Try to remember back to when you were a little kid – who did you consider to be a fashion icon? Was it your mum or dad? Perhaps a teacher? Maybe an actor, singer or person you saw once in a magazine?
As we get older, most of us start developing a sense of style. Looks we prefer to embody based on taste, aesthetics, musical interests, comfort and fit. Our style icons become more important in our lives, our sense of fashion more defined. We know the brands we like, the cuts that fit us well, and all the thrift stores that get in the best stuff. We know what we’re willing to splurge on, and what in our minds, should never exceed £20.
It’s funny though, to remember back to a time when we had no such sense. When we didn’t know what a maxi dress was, when we didn’t know which colours complimented each other or whether people were wearing solids or patterns that summer. But in our own naïve way we thought some looks were cool and others weren’t.
Little girls and boys, for instance, often associate older men with pipes, hound’s-tooth, beards and bow-ties. Not only do older men still wear all of these items, but so too do young men and androgynous women. Bow-ties are often seen tied around the necks of stylish musicians like Kanye West, who pair the accessory with velvet suits or white cocktail jackets. Hound’s-tooth looks great cut into a fitted dress for a young female professional or in an oversized coat hanging off the thin frame of a stylish bohemian girl.
You might have seen your mother wearing high-wasted jeans, shoulder pads and lots of lace embellishment, with blue eye shadow and red lipstick. A couple of years ago, shoulder pads made a major comeback in women’s fashion. Not only were seen in oversized blazers, but in tight-fitted dresses – adding a geometrical look to an outfit. Lace has come back as well. With so much excitement surrounding the return to the era of prohibition, speakeasies and burlesque dancers, black, feathers, lace and pearls have adorned the racks of shops as well as the shelves of women’s bedrooms all over the world. White lace is also beautiful for the summer. And while blue eye shadow has yet to repopularise itself (and probably never will), red lipstick is about as sexy as make-up comes.
Fashion is cyclical, which is in part why one should never throw out the items they love – even if they haven’t worn them in a while. But the lesson here is to trust your eye. To use the things you remember always liking as your inspiration for today, because being a style icon is about more than just following trends and reading Vogue, it’s about creating a look that is entirely your own.