If you’re not familiar with BuzzFeed quizzes you clearly haven’t wasted hours of work time answering life’s most challenging conundrums such as, “There are two types of eaters in this world – spoon people or fork people – who are you?” or “Hot guys vs. Appetizers – would you rather”.
So, when I recently asked my followers on social media what were some of their current style challenges, I turned to google and typed in a question from one contributor, How do I find a style icon that looks like me? Up popped the BuzzFeed Quiz – It’s time to find out which style icon you are. Who knew Buzzfeed was an authority on style? Needless to say I was hooked and after answering 6 simple questions, my style icon appeared… Tracee Ellis Ross. I’m not going to lie – saying the daughter of glamour queen Diana Ross and star of Black-ish was my icon made me smile with pride.
Why do I agree with BuzzFeed on this occasion? Well, for a number of reasons. Firstly, one of the things I love about Ross’s style is she has so many style personas – from corporate chic to disco glam. This is something I like to think I have too. I try to dress for how I want to feel and where I’m going. I also love Ross’s confidence in her self-expression mixing bold colours and textures, wearing a variety of silhouettes, and her changing hair styles, big, small, elegant or gravity defying. All forms of self-acceptance and personality.
Then it got me thinking, Tracee Ellis Ross looks nothing like me so how can she be my style icon? Is it important to have a style icon that looks like you?
Maybe and no.
Let me start by saying – style icons or inspirations are something I ask all of my clients about. Who is someone’s style you admire and what is it about their style you like? The reason I ask is to help build a picture of the kind of look the client aspires to or is drawn to. Style icons can help give a direction of what a client’s aesthetic could be.
For some clients, they want their inspiration to look like them and I get why. Many clients tell me they can’t look at someone modelling clothes and picture how it will translate on their bodies. If you are one of those people, my suggestion to you would be to search for street style images using words that describe you such as, geeky celebrity street style, or ivy-league street style, big hips celebrity style. I feel weird even typing those words because I don’t like to categorize a person into shapes or fruits. If you can’t think of a celebrity that looks like you could look at brands you like and their street style images.
I do know when you are confident in your own style and what you choose to wear as your form of self-expression, you can look at any images of style and know what elements will suit your look.
My current style icons look nothing like me. They are all women of colour for starters, and they wear clothing I could never pull off and none of them have a similar body shape to me. Yet Tamu McPherson, Ellie Delphine @slipintostyle, and Karen Blanchard @karenbritchick are all my current icons because I look to them for how they style and put outfits together, how they mix colours, and how they wear pieces I never would. When I find images of outfits I love for whatever reason, maybe it’s a specific boot or accessory I admire or a unique colour combination, I save it on my phone. Given all these style icons are in the northern hemisphere, it also gives me the opportunity to see looks on trend for my season ahead. I look for pieces I may want to add into my wardrobe.
I look to these icons to push the way I style and inevitably after looking at their socials, I look to my wardrobe and see how I can create new looks with pieces I already own.
I also want to add here that your style is not a set and forget. You may have style icons today that you won’t have in the years to come. As your look changes and your stage of life requires you to wear different things, let your style inspiration move on that journey with you.
Don’t be afraid to try new things and take clues and cues from sources different to those you normally seek. Whether it’s completing a BuzzFeed quiz, jumping on Pinterest or flicking through your favourite fashion mag, style inspiration is everywhere, you just need to be open to it. Your style icon doesn’t need to look like you to inspire you or lead you towards your own authentic style.
Lisa Stockman – Personal Stylist