The Gold Standard of Fashion: Three Favorite Fashionable Women

Posted on December 15, 2015, 3:14 pm
8 mins


What makes a fashion icon? Individuality is the number one characteristic of a person that stands out in a crowd. The fashion icon tells the world a story of who they are or how they want to be perceived through their clothing, and this wordless statement can be as loud as a Dries Van Noten coat, or as quiet as Celine handbag. A fashion icon is the person who can look at the same article of clothing that the rest of the world sees and wear it so that it is given a life of its own, and yet is an extension of that person’s persona. Respecting the process of the art of creating beautiful clothing and the art of dressing oneself is to be in pursuit of magnificence, achieved through celebrated individualism. After all, aren’t we best at being ourselves, or at least the version we aspire to be?

In 1894 Oscar Wilde said, “One should either be a work of art, or wear a work of art,” and in the case of the following three women, I think they have both of these covered. I chose each one of these women because they set the gold standard for what it means to be a fashionable, be unique, and show beauty in all its forms.

Caroline Issa


The grace and beauty of this woman is undeniable. A street style favorite with a flair for taking a gorgeous approach to classic pieces, she wears thoughtful elegance and gives it modern edge. A magazine publisher and consultant, Caroline Issa is the fashion director of independent fashion biannual title Tank and editor of online magazine because. The street photographers have not just noticed her elegance and style: Nordstrom has noticed her stylish ways and tapped her to collaborate on a capsule collection just for them: Nordstrom Signature and Caroline Issa. I had the pleasure of meeting her at this year’s Nordstrom Designer Preview and she was as lovely in person as on the pages of fashion week.

Caroline Issa has a standout group of coats in her collection for Nordstrom, and she is often spotted herself in a beautiful topper, like this striped version. Since I stalk—I mean follow her on Instagram—I saw that she ordered and waited six months for these rock star Miu Miu Glittered Leather Mary Jane Pumps. She is a fan of the multi-talented Jason Wu, hence this ladylike dress of his, and was seen carrying this Jason Wu for Hugo Boss Bespoke Calfskin Bag in a gorgeous red. And speaking of red, it is a favorite lipstick color of Issa, who admits to be constantly buying new shades of crimson lipstick. The Tom Ford Cherry Lush is a favorite of hers.

Jenna Lyons


How can you not love this woman? Not only does she make you really, really want to wear an awesome pair of glasses, she is the cool girl that put feather skirts, men’s button downs and oversized costume jewelry on the fashion map. The New York Times dubbed Lyons “the woman who dresses America.” Her fresh and approachable attitude towards style makes it look easy—and as fun as it should be—but her personal style is always next-level, whether it is sweaters and feather ball gown skirts at the Met Gala or mixed prints and sequins. As J.Crew’s Creative Director and President, she makes me think, “Now why didn’t I think to wear that, that way?” I always look forward to seeing what she comes up with next.

With Lyons in mind, I styled a J.Crew Collection wool skirt with metallic fringe with a pop of color back zip sweater because she always does the unexpected. This standout Embellished Cord Necklace is beautiful with its mixed metals. Lyons refers to her favorite shoes as “shiny ponies”—I thought that these J.Crew feather print jeweled Elsie Heels were exactly that. The Valextra Isis iPad Clutch is a chic bag that could be tucked inside a larger work tote if you have to dash from work to dinner. And I couldn’t leave out Lyon’s signature black rimmed glasses: the Moscot Grunya Collection pair are a perfect match.

Solange Knowles


Fearless is the word that comes to mind with this original girl. I love her affinity for bright color, kicking it up a notch with great prints, killer shoes and a constantly evolving look. Her older sister certainly has never overshadowed Knowles; in fact, this songbird shines brightly on her own through her originality and ability to take on fashion with her own point of view. Whether she is in a gorgeous cape and jumpsuit riding a bike with her groom on their wedding day, or wearing a pop-of-color yellow at the airport, she steal the show. Bold stripes, brilliant color, architectural lines and fierce pieces that have a wow-factor like no one else.

I loved the bold print of this Rachel Zoe tuxedo jacket and tuxedo stripe cigarette pants, which reminded me of Knowles and the fabulous prints she is often seen in. Stella McCartney’s Black Maureen Corset is understated sexy under the busy suiting pieces. She is often also wearing bright hues like yellow, so what is better than a sunny pair of Manolo Blahniks suede BB pumps? A sassy Les Petits Joueurs Grace “Wow” Lego Handbag adds some attitude. She has also been seen wearing Robert Lee Morris jewelry, so I added a Soho Wide Bangle to emulate her cool girl style, which I love.

After I started researching my three inspirational women that are my gold standard for fashion, I discovered that they were only a few degrees separated from each other. Jenna Lyons wore the famous feather skirt in the photo above to Knowles wedding, and Caroline Issa and Knowles are good friends who recently caught up during last fall’s fashion week.

You don’t have to be the president of a company or a celebrity to be someone that will always bring it when it comes to looking incredible. Having personal style that is enviable and inspiring is a matter of taking a risk or two and having fun with your fashion. After all, if you are telling a story to the world about yourself each day when you get dressed, make certain it is a really good one.

Lisa Cole is the fashion and style writer for Vanguard Seattle, and her work includes covering fashion news and events, runway shows and boutiques. She has her own fashion and lifestyle blog,, and is a member of Independent Fashion Bloggers and Fashion Group International.