The way I see it, there is actually no need to develop a signature style, but it does have its perks. You save money, because you have established, that high necklines don’t suit you or that high-low skirt makes your legs look mildly diseased. You save time, because you know exactly what you will put on in the morning. It also means that never again will you stare sadly at your wardrobe and realize that you have absolutely nothing to wear. Such a profoundly demoralizing feeling, with which, ladies would know exactly what I mean.
I’ve collected a lot of books in my teenage days, how-to books or a step-by-step guide in finding the perfect outfit. And although it deemed to be very useful on occasions when I have absolutely no idea what to wear, they all say the same thing when it comes to finding your own sense of style. To sum it all up, there are two discrete secrets to formulating a style all on your own. The first is to be cruelly realistic about your body. Once you accept the fact that your neck is short and you do not have a perfect jaw line, you will never again have to buy that kind of pullover and wonder why it just doesn’t look quite right. Coming to terms with your body means that you understand that you need nipped-in-tailoring. Shirts with darts to follow the curve of your body, dresses that hit you right on the waist, low necks to show off that wonderful cleavage – because any straight shape will just hang down from your bosom and make the rest of you look like a box. If you have a rounded stomach, like any normal women do, a flirty silk camisole will graze over the bulge without making you feel as if you are wearing a sack of shame. You will develop the strong certainty that the low-rise pants is an invention of the devil, designed only to reveal too much bottom in the sickening manner of the plumber’s crack, which is not a look anyone would want to embrace unless they are, in fact, a plumber.
When you are done with the first, this makes the entire shopping and dressing, process more pleasurable. Because you are not trying to cram yourself into clothes that don’t work with you and then peering tremulously in the mirror with that sick feeling which even you are prone to, when the sartorial thing goes horribly wrong.
The second secret when looking for your own style is not to go over fashion magazines. And no it doesn’t mean you need to burn your collection of Vogue Magazines even after having seen “The Devil Wears Prada” movie. What I’m referring to here, is the way fashion, most especially trends, becomes so febrile and unpredictable. It is in no way of big help in developing a style for life. Part of fashion’s job is to keep women in an eternal cycle. As Heidi Klum once said, “In fashion, one day you’re in. And the next day you’re out.”
Be guided by your pocket, your life, and your personality instead in defining your own signature style. There is little point in developing a signature style based around tweed jackets plastered with logos if all you can afford is that jersey dress you found in the department store. Having a signature style does not mean that you cannot trip out of character. You may decide on one finely honed look and stick to it, where you know you look and feel best. You might discover the perfect white shirt and chic tailored pants, heaving a low sigh of relief that you no longer have to mess around with flirty little skirts and heels that make your poor feet sore. But you may also prefer the idea of dressing as theater and vary it according to your mood. One day you are a bookish intellectual, while tomorrow you may be a hippie chick. The only thing is to not allow yourself plunged into too many radically different styles; otherwise the whole thing collapses into confusion, and you end up with the same problem we started off with.
Coco Chanel once said that the great rule for dressing was to look in the mirror before you go out, and take one item off. There is always one things too many whether a necklace, a bracelet or a watch. This is wise advice from the stylish, but it should also be remembered that Chanel ended up going out with a succession of not very nice men and collaborated with the Germans during the war. And that might be a little parable of its very own that says: just wear whatever the hell you want. Even Anna Wintour might agree with that.