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How to Create Personal Style

The Chicest Women Have a Uniform: A Case Study

Think about the women in your workplace whose personal style you really admire. Sure, there's always the one who has all the latest trends — fringe, off the shoulder, chokers galore — but when you think of effortless style, someone who always looks good, is it her? Probably not. The reality is, trends are great fun, but they always feel . . . well, trendy, not timeless. Wearing a big trend may get you a big "oh wow" moment in the morning when you walk into work, but then suddenly you find yourself in overalls and clogs in a big meeting with your boss feeling a little stupid. Trends are also not universally flattering. I'll be the first to admit that culottes look more clown, less Gigi on my body shape.

But this isn't about hating trends. Rather, this is all about celebrating uniforms. The women who I think of as chic and effortless often wear iterations of the same outfit. They have a uniform, if you will. These uniforms vary from woman to woman, but what all of them have in common is that they are flattering to that woman's specific body type, have a somewhat classic flair to them, and suit her own personal style. You may not gasp when they walk into a meeting, but they always look sharp and elegant in any situation.

Many of the most adored fashion icons have subtle uniforms they adhere to. They figure out what works for their body, and they stick to it. Women like Jackie O, Iris Apfel, Jenna Lyons, Brigitte Bardot, and even Anna Wintour all had or have a look. A definable style. Whether a it's Brigitte Bardot in a Breton striped tee with cigarette pants, or Anna in floral-print Prada dresses with big sunglasses, these women know what works for their bodies and they own their uniform. You would never deign to say that that Jackie O had boring style, and yet if you take a closer look you'll see that she stuck mainly to the same styles in varying colors. This isn't to say they wear the exact same thing every day, but they do religiously follow a pattern.

In a world of Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter where you can see bloggers posting new outfits 24 hours a day, we've entered a new era of trend overload. Before we've even gotten out of bed in the morning, we're scrolling through Instagram to see what our fashion idols are wearing today. Our lives are so saturated with trend that we've largely stopped cultivating personal style, and being honest about what really suits us. With everything in real time, we feel pressure to constantly be wearing the next thing, now, and this often results in frenzied fashion risks that don't always pay off. Not to mention, chasing trends is expensive. Something highly memorable like a camo bomber jacket looks great . . . one or two times. After all your friends have seen it, you likely won't be keen to wear it again and you'll need to buy whatever the next trendy piece of outerwear is, only to have the cycle start all over again.

On a practical level, having a uniform also helps you avoid the dreaded 25-minute closet panic you have every other morning, thinking, "What should I wear today!?!" They say you wear 20 percent of your closet 80 percent of the time anyway, so spend some time investing in good quality, flattering foundation pieces you can mix and match. Basics sound boring, but they don't have to be. If loafers are part of your uniform, invest in some Gucci. Love great dresses? Splurge on some Stella.

Don't burn your bomber jacket just yet. There will always be room for trends — they make the fashion world go around, and keep us invigorated. Simply spend some time thinking about what clothes you always feel good in and make those your basics. Never be afraid to put on your favorite combination of uniform basics. After all, is there anything more flattering than someone saying, "I just love your look!"?

Image Source: Getty
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