Signature Style vs. Style Rut

I have been thinking about signature style lately. I am just developing my signature style, due mostly to the fact that I am just 23. In the last year, I think I have really started to hone in on what is signature to my look. Well enough that my friends know what is "me", if we shop together they can point out the things that I love, or will call and say they went somewhere "Madeline style".

A big part of my signature style is that I don't pay full price for anything. In fact, many of the things I post about are at a price that would make me hesitate to purchase. When I say my outfits cost less than $50, I am not kidding. I thrift, I shop consignment, I dig through clearance racks, I love Ross and TJ Maxx. And after I do those things, I am willing to make modifications with my own sewing machine. Part of the love of clothes I have is finding the best deal I can.

But other than thrift, what are my style staples? I love all things patterned, everyday I wear something with a print, be it a shoe, a top, an accessory, it is always there. I love belts. This is something I have recently discovered and have implemented often. I am an "hourglass", so my waist is one of my best features, I cinch in to show it off. I And I love cardigans. I wear cardigans with almost everything, 3 parts because I love them and 1 part because the office I work in is always colder than any human being should be comfortable with. I love chunky colorful necklaces and bangles, I inherited most of mine from my grandmother, and they are fabulous! I wear mostly dark rinse denim (trouser cut for work and skinny for everything else). If you happen to combine any of these things, like a belted, patterned, cardigan, then it just screams my name.

Also, you will never catch me wearing a hoodie and sneakers for any purpose (ok, if you happen to be in Alaska when I am mending fishing nets, you just might). I prefer to spend my down time wearing something a bit polished. I wear comfortable flats and a cardigan any day over a hoodie and sneakers.

My question to all of you is when does having a signature style, a uniform of your very own, bleed into being in a style rut? When does wearing a belt go from a fashion technique to a crutch? I haven't the slightest clue... what do you all think? Do you have a signature style, are you in a style rut... are they in fact the same? Leave a comment!


  1. I think you're stuck in a rut when you aren't willing to try things that aren't your "signature style." My aunt once had her colors done and was told that she should wear Fall colors. Let me tell you how frustrating it is to shop with her because she won't even think about buying or even trying on anything that isn't a "Fall color." I think that's a rut.

  2. i definitely think signature style and style rut are two very different things. true style transcends any sort of hip trend and it's what makes a person unique. a style rut is, well, just that...a rut. boring, overdone, blah. you can still maintain signature style and try new things so you don't get to the point of complete boredom.

  3. Now I'm all self-concious about my hoodie- and sneaker-clad ways... I guess I better step it up on Wednesdays from now on.

  4. Oh! And I agree with Amanda and down and out chic. A signature style is flexible and has elements of what you love mixed in with new things or current trends so it never gets stale.

  5. No need to feel self-conscious about your own style! I was just stating my signature... haha.

    Thanks for all the comments guys. I appreciate all the feedback. I was feeling self conscious for some reason that I was using my favorite style items as a crutch... I feel validated.

  6. We didn't say that it wasn't a crutch... :)

  7. holy crap i just sent the longesty comment to your blog and it just diappeared......i am so mad!!!

  8. {Madeline's older brother Aaron}

    I think your style changes some with age, which is good to a certain extent. Sarah buy's me clothes sometimes that I wouldn't have selected myself, but at the same time, they grow on me, and suddenly before I know it I reach for them first. When I was young I wore decidedly more antiestablishment pieces, and for the most part listened to antiestablishment music. Look at me now, at 31 I have two kids and mortgage and a dog. Decidedly establishment and though my music tastes have changed with age, they haven't fully changed. Much like my style. Most days I just wear Quomation work shirts :) not so stylish, but a uniform is a uniform.

    Anyways I really enjoyed the post and it made me think of growing up. In Newsweek there was this article on the last page of the "How Could I" issue about kids and how they are affected by their parents, and I wondered, could it be that you love cardigan's because Dad does?

    I mean hey, nothing wrong with that, Dad isn't really a hoodie sneakers type either, and I'm glad, that would be weird. I mean lots of people's Dad's can wear hoodies and sneakers, but ours can't - not only would they seem not age appropriate, it would scream infidelity like a dashboard song, to the wonderful nerd that our Dad is.

    I mean I know that you aren't directly affected by Mom and Dad in terms of style, and yet, I think, if you think of Mom, she is from the fifties and likes to dress nice when she can. Dad also tries to keep it nice. But I would say you have a passion for fashion that neither do.

    And then again you like belts, Dad likes belts, you like Carigans, and when is Dad not wearing one... :) Ok enough of that, I'm grinning ear to ear, because I know thats where the comparison ends, except for the fact we come from very frugal parents. They choose to keep it on the cheap, and I'll be the first to say you have a talent for the chic.

    By the way found this kid on Purevolume that rocks the box, give it a listen you will like it - I guarantee. His picture is a little weird, but his music is incredible. You must check it out (NeverShoutNever):



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