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Choose Female Icons Who Transcend Style

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With all the buzz on my twitter (@natashankpr) surrounding style icons...I was inspired to write this post! It is no secret that I am a strong supporter of women. Women are much more social and communicative than men. It's no surprise, then, that we relate to each other -- look to each other for advice and inspiration, and see each other as potential role models.

Growing up, many of us look to each other for hard rules; what to wear, how to style our hair, where to shop and how to talk to boys. One of the joys of becoming a mature woman is growing out of that phase where you seek validation from other people and instead make up your own rules, define your own style and forge your own unique path... sometimes taking that "road less travelled" to get there!

But there's still a way of looking to other women that's more positively fueled. It's not about imitation or putting each other up on pedestals, but rather a recognition of certain traits and values that we admire in each other. And, sometimes, it's also about somebody's style... how they dress and behave, a certain poise or elegance that we relate and aspire to. Who and what we take inspiration from is as much about our own unique individuality as it is about the person who inspires us.

I live each day surrounded by female role models. My 30-woman strong office daily reminds me that there are people to learn from and admire and in turn, to mentor... whether it's professionally or personally (don't think for a second that we don't talk about clothes, relationships and life at work too!!)

In my home too, I surround myself by those women I love, who inspire different aspects of my life -- not just the fashion (though that as well, of course!), but a more general sense of style and way of being. My living room features two portraits: One of Marilyn Monroe and one Victoria Beckham, both purchased at the Izzy Gallery.

The Beckham is by photographer Ellen von Unwerth and I'm a huge fan of both the artwork and the artist, as much as the subject herself. Beckham has amazing style and I love how she embodies reinvention: a Spice Girl who redefined herself as a fashion designer (no mean feat with so many ready to critique her!) At the same time, she has such a huge family focus and I always feel that she's grounded by that sensibility... it's one I definitely share.

The Monroe portrait is one of the legendary outtakes from the photo shoot she did with Bert Stern. It is X'd out by Monroe herself. I can see why she X'd it out, it betrays a vulnerability that she probably didn't want to reveal to the world. I think we can all relate to that. But it's precisely that vulnerability that makes me love this photograph. I think it's important we all let ourselves be vulnerable on occasion!

In my kitchen, I have a portrait of Audrey Hepburn. She was a classic style icon; her gamine beauty and elegance remain timeless. But there's a demure modesty to her that I adore and I'm especially inspired by her humanitarian track record -- she was a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and received the United States' highest civilian award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom. She truly was a beautiful person, both inside and out.

Sometimes, I'm also inspired by a woman I don't completely relate to. It's not always about seeing yourself (or aspiring to see yourself) in another person. It can be just an aspect of their attitude or way of living that you want to sometimes incorporate into your own life.

The legendary fashion icon, Iris Apfel, is one of those women whose personal style couldn't be further from my own. At 90-years old, her brazen singularity inspires me to do exactly what I want, be exactly who I want to be and listen to my own voice first and foremost. She is a fully realized individual, a truly original and timeless beauty.

As she says herself: "When you don't dress like everybody else, you don't have to think like everybody else" - Exactly! Thank you Iris!!

xo Natasha