finding your signature style is all about helping you live your life to the fullest, so it’s no use if your clothes restrict your work. For example, if you’re in public relations and you’re out and about meeting people all the time, sensible shoes are a must.
When developing a signature look, fancy should be the least of your concern. The very chic Charlotte Gainsbourg traipses around in dark jeans and a white shirt, and she owns it. That’s the goal.
Berlin-based fashion writer Anuschka collected 17 iconic signature looks for some serious inspiration.
What’s your signature look?