What is a signature look?


You read about it often in fashion magazines, you see it on television or in the newspaper, it’s everywhere.  It’s the “signature look.”  What is a signature look?  Why do you need one?  How do you get one?  What is it? Why do certain people have it while others do not?  What can is signature style do for you?

First, let’s figure out the definition of signature style.  After consulting several definitions of a “trademark look”, I would define it as characteristic clothing or a unique appearance making the wearer more easily recognized by others.  So it is something that is unique among the masses. When I use this definition stars such as Diane Keaton, Dita Von Teese and Madonna in her early years stand out.  If you saw an item of their clothing on a mannequin you would know to whom it belonged. They are closely identified with certain articles of clothing and how they are put together.

That “look” is so often associated with one person can also be non-clothing related.  Think of Brigitte Nielson and her icy blonde hair, Tammy Faye Baker and her six tons of mascara, or JLo and her posterior.  A look can be anything on the outside. However, for this article, we want to stick with clothing.

Men are a little bit more difficult to identify.  One man that springs to mind is Hugh Hefner.  Hefner’s trademark silk pajamas and smoking jacket are one of a kind.  Karl Lagerfeld is another man who has a unique style;  Sunglasses, suit, gloves and pony tail in all it’s glory.

In interviews, I’ve read about men who are known for a particular look, such as Steve Jobs and his turtlenecks.  say they chose their signature look or “uniform” for reasons other than aesthetics.  Reasons such as comfort and reduced decision making are often the most heard of.

Diane Keaton said her unique style is the result of “not wanting her body to be exposed.” Women often dress for many more reasons than that.  Some to create controversy, some to impress women, some to impress other men.  Clothes can convey everything from elegance to sexiness.  While women have a great variety of dress to choose from, they also have greater requirements from society in how they dress.

So how do you figure out what your signature style is?  First thing is to define what type of life do you lead? If you are a stay-at-home mom you need one type of basic wardrobe.  If you are an executive you need another. Know your life, know what you need.

The second thing is to identify what your style is.  Sometimes it’s easy.  You like a certain style or time period like Mods, Hippies, or Country.  Other times you admire a person like the previously mentioned Diane Keaton or the retro loving Dita Von Teese.  Study their individual looks.  Write down or create a mood board of their look’s individual pieces.

Compare those to your lifestyle requirements.  Does it fit?  If not, can you modify the style to suit your life?  Then leave out anything you don’t like and you have your basic wardrobe list.  Choose what colors you want to wear. Usually 2-4 colors are a good amount.  Remember to also take into consideration climate.  Your wardrobe will have different elements if you live in Montreal versus Rio de Janiero. Not a big need for snowsuits in Rio.

Further your look by adding accessories and shoes.  Finish the look with hair an make up.  Sounds easy right? A signature look takes a bit more time to refine.  This is just a great place to start.  Do you know someone with a signature look?  Who are your favorite fashion icons?

Let me know in the comments below.







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