A signature look is the holy grail of personal style.
It is the icing on a refined, well-curated wardrobe, but at the same time the best starting point for any style journey.
Whether you are a complete beginner or a curating pro, this guide will show you how to design, shape and refine your signature look from the ground up.
What is a signature look?
Your signature look (or uniform) is the flagship look of your own personal style. It should represent its core elements, the essence of your style, all in one outfit.
Your signature look is the outfit people picture you wearing when they think of you, and your one and only look if you were a cartoon/fairytale/pixar character.
Having a signature look is not a new concept. Pretty much every single style icon, from Cleopatra to Jackie O to Sophia Coppola had or has a strong signature, one that emphasizes their public persona and expresses their aesthetic ideals.
So… why is a signature look such a clear sign of great personal style?
Reason 1: When it comes to concepts, be it a style concept, a character in a book/film, a story line, a brand identity or an art installation: Definition equals quality. You want a clear, razor-sharp definition of what concept/character/brand X stands for. Not a wishy-washy concept that is a little bit of everything and therefore not really anything.
Reason 2: Having a signature look signifies a considerable amount of self-knowledge: you know what you like, who you are and what suits you. This confidence or rather, authenticity, enhances what you are trying to express through your look and makes it all the more powerful.
Even if you have no aspiration to be a style icon, creating a signature look is an important step on any curating journey, whether you want to refine your own personal style because you love fashion as a creative outlet or are just trying to build a more functional wardrobe. Let me repeat what I said in the intro of this post because it is super important:
You do not need a fully developed, stable personal style concept in order to create a signature look – so don’t worry if you are not 100% or even 30% sure about what you like and what your style is.
The mere process of designing your look will catapult you miles forward — it’s the best shortcut to style and a functional wardrobe that I know of.
Why create a signature look?
FORM: As a shortcut to personal style
To develop a signature look you really have to dig deep into your aesthetic preferences and likes and separate essential components from those that just dilute or distract. All of this digging will not only help you refine your overall personal style, but also improve your own creative awareness and confidence.
FUNCTION: As a shortcut to a functional wardrobe
Ever heard of the 80/20 principal? We wear 20% of our clothes 80% of the time. Even if your own wardrobe situation is a little more balanced than that, having a signature look will help you get that crucial 20% 100% right. It is the ultimate fast-track to a functional wardrobe because once you have found a look that you truly love, you can focus on optimizing that section of your wardrobe and create a versatile mix-and-match system. Of course, having a signature look is also the perfect remedy for hectic mornings and makes packing for trips a lot easier!
„I prefer simple, understated clothes. My style is far too boring to create a signature look and I also don’t want to commit to wearing the same outfit over and over again.” If that sounds like you, read on:
Two misconceptions about Signature Looks
Misconception 1: Signature looks are bold
Misconception 2: Having a signature looks means wearing the same exact outfit over and over again.
Although either of the above can be true, neither is a must. If that’s your style then your signature look can definitely be bold and expressive, but it can also be understated, minimalist and casual.
You can also decide how closely you want to define your signature look: be super specific and create your signature look around a specific set of items that you wear a lot with only minor variations or come up with a more loose formula that you can implement with a few different items for greater variety- it’s up to you!