For a long time my own style was hit-or-miss. I tried to convince myself of things. I went for what worked on someone I admired but that wasn’t right for me. Then, in my 30s, I found my groove. It was no longer about trying but about being. Style says, “This is who I am—this is my signature, my voice, my scent, my colors, the cut I like best. This is me, good as I am.” It’s in the eye, the smile, the gaze, the laugh. It’s who I saw crossing the street in front of me in Florence.
If the creation of one’s style begins with aspiration, the maintenance relies on keeping in touch with old friends. You go to that same blouse or scent, that lipstick or heel, because in the past it served you and brought you to happy times, or rode you through the storm.
Style is all about character. In the end, they are the same. What I know, what I try to tell my daughters, are some of the things I’ve picked up along the road. The eyebrow is key—just ask Picasso. Take care of your heels, and they will take care of you. Don’t buy it if it only fits the you who is five pounds lighter. In time your face will mirror your character, no matter how many tucks or nips—all the more reason to laugh well and often, and leave the snark for someone else’s sour puss. After 40, a well-fitted bra can retrofit the whole architecture. Generosity in all things—from work to living. Have one dress that showcases your strength and another your smarts, and a third that inspires you to flirt. Your mind is your sexy booty. A mule is a pack animal, not a shoe you wear. Boots are made for confidence. If you must be matchy-matchy, for God’s sake show some wit. Less is more, with the following exceptions: good manners, thread count, self-deprecation, and real knowing.
Style is how you see the world and how the world sees you. It isn’t today and it isn’t tomorrow; it isn’t a dress or a car or a shoe or a comment—it’s the cut of your sail as you cross this crazy, uncharted sea. Far ahead, legions of boats have already made the crossing—some grander, some more sleek—and still newer boats are always coming up behind you. Style is the manner in which you navigate your one remarkable voyage.