David Bowie. Grace Jones. Cher. Audrey Hepburn. Meryl Streep. All unique, all memorable, and all of them icons. What does being described as “iconic” mean, exactly? Dictionary.com uses these words: “influential, recognizable, and revered.” Certainly, those words describe all five people, but I believe there’s more to it than that. What gives Cher such a palpable aura of self-assured confidence? Why does everyone remember Audrey Hepburn as the epitome of classic, non-trendy style?
Everyone in that short list, and others not mentioned here, lived their life in their way. They knew who they were on the inside and were then able to convey that in a consistent manner to their fans and wider audiences. Audrey Hepburn had a long neck and big feet – traits that were not considered attractive at the time. Yet she chose boat-neck tops, cropped pants, and wore her hair in styles she preferred. If her neck looked long, who cared? It was hers, after all, and she was just fine with it. It’s that strong sense of self, that unshakeable self-love and acceptance that leads to being comfortable expressing who you really are, whatever you like. That’s the true secret ingredient to being seen as “iconic.”
Cher certainly doesn’t care what anyone thinks of her, and chooses to express, and dress, herself however she chooses – Bob Mackie outfits and all. And because she then carries herself knowing exactly who she is, conveying that certainty with every gesture and style choice, we automatically admire her for it. So how can we, the general public, make use of this same tactic?
The phrase “fake it till you make it” applies here. There’s something about slipping into a leopard-print pair of shoes that just screams you don’t worry about anyone else’s opinion. We all have one outfit that makes us feel like a million bucks; but why are we limiting ourselves to only one? Surely, we deserve to feel that way as often as possible. If we can identify what makes that particular look “pop” and why we like it, we can then work on bringing that same feeling to other looks, on other days.
At the very heart of the matter though, is how we feel; that’s what affects how we carry ourselves, and ultimately how others see us. If you feel capable of anything, then show it! Humans are a visual species, we like taking visual cues. Use that to your advantage, by choosing to convey that power and creativity. It’s not something to be hidden, let your inner icon shine!