Finding your unique signature style is key to building a great capsule wardrobe
We’re all friends, right? We hang out every week, and we’ve gotten to know each other pretty well. So, let’s play a little game. I want you to close your eyes and picture me. Now, tell me what I’m wearing.
If I had to guess, most of you will come back with something very similar. My inbox occasionally has messages from some of you saying, “I saw this and KNEW it was SO. YOU. I just had to share!” And the amazing part is, they are DEAD ON. It is so me! How do they know what I would love? Because I have developed a very distinct personal style that is so consistent, cohesive, and curated other people can recognize it when they see it in a store or online.
My signature style is the outline of what you see me wear on a daily basis and can be summed up in two words: Edgy Classic. That means tailored, simple, neutral, timeless. And stabby.
If you inventoried my wardrobe, you’d find there are very consistent pieces: dark-wash jeans, button ups, turtlenecks, v-neck tees, basic sweaters, pointy-toe flats, structured pants, mostly neutral solid colors, some dashes of bold color, stripes and leopard, tailored fit, and stabby jewelry.
You might even say I have a…(uniform). WAIT WAIT WAIT WAIT WAIT!!! Don’t leave me now! We aren’t talking about a company-issued smock! This is a personal uniform that is part of your signature style. Some go-to combinations that encompass what you love in an outfit, and the truth is, every style icon has them. Once you see them, you can’t unsee them.
This article and the video below are taken from the Stunning Style Weekly Style Snack! Join us Wednesdays at 1pm ET on the Stunning Style Facebook page or the FREE Capsule Wardrobes for Classic Style Facebook Group.
The Power of Uniforms
The beauty of having some go-to uniforms, aside from the fact it is part of defining a signatures style, is it makes getting dressed a breeze! There is no need to recreate the wheel or make fashion history every. Single. day. I mean, you can, but most of us don’t have time for that.
Having a signature look means you KNOW what you love, and it’s easy to find it. You make fewer shopping mistakes. Creating your ideal wardrobe becomes effortless. And for some of you, it may lead you to a capsule wardrobe, or make one even easier to put together.
Does this mean you can never, ever change, evolve, or adapt your style? Must you be frozen in time like a fossilized mannequin, forever stuck in the past? No! Even style icons change over time, but it still fits within their style. They aren’t wearing wildly different things every day.
If you’re worried about getting bored, it’s not boring if you love it and it feels so perfectly you. There are plenty of ways to bring in variety and change it up.
Maybe the most well-known uniform wearer is Steve Jobs. His job demanded so much of his focus and concentration, he famously wore the same outfit every day for decades: a black turtleneck, jeans, and sneakers. Since showing up to work without clothes would usually land you in prison, he chose to eliminate that decision from his life by having one uniform.
While most people wouldn’t call Steve Jobs a style icon (but I love and have worn that outfit many, many times), you don’t have to choose just one outfit to wear all the days. But seriously, that one would be top of my list for winter.
Duchess Catherine is one of the most famous style icons, and you may or may not have recognized some of her uniforms. As a causal or dressy look, she loves skinny jeans, a fitted tee, a blazer and wedges. Each ensemble is different, but the same.
Another favorite uniform is a fit and flare dress with a puffy or flared sleeve with nude or black heels. It could also be a skirt and blouse combo.
Kate is famous for her collection of fit and flare coats in fabulous colors. They styles are similar to her dresses. They are so tailored and well-fitted they could double as a dress in a bold color with a fabulous hat. In the winter they are often paired with tall black suede boots or simple heels. She typically wears a matching outfit underneath.
To the point of style evolution, lately she’s been wearing fewer skinny pants and more high-waisted wide-leg trousers, both cropped and full-length, with blouses or fitted sweaters tucked in. She’s even started wearing sneakers to engagements where she needs to be able to get down and interact with little children.
In the two pictures below you can see she took an old favorite uniform and updated it to her new favorite uniform.
Do any of us say, “Oh boo! You’re wearing another fabulous blazer with skinny jeans and an adorable tee with swoon-worth wedges! Go home!” No, we go all heart eyes, the items sell out within minutes, so we go to our closets and figure out how we can recreate that outfit at home. And now that you know her formula, it’s so much easier!
There are blogs and endless articles dedicated to what fabulous thing she’s wearing now. If her formula/uniform is mentioned, it’s in relation to the fact that she knows her style (has a signature style) and is such a style icon.
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I have my own uniforms. When I receive compliments of, “You always look so stylish.” I’m actually wearing the same thing I was the last time you saw me. A sweater, dark-wash or black jeans, and boots with my favorite coat. Add some stabby jewelry, and I’m ready! That’s my winter uniform.
The colors and patterns might change. But I basically wear the same thing every day. Today I mixed it up and wore a skirt and tights instead of jeans, but it’s still part of my formula. My jeans might be leather instead of denim, or I change the style of my coat, but it’s all kind of the same.
I know what I like to wear, so I can shop and get dressed easily. Just like everyone else whose style is evolving, I do add things into my signature style as I find something I love, but the core elements of it stay fairly consistent. So, were you right when we played our game? Did your guess match up with my uniform?
Do you have a signature style? What does it look like?
14 thoughts on “What Is A Signature Style?”
I had no idea that I even did the uniform thing until this whole experience with you. I’ve given so much more thought to what I wear and why then any other time in my life! I’m a true sporty classic girl–my husband has called me sporty spice for years! Most days, I’m wearing a t-shirt, jeans, and sneakers with a jacket of some sort. I thought I had no “style” and needed to find one. You’ve made me see that that WAS my style. Classic, never trendy, casual, and ready to haul pulverized stone, play ball, or simply have coffee with friends. Thank you, April, for what you do! I really can’t thank you enough for making this 50-something gal see herself in a whole new light.
You are so welcome!
Skinny jeans, T/shirt, or top, biker jacket, or coat, flats or biker boots, knee boots,
dark wash boot cut jeans, black turtleneck, black leather jacket with zippers, accent color belt and purse
Yes! You will see me often in all black.
I love a turtleneck with a long cardigan, below the hip, with straight legs jeans in dark wash or black for winter in MI
Do you ever share the brands of clothing you like. I hate to shop so narrowing it down to a few great choices helps. Jeans brands you buy, boots, tops, etc.
Hi Bobbee – I do, but only for members of the Stunning Style Society. You can learn more here: https://www.stunningstyle.com/society.
I love the way you dress!
Mines are form fitting or drapey tops in deep V-neck or Sweetheart neck & high waisted Aline skirts. Fit and flare sun dresses are my go-to style. I love vivid stripes, dots, and high-contrast plaids.
I love your posts, April! They are the most informative style posts I’ve ever read.
That is high praise! Thank you! It’s my goal to share and empower!