It’s rather surprising how various magazines and publications often cite the same names over and over again while doing style pieces. Beyond Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe, there is an abundance of fashionable women (and men) one can turn to for inspiration. To be honest, I doubt I would have come across these mentors had it not been for the time I spent studying fashion in college, which piqued my curiosity enough to look for more. What I found over time helped me develop my own personal style and, hopefully, should enable you to do the same too!
Now, I’m not saying that icons like Sophia Loren and Audrey Hepburn do not provide any sartorial inspiration (in case you didn’t know, I worship Audrey!) but why should one deprive themselves from tapping other sources of creativity? There is a list of women whose style I admire, so I spent some time investigating, experimenting and recreating their signature looks. However, the idea behind this isn’t to replicate celebrity styles and look like their doppelgängers; it’s simply to try something new and see if it works with YOUR own signature look and individual style! Here goes:
1. Masculin, Feminin – Every woman should thank Coco Chanel for freeing us from the constraints of corsets. Mademoiselle Coco often raided her lovers’ wardrobes and styled their shirts and jackets for herself, paving the way for the rest of us! Then came Katharine Hepburn in her smart suits, straight trousers and shiny loafers. The woman could wear golf clothes with just as much elegance and panache as her evening gowns. At a time when women were looked down upon for wearing pants, these ladies chose to wear actual menswear instead of menswear-inspired options! They scandalised the world by owning the look that created an interesting contrast of female bodies donning masculine silhouettes.
Key pieces: My all time favourite is the crisp white shirt. You can wear it with skinny jeans, straight-fit trousers and even bottoms that are more feminine, like full-circle skirts. I highly recommend investing in a pair of loafers or oxfords (or both) in neutral shades like beige, black or brown. Pantsuits are another item you could try – you’ll look AND feel powerful! Also, feel free to indulge in a men’s perfume (the gender labels are mostly a marketing technique).
Fashion mentors: Katharine Hepburn, Coco Chanel, Jenna Lyons.
Shirt – H&M, Trousers – BCBG Max Azria, Watch – Esprit, Shoes – Charles & Keith,
Eyeglasses – Vogue Eyewear
2. Les Gamines – Classic, feminine, young, and petite. The gamine is known to be fashionable, sophisticated and effortlessly stylish. While the literal meaning of the word is a small, young girl with mischievous, boyish charm, it isn’t necessary that one must be small in stature to dress like a gamine. The foundation of this look is simplicity. The gamine’s usual dress code consists of basic shift dresses, pleated skirts, pullovers and jeans in a muted colour palette. Furthermore, you will rarely spot one wearing a heel; they like their comfortable ballet flats, leather sandals, and flat boots, which are sometimes worn with wool tights.
Key pieces: Shift dresses, sweaters, jeans, pullovers, cardigans, ballet flats, sandals – all in neutral shades.
Fashion mentors: Sofia Coppola, Natalie Portman, Rooney Mara.
Shift Dress – Mango, Ballerina Flats – Street shopping find
3. Parisian Chic – There’s something about the French – that certain je ne sais quoi – which makes them look perfect even in a basic t-shirt and unfussy waves. The secret lies not in the clothes, but in the way they fit and are worn. Moreover, the French know that the classics matter much more than what’s trending at the current moment, hence they give more importance to the minimal basics. As a result, their outfits don’t scream for attention, instead they make an effortless statement. Why wear a revealing dress when there are other ways to steal the spotlight? All you have to do is get the fit right, don an air of nonchalance and you’ll be good to go!
Key pieces: All the classics – the trench coat, the little black dress, the long black coat, or any menswear-inspired items. Oh and of course, Breton stripes!
Fashion mentors: Charlotte Gainsbourg, Carine Roitfeld, Clémence Poésy, Catherine Deneuve.
T-Shirt – Gap, Boyfriend Blazer – Bershka, Jeans – Lucky Brand, Boots – Aldo,
Ring – Accessorize
In conclusion, I recommend you do your own bit of experimentation as well and see what works for you! It could be one or a combination of various signature looks serving as inspiration and adding to YOUR existing unique style, of course.
Clearly, the list above is not exhaustive and I plan to do a series of such posts, so if you liked this one, make sure you comment below and tell me if you’d like to see a particular signature look recreated!