I’m grateful for being allowed the indulgence of digging myself into an analytical hole last post, trying to figure out how it is that my wardrobe contents are just…not me. My style crisis reflections seem to have rung a bell with lots of you – and I’m relieved to discover I’m clearly far from being alone in my style inertia. Thank you so much for all the comments and suggestions posted!
I’m sorry for the radio silence ever since. For the last month or two I’ve had to pull on my Grown Up Girl’s Pants (I suspect we’ve all got that particular garment item in our wardrobe), living up to one of those non-work-related roles mentioned in my last post. A timely reminder that frankly, there are days when remembering to put your shirt on the right way round is an achievement not to be sniffed at. C’est la vie – and I’m determined to press on.
So – with assurances that my shirt is definitely the right way round today (I know that because I just checked) what next?
Well – my plan is – to make a plan! However before I can do that, there’s one thing I need more than anything else.
And whatever I might have felt in the throes of my style despair, there’s plenty to be had.
Seeking style inspiration
I’ve discovered that the most important thing when seeking style inspiration is to make it a habit. It turns out that being inspired is not a one-off activity – the expression ‘a practiced eye’ didn’t come about as a result of a ‘Eureka’ moment. Seeking out inspiration is an activity that takes time – but it pays off. By making the effort to look on a regular basis, I’m convinced I’ll be more likely to spot something inspiring on the fly.
So I’ve begun to pull together some sources of style inspiration. Some I’ve found all by myself (*badge for Alice*); for many suggestions I am grateful to blog comments for various firm pokes, prods and shoves.
Some of the inspiration I’ve unearthed is in the form of blogs, books, articles – things which need to be read. Other inspiration is visual – odd images from magazines, online sources, books and wandering around the shops. But there’s so much of it! Where to start? How best to gather it up and help it make sense? I had a chat with my inner librarian (she’s never that deeply buried). She suggested I had a think about the kinds of things that have the most immediate attraction to me – and so I decided to start with the visual stuff.
Collecting pictures isn’t a new activity for me. This is the wall above my desk which I sporadically re-paper with clippings using little dots of Blu-tac
However as the eagle-eyed might spot, this little collection is from SS16 – shockingly, it’s a year since I took everything down and refreshed it. Not that I don’t trawl through any number of sources for ideas and inspirations on a regular basis. Here’s the table in my office…
It’s not good, I know. I promise I have a very tidy desk and the ClothSpot workroom is a vision of effective organisation. I do love my magazines though – and still grieve those left in lofts, on shelves and in cupboards-under-stairs from decades ago. (Someone in Dalston has a stash of The Face, iD magazine and Vogue, abandoned in a moonlight flit in 1986 – I hope they appreciated them…). However I am also a visual magpie and my tidy piles can be reduced to a mess in moments as I rummage after a picture I remember seeing in Elle (possibly) about three (or was it four?) months ago…
Organising my inspiration
How, then, to manage all this eye candy so I can actually make use of it in resolving my style crisis? The obvious place for me is Pinterest. ClothSpot has lots of Pinterest boards – and for those of you who haven’t yet discovered it, then we can thoroughly recommend it. It’s easy to look at as well as to collect images – even on the move. I know lots of you use it already but if you don’t – go have a look (we’ll see you again in a month or two when you stagger out…)
Pinterest encourages users to gather images together in collections. I consulted again with my inner librarian and figured that there were three kinds of images that I seem to collect as far as seeking style inspiration is concerned. These are:
Colours and colour combinations that grab me. This probably reflects my most primal, immediate response. I love colour – and at the moment there are lots of amazing colour combinations that designers are toying with. Regardless of whether they’ll suit me or not, I adore them. Even if a specific combination isn’t my thing, the idea of mixing, say, a bolt of daffodil yellow with pink and navy blue can be so exciting.
Specific garments or outfits that I lust after, as well as shops that tend to stock collections I like. Don’t underestimate the value of wandering around the shops for a spot of inspiration – I can frequently be found, iPhone in hand, snapping away surreptitiously behind a rail of clothes.
People whose style inspires me. I don’t want to *be* that person – or necessarily even dress like them. Perhaps they sum up a spirit that I can identify with – or they have a boldness that I admire. Some are fictional characters; others real and well known or completely unknown. One or two might earn their own blog post in due course…
I’ve set up three new Pinterest boards, one for each of those. You can see them here:
These are all highly personal – as in – they’re my choices based on what excites me in some way. What inspires you might be completely different but if you’re interested then please do drop in and have a look.
I might not want to make something based on those inspirations right now – but somewhere down the line, you never know. Importantly, gathering them is making me look at things differently, and prompting me to think. Plus, I find it really interesting to see a collection of images together. Themes start to emerge, ideas coalesce in ways I hadn’t imagined.
And, gradually, I’m getting a bit of a tingle in my spine again. I’m going to carry on adding to these collections (they’re a bit sparse right now) and I might even have new categories – these are just the ones I’ve started with to get me going.
Do any of you have bright ideas as to how else I can pull my image collection together – and what collection themes might you choose? What do you do with those magazines and piles of clippings – are there any handy apps I need to know about? Specifically, is there any way to have my Pinterest boards show up as dynamic wallpaper on the back of my beloved 27″ iMac? Answers to any of these questions would be fascinating!
In my next post I’m going to pull together all the style website and blog suggestions that people have been kind enough to share with me. If you’ve a favourite that you think I’d like then please let me know…