Style icons range from classic to contemporary: Audrey Hepburn, Lupita Nyong’o, and Rihanna. While these women inspired fashions such as skinny jeans, bright lipstick and sailor shirts, there is a need to look in peculiar places for inspiration. Finding beauty in the unexpected is crucial to varied and diverse style. By looking at my personal icons, some amazing and unconventional fashion statements can be found.
My eccentric style icons fall into two categories: real and fictional.
Unique icons from fiction present a myriad of style ideas because they and their style are created without limitations found in the real world. One of my formative influences are the Sanderson Sisters from the classic ’90’s Halloween film Hocus Pocus. Winifred was my favorite (her Clara Bow lips killed me).
Overall, their clashing mix of maroons and greens with velvets and lace is something I am still fond of. Sarah Sanderson’s bold eyes and Mary Sanderson’s sky high, swirling purple-streaked up do are too perfect for this earthly realm. While the soul sucking wasn’t cool, their style is something I look for in a lot of what I wear: plum lips, bold eyes and an eternal burning love of all things velvet. I believe you can rock their look long after Halloween is over.
Marceline the Vampire Queen from the cartoon Adventure Time is another fictional character that I find massively intriguing. Bear with me: it’s about to get nerdy, as I love this cartoon. Unlike most cartoon characters, whose style is static from the show’s first episode until its last, Marceline’s look is switched up multiple times a season.
Her style is entirely unique, and I love it. From one episode to the next, she can go from wearing overalls to rocking an undercut in her hair. All of her clothing is completely accessible to viewers: plaid shirts, cute tank tops, red cowboy boots and cute sun hats. Unlike a lot of cartoon characters, she presents a realistic and ever changing view of women’s wardrobes and fashion.
Onto the real life style icons that are unique and unexpected. Let’s start with the Scottish goddess that is Tilda Swinton. Her androgynous style is a fresh take on Katherine Hepburn. Tilda’s love of suits, particularly gorgeous blazers and clean lines, is something to admire. Her outfits are almost always simple: a simple gown, a monochromatic blouse, almost always paired with sparse and natural looking make up.
Tilda Swinton is, to me, the embodiment of what the art of fashion is. She’s energetic and creative in her look; she is a moving target and is always surprising. She frequently dances over the line of artist and object of art, being an actress, model and artist. Anyone who can share a screen with David Bowie without being eclipsed by his glittery glam rock presence is an icon to me.
Bob Dylan’s ’60’s version is the best Bob Dylan, hands down, no argument. With this particular incarnation of the iconic folk singer and beat poet, the style is on point. Disenfranchisement never looked so good. After ditching his plaid wearing, vaguely bored farmer aesthetic, Dylan adopted a love of heeled chelsea boots, plain white button ups and well-tailored slim fit pants. Pairing these with a messy mop and dark sunglasses, ’60’s Bob Dylan is the epitome of cool (there is a reason I keep a framed photo of him in my room).
To capture the cool, mess up your hair, don some shades, and rock a cute suit (or just a button up and black skinny jeans) and scuffed boots.
Embracing an unconventional style can be difficult.
“I get intimidated when I think about emulating Grace Kelly or Audrey Hepburn’s style; they’re great, but I need a more personal connection to a person’s style to feel like I can accesses it,” Emma Scagnelli ’16 said.
While the old stand-by style icons are a fantastic foundation for building your style, don’t be afraid to take inspiration from an unexpected source. It can be daunting to look at the greats, and they even may not be that great to you. It’s important to let yourself find inspiration where you feel comfortable and happy.