I have written a lot over the years about personal style and fashion. You could say I am fierce about others discovering their own style. If you were to look up “fierce” in the dictionary, you’d see: wild, savage, hostile and intense in the definition.
We began using “fierce” to describe fashion around the late 1990’s and early 2000’s. Supermodel Tyra Banks and fashion designer Christian Siriano seized upon “fierce,” and it sort of became tired from over-use. However, I love the word, and I believe “fierce” remains relevant as a fashion term when used in the right way.
I like to think my personal style is fierce, and I would definitely describe my style icons as those who are fiercely themselves: Daphne Guinness, Iris Apfel, Isaac Mizrahi and Simon Doonan. You may be surprised to see two men on my list. My style icons have an attitude toward style that I adore, rather than a style I wish to copy. Over the years, I have pulled inspiration from my style icons, as well as from friends and people on the street. In fact, Isaac, in his 2008 book “How to Have Style,” said, “You can’t have style without being inspired.”
What is style? Everyone has their own definition of style. I find it difficult to define, but, in short, your personal style is you. What you wear tells us who you are. I love what Iris Apfel says about her image: “I do not intellectualize what I wear. I just put on what I feel like.” Iris understands herself. She buys what she loves, and she mixes it on her body in creative and interesting ways.
For those of us who are not artists, honing our style takes more reflection and effort. As Isaac has said, “There’s only one way to be excellent at something. You have to practice. Having style is no different. The more you do it, the better and stronger you become.” For 2018, take time to find your sources of inspiration whether they come from fashion, nature, art or other areas. Make a mood board (I have a three-ring binder). When you have a visual, who you are, and thus, your style, becomes readily apparent. Then, start dressing in a way that reflects the vibe of the photos. This process is personal, not cookie cutter, and it takes time. Be patient. Keep your eyes on your board, and allow your style to come to you.
Danielle Steele wrote a lovely piece titled “Ageless Style” for the November 2017 issue of Harper’s Bazaar. Here are some excerpts: You can’t buy it. It really is ageless. It’s a gift. Women need to be braver about wearing their own style. The mistakes can be cool, too! Fashion and style should live and breathe. I have much more fun with fashion now than I did at 25. I’m more daring. If not now, when?
I could not agree more. In an article for Elle magazine about nine years ago, writer Alex Postman interviewed Isaac Mizrahi and went through his process of creating a mood board to discover her style. Alex was bored with her look, and I love what she said about her style, “I’m just passing. At least passing isn’t failing! Yet, it is a failure – of the imagination, of courage…” Yikes!
Don’t just pass! Try new things, make mistakes and have fun. And don’t worry what others will think. I could not put it better than Simon Doonan when he wrote, “As you experiment with your appearance, you must remember that by feeling self-conscious you are merely indulging yourself. Nobody is judging you… People are much too busy worrying about their own lives to ask why you are dressed like Wolf Blitzer.”
Have a fantastic holiday season, and, by all means, make them look twice!
Why would you want to look nondescript when you could look fierce?–Simon Doonan