Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Revamping Your Style with Pinterest

I have an almost pathological fascination with categorizing things, particularly fashiony things. I used to buy books like this and devour them (secretly of course, since they were pretty embarrassing,) hoping on some level to come across a style, and label, that fit me precisely.

I didn't, of course. Most people don't fit neatly in those subcultural style boxes. Which is a good thing, I think! I realize now that being too easily defined is kind of boring. Why be "goth" when you could be "Mad-Men-Secretary-Glam-Goth" or "90's-Grunge-Meets-Cyber-Goth"? Or, you know, both, and more, on different days, whenever the mood strikes. But nonetheless, knowing what your personal style is (no matter how many hyphens it takes to define it) is really useful when it comes to putting together outfits that you actually feel good in and shopping for clothes that you'll actually wear. And that is where my bff Pinterest comes in.

Step One: Start Pinning 

First things first, if you're not already on Pinterest, join up! Or you can use a folder on your computer, or some other sort of bookmarking app... I like Pinterest because it lays it all out nicely (and you can usually click through and find out where to buy items you really love, or at least look at other outfits that that person put together.)

Make a board or folder for style inspiration and start filling it with outfit pictures you like. The more, the better- it will probably work best if you give it a week or so and just keep filling it up. To find outfits, you can use the "Women's Fashion" category on Pinterest, or check out "social fashion" sites like Lookbook and Chictopia. One of the best ways is to look at other people's style boards on Pinterest- you're likely to find people who have similar taste, and they'll have a goldmine of great pics. Finding the boards in the first place can be tricky but just searching for "outfits" or "fashion" will turn up lots of goodies- and when you find a picture you like, it will show you other places it has been pinned, which is a great way to dive down the rabbit hole. Try to include some outfits that are work appropriate, if you work in an office or other environment with a dress code- you definitely want to keep those in consideration too!

Be very liberal in your pinning. Don't worry if you don't like every detail about the outfit- if it catches your eye, pin it. My rule is that if I stop and ask myself "hmm, should I pin this?" the answer is always yes.

Step Two: Analyze 

Now the fun part. Once you've got lots of pics, start looking for patterns. What colors turn up often? What sorts of garments? What textures? What silhouettes? What "feeling"? Do you have tons of romantic dresses, or lots of very structured blazers? Lots of pastels, or neons, or blacks? Make a list of all the different elements that seem to come up time and again.

When I look at my board, my list looks something like this:

  • layers 
  • grays, blacks, rusty autumn colors, other neutrals 
  • long and oversized tops, especially over leggings or skinny jeans 
  • tall boots, both leather and rubber 
  • ankle booties 
  • combat boots 
  • leather everywhere 
  • knits 
  • solid colors 
  • stripes 
  • flannel 
  • distressed elements 
  • tights (esp with shorts) 
  • tall socks (often layered over tights) 
  • trench/long coats 
  • leather/biker jackets 
  • sweaters over button-up tops 
  • jeans with heels 
  • cut-offs 
  • skinny jeans 

Overall impression: cozy, a little bit classic, a little bit grungey. (I still don't have good words to define it but at least that's a starting point.)

Notice also what is conspicuously missing (in my case- ruffly, feminine, romantic things, and most pastel colors) and write them down. Weigh the items on this list against what is practical for you, and remove anything you know won't work, no matter how much you like it- for example, I almost never wear heels and probably am not going to start (I love them, but they hurt, so if I have to walk at all they are right out.) You may know that certain colors or silhouettes don't flatter you, so take those off the list as well.

Continued in Part 2! 


  1. This is f... genius!!! And threatens to eat up all of my time that should be spent on things like sleeping and exercising and relating to my husband. Halp me!

    1. I don't sleep and eat, I just pin pictures of bedrooms and food.



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