August 24, 2011

If Copying is Wrong, I Don't Want to Be Right








































"One cannot be stylish if she copies another." I recently read this somewhere (and have heard this type of sentiment from many people in general) and thought we should discuss. My opinion might be clear - after all, one of the main premises of my blog is to re-create celebrity looks on a budget - but I have never shared why. 

For starters, I think we are all talented at different things - some of us can cook, some of us are good at decorating, some of us are good at fashion. I think there is absolutely no shame in not being good at any of them, and that includes dressing ourselves. I think it's crazy to expect women to be amazing dressers, along with the millions of other things we are required to be good at everyday  - like our jobs, keeping the house clean, having good relationships. We should all give ourselves a little room to breathe, and love ourselves just the way we are, fashion forward or not. In fact, I think it's perfectly acceptable for a woman to NOT be good at fashion, and if that's case, then using the ideas we see in magazines, on blogs, and on other people are one of the best ways we can learn and figure out our own person style, as well as save tons of time getting dressed everyday.

My favorite metaphor for this is using recipes to cook. No one would ever judge you (or at least, I hope not) for using a recipe to make dinner. If you can pull off a complicated recipe and make an amazing meal, you are still very talented cook. You are not without style just because you followed a recipe. Are you a master chef? Maybe not. Chefs create recipes, but not many of us expect to ever be chefs (aka "stylists" as they call in them in the fashion world). I am personally happy with being a really good cook. I take recipes, I add my own twist to them, and I think I create some pretty amazing meals (aka outfits) and that there is absolutely no shame in that. I also encourage you guys to copy my outfits all the time because through this blog I am volunteering to save you some time and do the recipe-creating for you. :-) I'm curious to hear what you guys think. Do you believe that you can you re-create an outfit and still be stylish?

About today's outfit: I loved the idea of wearing a bright color underneath a lace shirt (as seen in Lucky magazine, left) so I decided to give it a try. I used my pink silk Banana Republic shirt (you can see more clearly in this post) to get a similar effect and I have to say I'm digging it! Have you worn bright colors under lace to achieve this look?

Inspiration photo: Lucky magazine
Shirt: Charlotte Russe, $18
Under shirt: Banana Republic, $15
Skirt: LOFT, $55
Belt: American Eagle, $15
Shoes: Bandolino via TJ Maxx, $22
Necklace: Charlotte Russe, $8
Watch: Michael Kors, family gift
Bracelets: Forever 21, $8

Lace shirt options

1. Karen Kane top via Zappos, $88.20
2. Delia's top, $34.50
3. Banana Republic top, $49.50

74 comments:

  1. LOVE lace shirts.  I had one I wore for 10+ years until it was finally worn through. Thanks for reminding me it's time to find a new one.

    Cheers.

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  2. I love the idea that you use inspirational photos to recreate looks! I had never thought of this myself and have found it to be very helpful when putting together an outfit from my closet. It's so easy to put together outfits at a store, where all of the colors match and you have the latest styles to choose from. It becomes a bit harder for me when I am doing the same thing in my closet. The photos help me to look at what I have in a different way and put things together I never would have imagined! I personally find it boring to wear the same outfit over and over and over again. So, this strategy helps me to change things up using what I have in my closet! I say that as long as you're not wearing the exact same items from the exact same store, in the photo then you're not really copying--you're just modifying and getting inspiration. It gives me a base/foundation to start with so I can then add my own style to make the outfit more like me. :)

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  3. I think it's exactly about the "own twist", as you are saying. Mindlessly buying exactly the pieces and combinations as seen on the runway would not be a "fashion talent". But digging through one's own closet and just more or less taking the basic recipe as an orientation is style (well, at least if it looks good, I guess. That's a good question: Is it style if it looks bad? ^^). Besides, almost everything has been done. Things are just variations of passed trends. If every style blogger was to invent herself completey new and never-seen-before, there would be no style bloggers as I believe there is no such thing as "never seen before" ayone if we ta about a greater scale. So I conclude that everyone that says such things as "one cannot be stylish if she copies another" should just shove it ;-)

    Relatable Style

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  4. Wow! I love the analogy to cooking! I am an engineer so creativity not my strong suit. I use (copy) these styles all the time because it's just not intuitive for me. The same goes for cooking from recipes (every night I might add.). Thanks for this refreshing perspective, and helping me not feel so bad!!

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  5. Beautiful look!!!
    lovely

    xx

    www.ilovenystyle.blogspot.com

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  6. I have read somewhere that "copying" is a form of flattery.  What I like is that we ladies who enjoy fashion can look at a photo and re-create a look that is our own.  Sometimes just seeing a color scheme in a photo will give you inspiration to create a look.  This is what blogging is about, inspiring each other to try new things and look our best, even if we "copy" a look. So yes, we can be stylish!

    Heather

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  7. Hi J!  Great post.  I, too, believe that some women need assistance with putting outfits together.  It's okay for one to use an inspiration photo to develop an outfit of their own or create the exact same outfit.  That's how one learns to create their own individual style.

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  8. i love that shirt you have from charlotte russe!!!  is it still available to purchase??

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  9. You are absolutely right, J!  I love your recipe analogy; I never thought of it that way!  I "copy" outfits and constantly draw inspiration from other bloggers and magazines...if we didn't, what would be the point of even looking at them or reading them??  

    I think being "stylish" is about knowing what you like and don't like, what fits your personality, what looks good on you.  Being able to recognize those things about yourself in an outfit to want to copy it shows that you are stylish in your own right.

    Love your blog!  Thanks so much for the daily fun and inspiration!

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  10. I think there is a huge difference between flat out copying and getting your own inspiration from photos or runways.  What makes a woman "fashionable" is being able to take a look at someone else's outfit and then go to her closet and try to put something together with her own clothes, despite how different the cut of the skirt or pant or shirt may be.  I do understand what the blogger was trying to say though, because when I go to a lot of blogs, I feel like I am seeing the same look on everyone and it does get old to me.  A quick example would be the tying the shirts at the waist trend.  It is really a great idea, but when I see it on every blogger, I will not wear that look because I still want to find a different way to wear that trend without looking like everyone else.  I think it is important for women to just find their own sense of style and a look that works for them.  Inspiration is amazing, and what I like about your blog is that you have your own sense of style and wear what you already have and it never looks the same as the photos because you may wear a tighter short or a fitted skirt and that is because that is your style.

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  11. you know that scene in The Devil Wears Prada where Miranda Priestly tells Andie about the history of her sweater?  I think that's a really great (although harsh!) message about style.  Fashion is always going to be imitating or inspired by something or someone.  Its up to you to make it fit your style and personality!

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  12. interesting question! I think that getting dressed in itself is a creative process (at least for us bloggers). However, seeing a picture and being able to interpt it into an outfit using pieces already in your closet is creative, too (thus, stylish). In fact, I think what you do (basing outfits on inspiration pictures) is harder, even - I'm the type of person who follows a recipe exactly, so, for example, with this outfit I would have had a hard time figuring out what skirt to wear.

    But whatever, haters gonna hate.

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  13. I absolutely agree with you. I don't think that every person that dresses themselves came up with the look on their own. I mean you have to get ideas from somewhere, right? I mean take fashion shows for example; isn't that the basis for many other designers or people creating outfits?  I think we use things all around us to get ideas, and that doesn't make someone not stylish.

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  14. I am SO with you on this one!  In fact, I sort of think that quote above is completely ridiculous. It's akin to saying that somebody who makes recipes from a cookbook rather than coming up with them on her own, cannot be a good cook. 
    We all copy looks- whether we like to admit it or not. We draw from what we see on tv, in magazines, on blogs, and on our friends for inspiration.  Doing that doesn't mean one is not fashionable.  It simply means they have the good sense to recognize a good idea when they see one:)

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  15. I am so glad you posted this! Isn't is crazy that some women get offended when someone copies their style? I mean, imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, right? I love when someone copies me...it means I am doing something right!

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  16. I totally agree, especially the recipe comment.  I LOVE it when someone copies my style.  I do think you need to see it as flattery!  Great post, great outfit.  I may be copying it myself soon!

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  17. Daniel and Leslie HazelwoodAugust 24, 2011 at 10:25 AM

    I just wanted to say that I love your blog and this post! I don't comment much but you are an inspiration to women and if I didn't copy someone I'd have no idea what to wear in the morning! Thank you for being YOU and helping me feel confident and stylish---all on a limited budget.

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  18. I love this post and the analogies. I try very hard to recreate looks, but I always seem to fail. Therefore it is much easier to stick with recipes that I know by heart. I love how you recreate looks with your own twists and I am still trying to do the same with items I already own. Your take on blogging is very inspiring!!

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  19. Amen to that! As a math major/physics minor I'm with you on fashion and cooking! I have to copy what I see or I'd be the stereotypical nerd in the same T-shirt and jeans every day. Not there's anything wrong with that for people who like it, but I want to have more interesting apparel and culinary skills so I study!

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  20. A couple of things come to mind:

    1. I don't have time to be super creative and come up with major fashion innovations because I work 50 hours a week, I'm training for a marathon, I volunteer or yeah, and I have a husband and two stepchildren to be present for. It's nice to be able to use ideas and still look good. 

    2. There are some very avant garde fashionistas that are able to create some amazing fashion trends. Do those trends work in Greenville, SC... no. Can I walk around looking like Mary Kate Olsen? no. So another thing that is nice about your blog is that you take runway fashion and make it practical for every day life in a city other than NYC, Milan and Los Angeles. 

    3. You also show us how to interpret a trend with stuff we may already have. I don't have the money to go out and buy a new outfit every day, nor do I have the money to spend $1,000 on a dress. 

    So I appreciate your blog! I think it's great for every day people and makes us not look like every day people!!! I think sometimes, people just want to feel better than so they try to call out others by putting them down. Not very positive!!! 

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  21. I just got a new lace shirt this summer from Urban Outfitters. I paid enough for it that I need to be wearing it more often. It's pink and so far I've only worn it with a similar pink tank underneath. I want to wear it under a blazer when it gets cooler and see how that looks. I think I'll need a new blazer though :)

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  22. copying a good thing is not a bad thing. :)

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  23. I'm a fan of this lace top with the colored shirt underneath.  Great idea!  I think your cooking analogy is terrific--we're not all chefs in that we don't necessarily make up recipes, but we should totally be free to follow recipes!  Personal style is your expression of who you are, manifested in clothes.  If someone else's look strikes a chord within you there is NO problem in expressing yourself in a similar fashion (no pun intended!)  At the same time, I can see "higher fashion" type of people thinking along the lines of copying = bad, unoriginal, etc.  I think their relationship with clothes and fashion are a little different since they tend to push for new ground in the "fashion world" and be cutting edge whereas the rest of us are just going for new ways to express ourselves through our personal style.  I love how you empower women to be free to just be normal (yet, fabulous-looking) women.

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  24. I believe you can re-create an outfit and still be stylish.  Many may not want to accept it but essentially we all do this.  We find inspiration everywhere - If you look at the trends of today they're of the past but with a twist.  So should we tell Michael Kors, Ralph Lauren and others who are bringing back past fashions their not creative designers?  I personally enjoy how you take expensive runway looks and re-create it in a stylish and affordable way.

    Nikki`
    http://creative-intentions.blogspot.com/

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  25. Definitely, I think that's why designers have celebs sporting their fashions first cause they know that their fans will follow and copy their styles (clothes and hair)  We all get inspiration from one another and even though you are getting your inspiriation from magazines, I still think your outfits are better!!! Keep up the great work and thank you for inspiring US :O)))))

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  26. The premise of your blog is to show how you can dress like you're on the runway, but for much, much cheaper. It is an idea that I GREATLY appreciate, and this blog alone has helped me evolve my wardrobe and style into something I can be proud of. 

    So I guess my answer is a YES YES YES, you can still be stylish when you re-create an outfit! :)

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  27. Love love love this post! I re-create outfits all the time in hopes of being stylish!

    Also, I must say that I am so happy lace is in! Love you're outfit!

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  28. Some key pts to think about:

    1. copying and recreating are different things however.  We must define each act individually. 
    2. Flattery is also in the eye of the beholder.  Some of us don't want a twin out there.
    3. Can you be stylish if you're copying something that is not even your style?

    I think your blog recreates a look in your personal style.  If you copied, you'd have the exact same thing, bought from the same store.

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  29. Gorgeous lace!  I think creativity is all about using all of your resources.  Why pass up something just because you didn't think of it yourself?

    Ask the Duplex
     

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  30. I like the comments and yes, you can re-create an outfit and still be stylish because everyone will wear it differently.  Inspiration allows you to focus and evolve in the area(s) of your interest. For example, if your outfit is already planned you can focus on becoming a chef.  If fashion is your thing you can combine your creativity and evolve into a fashion career.   I am so happy that your blog offers an evolving avenue for those of us who need this part of our life on autopilot so we can focus on other things.   Hope this makes sense and also love the analogy!

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  31. I love this post! What a fabulous metaphor, comparing stylists to chefs! I think you are so right! There is nothing wrong with copying or being inspired by others ideas... that's part of the reason that the exchange of information is so great online! And stylists want you to copy them too! There's a reason fashion mags are popular! Sometimes you learn great ideas and tips... like today for example! I would never have thought of putting a hot pink shirt under a white lace top, but I love it!! And I hope to recreate it soon :) 

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  32. I agree with you.  It makes me think of a lot of the personalities on Food Network: they're not master chefs, but they're good cooks and they help everyday people put complete meals on the table.  And even they tell you to experiment.  If you like your food spicy, add an extra chipotle.  I think most fashion blogs are designed for people to show off what they wear so that others can be inspired.  It would be silly if fashion bloggers chastised someone for copying their look!  And those that copy can still be stylist.

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  33. I like your approach and think you do a great job.  I also think there is a difference between copying and inspiring.  Most of your looks aren't copies - think of someone buying an entire outfit off a mannequin - but are inspired by.  Using the clothes you own, and some creative thinking, how can you pull together a stylish wardrobe.  I also think when you first started, you didn't always include inspiration photos, but you've evolved into that blogging style?  And, it seems that while sometimes you have a picture, and then construct an outfit, other times you have an outfit then search for an image that fits it?  I actually don't think you always need an inspiration photo - you are inspiration enough for us.  Finding the picture after the outfit is already put together almost lessens your own brand of inspiration, you know?  

    All that said, I'm wearing an outfit "inspired" by you - Brown skirt with salmon colored top.  Normally for my office job I'd have grabbed a brown jacket to complete the look, but after seeing so many colorful outfits, and yesterday's color blocking, I grabbed a yellow jacket and it works great.  So definitely an inspiration!  

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  34. It's completely ridiculous to say that you have to be 100% original in order to be stylish.  Everyone posts "inspiration" so what's the difference?  Being 100% original just means that you dress like a crazy/homeless person.  I think your recipe analogy makes sense.  You can "copy" and still make it your own...just like you do on this blog!

    Kelly
    http://fashionorfiction.blogspot.com/

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  35. so glad to read your post
    they even copy on Project Runway for heavens sake
    i love to recreate looks and think sometimes it is even more creative to do 
    sometimes you really need to strech your thinking to do that
    brett

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  36. I saw the post you mentioned here, and I agreed with you in the comments.....only to be rudely brushed off by the author. To me it comes down to judgement. That writer is assuming that the girl she saw must obviously read the same style blogs as her and was copying them. She never once thought "maybe that dress was a gift from her aunt" or that the girl has never read a blog in her life. She just figured it was copying. Well excuse me, but the last I heard, imitation was the sincerest form of flattery. There is nothing wrong with getting your inspirations from images online, bloggers, people on the street, etc. Even if you like someone's look so much you go and buy the same shoes or skirt, it's all good. Something in that look spoke to you and felt like YOU. Great post J - I'm so glad you wrote this!!

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  37. I totally agree with you.  And I think your example of a master chef versus good cook illustrates your point well.  But beyond all that, I feel like it's your clothes going on your body for your enjoyment.  So who really cares whether it's a completely brand new idea, or something you copied or referenced or were inspired by.  If you put it together and it looks good on you, you get two thumbs up from me!

    - Alisha
    www.ruthlessplumage.com

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  38. Isn't the whole point of a blog to showcase your outfits for others to get inspired by? That is a big part of why I started my blog, because most fashions blogs were filled with too many expensive clothes or too dressy. I aim at college/ teen looks and buy all of my clothing on sale. Don't people know the highest form of flattery is imitation?! You are so right J, I love the cooking analogy!

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  39. It's strange that higher fashion would think copying is unoriginal. But the point of the higher fashion is for it to be copied. 

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  40. I love this post! I completely agree with you that you can recreate an outfit & still be stylish. Some of my favorite outfits the past few weeks have been inspired by the blog of a woman I work with (http://www.coralsandcognacs.com) or from your blog. So thanks for being stylish & inspiring!

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  41. I never really learned to cook, I'm only following recipies (and I'm really talking about food here :-), Same for fashion. I not good at it, but love to look good. So I started to read fashion blogs (such as yours), and started my own blog, where I post my outfits (without particulary copying, but just by putting together what I have in my closet) and hope for some honest comments. Nobody can be good at something without some little learning proces from someone!! Like you didn't learn to talk or walk by yourself did you?! So accept the help for fashion too, totaly acceptable.

    http://gayleswishlist.blogspot.com

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  42. I'm with you J---I think life is all about being inspired.  Not everyone can be an innovator and everyone's talents lie in different areas. If a woman wants to be stylish and is inspired by magazines, catalogs and other bloggers...I don't see the problem in that at all.

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  43. Very well said, I couldn't agree more.  I love seeing your style and try to incorporate it for my own.

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  44. Thanks J for this post!  It's so true.  Few people will truly innovate in a field -- it's ludacris to expect every woman to do that with fashion.  I'm sure the person who writes that blog hasnt contributed anything to many fields. and no ones judging her.  Just one of the many reasons I hate living in DC!  

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  45. I agree with you J!  I wouldn't even call it copying, I would call it being inspired and there's nothing wrong with that in my opinion. 

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  46. I totally agree Alisha! In general, I don't think people should be too concerned with what other people are wearing. If it makes them happy (and is within dress code if they are a church or work) then that's all that matters. :-)

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  47. You know me so well. :-) You are correct that my blogging style has evolved and that I often add inspiration photos after the fact. I like to include an inspiration photo to just show where I got the general idea. I think everyone is inspired by things, just not everyone admits it or consciously realizes where they got it! :-)

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  48. These are all great points to consider! Blindly copying all the time and not knowing your style? Probably not something I would recommend. Although copying an outfit here and there to help you find your style could be really helpful. As with everything in life, it's a balance. :-)

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  49. Thank you!! This made my day! :-) So glad you like the blog and thank you for commenting today.

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  50. I love that scene! Great point to add to the discussion.

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  51. Cin, I bought this shirt about a year ago. Check Forever 21 though, they had this shirt for awhile and usually stock very similar pieces!

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  52. Gosh- yes- what a great way of describing it. I think so many of us struggle in finding a creative voice, but remaining original. Thanks for sticking up for us and providing some inspiration!

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  53. Great blog. Can anyone recommend a similar blog to follow?  I'm looking for something that shows everyday style...on a budget.

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  54. Copying is absolutely fine.  All ideas have to come from somewhere but I guess it depends on what one defines as stylish. J Lo is fashionable. Katherine Hepburn had personal style.  I think your posts are wonderful and very fashionable but 'style' is a unique and individual thing. There is a difference between being fashionable (which your posts truly are) and being 'stylish'.  Having personal style suggests uniqueness to me while fashion is an almost technical term having to do with putting one's self together in a fashion conscious way.  An older woman expressed it best...fashion says "me too" while style says "only me".

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  55. Wendi said it perfectly! I am a mother of four. I just come to your blog. save your photos on my iPad. When I am ready to go out I pull up a pic and copy it. Add a little here and there. And I look fabulous. I am so glad I came across your blog a long time ago.(funny how. I saw a post you made on the TJMaxx fan page). Ever since then I am hooked and I have gotten several of my family and friends hooked to your blog. 
    I appreciate you taking time to post on a daily basis. I used to have to blogs and I know how hard it is to keep them updated daily. It takes a toll on ya and I appreciate you doing that for strangers. 

    Keep doing what your doing. You are inspiring women of all ages.

    HUGS

    nina

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  56. PS. as usual. The outfit is FABULOUS!

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  57. Patsy, I love this quote! "An older woman expressed it best...fashion says "me too" while style says "only me"."  Very cool, thank you for sharing your thoughts!

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  58. I started my blog because I couldn't find a single style blog I could relate to, so I'm curious to hear what people say. :-)

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  59. Thank you for the c+c mention, Jessica! :)

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  60. I absolutely believe you can copy and be stylish! And even in copying your own personality and taste comes through so that it isn't even copying, so much as being inspired. You added yellow shoes to the above look, which is totally you and not from the inspiration picture.
    Speaking of which, I am excited to try wearing a bright tank under my lace top! I can't wait to see how it turns out. :)

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  61. I am horrible at fashion.  I MUST copy looks if I ever hope to branch out beyond my jeans/t-shirt/sneakers look.  It's because of you and your blog that I have become a bit more daring in trying out some fashion styles.  I love that you keep your posts short and simple.  Even a fashion idiot like myself can clearly see what you are trying to accomplish!

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  62. Lovely lace <3 I also like how the belt and the sshoes compliment each other)))

    http://tri-skelos.blogspot.com/

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  63. I love your Chef/recipe analogy - you are so on point!! Just like a cook will tailor a recipe to what they have in the pantry, you tailor looks to what you have in the closet. What's created is a translation... this is why your blog is so popular. Keep fighting the good fight! :)

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  64. I think copying is fine, especially if you put your own twist on things. Why else do we have magazines trying to sell us all those clothes? Your blog is great because it shows how to put together outfits inspired by the runways/magazines and put your own spin on them. Then we can take them and put our own spin on them. Keep on copying!

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  65. I agree J! How can we be "inspired" by things to create our own outfits yet not copy or recreate these looks?

    Shoes and Jules

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  66. I don't think it's copying as much as it is a source of inspiration. I think whether we realize it or not some how some way when we get dressed in the morning we are recreating something we seen before....either on the runway or in a magazine. Without taking inspiration from these places we would be lost. Plus my blog is all about stealing looks for less since I believe every woman can be stylish just by learning the trends and some simple rules. These are mere guidelines that either you can strictly follow or take bits and pieces from. Not everyone can throw an outfit together without knowing what goes with what and what doesn't.

    http://fashionistanygirl.blogspot.com/

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  67. I agree with you. You put your unique style in the outfit that inspires you. I like your analogy with chefs and stylists - very thought-provoking! I was inspired by the outfit when I saw it in Lucky, and I admire you interpretation.

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  68. I definitely do not think is bad to copy (fashion wise). Let's not forget magazines that dedicate entire pages titled "Copy this Look" or something like that. Magazines such as "People Style", "Lucky", "US Weekly", "Life & Style" etc. dedicate entire pages to such fashions. After all nobody is a fashion genius. Even the ones that are born to do that job such as stylists and fashion designers have learned, somehow. Sure they create, recreate and inspire. But they also copy. And emulating someone is the sincerest form of flattery. I love what you do J. Your looks are fresh, modern, elegant and above all great for any budget because let's face it most of us women can only afford clothes from the mall and some of us on sale, even that. Plus when you copy a look from a magazine or a runway you make it MORE YOUR OWN than anything and you turn it into street-wear much more so than it is. You are a practical dresser despite being a fabulous, sexy, elegant, fashion-forward dresser.

    From a True Fan of Your Style and Fashion Sense. Take Care & Start Following Me, Ada. =)

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  69. I'm new to your blog (discovered you today, and can't pull myself away!) I'm a stay-at-home-mom to two young children, and definitely fashionably challenged. I've loved this post in particular. I told my husband that my dream Mother's Day gift (birthday gift, christmas gift, whatever!) would be for him to fly me out there and shop with you. A girl can dream, right!

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  70. jseverydayfashionJune 10, 2012 at 9:03 PM

    Thank you so much and welcome to the blog! :-) If you ever make it to Orlando, let me know! I've had several women come here to shop, or shop with me while they are on vacation! :-) 

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  71. You know, I think you can be stylish even if you recreate an outfit. Here is the reason why: a friend once told me that pretty much everything already exists out there, i.e. if you try to make a new outfit, somebody might have done the same thing before in a different part of the world... BUT! where you can be stylish is, you don't copy every single thing, you copy only what appeals to you and shows your personality and sense of style. The way you pick and choose from inspiration pictures will turn into your own style. That means that you can still be stylish even when you copy others!

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  72.  I am one of those girls who knows how to buy something beautiful/stylish but then doesn't know what to match it with. So yes in a way I am a fashionably challenged. When I found your website I looked at my closet with different eyes. Right then I created some new outfits and wrote down some pieces that I need to buy to complete few other outfits. You are such an inspiration, now when I shop it's like what would J wear? :) I believe there's nothing wrong with copying as long as you dress body type and age appropriate.

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