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.

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?