Every stylish has their own ‘thing’ that kinda trademarks their work. Some bring a sexiness to each look, some androgyny, some tend towards minimalism or layering or a retro vibe. I never had one. I mean I have elements that remain constant within my own personal style, but in my professional capacity I never had a trademark look and early in my career this bothered me. I felt it indicated a lack of strength somehow that I wasn’t stamping my mark everywhere. I couldn’t choose one look that I returned to again and again. I was interested in them all.
Now, I see how this apparent lack was actually my strength. I love to play with colour and texture and mash up references like all us stylists do, but it doesn’t sustain me without a person at the centre. Not a model or a celebrity ‘brand’, but a many layered person with an emotional stake in their style. I loved and still appreciate the creativity of fashion styling, but I was bugged by the feeling that I wasn’t helping anyone until I fell into personal styling. Thank god for the Patricia Field’s and Grace Coddington’s of this world. They make life so much more beautiful and inspiring, but my gift, I now realise, is enabling people to express their own authentic style in a way that is as beautiful and inspiring as any fashion spread. If they come out the other side feeling more connected to their own uniqueness and beauty, that gives real meaning to my work.
So I guess my trademark is ‘authentic’ style and that feels good to me as authenticity is one of my core values. When we’re authentic we live in line with our own values and are more likely to follow our own path. Success, personal or professional, based on being authentic, feels deeply satisfying as opposed to the ‘empty success’ of achieving what we thought we ‘should’ do or be in life. Being yourself rocks!
Approaching how we dress from a place of authenticity is a great way to stay connected to who we are right now as we evolve through each stage of life. We need to know what suits our body shape and colouring and it’s fun to explore new trends and be inspired by beautiful design, but doing it all from a place of “Is this me?” is key.
Some Reasons We Need Authentic Style
- Authentic style can help us stay self aware and live life according to our own values.
- Its much more fun and satisfying than following a formula or style dictat.
- Authentic style is inspiring. Every style icon has authentic style.
- Being yourself inspires others to be themselves too and the world becomes a more interesting place.
Two reasons we become inauthentic or stop being true to ourselves:
- We are in thrall to other people’s style. This tends to happen when we’re younger and still figuring out who we are. Just think of all those ‘Get the Celebrity Look’ magazine features
- We go through a major life change like having kids, breaking up, moving abroad or changing career and we emerge a different person. We evolve and move on, but our wardrobe and image don’t. (This is the main reason new clients contact me for an image consultation.)
I hope this has given you some insight into authentic style and why it matters. When have you felt your most ‘authentic’? Have your most outwardly successful moments been your most inwardly authentic? I’d love to hear your thoughts.