How you dress is an expression of who you are. Being stylish is about evolving and updating your look.

I’m sick of seeing men in the banker uniform — khaki pants, button-down shirts and run over shoes, even when they are not at work. Quite a few women tend to favor tight jeans, rayon shirts and cheap heels.

Charlotte is certainly mainstream, and too many people have the same sense of style and fashion.

That’s tired.

One of my favorite trendsetters is Lil Wayne (He’s performing Jan. 2 at Time Warner Cable Arena). MTV named him Man of the Year a few weeks ago because of his influence on pop culture, but they neglected to mention his influence on style.

Most people don’t put Lil Wayne and fashion in the same sentence.

I know, the tattoos and diamond grill might throw you off, but hear me out.

Like Jay-Z and Diddy before him, Lil Wayne’s sense of style has evolved. When he first became popular he wore the thug look of plain tee-shirts, gaudy jewelry and baggy jeans.

He now wears fitted jeans, sweaters and shirts with unique details, but he’s also not afraid to create his own look. He took some criticism earlier last year for wearing tight white jeans and a tight tee, black sneakers with a black fedora.

It’s hip-hop meets rock n roll, and I love it!

Now, here’s your chance to do something a little different: Don’t put your style in a box in 2009. It’s not about what you wear but how you wear it.

A lot of people base their style on the latest trends, the designer labels or music videos. That’s okay, but don’t let those influences define your look.

Find what works for you and make them your own. True style is about individuality, and that’s something that should be inspired from within.

Next week I’ll offer tips on how to elevate your style in the new year.

(Lashawnda K. Becoats is a lifestyle consultant and owner of La Concierge in Charlotte, N.C. Email her at Read her column here each Thursday, only on Qcitymetro.)

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