The fine dotted line: signing on to signature items
Kate Moss has her waistcoats, Amy Winehouse has her microminis, and Zooey Deschanel champions the black opaques. They're all signature items that are nothing to do with trends, although they can sometimes create them: that style statement that is oh-so-YOU.
Signature items can be a great way to shout your style loud and clear... and there is definitely something to be said for consistency. But why do we choose those special pieces? And what happens when you can become synonymous with your fashion and beauty choices - to the extent that you're barely recognisable without them?
Overfamiliarity with certain items can lead to a bit of a shock when you finally grow out of them: for you, and for the people around you! It might seem a natural progression, but some can still surprise: a friend who moved abroad was taken aback at Lily Allen showing off her maturity (and newfound budget, no doubt) by ditching her prancy prom dresses, day-glo eyeliner, gold hoops and trainers, all in favour of Chanel and Luella.
It happens in the real world, too... and it isn't always changes in circumstance that facilitate a shift away from ubiquitous items. Meet Lizzie, one of my best friends at uni. Since the very first day of Freshers' Week, I never knew her without her trademark Principles pink spotty coat, clipped-and-flicked honey hair, and blue mascara. It was her 'thing', and hers alone - her look was inimitable and utterly distinctive. But then she left for a year abroad as part of her course - and when she came back, her blue mascara was in the trash, and she was looking for a new coat. It was virtually traumatic at first, but of course, she was still the same Lizzie underneath. And she looks equally as stunning with or without those signature items!
So what about us? Well, the Shiny girls are quite varied with their signature items. While our CQ editor extraordinaire Gemma is notoriously a dress girl, our Kiss and Makeup guru Zara sticks to signature basics as opposed to statement pieces (she loves her trusty black v-necked jumper), preferring comfort over style. Her real signature items are, of course, mostly makeup related ("foundation, mascara and eyebrow pencil... ALWAYS").
Our resident Shiny Shiny expert Alex has a ready answer for what she "always knows will make me look good and my friends will point it out as me'": she is addicted to "fifties shapes - nipped in waists - and black. lots and lots of black." Why? Because she knows it works for her. "It's slimming, flattering and also I have a small waist with reasonably large breasts and hips - you're better off working with what you have than against it, because wearing flowing shapes with a large chest is only going to make you look pregnant!" plus, the black is striking against her dark hair and pale skin. It's a style that suits her to a T.
As for me? I remember once making concerted attempts to wear a 'signature' jade pendant a few years ago. I just wanted a unique constant... but I bore easily, and gave it up only a few weeks in. I don't think I have a signature style (I can be very eclectic, and like to experiment), but I'm starting to wonder if my friends think otherwise, having received a number of coloured tights as presents!
Perhaps you always wear your signature item for sentimental value... or maybe because it just flatters you perfectly. Do you have a signature item - what is it, and why do you wear it? What do you think of signature items - lazy or stylish?
Related: What is a fashion icon?