What's Your Personal Style?
Posted Feb 2nd 2007 3:51PM by Amsale
Filed under: Simply Chic
One thing I've learned in my years as a designer is that personal style is much more valuable than a razor-sharp fashion sense.
For 95 percent of women -- myself included -- being a walking fashion-plate who changes her look like a chameleon isn't an option. Life's too busy, energy is too precious, and besides -- the cost!
I stick with a certain kind of look that works for me and frankly it hasn't changed much in 10 years. It works because I feel comfortable, chic, and very 'me' in my clothes: they let me move through my life as designer, wife, and mom in New York City with a certain kind of style and ease, but they don't take over my life. To me, that's worth way more than getting on the paparazzi pages with a cutting-edge outfit.
That's why this blog is called 'Simply Chic.' For most busy women, achieving a signature look that works day-in and day-out is what style is all about. Just look at classic 'simple chic' fashion icons -- my favorites include Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy, Audrey Hepburn, and Jackie Onassis. True, each one had access to some great designer pieces because of her job or social position, but they also wore plenty of basics like jeans or capris, ribbed turtlenecks, and minimalist skirts and coats. Each is remembered for her powerful sense of personal style, not her edgy fashion risks, and each looked great because she looked like she wasn't trying too hard.
So what are the hallmarks of personal style?
It starts with the clothes you feel comfortable in. Do you have one perfect pair of pants? A dress you always wear? And are you more at ease in neutrals than vivid colors? Narrow it down and don't feel guilty that you are 'boring' if beige and grey feels good to you. If clothes don't make you feel good, you''ll constantly feel insecure -- and that is as obvious to onlookers as a torn hem.
For me, it's about neutral colors, sweaters with shape but not cling, crisp white shirts, and tailored pants or pencil skirts. When you've figured out a few of yours (Dresses with boots? Tailored jackets with jeans?), bring a critical eye to these favorites and make sure they fit as well as they can. (Get a friend to give input). Then, look for similar shapes or get a tailor to make copies. It's the best investment you can make. And suddenly, you have the core of a wardrobe that works.
Great personal style synchs up with your persona rather than fights it. I am petite and quite modest, so I don't make outrageous statements with fashion or show off my body that much. I communicate my personality with small touches: a great shoe and a great bag. You might be the opposite. Think about the woman you are and consider if your clothes tell that story.
Those style icons often used just a few pieces over and over (think Jackie O's trench coat, sunglasses, and beautifully fitted T-shirts with slim pants). Stick with a focused selection of clothes that look and feel great, experiment with accessories for fun, and refine the fit, color, and texture from season to season. Not only is this cheaper than buying a whole new wardrobe each spring, it's much more genuine. It's about telling the world who you are, rather than letting fashion dictate to you.