I typically haven’t been that adventurous when it came to tops. Each season I would try on all the new-to-me top styles that tickled my fancy, and although I liked many of them, I usually didn’t love them as much as one of my three staple styles: a button-down shirt, a turtleneck, or a crew/slash neck pullover in a fluid fit with a banded bottom. Granted, I do like a variation in fit, colour, fabric, stitch interest, weight and pattern across these staples. 

That changed over the last year. I have included a whole slew of new styles to my wardrobe thanks to the bumper knitwear trend, the sporty trend, and the resurgence of fluid and oversized fits. I’ve added chunky cropped pullovers, mixed media pieces, oversized pullovers with high-low hemlines, upscale knitted sweatshirts, a silk front sweatshirt, drape front blouses, a silk tee, and a pullover with asymmetric hemline. This feels like a significant style shift, and for the first time in a very long time, I love these new tops as much as my signature staples. 

This got me thinking. How does a style rut differ from a signature style? Can a signature style become a style rut? Are they mutually exclusive?

I firmly believe that if a component of your style continues to make you feel fab, there is no need to change it for the sake of change alone. After all, in addition to the new silhouettes I added a light blue tuxedo shirt, a basic linen shirt in coral and a cobalt and white striped shirt to my tops capsule for Summer — all tried and tested styles that I have been wearing for years in other colours. They fall into my “shirt staples” category. I enjoy wearing them as much now as I did before, and they are part of a signature look that I still find very appealing.

But there’s no denying that my overall taste in tops has shifted. Maybe I was in a bit of a rut without being conscious of it. Or maybe it is just a question of balancing the consistency of a signature style with some degree of change. An incremental evolution of one’s signature style that prevents a major style rut that is much harder to climb out of. 

Are there aspects of your style that have remained constant for a long period? To what extent do you view these aspects as a signature style versus a style rut? Do you consciously evolve your style over time to avoid feeling like you’re in a rut?