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Design & Style

How to Find Fashion Inspiration: 6 Tips for Finding Your Personal Style

Written by MasterClass

Last updated: Sep 21, 2020 • 4 min read

MasterClass Video Lessons

Tan France Teaches Style for Everyone

Learn how to find fashion inspiration, and use a mood board to develop your own style.

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Tan France Teaches Style for EveryoneTan France Teaches Style for Everyone

Queer Eye cohost Tan France breaks down the principles of great style, from building a capsule wardrobe to looking pulled together every day.

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How to Find Fashion Inspiration

Fashion inspiration can come from anywhere, and the most reliable style resources are right at your fingertips.

  1. Start with people you know. If you have no idea where you truly want to go with personal style, pull in your most basic resources: family and friends. Who do you admire at home? Who do you admire at work? What are they wearing that makes you think they look nice? Start to use those outfit ideas as a reference point. You don't have to go for a certain genre. You don't have to go for a celebrity. Everyone has somebody in their life that makes them think, “They look nice.”
  2. Search online. Use a search engine to find the kind of look you're going for. If you know you’re interested in boho or preppy style, search for those terms. If you’re not sure, keep it more basic. If you are a man, you can search for “men's style.” If you're a woman, search for “women's style.” If you're non-binary, search for “non-binary style.” If you’re plus size, you can add on “plus-size style.” And there will be a plethora of options available to you. Start to click through those and ask yourself, "Could that be me? Does that feel like me? Would I like to feel like that person?" Spend time on social media, and observe how friends and celebrities dress, from casual outfits like sweatshirts and leggings to work-ready blazers and turtlenecks. Blogs are full of fashion tips and inspiration, so find a few fashion bloggers whose style you admire and search through their archives for your favorite outfits.
  3. Look to off-duty and street style. If there is a celebrity or an influencer whose style you like, try to find images of their off-duty style. What do they wear when they're not in the spotlight? What are they posting for their outfit of the day (OOTD)? Try to find out who that celeb's stylist is, and look to them for inspiration.
  4. Go window shopping. Check out boutiques and designer stores. Pay attention to how the mannequins are styled, and find items that you like. This is a good way to find out which items are trending and to explore layering, since mannequins are often styled to show off multiple items from a store. Window shopping works for online shopping, too—many brands post lookbooks on their websites that you can bookmark for inspiration.
  5. Check out runway shows. Runway shows are a great resource for inspiration, and you don't have to go to New York Fashion Week to see them. You can find every major runway show from the last 20 years on Vogue.com, for example. Look at as many runway shows as you can. Find the fashion trends that work for you. That's even easier than window shopping. You're looking at what common themes would make sense in your wardrobe. And you're pulling inspiration only. You are not buying that designer piece. The pieces and styling on the runway are not meant for everyday wear. What you see on a runway is a form of art, but it can also be a great outfit inspiration.
  6. Look beyond fashion. When looking for inspiration, remember that it doesn't necessarily have to come from fashion. You might be inspired by botanicals, art, film, or animals. If you see a flower with amazing colors, try to incorporate those colors into your look. That kind of real-world style inspiration is where many designers actually get their fashion ideas. Inspiration from outside the realm of fashion can help you find a look that is unique, rather than trendy.

How to Create a Fashion Mood Board

A mood board is a great way to work toward developing your personal style.

  1. Collect images. Look for inspiration online, on social media, and in magazines, and save the images you find most striking. Once you’ve gathered your fashion inspiration, compile the images into a mood board. You can combine photos into a physical collage or add them to a digital folder on your computer or phone.
  2. Look for themes. Gather your images together and try to find common themes. Even if your inspiration feels all over the place, you might discover that a lot of your models are wearing denim jeans, a lot of them are wearing dresses, a lot of them are wearing tops—that's still an overarching vibe or mood that you're going for.
  3. Narrow down your options. Don't overwhelm yourself. Choose two or three images that exemplify the aesthetic of the group, and keep those images on your phone so that you can look at them when you’re out shopping.
  4. Make different boards for different looks. You might find you need multiple mood boards. You can organize your mood boards according to season ("fall outfit ideas," "winter outfits," "spring dresses") or by occasion (“workwear,” “special events”) or even by different fashion trends you want to try.
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Want to Learn More About Unleashing Your Inner Fashionista?

Get a MasterClass All-Access Pass and let Tan France be your very own style spirit guide. Queer Eye’s fashion guru spills everything he knows about building a capsule collection, finding a signature look, understanding proportions, and more (including why it’s important to wear underwear to bed)—all in a soothing British accent, no less.

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