Do You Need to Have a Signature Style?

Do you need to follow the Anna Wintours of the world in order to be fashionable?

Last week, I read an interesting article in i-D Magazine that asked the question: Do you need a signature look to make it in fashion? As I dream to become a writer at the Fashion Capital of the World (Vogue, what else?), this question kept wandering around in my head. I don’t really know if I have a “uniform” — I just wear what I like, depending on my mood. I suppose I could describe it as minimalistic, feminine, and classic, with a touch of modern trends. And that’s not really a uniform (or is it?). So truly: Do you need a signature look to make it in fashion?

If I say “bobs and sunglasses,” you’ll most likely think of Anna Wintour (Editor-in-Chief at Vogue). Now turn it around: if I say “Karl Lagerfeld” (head designer of Chanel, Fendi, and Fashion House), you’ll probably picture his white-haired ponytail, sunglasses, and an extravagant black-and-white suit. Each fashion icon has very specific trademarks. It’s almost a science! So which came first? The chicken or the egg? The bobs and sunglasses, or the success in the fashion world? And does it walk hand-in-hand?

Fashion is all about trends, and the trend with trends (so meta!) is that one doesn’t even peak before it’s over and along comes a new one. So maybe having a signature style is how you keep up with trends — by kind of ignoring them.

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In my “ABCs of Fall Shopping” post, anyone could adopt any one single signature look. But it’s really all about personality. Not about brands. Not about price. And not about what everyone else is wearing (I will not buy that Calvin Klein sweatshirt that everyone in blogland sees as their biggest investment right now!).

Some people say that having a signature look indicates a strong personality and a true personal style. I believe a strong personality connects more with how you feel when wearing a certain outfit. Personality comes through despite trends, and what inspires me most is the diversity in fashion. That if I feel like it, I’ll wear a suit one day, a dress the next, and jeans after that. I’m not at all predictable, and maybe that’s my signature look: being unpredictable.

So let the Wintours and Lagerfelds have their uniforms. Their signature looks came alongside their fashion careers, when they really had to define themselves.

What’s your signature look? Or do you believe you even have (or need) one?

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