I thought this was something I could reply to pretty quickly, since I am aware of my own personal style, both as I try to cultivate it and as it emerges on its own. But I found that I had to think pretty hard to come up with five “hallmarks.”
I assumed that a hallmark of personal style is a visual that everyone associates with a specific person. For some people, it might be a particular purse or bracelet or tie. For instance, I could say that polo shirts are a hallmark of my husband’s personal style. But I don’t really have any objects like that, that I wear to define my style. So I found myself relying more on general adjectives.
Here’s the list I came up with:
- Messy hair – It takes at least an hour and, sometimes, the help of a professional for me to achieve the neat, sleek, anchorwoman look. I just don’t have that kind of time, so I let my hair have its own way most of the time. And I do sometimes go out and about with wet hair, because it always looks so much better when I air-dry instead of blow-drying.
- Cool colors – Some of you may remember the Color Me Beautiful phenomenon from back in the ’80s. A friend of my mom’s was training to be a “color lady,” so my whole family got our colors done. I learned that I am a “winter,” which means that I look best in cool, bright colors; less good in cool pastels; and absolutely awful in warm colors. So, ever since grade school, I’ve always kept my wardrobe palette on the cool side. I try to keep exceptions, like my yellow shoes, away from my face where they won’t make me look ill.
- Never tailored – Some women can walk into Talbott’s or Ann Taylor, grab a suit and blouse off the rack, and walk out looking like a million bucks. I cannot. I have a very triangle-shaped body; button-down blouses don’t fit, anything I tuck in bunches around the waist, and anything that has a defined waist on it billows around my hips. I own one suit for occasions when that sort of dressing is required. It’s cheap, black, and the pants don’t fit right. Mostly, I wear dresses when I need to look nice and pulled together.
- Current – It bothers me to wear a t-shirt or jeans in an outdated cut. I’m not usually cutting-edge, but I do like to stay current.
- Socially acceptable – These two words, more than anything else, define how I choose to present myself to the world. When I get dressed, I always think about where I’m going and whether what I’m wearing is appropriate for that occasion. It’s my way of coping with being messy and not tailored – I may not be neat and pulled-together, but at least no one can say I’m not socially acceptable. For example, you will never see me wearing a thong in Burger King.
So, what are five hallmarks of your personal style? (Or less than five, if you can’t think of that many.)