Since becoming a Mother (14.5 years ago), I had let myself go. I suddenly didn’t matter that much anymore, being a Single Mum, workload, my Mother had cancer and more resulted in me not being a priority in my life. Even though life had taken over, I always knew what my Signature Style would be like and it’s honestly only recently (once settled, happy and content with life) I have had time to make myself a priority again.
I daily take time for self-love and self-care, eat healthily, go for daily walks along the canal, listening to Jazz music while working, breakfast date with myself every morning and dinner date with my baby every evening, I treat myself to chocolate almost every day (yes, you read right, almost every day), sip Earl Grey tea and eat clotted cream shortbread cookies, share a bucket of Haagen Daz strawberry cheesecake ice cream with my baby while watching a movie – the list is endless!
Back to Signature Style…
Having been working on this feature and the research done, I’ve come to the conclusion that my Signature Style would be very similar to Charlotte Yorke’s style from Sex and the City.
My Signature Style
While I was doing some research on ‘How to find your Signature Scent’, I came across this; “In an ideal world, a signature scent serves as a personal scent memory to cherished friends and loved ones.” So after lots of thinking, I realised that I’ve already got a Signature Scent; Calvin Klein’s ‘Escape’ and believe me when I say this; It definitely holds strong memories for me…My first Love (Sigh!)
As I like to keep my make-up to the bare minimum, but I love the natural look (especially on a daily basis) – so below is my favourite day make-up. Feel free to check out my post on ‘Natural & Flawless Make-up Guide‘.
I can proudly say I’ve finally found my Signature Colour; Blush Pink and I see myself wearing clothes similar to Charlotte York from Sex and the City; Classic & Elegant.
Define Your Signature Style
Step 1: Identify what’s working
You probably have a handful of go-to pieces you instinctively reach for when you want to look put-together. Now imagine having a rack full of them. The first step toward achieving that goal is figuring out what makes those favourites so, well, favoured, says Amy E. Goodman, the author of Wear This, Toss That. “Pull out the five things you would wear every day if no one was keeping track,” she says. Choose something in each clothing category: tops, pants, dresses, and skirts. Then ask yourself a few questions about each piece. Jot down your answers so you can use them as a shopping guide later (or download the Never Buy the Wrong Thing Again worksheet).
- How would you describe the item? Crisp and tailored? Soft and ruffly?
- What image does it project? Smart and professional? Edgy and fashionable?
- What colour is it? Does the shade brighten your complexion?
- What fabric is it made of?
- What is the silhouette like? Nipped at the waist? Flowing and hip-grazing?
- What parts of your body does it accentuate?
- What parts of your body does it de-emphasize? Is it comfortable?
Your answers reveal Your style barometer. Use your notes to help pinpoint what you like. “Be careful of buying replicates,” says Goodman. You may learn you prefer darks and flared shapes, but you need only one good pair of black boot-cuts. “Think of it as nailing down a signature look, not getting into a rut,” she says.
Step 2: Analyse your mistakes
Like rehashing a bad relationship, this cringe-inducing ( yet cathartic) exercise helps ensure that you don’t go down the same dead ends again. Ready? Take out five things you wish you hadn’t bought and ask yourself the questions in step one, plus the questions below. Then let go of those items, plus anything else that’s not pulling its weight—even if it still has its tags or it will be perfect once you lose 10 pounds or you have friends who throw fancy parties. “Your wardrobe should reflect who you are now,” says Kendall Farr, the author of Style Evolution. “Don’t hang on to images of what worked for you 10 or 20 years ago.”
- Do you have anywhere to wear this?
- Is it high-maintenance?
- Does it make you feel old and frumpy? Or young and silly?
- Is it poor quality?
- Did you buy it for the thrill of the bargain?
- Did you buy it only because it was trendy?
- Was it a panic purchase for a big event?
- Does the colour make you look pale? Yellow? Ruddy?
Your answers reveal Your shopping blind spots. (Write down details about your mistakes so you never waste another cent falling into the same trap.) If your favourite pieces are tailored and crisp, that’s why you’re not reaching for the ruffled chiffon top. If sales or the newest trends are your weakness, you don’t have to give up clearance racks or Forever 21. But you will want to hold firm to your “likes” and “dislikes” lists.
Step 3: Identify the missing pieces in your wardrobe
Separate your clothes by type. Ideally, you want to have three times as many tops as bottoms—the same ratio you see in stores, says Julie Watson, a wardrobe consultant and a former senior director of merchandising for the Banana Republic. “No one remembers your pants,” she says. “We associate with people from the waist up.” Watson also suggests a 60-40 balance of staples (timeless, solid-colour pieces) to novelty items (prints, funky details). To refine what you need, write down your responses to these questions, then check off what’s lacking from your closet on the Wardrobe Basics Checklist.
- What items would make the pieces you own more versatile? (For instance, a polka-dot blouse to perk up a pencil skirt or pointy-toe flats to make cropped pants look less casual.)
- Do you spend most days in a corporate environment but have a closet full of cheery sundresses? (It might lift your spirits more if you invested in a new suit that makes you feel great.)
- Have there been occasions (maybe a dressy dinner, a job interview, or a funeral) when you were at a loss about what to wear?
- Do you need to update any go-to items that you’ve reached for one too many times (say, a pair of overly dry-cleaned black pants, a wool suit with shine marks, or a ring-around-the-collar white blouse)?
Your answers reveal The only things you should be buying. (Stay strong!)
Step 4: Shop smarter
Take your lists of likes, dislikes, and needs and head to the mall. But before opening your wallet, run through this checklist to determine whether a piece will last the long haul. This may seem tedious, but if it prevents pricey mistakes, it’s worth the effort, right? After a while, you’ll automatically ask yourself these questions.
Will it work with your lifestyle?
- The more an item costs, the more seriously you want to consider these factors.
- Where will you wear it? Ideally, this is a place you go every week or month.
- Does it coordinate with at least three other pieces in your wardrobe?
- Can you wear them year-round? Imagine it with tights, a sweater, or open-toe shoes.
- Can you picture yourself wearing it next season? Next year? In five years?
- Will the effort of hand washing or dry-cleaning prevent you from wearing it regularly?
Is it good quality?
This quick inspection is the fashion equivalent of kicking the tires.
Buttons: Give them a tug to see if they’re well anchored, and look for the frayed thread.
Embellishments: Steer clear of stretched seams and excess glue around beading.
Fabric: Test if the material is a lint magnet by rubbing it with a fluffy white knit.
Lining: Make sure it lies flat, without bubbling or poking out from underneath.
Pattern: Eyeball plaids and stripes; they should line up perfectly at the seams.
Seams: Check that the stitches are small and straight—no loose or jumbled threads.
Does it fit and flatter?
In the dressing room, be merciless.
1. Look at yourself from all angles.
Pay attention to often overlooked areas.
Shoulders: The seams need to align with the tips of your shoulder bones.
Bust: The garment should lie flat against the body without pulling, puckering buttons, or bubbles of excess fabric.
Waistband: If it bunches up when you add a belt, it’s too big. Muffin top? It’s way too small. Find a happy medium.
Rise: This is a tough alteration, so if the crotch is snug or drops low, the item goes directly into the no pile.
Thighs: The fabric should hug curves smoothly, not pinch the backs of the legs.
2. Stand up straight and assess the length. In general, shirts should fall between your waist and hips; long sleeves, at the wrist bones. Pants should brush the tops of the shoes you plan to pair them with (or be alterable). Skirt lengths vary, but a hemline just at the kneecap flatters most body types.
3. Evaluate the given factor of stretchy clothing, particularly jeans. Wear them for 10 minutes or so while you’re trying on tops. If they get saggy, go down a size.
4. Imitate real life. Bend over and sit down in skirts and pants. Do they ride up/pull down/dig in? With jackets and tops, Watson suggests a test she used with fit models for the Banana Republic. “Give yourself a hug,” she says, then lean over to “pick up the groceries” and reach up to “ride the subway.” The garment shouldn’t feel constricting or expose your midriff.
Wait! Don’t clip those tags just yet.
At home, try on your purchase with items from your closet and in natural light to be sure it’s truly a good match. Because in the end, the payoff of finding the right fit is worth more than any bargain.
7 ways to find your Signature Style
What do you call it when you know – and love – your body, wear only what you’re totally comfortable in, accentuate your best features, and leave the house every day feeling like a million bucks? We call it signature style! Check out below, 6 top tips to find Your Signature Style.
- Signature Style Rule #1. Stock up. When you find something that suits you perfectly, buy more than one.
- Signature Style Rule #2. Don’t make things too hard. “Great style enhances your life – it shouldn’t rule you,”
- Signature Style Rule #3. Experiment a little. Once a month, try a different shade of eye-shadow or lipstick and see how you like it. If it doesn’t feel right, you don’t have to wear it again. But maybe it’ll feel great.
- Signature style rule #4. Find a great salesperson whom you can trust – she can be an amazing resource. Salespeople get to know your taste and your body type.
- Signature Style Rule #5. Pay attention to your gut…especially if it’s spilling over your waistband. When something’s too tight, or too low-cut, and you feel uneasy, you know it. If you have to psych yourself up to wear something out of the house – or the dressing room – it’s not the look for you.
- Signature Style Rule #6. Play to the positive. What are your best features? Remember them when you go shopping. And catalogue compliments – if they start rolling in every time you wear a certain lipstick shade or style of dress, you’re onto something.
- Signature Style Rule #7. Keep having fun! A signature style has consistency – but it should still have some joy in it. When you stop thinking about your style, when it just becomes a knee-jerk reaction, you can slide from a signature look into a rut.
*Do connect with me on Instagram at @DesignTheLifestyleYouDesire for behind the scenes, daily updates, inspiration and more!