Have you defined your style?

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By Cathy Rae Smith
Founder of Culture Magazine

Fashion designer for Gucci, Tom Ford, asserted, “Style is very different from fashion. Once you find something that works, keep it.” With the upcoming inauguration of our new President-elect, the fashion media buzz has already identified First Lady Michelle Obama’s style distinction. She makes an outfit her own by adding an element such as a brooch, seen recently on the interview with Barbara Walters. Simple, yet distinctive.

Have you defined your personal style? There may be something simple, a classic touch that feels like a natural for you. However, if this seems a bit mystifying and elusive, we have the advantage to draw inspiration from a wealth of examples.

The classic imagery of Jacqueline Kennedy remains ever present. Clean simplicity defined her style, often implemented by a single accent. Her suits were set off with a pillbox hat; long gloves often accompanied her gowns; her cashmere sweater and Capri pants were paired with pearls. Then there are those sunglasses.

Legendary fashion designer Coco Chanel, famed for her simple black dress and enduring suits that have passed through generations with relative ease, wore multiple strands of pearls, (a favorite look of mine). Known for many quotable comments, she stressed, “Fashion changes, style endures.” Advise to ponder: define who you are, from the inside out; live a life that makes your heart sing and allow that to resonate in what you do and how you do it; distinguish yourself with a signature expression of your unique style that can gracefully stand the test of time.