When you own one or two core aspects of your style — like Cruella red lipstick, black fitted blazers, or even a trusty pair of sneakers — and you do it so frequently that your team members barely recognize you without those signature looks, it can be a good thing.
Consider how Anna Wintour, arguably the fashion industry’s most powerful force, has stayed true to her signature bob hairstyle and black-as-night sunglasses for decades. Or how Kate Middleton is rarely seen without one of her pastel-colored fascinators (accessory headpieces). These two influential women in two very different positions of power have created signature looks that almost serve as a brand. And it’s working for them.
Whether you’re in and out of board meetings all day or are working as an independent freelancer from a coffee shop, if you are trying to posit yourself as an influencer or thought leader in your industry, consistent style might help you establish a sense of consistent character (and it can also save you time, which is an awesome added bonus).
My Signature Look
Finding a look that suits you personally at the same time as it does professionally can be challenging. You want to look stylish yet professional and approachable yet authoritative.
A principle I always adhere to is this: Always look like you have somewhere to be.
As someone who spends the majority of my time alone, working out of a coworking space or cafe, I have found this look to fare well: A white, slightly oversized blouse made of silk, a fun red lip (somewhere in between fire engine and crimson), stiff denim skinny jeans, and any black heel.
For me, it’s neutral but fashionable, and equally as self-assured as it is welcoming. Again, for me. But a key part of a signature style is that it’s unique to you.
Here are two rules of thumb to keep in mind if you’re ready to find yours:
Dress with purpose
Dress true to yourself
Dress With Purpose
Depending on your line of work, dressing with purpose looks a little different for everyone. However, the message is always one and the same.
Dressing with purpose means dressing in a way that makes you feel like you are making a difference — no matter how big or small. The point is to find an item or style that speaks to what you do, why you do it, and what you stand for.
Choose Something That Screams YOU
Let your creativity run wild. Look for inspiration in magazines, artwork around the city, movies you love, and books you’re reading.
What are you drawn to? Is it bright colors or more understated styles? If you don’t already know what your signature look is, you will find it by freeing yourself of the judgement you believe others may have of you.
Take a look at Mark Zuckerberg and his grey T-shirt and jeans ensemble. You can tell this is where he feels at ease and most like himself. And it’s fitting — a young, ridiculously successful master of technology whose signature look consists of a crew neck t-shirt and jeans.
Dressing in a way that makes you feel like your true, authentic self feels great. Experiment with different looks and styles to see what resonates. Owning a specific and consistent style will have everyone asking, “What does she do, and how can I get there?”
You’ll know when you find it.
By Ashley Alt
Ashley Alt is a creative writer specializing on topics all self-driven women can relate to. She is known for her fashion forward sense of style, obsession with healthy snacking and honest life advice. Her dream of living in NYC will become reality when her toddler goes to college. Her past work can be found at https://www.ashleyalt.com/.