How to Get Inspired and Create New Outfits

Sometimes coming up with a new outfit feels like nails down a chalkboard. Or it just feels silent - like nobody is home, and my brain is focused on something else. I regularly experience "ruts" and ups and downs when it comes to getting dressed and sometimes I wonder if I've come to the end of my closet and can't possibly think of a new combination. I'm guessing from time to time, you feel the same way too. So today I'm sharing a few tips for getting inspired and creating new outfits!

1. Clean your closet.
I know, right? Kicking it off with cleaning is not very fun, but having a feng shui closet is completely necessary for creativity. When things are cluttered, dirty, or bursting at the seams, it's not a good environment for brainstorming. Your closet should be a happy place. So if you're feeling stuck, try cleaning things up a bit first. 

2. Take inventory of what you already own. 
While you are cleaning your closet, I recommend taking inventory of what you already own as a way to get inspired. It's time to raid the dark corners of your closet and the spare clothes under the bed. Even if items are out of season it can help to pull them out and browse. You could wear a tank top under a thick sweater in the winter, for example, and create a whole new outfit out of what you already own.


3. Regularly read inspirational publications. 
This has been my big mistake lately. I've been busy and not reading emails, which includes subscriptions to InStyle, Harper's Bazaar, and Who What Wear to name a few. I don't really notice if I'm not browsing these gorgeous publications - until it's time to make an outfit. Suddenly, creativity feels like a rusty wheel that's tough to get turning. So keep creativity flowing - attend art events, read magazines, watch musicals - and that will ultimately help you get dressed in the morning, too.  

4. Organize and review inspiration photos. 
Besides finding new images that inspire you, re-visiting images that you loved in the past can also help jump-start creativity. Pinterest is one popular way to organize what gets your creative motors running. I also save thousands of images in folders on my computer, and tear pages out of magazines. If you're feeling stuck, pull these images out as general inspiration, or use them to re-create outfits in a more literal way. (Think of it like using a recipe to cook dinner!)

5. Go shopping. 
The good news is that shopping doesn't have to cost you any money at all. Browsing retail websites and window shopping at the mall can inspire new ways for wearing what you already own. You can also opt to shop a friend's closet for something to borrow, head to the thrift store for a bargain, or allot a small budget at the mall. Even just one new piece - like an inexpensive statement necklace - can jolt your closet back to life and inspire a week's worth of new outfits. 

6. Repeat a favorite uniform. 
Throughout different seasons in my life I have heavily favored different uniforms. For work at an office it was a pencil skirt, cardigan, and blouse. For casual occasions, it's ripped denim, a v-neck t-shirt and bohemian jewelry. When I'm in a rut it can be helpful to revisit these uniforms and use that blueprint to come up with a familiar outfit using a new combination of colors and patterns.

7. Choose one practical or inspirational item.
When I'm standing in my closet scratching my head about what to wear, I will often pick one piece to concentrate on. If my day requires a lot of walking, then I'll narrow it down to 2-3 pairs of shoes that are most practical, and create an outfit from there. If practicality is less important, then I'll pick an inspirational item. Choose one or two things you love and feel really excited to wear that day, and build your outfit from there. 

8. Plan ahead.
This is probably the tip I've shared most often here on the blog: plan your outfits ahead of time! Spend an hour on a Sunday afternoon brainstorming for your upcoming week at work, or consider big events or important meetings in the weeks leading up to it. Being fashionable does not have to be your top priority in life - in fact, spending a little more time up front can save you a lot of time in the long run. It will eliminate those 20 wasted minutes in the morning when you aren't feeling all that creative anyway. And if a little planning keeps you from feeling miserable later - whether it's from being too hot or too cold in the outfit you picked, or just uncomfortable - that's time well spent in my book!

I'd love to hear your tips and tricks for getting out of a creative rut and deciding what to wear. Do you use any of the tips listed? What resources or processes have helped you feel the most creative when getting dressed?

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