Everything looks good on Pinterest and God knows how many things it made me buy, but how about using it in a different way? How about shopping your own closet?
One of my favorite things is to lose myself in the countless pictures of influencers looking dashing in their outfits. It is true that it can be intimidating if you think that those perfectly dressed humans walk among us, but let me tell you how you can leverage their work in your favor without spending any $$$.
Step 1: Know your own closet
As many out there, I have quite a few things gathered in my closet that don't see the light of the day often because I completely forgot about their existence. Some cute sweater that I used to love a few seasons back, that now I am completely oblivious about. I might even buy a new one, a similar one, since I "definitely" need it.
Usually when seasons change I move the summer items away and bring in the winter ones and the reverse, but by the time winter/summer is really "in town" I have already forgotten what I have seen. So periodically I need to make some time and look around for what I already have, especially before running to the stores. Keeping all the items fresh in my memory, helps me have a better overview of my options.
Even with this knowledge, I am still fantasizing over new items that could get me those polished looks, also because I am only wearing mine in the same manner. Having great ideas on how to better stylish those is, at least for me, impossible during the mornings when I am trying to wake up and run as fast as possible through the door. That's where strategy comes into stage.
Step 2: Visualize the outfits that you love using your own version of the clothes
During one of the office breaks that I made, I looked on Pinterest and I saw so many items that I have in my own wardrobe and that I could style together with 0 additions. Therefore I have created a board to help me remember those. One of the problems with seeing something and walking away is that in a few minutes, hours or days you will completely forget about them ( back to the issue from step 1). So just seeing something and acknowledging it without action will have 0 effects.
Creating, updating and searching for items on Pinterest takes time, but so is looking lost and crying (metaphorically, I hope) each morning in front of the open closet. Change and new behaviors take time to create, but in the end it is you, your style, your self-esteem, your wallet, possibly also our planet will benefit from. Make time to add items to the board, you will see that once the algorithm from the platform picks up your choices it will lend you a hand as well. When you do this, ONLY look for outfits containing pieces that you own, that are in your closet and that you are able to pull off. I emphasize on the last point, as much as you or I would like to wear something, but that something doesn't look good on us, or doesn't fit in the circumstances that we live in, will just be a waste of time and it will blow off self esteem.
Getting back to the board, it doesn't have to contain 1000 pieces, it doesn't have to be complete, quite the opposite you will continue to build on it, but you will just need a few outfits to start with. Usually, I like the pins that have only the clothes either folder or hanging, it's less often that I save the ones that have a person in them, I don't want to compare myself to others, also I don't want to be disappointed if the result is not looking the same.
Another thing to keep in mind, most likely you will not find the exact same things, but perhaps the same style with different color schemes, or items that could replace what you see with what you have, and here I mean anything designer related. You don't need a Prada bag, you can wear yours that looks more or less the same. You don't need the Burberry pattern, a regular one will be just fine and so on.
Couple of the boards that I have created can be found here:
Key point here: Reality - Expectation = Frustration
Step 3: Buy hangers and make room to put them
Even with limited space you still can find room to put 10 hangers. Personally I love the slim velvet ones, but any can work. Also, make sure you have them placed somewhere you can see them.
Step 4: Time to create the outfits
This part usually takes the longest time, so I would suggest doing it on a weekend or whenever you will have both the time and the patience to finish it, it's no good if you will give up now. With the board in front of you, start putting together the pieces of clothing. Personally, I do not also put the accessories, since those will be shared, but if that helps you, then go ahead and add them as well.
One thing that I keep in mind when doing this, is adding a few outfits on each genre: casual, smart casual, street style, elegant etc. Keeping in mind what I plan on doing the next week also helps, since I usually try creating the outfits that I would wear Monday to Friday at least.
If you don't know already how those items would look on you, now is the best time to try them on, see if they need ironing or maybe you need to fix some buttons. Or maybe you don't like the way those look on you. In this process you can also purge some of the outdated items.
Having a backlog of outfits ready on the hangers, somewhere that you can see, will make you, not only wear them, but also reach out for them. Another area where this has helped me is in trying on combinations that I would have never thought of or wouldn't have thought look good on me.
Step 5: Stick to the plan
Even if the outfits are ready, if you will not wear them this will all be for nothing, so stick to it. Each morning, when you get to the closet pick up one of the outfits and try not to chicken out of wearing them. Clearly, you will have to adapt to what are your plans for the day. If you know that you need to walk a lot maybe the stilettos will not be a good idea. If it rains or snows you will have to adapt, that is why it's important to have those scenarios covered in the step before.
Step 6: Once an outfit is worn it has to be replaced
I don't like to repeat myself often, so I like to change what I will be dressed in each week. Once I have worn that outfit, I will not put it back to the hanger, but back into the closet (or the washing machine). By the end of the week, I will have to redo this process again. Another thing that I have noticed, is that each time I play around with the ideas of others, a lot of other ideas will come into my mind and at least a few of the outfits are made by me.
What lead me to this
At least once a year I go to the US on a client visit and I have to look polished while I am there. Also, I need to be able to get everything in the suitcases that I am bringing and have options in case the elements get crazy. I am lucky that I am working in a sector that doesn't require me to dress very formally, but especially on client visits I do go towards smart casual.
Since I cannot bring my whole closet with me, I have to choose what I will be wearing from home, try those out and know exactly how I will balance those out through the days. In the weekend before departing I go through the process that I have just laid down and chose what I will be wearing. Usually I take pictures and I make sure no malfunctions can happen.
Seeing how well this has worked for the trips, I have moved this model to my day to day routine, this way I can reuse my own items, I do not have to buy more, I get to play with my imagination and can also "compete" with all the picture perfect people that look so good when wearing simple yet catchy outfits.
Some people use Pinterest to find out what they should buy and for a while so did I, now I use it as inspiration to stop buying new things. As my closet got bigger and bigger during the years, as I understood that charities no longer can put up with the huge amount of clothes that they receive and most of them end up in the land field, I started to look for ideas that can be created with the resources that I already have and if I have to buy something new, I will invest in the high quality basics that will be around for a long period of time. I hope this inspires you to do the same.