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Nailing Your Fashion DNA

This 'between season' period of fashion limbo is the perfect time to work out who we are, sartorially speaking, so that we make sure we avoid those expensive mistakes we may have made in the past, both in terms of cost and style.

Fashion is a funny business. The great and the good of the industry are currently hot footing it across the four fashion capitals to see what designers have in store for our wardrobes next winter, while at the same time, our favourite stores and designer boutiques are filling their rails with spring ready clothes. We, on the other hand, are still wrapping ourselves up in last year's winter woollies!

However, the warmer weather will soon be with us, and the rising temperatures will eventually tempt us out of our layers and into lighter, and brighter, clothing. But are you ready for the new season? Before you consider splashing out on a random selection of spring styles, have you nailed your fashion DNA?

This 'between season' period of fashion limbo is the perfect time to work out who we are, sartorially speaking, so that we make sure we avoid those expensive mistakes we may have made in the past, both in terms of cost and style.

Developing a so-called signature style doesn't mean that we're surrendering ourselves to a life of wearing the same items over and over again. Far from it! Signature styles vary widely, and certainly don't have to be boring...

Consider fashion editors Anna Wintour (US Vogue) and Kate Lanphear (Maxim). The former abhors head to toe black and favours feminine dresses in brightly coloured prints, whereas the latter is well known for her fierce, predominantly black wardrobe. Then there's American singer songwriter and 'Godmother of punk' Patti Smith, who is rarely seen in anything other than her preferred masculine inspired tailoring, in a strict monochrome palette, and the President of the charity Kids Company, Camila Batmanghelidjh, famous for her brightly coloured, flowing gowns and matching tightly wound turbans! I could go on...

A signature style is incredibly personal. It's not about simply copying entire looks from the street or catwalk, or lifting them straight from the pages of a magazine. It's about taking inspiration from particular elements and building a wardrobe that's a direct reflection of your personality. So, what's the best way of nailing your fashion DNA?

Firstly, think about whose style inspires you. Whether it's an A list star, a favourite model or someone you regularly bump into at the supermarket, what is it about their look that appeals to you?

Then, spend some time scouring the fashion press and surfing the style sites on the internet. These are two of the best, and easiest, ways to really hone your personal style. The more images and ideas you can expose yourself to, the clearer your clothing likes and dislikes will be become. Start a Pinterest board where you can save the online images that catch your eye, and/or cut out and keep those pages from magazines that inspire you. Creating a mood board or keeping a scrapbook means that you will have a permanent record to refer back to.

Once you have begun to build up a collection of favourites, look for similarities or themes that may have started to emerge in terms of shape, cut and style. These are the traits that will form the basis of your fashion DNA.

And remember, designers get their inspiration from all sorts of cultural and social sources, not just those that are fashion related. Foreign travel, the latest films and current exhibitions can all feed into the process of creating a collection, and they're a great way of keeping your eye attuned to current ideas and trends too.

Finally, spend some time window shopping. Leave the credit card at home, or out of reach of the computer, and browse current collections in store, online, or both! You'll notice that many designers and brands have their own signature styles too, so which ones are speaking your language?

And while some labels do have a consistent 'house style', others regularly change their look, so dismissing a label one season doesn't mean that it won't make a welcome appearance in your wardrobe in the future.

Nailing your fashion DNA means that you'll be able to create and build a wardrobe that really works for you. One that contains multiple possibilities in terms of items and outfits to suit both your lifestyle as well as your mood. But it isn't set in stone. Buy into the brands, and trends, that work for you, but always be open to new ideas. After all, fashion should be fun. Time to get inspired!