So what to do when you aren't sure exactly what your style is? If we were men, I'd tell you to "go to the mattresses." (Making a reference from The Godfather normally makes a girl irresistibly hip and cool around men... but if you're like me, what you really squeezed in is a reference from You've Got Mail. Thanks for that, Tom Hanks.) But since we aren't, my advice is this: go to the magazines!
I remember trying to figure out my style for the first time in college. It began with my just trying to copy the outfits of an uber-fashionable, gorgeous friend of mine piece-for-piece,(sorry about that, again, Leslie) but fortunately became me trying to figure out my own style, not just copying someone else. And a disclaimer: I went super old-school, but it worked. It's not very techy, it's not very impressive, but listen- you grab a roll of scotch tape and a few magazines, and the closest pair of scissors to you....and you go to work. You dismember those magazines, a page at a time, cutting out pictures that inspire you in ANY way. For some, it may be literal- for some, you pull out a picture of an outfit with every intention of wearing that very thing. Other pictures will be for inspiration only. Maybe you don't want to wear the outfit, but you never thought of mixing those colors together. Or perhaps you spot a great way to wear a scarf that you want to try out. One may even find- egad!- THE way to wear knee-high boots that doesn't make one look like Pirate Harry. Grab that picture, I say! Grab it now! And tape the sucker....to the back of your closet door?
Told you this was impressive and high-tech.
And what you'll end up with, once those poor, beautiful fashion magazines have been torn to shreds, is something that, on its best day, looks like a history day project gone wrong. But! You will have inspiration and ideas right where you need it- with your clothes, where you get dressed, and somewhat close to a mirror.
But what about all of those Pinterest pictures you have dutifully filed away? Why not print them out and tape those, too? After all, you have them! A word of caution: the danger with Pinterest is that no one is helping to censor. That's great...and not so great. You see, no one was there to tell you that the outfit you loved was a good idea, or is flattering. Or is current. But therein lies the dilemma of fashion-meets-style: there comes a point that it doesn't matter one iota what is in fashion, currently, if it's not first of all flattering to one's body, and second, pleasing to one's personal taste. To say it differently: if it doesn't look great on you and you don't love it, what does it matter whether it's on-trend!? Am I right? AND YET, I think it's worth noting what is in style, currently. Add that factor to the decision. The best outfit is one that combines all three: current trends, that you personally connect to, and look fabulous on your specific body. Ah, the holy grail of fashion.
Okay, I'm getting wordy. Quickly, a few more tips:
IF fashion magazines aren't your cup of tea, that's okay. You can also achieve this same kind of inspiration by selecting some hollywood stars that are your age group and life station. (Google-->images) For me, I love Gwyneth Paltrow, Nicole Richie, and Rachel Bilson. They are my age-ish, and two of the three are fellow mothers. And since they have the personal stylists and money to be well-dressed, I always pay close attention to the things they choose to wear. My mother loves the style Diane Keaton and Barbara Walters. Who do you relate to? Who inspires you? And use them!!!
And if you're not sure which magazines to grab, because let's face it- they don't leave everyone with the warm fuzzies when you think of fashion magazines- I'll help, before I go.
Lucky: affordable pieces, every day style. slightly cutesy/preppy but realistic suggestions.
InStyle: the most well-rounded magazine, in my opinion. Something for every style, age, and budget. highly recommended.
Glamour: eh. more political and human-interest focused than fashion but some decent fashion tips.
Cosmopolitan: just no. Unless looking like a Victoria's Secret Angel is your goal.
Harper's Bazaar: a literal translation of the runways. all about the art, little about the practical day-to-day wearing. this probably isn't the one to choose unless you're really good at interpreting trends from the runway into the everyday. if fashion is your hobby, this is great! if not, there are better publications for you.
Vogue: see above.
Also worth owning:
Secrets of Style:InStyle's Complete Guide to Dressing Your Best Every Day. Click HERE for the link.