La Lanphear (I only exaggarated the proportions a tad!)
I am cringing even as I type this but, were I held to gunpoint and told to name a personal 'style icon' I would probably utter the name Kate Lanphear, the current Senior Style Director at US Elle.
You would never guess it though from the way I dress as I don't try to emulate her sartorial style. I'm not blind. What she wears as a towering, willowy slip of a thing would look very, very different on my rotund frame. And lets not get into the ridiculous amount of accoutrements on those wrists. Few can pull off that rock chic look with conviction and I am not deluded enough to believe I am one of those few. It's more her philosophy and approach to dressing that I embrace.
So, what is this philosophy I speak of? It is the idea of adopting a personal uniform which takes precedence over following the latest trends. Like Kate, I favour classics with a twist and unique pieces over resembling a stylistically, schizophrenic fashion victim. This is not to say my wardrobe isn't constantly evolving nor that it is free from containing a number of questionable purchases. It just does so in a far more subtle and steady rate than the average 'fashionable' young woman's. I'm also a big believer in melding the old in my closet, with the new and this ability to seamlessly pair this season's look with tired old wardrobe staples is where la Lanphear excels.
So why choose Lanphear over the French Voguette battalion who adhere to perhaps an even stricter uniform? Easy. Emmanuelle Alt, new editrix at Vogue Paris and her mignonnes (Melanie, Geraldine et all) go for the safe approach. A Balmain jacket is a thing of beauty but the silhouette of power blazer and skinny jeans does get old. Lanphear is able to make her monochromatic wardrobe look constantly fresh by injecting flashes of brilliance from up and coming designers teamed with an arsenal of statement making accessories. And that hair! Could limp brunette locks strike fear into a cut as fierce as Kate's? I think not.
The final drawcard of Kate's style is her individuality. Unlike many of her contemporaries, the pieces she wears are not those same items that saturate the fashion rags, which makes her look less contrived, endearing her to people like myself who would rather wear a paper bag than look like everyone else on the street. After all, isn't that what real personal style is about in the end? Individuality?