How to define your style by thinking like a branding expert

Good morning, Monday.  The weather in New York has given me a spiritual lift. It's official- anything over 80 really works my nerves. I was so relieved to have beautiful weather to enjoy, and enjoy it we did. 

But first, I did a little chat on Leap, a new Clubhouse-like app I did with my friends at the Ageist to talk about all things style. It was fun, and I hope to continue speaking about style and aging and all the things that are top of mind for me of late. Like how my years of experience in advertising have helped me figure out how to talk about personal style in a way that makes sense.

Last week, I was in a strategy session with a brand I write for, and we talked a lot about archetypes and how to envision who your dream consumer would be vs. who it really is today. For example, Harley Davidson paints a picture of a Peter Fonda-Esque all-American anti-establishment rebel who takes to the open road, when in reality, it's more Tim Allen and crew in Wild Hogs. But even though the reality is more hmm, realistic, selling that easy riding version to the weekend warriors still makes sense because they're buying a piece of the dream or fantasy.

So how does this apply to personal style?

Imagine yourself as a (personal) brand. Who is your archetype when it comes to dressing? Are you more Kate Middleton or more Kate Moss? Do you love Kim Gordon's (pictured at top of post) New York downtown cred? Does Michelle Obama's self-confident clothing inspire you? Or do you want to peacock like Iris Apfel? Keith Richards has always been an icon/archetype for my brand, and yes, I know he's a guy.

So what is it about him that I connect with, and how can I translate that into my everyday life in Brooklyn vs. on the road or on tour? There are a few ways. 

First, I do love a shag haircut and have alternated between a Keith-like shag and a bob my whole adult life. Second, I love jewelry and skulls and silky tops and flared pants and playing with the feminine and masculiine. I am far more drawn to clothes from the 70s than most any era (90s, too), so I can take his vibe and make it my own. Think boho chic dresses from designers like Ulla Johnson (this dress for Falll 2022 is gorgeous), sexy boots, and lots of layered necklaces and textured faux fur. 

I have others I look to for inspiration, but he's a good example of how I look to my icons for my daily style. You may not give a fig about celebrities, but maybe there's someone in your life or community who just does it for you. 

And if you think you could never dress like your idols because you're not built to do so, think again. Audrey Hepburn and Jackie O. immediately come to mind as women who were wispy thin but influenced women of all sizes and shapes to wear a little black dress or a pillbox hat. 

Other archetypes I dream about emulating? The Olsens. Liam Gallagher. Kate Moss. 

Sofia Coppola. Tilda. Swinton. Elsa Perretti. Phoebe Philo.

Yves Saint Laurent and every one of his muses, like Loulou de la Falaise and Betty Catroux. They are all different, of course, but they all have a major cool factor, something a bit sexy, and a smart approach to style.  I love their individuality and confidence and classic yet on-trend appeal.  

A great example is this silver trench from Simon Miller. It's so cool but classic (as trenches are) and reminds me of Andy Warhol's Factory. I would throw it over a black jumpsuit, some boots, and a scarf and see ya, suckers.

Oh, and also, don't forget that fashion can be inaccessible from a price point perspective, so go on a hunt and find your favorite designer looks for less. I spotted this silver trench on a quick Google search, and it's far more affordable than the Simon Miller version.

So as the week gets underway and you're getting served new season clickbait, consider adding something archetypical inspired to your closet. I'm loving the cooler temps and inspiration. Cause that's what's up this what would Keith Richards wear kind of Monday in the BK. PS I could play the style archetype game all day. So many looks to love throughout time. Yours, in personal brands and true style. Holler at me if you want some help coming up with your take on the 'type. XO