Desperately seeking style inspiration

Seeking style inspiration


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.

Visual inspiration

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

Seeking style inspiration

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…

Seeking style inspiration - deskIt’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.

Ochre and blue combination for style inspiration
I love ochre and tobacco colours – and what a pop of genius that blue bag is!

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.

Pale blue trousers style inspiration
Will you look at these trousers by Elisabetta Franchi? Those pleats! *sigh*…

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…

Heloise Letissier - Style inspiration
Héloïse Letissier of Christine & the Queens. Sharp suits & crisp shirts – what’s not to love?

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.

Any ideas?

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…



6 thoughts on “Desperately seeking style inspiration

  1. Anastasia says:

    I love the Pinterest too! It is a great invention of genius people. I pin a lot of inspirational ideas as well as pictures and goods from different stores. I have a very bad memory and it makes it easier for me to find the source of “that cute fabric” or “that cosy yarn” etc.
    I used to cut out some paper images from magazines. Did not work for me. I only had a look at them when it was time to pack things for our next moving.

    I recently fell in love with a blog
    Beautiful and clear recommendations.

    I also found that David Kibbe’s system helped me enormously. My friend identified my type and I finally understood why some types of cloths did not flatter me and why so many of my sewing projects failed at fitting stage.
    Now I think I could choose patterns and silhouettes wisely and more projects have better chances to be sewn and worn.

    Looking forward to your next post. We are definitely not alone on our style crisis and our desperate attempt to find our ways out! 🙂

    • ClothSpot says:

      Thank you for the blog suggestions Anastasia – I will go take a look! I don’t know the David Kibbe system – I will go and explore that too – it’s great to have another perspective on this – and lovely to have some company on the journey!

  2. Di says:

    Living ‘in the sticks’ it’s no good seeking inspiration from shop windows because there isn’t much displayed that’s attractive for someone of my advancing years, and there aren’t many windows anyway.One shop I know deliberately keeps its windows sparse. If you want to view the goods then you have to go inside.
    I, like many others, want to look as if I follow fashion without appearing as ‘mutton’. Yes, clothes are important because they say so much about you –style is a personal choice and will probably vary year on year, based on what colours/shapes suit you, and your body, and the intended use of the item (work/evening out/beach/school run etc).
    I gave up cutting interesting pics from magazines. They ended up stuffed in a folder never to be looked at again.
    Better quality mail order catalogues/fashion mags at the hairdressers/dentist etc are,for me, a source of inspiration if only to confirm that if the tall leggy made over model in the photo, (who is old enough to be my grandchild), looks awful, in a particular look, then I will look even worse. You admire the pleated trousers. I think they’re pretty awful (nice colour). NOT for the average woman with childbearing hips.
    Surely it’s all to do with knowing yourself/your lifestyle/how much disposable income you have to indulge your desires or, in my case, finding enough time to sew to fill the style gaps in my ever changing wardrobe. Motto = if I put something in the charity bag do I have something to fill the gap/ does the gap need filling/ have I got plenty of choice so don’t have to bother. Sometimes all it takes to change a look is different shoes and accessories and putting together, what you already have, in a different way. I do the latter when going on holiday, if only to keep within the luggage allowance.
    Being stylish is a fluid concept and you don’t have to look like someone else, or wear the latest fashions, to achieve it.

    • ClothSpot says:

      I do sympathise with your ‘living in the sticks’ comment, Di – I have to be opportunistic on my travels to see the shops that might really inspire me – although I do drop in on their websites too, which helps. You comment about the trousers made me laugh! You’re the second person to point out that they might not be universally flattering. I think I was just intrigued with the way the pleat and almost-wrap was used in the design. I have no idea how they’d look on me – but I can tell you that I look like a tormented sausage in a wrap dress, if that’s any consolation…. I love your point about style being a fluid concept – my tastes can vary even on a daily basis!

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