April 16, 2011

6 Ways to Get Inspired

When it comes to fashion, one of the biggest mistakes women make is spending too much time shopping and not enough time in their own closets. Yes, your closet may feel like the farthest thing from a magical place, but I assure you that with a little time and effort you can find some hidden gems you didn’t even know you had! (And you will save mucho dinero!)

There are many ways to get the creative process going, but one of my favorites is by using inspiration photos from celebs and fave sites. Here are six types of inspiration and some tips to get you started!

[This is a guest post previously seen on Shecky's and Fitnessista.]

1. Celebrities: Thanks to the internet and magazines, pictures of celebrities are everywhere! Don’t get discouraged by the fact that their clothes cost thousands of dollars though. You can often find look-alikes for much, much less at Forever 21 or ASOS.com.

In this look: I re-created a Blake Lively look using almost-identical pieces found at Forever 21 and TJ Maxx for less than $200 total.

Inspiration photo: FabSugar.com 
Faux leather jacket: Forever 21, $40
Dress: Forever 21, $30
Tights: Hue/TJ Maxx, $6
Boots: Cynthia Rowley/TJ Maxx, $85
Earrings: Urban Outfitters, $5

Just like J:
1. Charlotte Russe Pretty Petals One-Shoulder Dress, $29.99
2. Forever 21 Textured Leatherette Jacket, $39.80

2. Retail: Retail catalogs and lookbooks are an endless source of inspiration. My favorites are J.Crew and Shopbop, and other retailers like Banana Republic and Talbots often post cute outfits on their sites too. Or, sign up for emails for great ideas sent right to your inbox.

In this look: I didn’t copy the J.Crew outfit exactly, but rather used the overall theme to come up with something from my closet. The picture was a starting point (a spark!) to get the wheels turning.

Inspiration photo: J.Crew
Shirt: Urban Outfitters, $20
Lavender skirt: Urban Outfitters, $17
Belt: Gap, $3
Necklace: Banana Republic, $30
Shoes: Banana Republic, $50

Just like J:
1. Spiegel Tulip Pencil Skirt, SALE $29
2. Ann Taylor Long Sleeve Tee with Puff Sleeves, $44

3. Magazine layouts: Magazines may use expensive clothing for their layouts, but basic outfits like these can often be found sitting in your closet, just waiting to be put together.

In this look: I took the preppy theme of this ensemble and ran with it, adding a scarf and brooch for an extra flare. Don’t be afraid to insert your own personality into looks, even when you are re-creating something!

Inspiration photo: InStyle magazine
Sweater: Gap, $20
Shirt: H&M, $13
Pants: Gap, $15
Brooch: Banana Republic, $15
Shoes: Endless.com/Restricted, $39
Purse: Juicy Couture
Watch: Michael Kors, Christmas present
Scarf: The Vintage Scarf

Just Like J:
1. Charlotte Russe Birdseye Crop Trouser, $26.50
2. American Apparel Chiffon Oversized Button-Up, $58

4. Other People: Everyone copies other people’s outfits, just not everyone admits it! Get ideas from everyday people or what bloggers are wearing.

In this look: The foundation of my outfit is the same (shorts, shirt, blazer), but when it came to accessories, I didn’t have a perfect match so I just used what I had. Point is, don’t stress about the details—work with what you’ve got.

Inspiration photo: Chicisimo.com
Jacket: Express, really old
Shirt: J.Crew, $40
Necklace: Banana Republic, $35
Short: Forever 21, $22
Guess/Marshalls, $30

Just Like J:
1. Forever 21 Drawstring Knit Shorts, $14.80
2. LOFT Handkerchief Hem Ruffle Shell, $49.50

5. Runway: Runway looks are the hardest to re-create, but sometimes you’ll find a gem that translates to real-life, such as this Rachel Roy look.

In this look: Choose ensembles that utilize colors you already have handy. Recreating this look was a cinch, because I had these same navy-turquoise-camel/orange colors hanging in my closet!

Inspiration photo: Rachel Roy
Cardigan: Gap, $18
Shirt: Express, really old
Navy skirt: Limited, $25
Shoes: Restricted/Endless.com, $39
Watch: Michael Kors, Christmas present
Bracelets: Forever 21, $8
Earrings: Forever 21, $8

Just Like J:
1. Gap Ribbed Waist Cardigan, $24.99-$39.99
2. The Limited Navy Plainweave Pencil Skirt, $59.90


6. Store Displays: Store mannequin caught your eye? Take a picture with your phone so you’ll remember what it looks like later! 

In this photo: I snapped this photo of a store mannequin, and then hunted through my closet. Not only does the photo serve as inspiration, but it’s also a reminder of an outfit idea that I may have otherwise forgotten!

Inspiration photo: Taken with my phone 
Jacket: Gap, $25
Shirt: Banana Republic, $18
Belt: American Eagle, $5
Skirt: Limited, $50
Shoes: H&M
Earrings: Forever 21, $8
Watch: Michael Kors, Christmas present 

Just like J:
1. LOFT Watercolor Floral Print Pencil Skirt, $69.50
2. American Eagle Military Shirt Jacket, $49.50

What are your favorite ways to get inspired?


  1. J,
    Your outfits always look so pulled together and sexy with heels. I feel like your shoes are always a finishing touch. How can someone who is not used to wearing heels all the time get comfortable with it? Foot wise and confident wise. For some reason, even though I look good, I feel awkward in heels b/c I feel like most girls don't wear them often anymore. Is it something you've always done? I don't have a job that allows me to dress up, I work at the local Y and wear yoga pants and sneakers on a regular basis. When I'm not working I'm usually at school. Any tips would be appreciated!

  2. J,
    What magazines do you buy to get your inspirations?

  3. I love how and where you draw your inspriation from! I think I need to get in the habit of taking more photos and actually going back to my inpiration to draw ideas. Thanks!

  4. Lisa,
    I subscribe to pretty much every fashion magazine there is (I use airline miles to get them for free). But my favorite ones for outfit inspiration are definitely InStyle and Lucky!

  5. E,
    Working at the Y and going to school - it's totally normal that you're not wearing heels all that often! What about on a night out though? You didn't mention where you live, but I'm guessing most girls are wearing heels out at night - and think that would be a great time to experiment with them! I've been wearing heels since college and they are my go-to now because a. I love being taller and b. my feet are humongous so I can't wear ballet flats or other flat/closed shoes without looking like a capital L. :-) It's really up to you though - you can definitely be fashionable in flats too!

  6. I would be interested to see some pictures of your closet (I'm a newer reader and maybe you've already done this?). I am building a wardrobe at my current size after losing weight and am basically starting from scratch. I am lucky if I even have the basics, but your site inspires me nonetheless.

  7. This is a great post, love it. I obtain most of my style inspiration from magazine layouts, other bloggers as well as celebs. Also, I created a style lookbook where I collect pages from magazines & other inspiration photos of looks that I plan to recreate. Great tips, as always :-)

  8. I took pictures of my jewelry box (the post is in the "Favorite Posts and Videos" section, top right) but I'm working on taking pictures of my closet this week. It's really not an exciting closet, but I'll let you guys have a peek. :-)

  9. You should totally be able to get your subscriptions for free! Just call and tell them that you are a fashion blogger, etc. and ask to be added to their "comp sub" list.

  10. awesome post! Youve inspired me to do a lil reorganizing in my closet and hunt down some old but new outfits for spring :D

  11. this is a fantastic post. thanks! yours is fast becoming my favorite blog.

  12. I love this! I'm always looking for new places to get inspiration from! You have such great advice!!


  13. Sara_ItsAboutTheLookApril 16, 2011 at 1:08 PM

    Instyle is my favorite magazine, followed by Lucky for fashion inspiration. I love the outfit layouts they make! I find that Vogue and Bazaar, while fun to read, don't really have many outfits I can easily take replicate...too expensive and abstract for everyday life!

  14. J,
    I just have to say i love your site-i check it every morning for some inspiration before getting ready for the day! It is so funny that your post today was about finding inspiration and using your own closet because i am currently challenging myself to wear everything in my closet once before i can re-wear anything, so having some sources of ideas for how/what to wear things has been a life-saver! i am in the process of weeding out what i don't wear, so if at the end of this, i haven't worn it, it goes straight to Good Will!
    Thanks again for all the great ideas!

  15. jseverydayfashionApril 16, 2011 at 1:11 PM

    That is awesome and I am so proud! (When picking out what to toss you might find this post helpful: http://www.jseverydayfashion.com/2011/02/todays-everyday-fashion-what-to-keep.html) So glad I could be part of your inspiration! :-)

  16. jseverydayfashionApril 16, 2011 at 1:12 PM

    Totally agree Sara!

  17. These looks are gorgeous! I love how all of your outfits are office friendly, and they can also be worn on a night out!


  18. I really enjoy your blog. I can't remember how I came across it either. I have recommended your blog to several people. I love how you put everything together. I actually work at one of your favorite retailers and it is so hard to not add to my closet. :) Sometimes I think how would J wear this..
    Thanks so much for the inspiration !!!

  19. Thanks J,

    I live in Boston so in the winter I wear boots with a heel when I got out and when it is nicer I definitely wear heels more often. You are right about going out at night. I guess I was thinking more when its still light out. But thanks for the tips, I'm gonna start experimenting with both more often!


  20. P.S. girls up here live in their Uggs, I don't know if it is like that in FL! I got the Sorel Joan of Arctic boots instead of Uggs and have loved them for the cold winters.

  21. I'm sure you get this all the time, but your legs are amazing!!

  22. That silver number is to die for! I love the idea of a bright bag or peacoat with it.

  23. love your blog! I especially like the budget factor and how you track it and I love the "recreations". I just started putting the inspiration, recreation pics on my blog and it's so much fun to create the looks for less. So, your blog is right up my alley!

  24. You are so fabulous at putting together outifts! Great job! Love you blog,

  25. Love your inspiration.

  26. I work at a college, so I'm always getting inspirations from my students. They're going to school in New York City, so they're pretty fashionable! If they're wearing something that isn't necessarily work-friendly, I stow it away in my memory for the weekend or a casual Friday.

  27. I actually do many of the same things but this post was so inspirational. Love the side by side comparison pictures. Great job!


  28. Hi J!

    You're right about #4. I hope you gave momswithstyle a piece of your mind about copying your idea!!!

  29. What is momswithstyle? If they did copy an outfit then that's awesome! In #4 I'm saying that you SHOULD copy my outfits. I don't mind that one bit, in fact that's my whole purpose of the blog. Please feel free to copy away! :-)

  30. Oops, duh. I meant how momshavestyle2 copied your blog style --- using inspiration photos!

  31. jseverydayfashionApril 20, 2011 at 2:29 PM

    Oh gotcha! That was way more complicated than someone copying my outfit haha! As I said, I never mind if someone copies an outfit and in fact encourage you guys and other bloggers to do so! :-)

  32. Good to know that you can laugh about it! Love your humor and your style!

  33. jseverydayfashionApril 20, 2011 at 5:22 PM

    Thanks Cynthia! We had a long conversation (me & momshavestyle2) and we are even better friends for it. It was a bit of a misunderstanding but no hard feelings. :-)

  34. WOW dear - you rocked every look better than the original!! I especially like your "Chicisimo.com" look the best!! Olive shorts, blazer, nude top shoes??? *drool*


  35. Very good post! I have the hardest times working my wardrobe and I always look to others for inspiration when I cant put anything together myself. Thanks for these tips!