The Music Artist’s Guide to Creating Your Signature Style
Have you ever found yourself shopping for pieces instead of a wardrobe?
Maybe you’re great at finding really awesome items that you’d LOVE to wear. They seem right up your alley…until you get home. Then you realize that incredible piece you just splurged on at the store doesn’t go with anything you already own.
If this sounds familiar, you might need to work on your signature look.
As a music artist, you’re constantly on the go. You have photoshoots, appearances, and performances. Sometimes you’ll have a team to help you get dress, but even when you use a stylist, it’s up to you to recreate the looks they put together.
When you create a signature style it becomes way easier to get dressed. Instead of staring at your closet wondering what to wear, you’re already prepared with a go-to “uniform” in the back of your mind.
Personal style is important. It holds the power to make a striking first impression on your audience and can add a healthy dose of self-confidence. As an artist, you already know that feeling comfortable and confident is the key to giving your best on stage.
Maybe changing up your style feels phony.
But it doesn’t have to. When it comes to developing your style, you don’t have to make it a total transformation. You’re just showing off the best version of you.
So What Is A Signature Style?
Your signature style doesn’t have to be strict.
However, it doesn’t mean you wear the same thing every day either.
Creating a signature look simply means there’s a theme to your style–whether that’s the colors you wear, clothing silhouettes, makeup, or even hairstyles.
Let’s take a look at Janelle Monae. When she first came onto the funk and R&B scene, the singer was known for her killer androgynous style. Janelle rocked monochromatic tuxedo suits, brogues, and a pompadour for the first few years of her career.
In recent years, Janelle’s style has evolved. She’s ditched the pompadour and incorporates more feminine dresses into her look, proving that your signature style doesn’t have to remain the same forever.
But at the beginning of her career, owning that fashion formula truly made Janelle stand out.
Your style should be personal and unique to you. Avoids trends, because that’s what everyone else is already wearing…and buying the latest fashion trends will start to add up fast.
You don’t need a huge bank account to create your signature style. Once you develop your style, you can look like a million bucks (without having to spend a bunch of money).
Ready to work on building your uniform?
Let’s dive in.
How to Develop Your Signature Look
Create a Mood Board
Before you start shopping, make a plan. If you enjoy shopping for clothes, you’ll find when you go into a store with a plan, you’ll spend less and walk out with full outfits instead of mismatched pieces.
If you hate shopping, planning makes the entire process much faster and less painful. Even if you love to shop, it’s a good idea to go into the stores with a plan. The easiest way to plan is to find inspiration from a mood board. If you’ve never heard of the term, a mood board is basically a collage of images, textures, or words that make up a concept.
There are tons of ways to build mood boards. You can use:
● An app like Mood Board or Canva
● Poster board + magazine cutouts (if you’re feeling crafty)
Pinterest is probably the fastest way to create a mood board because its app is already FILLED with images of clothing. But you can use whatever method you prefer.
Use your mood board to create an overall style concept. It’s as simple as adding images of people whose style inspires you. Once your mood board starts to fill up, you’ll probably start to pick up on some patterns and repeating themes.
Here’s an example of a mood board template on Canva. You can customize their pre-made templates by simply swapping in your own photos.
It’s easy to feel stuck when you start with a blank board. Start by asking yourself a few questions about your personal style:
● Do you prefer masculine or feminine clothes?
● Is your style vintage or modern?
● What colors do you like to wear?
● Are you a minimalist or do you enjoy wearing prints?
● Should your silhouettes be fitted or loose? Or do you prefer a mix of both?
Also, consider what vibe you want to portray. Make a list of words that fit your style concept. Once you have an idea of what feeling you want your signature look to evoke, it should be easier to find inspiration.
Here are a few words to get you started:
● Rock n’ roll
Creating a mood board is fun! It’s a great place to start with brainstorming your overall look.
But if you’re still struggling to finish your mood board, it might be time to work with a fashion stylist. Even if you already know what style you want to portray, a stylist can help you pull it all together. (Want to find out more about our styling consultants? Learn more here.)
Stay True to Yourself
You already know it’s important to focus on your music. You don’t want to feel distracted by your outfit when you’re in the middle of a gig.
Owning your signature style starts with feeling comfortable in your own skin.
What clothes do you feel most comfortable in? You will probably step out of your comfort zone (at least a little) when you’re first developing your look. That’s okay. Just remember, you should still feel it looks like YOU at the end of the day.
For example, if you usually wear casual clothes, dressing up in something that’s “out there” won’t make you feel good. Or if you prefer a bold style that makes a statement, you’ll feel stuffy and unnatural wearing something more buttoned up.
Remember this every time you shop. After all, how often have you felt attracted to an item in the store and bought it…only to get home and realize you would never actually wear this item in public?
It’s because you don’t feel comfortable in it. Your style is meant to empower you.
Figure Out Your Style Needs
As a music artist, you’re constantly traveling. Your style should reflect the fact that your life is always on the go. Incorporate clothing into your wardrobe that feels relaxing and easy to wear during travel.
You’ll also be performing regularly. On stage you’re an entertainer; your clothing should reflect this. The truth is, the moment you step out onto the stage your audience is subconsciously deciding what your message will be and how they’ll react.
But as much as you’re expressing your identity with personal style, your tour attire also needs to be practical. You should be able to move around with ease, without worrying whether your clothes will stay in place. It would be distracting to you AND the audience if you constantly have to pull up your top or pants.
If you play an instrument? Keep in mind how you have to move around the stage in order to perform the best with it–and that clothes you’ll be continuously touring in for months at a time need to be durable enough to withstand multiple performances too.
Choose a Signature Item
Maybe you always rock a bold lip.
Or chunky, statement jewelry.
Your signature style isn’t always defined by a head-to-toe outfit. It can be your default makeup look or a go-to accessory. Adele is known for her trademark cat eye makeup. Bruno Mars frequently rocks funky button-down tops in bold prints. Amy Winehouse’s exaggerated eyeliner defined her style.
Source: Creative Commons
The point is, having a go-to accessory, item, or even your hairstyle can help you claim a foolproof style that captures your energy as an artist. It doesn’t have to be a major statement, but it helps you become more easily recognized.
Are You Ready to Build Your Look?
Creating a signature look doesn’t mean you have to change your entire style. You’re just developing your wardrobe to give it some consistency. Over time, this makes you grow more memorable and relatable in the eyes of your fans.
Start by finding inspiration and a trademark item, whether it’s clothing or an accessory. Just remember, stay focused on what makes YOU feel comfortable and confident. Especially when you’re onstage.
Once you define your overall style, you can slowly add pieces that work with the rest of your wardrobe.
So take the next step toward designing your distinct style.
And if you need more help? Artist Serve’s team of stylists can make it happen.