If the Oscars was anything to go by, the endless debates and polls on our "favourite/most hated dresses" only proves that fashion icons are in high demand. Articles go on about how certain stylish stars "disappoint" our expectations (yes, Nicole, they're talking about you). Last year, we featured three of our favourite girls whose styles we love: Misses Deschanel, Ditto and Shoniwa. We all agreed that these girls are 'cool': they have their own styles and know how to rock them.

We still have little disagreements over celeb fashion in Shiny Towers, and our personal style icons are very individual choices. The truth of the matter is, just as style is a very personal choice, so are our favourite fashion mavens. Sure, we can all appreciate that Kate Moss always looks cool, Dita's demure look is perfect, and Mary-Kate Olsen rocks the grungy vintage. But none of them are my icons. And the ones that are... can be quite embarrassing. So what elevates a star to iconic status? What do we look for? And who are the Shiny girls' secret fashion icons? Read on to find out...

For me, an icon is someone I can look to for inspiration of how to wear the clothes I already have, or are readily available on the high street. I might admire so much that I might even seek to emulate elements of their style - but never item-for-item. But while I really love looking at Cate Blanchett's gutsy, avant-garde sophistication, I'm no blonde statuesque nymph. What works for her, I (regrettably) have to take my stumpy little legs and run a mile away from.


For this reason, my 'icons' aren't necessarily the usual choices. They tend to be similar to me in stature (so petite girls like Rachel Bilson and Vanessa Hudgens... when she's wearing clothes, obviously) or ethnicity (slightly embarrassingly, Katie Leung aka Harry Potter's Cho Chang) - that way, I can see how certain trends, colours and shapes might suit me. When it comes to celebrities, I almost feel like I have to identify with them on some physical level before considering them a personal style icon. That said, though, I do adore Zooey Deschanel partially because of her distinctive vintage style, but also because I randomly already own several similar pieces in my wardrobe. Yes, they've all made some truly heinous fashion mistakes in their time, but that just helps me decide what might not work on me!

To be honest, I stalk bloggers more than celebs for style tips (particularly Queen Michelle, Ranna from ambugaton and Susie Bubble)... to the point where one Style Diaryist has gotten me completely obsessive about Alexander McQueen's skull print scarves. These are much more of a diverse mix of people... perhaps their style is often more accessible than the designer labels touted by the stars... but perhaps I also identify with their writing? The blogosphere is, after all, a much more personal space.

So what about the other Shiny girls? Any skeletons in their wardrobes? Let's ask them...

- Isabelle (resident Catwalk Queen): Dot Cotton. Allegedly. Well, she likes to look at people like Dot Cotton, but finds street style is much more of an influence than celebs: "it's a great way to see how to wear clothes in a real life setting". Isabelle likes Chloe Sevigny's style, but would "never choose her as a style icon" as she would "rather choose someone eccentric" and "filter their look through myself" adding: "I don't know if it counts but I really like Edward Enninful's shoots, he's a great stylist."

- Kelly (our new Bag Lady!): Kelly goes through stages of being inspired by other people - she's very embarrassed by this, but she currently loves Audrina from The Hills ("oh the shame, I wish I'd said something different now!"). And then "there are people whose style I admire but am not tempted to copy because it doesn't really suit my style (like for example Chloe Sevigny or Gwen Stefani)". Overall, though, she says "I know it's not very original but I do really love Sienna!"

- Zara (Kiss and Makeup guru): current icon-du-jour is Leighton Meester's character on Gossip Girl. Zara loves the "whole bows and ruffle things she does". She's "not sure about everthing and a lot of it is weather wise", but admits, "I have stated wearing more headbands though!"

In the end, your style is your own... but it never hurts to have a helping hand when it comes to new ideas. So who is your true fashion icon, and what is your criteria for choosing them? Tell us, and who knows, we might feature a breakdown of their style for you on the site...!

[images: Getty and Google Images]