Fashion is such an interesting art form and is perhaps the most difficult art form to define. What is "fashion?" Who decides? Art, as with all things beautiful, is in the eye of the beholder.
So does that mean fashion can be defined by the wearer? The designer? Fashion voyeurs? The gals from What Not to Wear? Your peers? Or are we required to follow certain guidelines within an era, a time frame, a culture, a social status or a gender that fate has handed us? Is fashion outlined by boundaries with a black Sharpie?
The answer, my lovelies, is that you decide what fashion is. Yes, there may be limits based on location, time and culture, but the guiding force in this amazing art form is that you carry it on your back and on your feet. The real question is: How do you find your own personal fashion icon?
Take fashion inspiration from your favorite movie characters and musicians
Celebrity has never been more embedded or accessible in our world. As with decades past, celebrities lead fashion trends. This is not a bad thing. In fact, it’s what gives us all a boost; it instills grand ideas that we can be something other than mundane. Gaining a sense of self from others is like walking a tightrope, and some experience is required to be a resourceful observer.
Often, if you look at influential movies or amazing runway trends, they don’t transition to the mainstream. While using Hollywood and NYC as influences for your personal fashion sense is fun, it needs to be done with careful purchases and experiments. Seeing Lady Gaga in a meat suit and then donning a bacon bikini is not going to win you any friends at the local beach.
I find following music and movies and tying them to my personal fashion trend exciting. But it’s far more exciting to twist in all the things that I know will work for me -- not just because they’re featured in a film or on a popular songstress.
Use ads in magazines and on television
Marketing is key to the success of any business, and fashion labels uniquely understand the allure of a good image in their marketing. It’s not just about the articles of clothing, shoes or jewelry from one designer or another; it’s about how those items make you feel when you wear them. But weeding through ads that are pretty to find quality pieces and a style that works for you may be harder than it seems.
Not every shop practices honest advertising. Sometimes, the image doesn’t match the outcome of wearing the clothing. There are shops whose advertising and quality seem to match really well. One of my faves is Anthropologie. Their notion is to allow for eclectic flair and uniqueness, along with a bit of bohemian styling. They have amazing photographers for scene shots, but market their items alone on their website, without a model. The catalog tells a tale; you can picture the potential purchases without the person from the story clouding your judgment, so you become the story. It’s brilliant!
Draw inspiration and update the style of fashion icons from previous generations
There are certain movies that convey an entire genre of fashion for a time period and others that start a trend that’s timeless. Think of the movies that have created ultimate fashion icons and timestamps on decades: Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Desperately Seeking Susan, The Fifth Element, The Royal Tenenbaums, The Godfather films, Annie Hall, Sex and the City, Pulp Fiction, Saturday Night Fever and The Devil Wears Prada.
In all of these movies, a style was created that launched the path for a celebrity to be seen as an ultimate Hollywood fashion icon for her generation. Remember, though, that you have to find the combinations that work best for you. You can’t just impersonate someone from the movies -- you have to use her as a base, and then add your personal flair!
Narrow your focus to find your perfect fashion fit
Fashion is about you. It’s about how you feel about yourself when you look in the mirror or walk by a window on a major fashion street. Not all designs or styles work for everyone. If you are easily swayed or change your style often, spend slowly when making trendy purchases. (You may hate those leopard-patterned jeans in a few weeks!)
Until you can identify your fashion self, you need to slow down on adding big elements from style-specific categories. Think before you make a big wardrobe investment to totally switch styles just because someone you admire appeared a certain way in a movie or in W. Find your personal preferences and focus on perfecting what works best for you.
All fashion has an ideal target, fits a certain body type better than others or is better suited for a particular age group or culture. Do yourself a favor and think if the person wearing what you like looks similar to you. Does she have a similar body type and attitude? Inspiration is everywhere. I say this all the time, but I love being a girl and getting to try different styles on for size. I hope you give some fun notions of your own a try, too. Be fearless and fierce, and find your inner fashion icon!
Christine Lorenzo is a Boston-based designer and founder of SariBlue, an earthy, bohemian jewelry collection centered on the Turkish evil eye bead. As a member of The Artisan Group, her collection has been featured at the GBK Productions Luxury Lounge honoring the 2012 Golden Globes, the 2012 Oscars and the 2012 MTV Movie Awards nominees and presenters.
Watch: Add instant wow to your wardrobe
Today on the Daily Dish, personal stylist Fawn Cheng shows you how to add instant wow to your wardrobe.