How to find your style—choose an icon

Who do you want to dress like?

Sometimes it can be difficult to figure out what’s really your style. Last week when I asked you to look in your closet, what did you find? Did you discover that your style is basically a hodgepodge of bargain basement buys? Or did you come to the conclusion that you’re a classic-hippie-minimalist-professional-trendy-Lady Gaga kinda girl?

I get it—sending you to a mall and asking you to choose a personal style is like handing you a bag of Lays potato chips—you just can’t stop at one. Maybe it’s because there’s a lot of things you like simply because there’s more than one facet to your personality and lifestyle. And that’s totally understandable. You wear different clothes or styles depending on your mood.

So, why is it important to choose a principle style? Deciding what you LOVE and what you don’t will help you when buying clothes—that is, unless you want to be the premier supplier for Poshmark with the tags still on all your stuff. You also will reduce your stress in the morning when, despite having a closet stuffed full of clothes, you still have “nothing to wear.”

If this is you, how do you begin to find your style? Pinterest is one tool that you can use to figure out what you LOVE. Here’s another suggestion: Choose a style icon—someone you want to imitate—Jackie Onassis, Grace Kelly, Lauren Bacall, Madonna, Jennifer Aniston, Gwenyth Paltrow, and Sarah Jessica Parker are all considered style icons. Why? They are fashionistas that made their mark by having a style worthy of imitation.

Who are my style icons? There are two women that I use as my muses, and imitating them has helped me to create my personal style.

Audrey Hepburn—The little black dress in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and her black pedal pushers and turtleneck in Funny Face, put the idea of “basic black” on the map. Her perfect silhouette was like a blank canvas. I strive to keep my outfits in that same basic sphere, with simple and sophisticated lines, so I can add any accessory I want and channel my inner Audrey.

Iris Apfel—I love her exuberant use of accessories! Though I would never use quite as many as she did, her example inspires me to be fearless and to use accessories to add a bit of whimsy to my otherwise simple lines. A funky belt, chunky necklace, flashy bag, or a pair of purple pumps can really help to define your mood and your style. (Once, I wore the ultimate hair accessory—a turban—to work. It went perfect with my little black dress, and boy did it get people talking!)

Choosing one style doesn’t have to be boring or restrictive. But it’s important to choose one that reflects who you are. So, even if you’re a classic-hippie-minimalist-professional-trendy-Lady Gaga kinda girl, choose to reduce your stress by choosing a principle style, one you LOVE. Then own it and you too will become a fashionista worthy of imitation.

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