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Signature look or style rut?

Date
Signature style ... Gwen Stefani in 2001.

Signature style ... Gwen Stefani in 2001.

The brightly coloured dress and hat, the handbag in the crook of the arm. The pearls, the stockings, the carefully set hair. No prizes for guessing I'm writing about the Queen. For years and years (60 I believe) Queen Elizabeth has reproduced this look on a daily basis - usually several variations in a single day. Long-lived, the Queen's style. British fashion writer Maggie Alderson salutes her majesty for staying true to her signature look. But is it a signature look or a style rut?

There's plenty of less distinguished women who fall prey to it. Diane Keaton's still working the Annie Hall look that was so endearing when she was a tomboyish ingenue. In 1977. Judith Durham has had the same wholesome, long-haired, blunt-fringed look since fronting the Seekers. In 1967. Models Jerry Hall (blonde tresses, red pout), Elle Macpherson (bikini, tan) and Liz Hurley (evening gown, bouffed hair) have not moved on from the image that made them style icons in the Seventies/Eighties/Nineties. Are they tragic or inspiring?

There must be some benefits to always dressing the same, having your hair the same, your makeup the same. You'd have it down to a fine art. You'd know which shops to go to. You'd know you'd be instantly recognisable. You'd find it easy to get into the role of being ''you''. You'd know it works - that it suits you.

Spot the difference ... Gwen Stefani in 2012.

Spot the difference ... Gwen Stefani in 2012.

But can the same ''look'' suit a woman at every age? And wouldn't it be boring? Imagine Liz Hurley reaching for her stilettoes on a Sunday morning: ''I'd really like to join Warnie in some Aussie uggies and trackies but I can't. Ever. Because it's just not 'Liz Hurley'.''

There's plenty of ordinary women who do the same. Plenty of them in fact when it comes to hair. They can't let go of the length, even when it's dragging down their sagging faces. Is it because they're afraid of ageing? Or because they haven't had a good, hard look at themselves in the mirror? Maybe just a change of hairdresser (or lifestyle) would help?

But at the same time I'm mildly fascinated by people who have always had the same look - in the same way I am fascinated by people who married their high school boyfriend or who have never moved from their home town or suburb. Life must be so easy. Unchallenging, yes, but predictable. There's a certain charm in this, don't you think? For others, not me.

What do you think? Are you all for a ''signature look'' or do you think we should we be updating our appearance periodically? Is there a way to do both?

57 comments so far

  • It really doesn't matter, if they look good.

    Commenter
    WillD
    Date and time
    June 05, 2012, 10:39AM
    • It really doesn't matter - full stop.

      Commenter
      seriously...
      Date and time
      June 05, 2012, 12:33PM
    • No, it really is only if they look good.

      Commenter
      JZCarr
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      June 05, 2012, 1:15PM
  • I've had short hair for years and people identifiy me for it. I only keep it short because I'm too lazy to do anything fancy to it and get frustrated when I try to grow it! This article is now making me havesecond thoughts. I've always wondered about those people who stay in the same town etc... Am I one of them? Oh well! Lazyness has kicked in again... Just can't be bothered! Still look good I suppose....

    Commenter
    pixie
    Location
    melbourne
    Date and time
    June 05, 2012, 10:45AM
    • yes, totally agree with WillD. Fashion is of the moment, style is forever. And as for using Gwen Stefani's pix to demonstrate someone "stuck in a style rut", her style is based largely on the 1940s-1960s, so she's been "out of style" for years anyway!

      Commenter
      who cares
      Location
      melbourne
      Date and time
      June 05, 2012, 10:58AM
      • Ohhh please Gwen is gorgeous. She personifies cool, and is comfortable with who she is, and what her influences are. I'd rather look at her that any of the wannabe's around today.

        Commenter
        Paul
        Location
        Sydney
        Date and time
        June 05, 2012, 11:26AM
    • I think its fine to rock the same look as long as you make little tweaks here and there appropriating your look to the current fashion trends and look after yourself enough that you look as youthful for as long as possible.
      No matter the look you choose to wear you can pull it off as long you do it with confidence. I love Gwen Stefani’s style she looks so amazing. She has got the right amount of confidence mixed with edge to make her look work for her.

      Commenter
      edgyisbest
      Date and time
      June 05, 2012, 11:05AM
      • I'm 27, lived in the town I was born in & I love it.
        My hair style and clothes change with my moods.
        If the same look has always suited someone, leave them be, they probably comfortable in it and like it too much to change.

        Commenter
        Hopeless
        Location
        honesty
        Date and time
        June 05, 2012, 11:10AM
        • I'm 32, i've got long hair. I will never cut it. It's not because "i'm afraid of ageing or because i haven't had a good look in the mirror". I cut it a few years ago and hated it. Why should i make an adjustment i'm not happy with just for society?

          Commenter
          Sez80
          Date and time
          June 05, 2012, 11:16AM
          • Yes! I'm 55 and I'll never cut my hair either, I get plenty of compliments about my hair which is red and mid back length. That idea about long hair dragging down a sagging face (mine isn't) is so outdated. Grace Cossington is my role model!

            Commenter
            Rubylou
            Date and time
            June 05, 2012, 11:39AM

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