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How to Define Your Signature Style

Building a Wardrobe
August 1, 2019

Hello! And welcome to Dressed for My Day, where my goal is to inspire and help women like you and me to dress beautifully and appropriately for our unique days so we can engage authentically and graciously with those around us and influence them well. To that end, today let’s talk about your signature style.

Today’s blog post is the next installment in our 2019 style series, Building a Wardrobe that Works for You. If you’d like to read other posts in that series, click here.

Sure, let’s be honest. I hope you’ll also shop my looks while you’re here. But this is not just about selling you things, gals! I want to help you build a wardrobe that really works for you. And today we’re going to make another step in that direction as I help you define your signature style. What??? Yes, you, too, can have a signature style!

Define Your Signature Style & Build a Wardrobe that Works for You

In fact, truth be told, you and I already have signature styles. But today let’s learn how we can define that style so that we consistently put our best foot forward.

What is a Signature Style?

When you think “signature style” you probably think of fashion icons like Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly or even Cher or Janis Joplin, depending on your taste. One of my favorite signature styles is that of Doris Day. And even recent first ladies Michelle Obama and Melania Trump have distinguished their own signature styles, and I love both of them.

A signature is simply our own distinguishing mark. It’s our identity in a visual symbol, such as a handwritten rendering of our name.

So a signature style is made up of the marks or symbols that best identify your personal fashion style.

Grace Kelly

For instance, Grace Kelly consistently chose to wear wide necklines, displaying her elegant, long neck. She also embodied the “less is more” idea when it came to accessories or details. She’s known for wearing elegant clothing that struck a harmonious balance between timeless glamour and contemporary trends.

Could you identify Grace Kelly by her style? Sure, you probably could.

Kate Middleton

Perhaps you’re a fan of Kate Middleton’s signature style. She’s recognized for her feminine but conservative dresses, and often wears wrap or faux wrap dresses. She generally wears heels with her dresses, often carries clutch handbags and of course, like all good Brits, wears beautifully coordinated hats with her frocks.

Recent First Ladies

Laura Bush is known for her prominent lipstick, coiffed hair and trim suits, featuring both pant suits and skirts and jackets. Michelle Obama frequently sported sleeveless tops and dresses, occasionally adding a cheerful cardigan to the mix. And Melania Trump’s signature style includes subtle color blocks, belted waistlines and sometimes flamboyant sleeves.

What about you?

Okay, enough about them. What about you? Do you have a signature style? Well, like our names scrawled hastily across a Walmart checkout keypad, our signatures aren’t always flattering. Sometimes we slip into signature styles we never meant to identify with: over-sized sweat shirts, messy buns, frumpy jeans or gimme t-shirts are some that come to mind.

But you can define a signature style that beautifully, authentically and timelessly represents you in the best light.

Questions to ask…

Let’s ask ourselves some questions to help us identify and define our personal signature styles. Look, you get to determine your style. It’s totally up to you. And largely the key is making choices that consistently reflect how you want to be seen and perceived.

  • What do you enjoy wearing? a particular color (like blush pink), a definitive print (like gingham or leopard) or a certain texture (think leather or tweed)? maybe you love to wear scarves, bold earrings, ballet flats or cardigans? maybe pastels, funky prints, distressed jeans or flirty dresses give you joy.
  • What do you receive compliments on often? your bright lipstick? your flannel shirts? the handmade jewelry your best friend keeps you stocked with? the way you look in a turtleneck?
  • What style trick do you use consistently? half-tucking your shirts? rolling up your sleeves to just below your elbows? adding a touch of metallic? sporting platform wedges with everything? adding a simple blazer over anything? tying the hem of your button up shirts? flipping your collar up in the back?
  • What do all your favorite outfits have in common? do they all feature a simple t-shirt layered under a third piece? maybe they have ruffles or stripes or animal print or v-necks? do you belt them? or do they revolve around a particular fit of jeans? are they three pieces…or just one and dones?
  • How do you accessorize? simple and “less is more?” or bring on the bling? big, colorful and chunky? always gold or always silver? lots of turquoise or other natural stones? something in your hair? scarves, belts or kimonos?
  • How do you fit your clothing to your lifestyle? do you keep it simple and comfortable for working around home? or do you add heels to add height and authority at work? do you wear a lot of fabric with give as you travel and get active? or do you always wear jeans, but in a variety of combinations?
  • What pieces that you own right now best tell your story? does cashmere say you’re gentle but refined? does leopard print speak your language? do your Columbia brand shirts tell others you’re an outdoorsy gal? What best tells your story?

Okay, I’ll go first.

My answers to the 7 Questions

I love wearing a third piece, like a cardigan or blazer. I often receive compliments for having completed looks. In fact, all of my favorite outfits include a completer piece (like aforementioned cardigans, blazers, denim jackets or kimonos). I accessorize with simple classic jewelry, interesting shoes and lots of animal print because I want to add some interest but not compete with the completer piece. Because I work at home, I like to wear something very simple under my completer piece, like a simple white or other solid tee. In fact, I think completer pieces like cardigans and blazers best tell my story. They say I like having my ducks in a row and my act all together, but I don’t have any need for pretense or excess.

How’s that?

My Signature Style Defined

What that all boils down to is that my signature style is to add a completer piece like a drapey cardigan, fitted blazer, utility jacket or denim jacket. I like three piece suits, you could say! Ha! But my signature style also includes adding interest with my shoes and splashes of animal texture or print.

Red Cardigan
From the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. Read the post.

Do I wear other outfit combinations? Sure I do. But this is how I would define my signature style.

Why does that matter? Once you define your signature style – your happy place!! – you can become more proficient at creating outfits you love and that best tell your story.

Black Blazer and Riding Boots 01

And you’ll be more consistent with your style. You’ll shop with your signature in mind, too. And that, dear gal, is key to building a wardrobe that works for you!

Perfect Spring Weekend Get-Away Look
See more of this look.
How to Style a Column of Black Between Spring Colors
See more of this look.

Okay, gals. Your turn! Give this a little thought. Try doing like I did and answer each of my questions. Then summarize by defining your signature style! I’d love it if you’d share in the comments section below. Or, if you’re on Twitter, you can click and tweet my signature style above and then reply to it with your signature style. Fun!

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If you enjoyed today’s post, I hope you’ll save it to one of your Pinterest boards. Oh, and share it with your friends on Facebook, too. I love it when new readers find Dressed for My Day because you’ve shared what you found! You’ll find share buttons just below the scripture in the Blessed for My Day portion of the post. And Pinterest buttons should appear when you hover over the following graphic (or any of the graphics in this post).

Remember, today’s blog post is the next installment in our 2019 style series, Building a Wardrobe that Works for You. If you’d like to read other posts in that series, click here.

Blessed for My Day

When the Bible tells us that God “remembered” someone, it may sound a little confusing. Did God forget them and then something jogged His memory? Of course not. God never forgets us. In fact, other scriptures tell us that we are always on the mind of God. He is ever thinking of us.

But the interesting thing about God “remembering” someone – Noah, the Israelites when they were in bondage in Egypt, Abraham, Rachel, etc. – is that it always indicated He was about to take action. God “remembered” and then He did something for that person or group. What if we were to do the same? If God brings someone to your mind today – an old friend, mentor, neighbor, student or co-worker – let that remembrance prompt you to action. Do something. Write them a note, send a text, make a phone call or pay a visit. If nothing else, pray for them.

But God remembered Noah and all the beasts and all the livestock that were with him in the ark. And God made a wind blow over the earth, and the waters subsided. ~ Genesis 8:1

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xoxo, Kay
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17 thoughts on “How to Define Your Signature Style

  1. Great exercise! I never really stopped to think about my Signature Style before. The one that sticks out the most and I receive the most compliments on is my lipstick! I always wear a Fuchsia color year around….medium to dark. I dress simply and usually with a completer piece. I wear simple, dainty jewelry and I love color. I also have my neutral colors but give me a pop of color any day! My shoes and bags are not lavish. I cannot wear heels anymore so I have to wear flats but they’re always appropriate with whatever outfit I’m wearing that day. I’m only 5’2” and wish I could wear heels.

  2. Kay that is a good question and I wish I knew what my signature style was. I did just have my color analysis done about six months ago so that has helped some in knowing what colors look “better” on me, but I haven’t done the style class as I’m not sure that would help me as I know what I feel good in and what I don’t but with that being said…I don’t know what my “style” is….ugh. You always look so pretty and I love the outfits above. I think the black/green sweater is my favorite!

    1. Well the good news is that it’s definitely not a pressing issue. Ha! In fact, like the style icons I mentioned, our style is always evolving. But it gives you something to think about. And you could share this post with some friends or family members and then help each other work through the questions. Thanks for sharing, Sandi!

  3. What? You are in Abilene??? That sentence made me so happy! If I see you today, I’ll be the one who comes over and say “Kay Harms?….I love you and sense of style and your Blessed For My Day posts!” Welcome to town (my husband works at ACU) and safe travels on your journey. Please keep posting when you can because you are lovely – a breath of fresh air – and it helps start the day off so positively!!

  4. Your confidence illuminates the computer screen! Love the green cardigan and red jeans/black boots outfits.. I enjoy your blog each day!

    1. Thanks so much, Lori. You’re kind. Like every woman I know, I definitely have struggled with self esteem issues. But over the years I have become more confident as I’ve embraced the truths God’s Word says about me and the callings He has given me. Have a blessed day!

  5. I never thought about my signature style either. You always give us food for thought so thank you! Most of all I LOVE your Biblical wisdom! God has gifted you with great insight into His Word and that comes only from a wholly committed daily walk with Him!I love that! Enjoy visiting family which is priceless! Blessings and God’s protection as you continue on your journey to Cincinnati!

  6. Particularly loved the Blessed for my day today!
    It really ministered to me. Thank you. ❤️
    What a good question about my signature style.
    I love to wear dresses and like you, when I wear jeans or slacks I also like a layering piece like a cute jacket or cardigan. I love wearing soft pink and cashmere sweaters are my favorite. I go more for simple elegant style than trendy and chunky.

  7. Another thought provoking exercise! When I look through my closet, I found lots of stripes, denim, and cardigans
    I’m classic and preppy with a touch of nautical. Ralph Lauren, Nautica, J. Crew, Talbots, L.L.Bean, Lily Pulitzer.
    Simple, easy, outfits. A clean, tailored look. I don’t wear much jewelry, but I love my pearls! I keep my color palette neutral with pastels. Occasionally I’ll add a pop of color. Usually a brighter shade of pink or a colorful dress.

    My signature style includes a button down shirt with my Jane Fonda collar pop and jeans. (I have lightweight, gauzy, roll up sleeves for warm weather and flannel for the cool weather). I’ll top it off with a cardigan, blazer or denim jacket.

    Enjoy your journey. I keep thinking about how your wardrobe is going to change now that you’ll be living up north!

  8. Kay, this was a great exercise! I actually took time to answer most of the questions on paper.
    I love leopard print, pattern mixing, scarves, the 3rd layer, bling and metallic touches.
    People have seemed to like my sense of style and how I put things together.
    I love eye catching shoes (but am having to be more careful as I age.)
    I’m still culling my wardrobe and learning. 🙂

  9. I just found your youtube posts not long ago. I wish I had found them much earlier….. just celebrated my 80th birthday in November. However, I still like to wear stylish outfits!! So I am learning about building a wardrobe as opposed to impulsively purchasing an outfit!! One is never too old to learn new things. Thank you. And thank you, too, for your reminder of connecting with those GOD on occasion brings to mind.