Do you have a style icon?
What is the use of having a style icon anyway?
There are some good reasons to find a style icon to help you along your style journey (and remember that your style will always be a journey, never a destination).
- Inspiration – they can inspire you to improve your style. They can inspire you to up your style game. They can inspire you to try different outfits one, putting items you already own together in new ways. Notice what they are wearing and see if you can replicate their outfit with your own clothes. Notice the details in their outfits – maybe you see an outfit as simple as a pair of jeans, a shirt and a jacket – why is theirs more stylish? Well maybe there is some sort of detail or embellishment on the shirt (unlike the one you have which is plain), maybe their jacket fits well and yours has sleeves that are too long as they engulf your hands, maybe their styles are more formal and you tend to wear jeans with a more relaxed shoe. See how outfits are put together, but also be aware of the individual elements of each garment and accessory and how it is put together to make up a ‘whole’.
- Details – someone who is a style icon will have gotten their details right. As they say – the devil is in the details – and getting these right can make a huge difference in improving your style.
- Grooming – their grooming is always good. Very often our own grooming is kind of ignored, or we just do as little as we feel is necessary – yet when you look at your style icon, the grooming will always be to a higher standard – that’s partly how they have become a style icon. Why is grooming so hard to maintain? Well, when we are tired or sick or pushed for time, grooming is usually the first thing that goes and yet it has such a great impact on your overall look.
Finding a Style Icon
Is there someone out there whose style you admire?
Many of my clients mention Danish Princess Mary (who is originally from Tasmania, Australia). She has a great style that is classic and feminine and is always elegant. What is always noticeable about her is that she is well groomed at all times.
How to find an icon? Why not do some Google image searches or Pinterest searches – try using the words Style Icon or Mature Style Icon in your search, even Mature Fashion, or Celebrity Street Style. Scroll through images and see which images resonate. If you find someone you like the look of why not then search on their name and see what else comes up (putting fashion, outfits or street style in the search field will bring you up a good range of images).
You may want to find a style icon with a similar body shape to yours – so then search on your body shape and the word “celebrity” and this will often bring you up a range of people that have been broadly (not always correctly mind you) categorised as your body shape.
How about with your colouring? Do searches on the colour properties of your colour palette – often using the “seasonal” names of winter (cool, deep and bright), spring (warm, light and bright), summer (cool, soft and light) and autumn (warm, deep and toasted) will get you more options, you will often find though that many celebrities don’t wear flattering colours a lot of the time!
You can also find a style icon in a blogger – I’ve interviewed lots over the years through my Stylish Thoughts series and some of them may inspire you too.
Remember, your aim is not to dress exactly the same as your style icon, but to be inspired by them and get ideas on improving your outfits and your style.
Do you have a style icon? What is it about their style that you admire?
Check out More Tips on Improving Your Style
Discover the 4 Nifty Low Colour Contrast Dressing Tricks Used by Princess Mary
I vacillate on this one A LOT. I adore Cate Blanchett for being super arty and adventurous but also sticking to clean lines for the most part … but have no idea what she looks like running to the grocery store. My casual icon is probably Katie Holmes, minus the crappy boyfriend jeans.
Jane Birkin! So offhandedly elegant and comfortable in her skin at nearly 63.
The little old lady who I see down at my local supermarket. Yesterday she was wearing a black & white striped tee, yellow straight line skirt and gold sneakers, and her snow white hair was done up in a chignon. She always looks great, and makes me want to be more stylish.
Grooming – such an important subject, don't suppose you are going to do a post on that soon? (hint, hint).
I like Mary; she’s so fresh and natural that even when she wears simple things she looks good.
I am an Audrey Hepburn fan. I wear a lot of shift dresses, flats, and slim pants. She always looked classic and elegant even when dressed casually.
A more contemporary style icon is Lauren Hutton. When I see her still looking stylish in her 60s, I am reminded that you don’t have to be young to be hip and stylish.
That gold top is fantastic! I second Mary as a style icon worth worshipping.
Laura Bennett of Project Runway. I still cannot get over her style. Love her!!
Sal – Cate is always groomed, we get a few pics of here here running errands with her 3 kids.
Duchesse – I think there are some great women icons who are stylish in later life, never MDAL, but also not Old Lady either, which shows how possible it is to continue to have style your whole life.
Cybill – how fantastic that you get to see fabulous style close up! What did you want to know in particular about grooming – happy to do a post – email me details.
Karen – yes Mary is great – I can so see why she is well admired for her style.
Ingrid – that’s great – love Audrey – it’s wonderful that her looks also suit your bodyshape.
My style icon is the mannequin at J.Crew. Whatever she’s wearing, I want it.
Definite Audrey Hepburn fan!!! Between her and Jackie O…you are sure to be a timeless beauty. I still feel nauseated when I look back at my 80’s style..or lack thereof.
I agree with Duchesse. Jane Birkin for me. To some extent that’s because she’s so very casual, and that works for my lifestyle and town.
Thanks for the nice recent comment Imogen.
I really don;t have a style icon. I guess I have many varied looks and can’t really name a single icon. What does that say about me I wonder? 😉
Karen – you make me laugh!
Missy – I was pretty tragic in the 80s too (some of the shoulder pads I wore were way scary).
Sallymandy – it’s great if you can find an icon who works for you.
Mervat – I don’t have 1 icon either – you are more eclectic!
Just happened across a style icon for me: Brooke Williams. A photographer who is profiled in The Lucky Shopping Manual, I think.
She does what works best for me: very modest, sometimes prim, ladylike clothing coupled with wild, natural hair. This is, I guess, the anti-grooming style.
I’m 60, wear modest but sometimes shapely clothing. My clothing shows some thought and planning. But the whole thing works best when the hair, around or above shoulders, is messy, chunky, even uncombed. This is the exact look I want. I get whistles, beaming smiles from storeowners as I pass their shop, women are confiding and at ease with me, say I’m friendly and cheerful. Attractive, inviting but self-possessed. Kind of naturally sexy but with a privacy barrier erected – the clothing.
Here is an old picture of Brooke Williams that shows the prim outfit plus the funky hair. (I’m not black)
Imogen, I have been thinking about this all day. I actually can’t put my finger on just one person. Pamela Anderson? Amy Whinehouse?
I really like Mary as an idea but I love and aspire to be like the old French ladies when my time comes and I am finding, living in Asia that I love the whimsy of Japanese women of a certain age– clean lines but loads of wonderful color and soft fabrics. It is all fem. But sadly, I still have some of that all black New York edge hardwired into me!
I only hope that I can find my style before I am 80!
Vildy – she looks gorgeous – and her style so suits her!
SWC – I’m thinking that maybe for you you could try Dolly Parton as she’s petite too!
The Japanese have fantastic style, there are lots of parts of Asian clothes you could include in your style – which is something you could create all on your own, and not have to follow someone else’s lead.
I second Lauren Hutton as one of my style icons. And, I love the ads Angelina Jolie did for St. John I think a year or two ago…
of course Jackie O and Audrey Hepburn. I love looking at pictures of them and their outfits, so classic!
Hi again Imogen! I was wondering if you would mind visiting my fashion blog to give me your opinion on a dress which I absolutely love but I don’t know how to dress it for that extra *oomph*. I have paired it with mustard yellow accessories but am still unsure about the look. Feels like something is missing. What would you suggest?
Thank you so much,
Princess Mary always looks like she's smelling a nasty odour! Flared nostrils + super-skinny lips = a permanent facial expression that's the equivalent of asking "where's that nasty stench coming from?"
I adore the styles of Audrey Hepburn, Jackie Kennedy, Katie Holmes, and Nicole Kidman. It's so sad when your style icon has a completely different body shape that you do, so you can't emulate them. We do desire what we cannot obtain.
There are many women whose style I admire… on them. Katherine Hepburn, Cate Blanchett, Gwyneth Paltrow, Elle MacPherson look fabulous. But, you know, I'm really my own style icon. Not as I am today, but as I am in my head! : ) It's soft – lots of velvet and jersey – without being sloppy, warm but not at all bohemian, an occasional status purse or watch but mixed with many inexpensive items; in my dreams, I look fabulous!
Vera Wang. Simple, well-cut clothes, minimal accessorizing, almost no makeup.