Practical Use of Online Style Inspiration

Last week I wrote about how I avoid buyer’s remorse, and in that post I mentioned a basic practice I use when it comes to finding inspiration for your wardrobe, particularly online inspiration.

I am not against finding online inspiration for what to wear from style blogs, Polyvore, or Pinterest.  I actually think it’s a big help in coming up with outfits that you wouldn’t normally think to wear, or identifying parts of your wardrobe that need some help (more color, find a great trench coat, etc.). The problem is when looking at all those pretty photos cause us to want to shop nonstop, buy items we don’t need or won’t wear, or make us ignore the clothing items we already have.  This is a great way to end up with buyer’s remorse, which, as we’ve already established, is THE WORST!

So, when I use online inspiration I follow a few guidelines so that I don’t overshop, overspend, or end up with buyer’s remorse.

1) When I see an outfit, accessory, or clothing item I LOVE, I pin it to my style board on Pinterest.  I then attempt to stop obsessing over it.  I can forget about it, because I can always go back and find it on my board quickly.  (this is how I avoid going out and buying said item or outfit RIGHTHISMINUTE).

2) I visit my style board once a week.  Ok, I’m lying, I visit it everyday along with all my pins. I LOVE MY PINS!  (I tried to tell everyone I should avoid Pinterest…. now they wish they’d listened to me).  Anyway, for reals, I’ll really look at my style board maybe once a week, maybe less, maybe more.  But when I realize that I’m always drawn to a certain item or outfit, I’ll take a look at it more closely… and then I try to identify a few things…

3) Why do I like this?  Is it a specific detail or accessory? The color combination? Is it the silhouette?  Is it the combination of items (ex: oversized blazer paired with skinny jeans, dressy shorts and heels, etc.)? Or Is it the actual item that I love and want (or possibly need)? 

Hint, after much thought, I rarely come to the conclusion that it’s the specific item that I want… it is usually something else, which means it is much more easily recreated without extra and/or unneeded shopping.

4) Once I’ve figured out what exactly I like about the outfit or the item, I think about the items in my wardrobe.  Do I already have items in my closet that will do the things I like about this outfit?  That can create the color combinations, that already have those details, that will make that silhouette, or that simply look like the item (you know how you have 3 blue sweaters?  yeah, that’s because you forgot that you had the first one… you’d be surprised how much of our closets we forget about when our first instinct is to shop instead of taking time to reflect on what we already have.).  If so… yay!  Start making that outfit.  You can do it RIGHT NOW!  No need to go shopping!  If not…

5)… I write the item (or detail, or color, or whatever) down on my running shopping list (fully explained in this post) so that the next time I go shopping I start looking for the item, or an item with those details/colors.  It’s also sometimes a good idea to give yourself a pricing guideline to so that if/when you do find the item you don’t overspend. 

And that’s what I do.  Let me give you some examples from my style board:


I REALLY like this outfit.  But I’ve realize that it’s one specific thing… the belting of the cardigan.  I’ve been trying to belt over a cardigan for forever and it never looks right, but I’ve never tried it over a button down shirt or with the cardigan closed in the middle.  Maybe this way won’t look right either, but now I have something new to try.  I already have belts, cardigans, and pencil skirts, and I’m not in love with the flower brooches.  So I don’t need to buy anything new.

Source: via Krista on Pinterest


Just for the record, it’s really not fair to yourself to pin the Duchess to your style board.  Just sayin’. I really just pinned this because, come on, it’s absolutely gorgeous.  I love this color, and while I have a lot of it in my closet, I do not have it in formalwear.  I like to buy formalwear periodically to hange things up and since I do wear gowns about once a week on the ship.  I’m looking for this dress specifically, but next time I shop for gowns I’m looking for something in this color (or another jewel tone), something with those sweet cap sleeves, and/or something with that flowing, full, A-line skirt.  This is low priority on my shopping list since I wouldn’t wear it as often (especially off the ship) as say a pair of shoes or a great pair of jeans.


I pinned these 2 outfits to demonstrate something that happens when you use Pinterest this way.  You’ll notice these are essentially the same outfit, with slight modifications. If you’re pinning a bunch of things that look the same, then chances are you really like that specific look

That being said, this one gets more complicated. I see a few things I like: 1) a sleeveless dress with a full, knee length skirt, paired with a cardigan, 2) a floral print with a navy blue base, 3) Navy blue combined with cognac accessories.

The thing is, I don’t have a dress like that, but I do have cardigans (though not one in beigey tone like these) and a cognac belt.  I also have a full navy floral skirt… which makes me think… what if I wore that, with a navy tank, and the cognac belt?  Does that get the same effect that I want?  I think I’ll try that first before I put “Navy blue floral dress, sleeveless with full skirt” on my shopping list.

Did you just get bored reading that?  Well, that’s how detailed I get so I don’t end up buying items, that I really don’t need.

Source: via Krista on Pinterest


I think this outfit is adorable, but I know that what I really love about it is the chambray shirt. I’ve seen chambray in lots of outfits online for the past year or so, but I’m not an early adopter so I never bought one.  But I pinned this as a reminder that I really do want a chambray button down because it is very versatile (over dresses, with skirts, layered under sweaters, with pants).  So, in this case, “chambray button down” went on my shopping list, because, oddly, I really don’t have anything like this in my wardrobe.  But I’m being picky, because though I love button downs on other people, it’s been a while since I’ve worn one and it looks good on me.  So I’d like to spend less than $20 on this one, so that it’s not a huge loss if I don’t wear it as much as I think I will.

What do you think of how I deal with online inspiration?


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