Fashion Strategy: Finding Inspiration

April 8th, 2009 - filed under: The Fashion » Clothing and Accessories

Finally, spring has sprung in the Northern hemisphere, and you can see its influence in every front yard, café patio, and fruit basket.  Taking the cue, fashion designers are sending their models marching down runways from New York to Milan, showcasing their own unique celebration of the new season.   This spring, like so many before, we’re getting the classic combos of pastel + patterns (watercolor-esque), muted ensembles + bright (think tangerine and fucsia) pop accents, minimal hemlines on minimal designs, (a nod to mod) and of course there’s florals everywhere (they’re a bit darker this year). 


Marc Jacobs 2009, Luella 2009, Rodarte 2009

Marc Jacobs 2009, Luella 2009, Rodarte 2009


I don’t ever follow trends, but I do love to draw from cutting edge fashion for fresh ideas to add into my own aesthetic. And these transitional seasons can be the most inspiring times!  Fashion is the manifestation of so many things; it’s about projecting out from your insides, it’s about reflecting back what surrounds you, and it’s all about telling your story.  And the spring story sings about shedding the weight of winter and wiggling into an outfit that allows you shine like a lovely daffodil! 

But if we’re all supposed to be bursting with shine, how come the entire fashion blogosphere is so uninspired, seemingly stalled in a giant, collective yawn?  Everyone, including myself and most likely including you too, is completely unimpressed with the vast majority of modern fashion.  We all seem to be waiting for something to knock our stripey socks off, and in the meantime we’re hiding in leggings and tunic tops, twiddling out thumbs.  Something’s gotta give. 


So, what do you do when new style stagnates and inspiration is nowhere to be found?  Well, I’ll tell you what I do.  I return to my roots! 

Everyone’s personal sense of style has a distinct origin. Maybe you began emulating your mother as a little girl, and now you only feel like a woman when wearing pearls. Or maybe little 9-year-old-you fell in love with a girl who said you looked nice in your sailor pants, causing navy and white to permeate your entire wardrobe ever after. Or maybe, like me, you didn’t even discover fashion until later in the game, when you got hit hard and fast with a subculture explosion of music, art and clothing that imprinted your ego so deeply it scarred. 





MmmMm yes, the delicious grunge 90s. The ripped jeans and old flannels, ‘clashing’ patterns and torn tights, vintage dresses with combat boots, ad oh oh oh, the music that carried it all. 

These are the clothes that shrouded me through my formative years, and visiting them again allows me to tap into some of that incredible energy I experienced as a young teen.  Disregarding the hormones, the mania, the self-doubt and the misdirected rebellion, those were some of the most creative, most magical, and most present years of my life. Wearing clothes reminiscent of then, I can’t help but feel comfortable, carefree, and absolutely centered.  And so I’ll borrow from the past right now, when I need a little bit of that teenaged enthusiasm. 

Whether you’re an 80’s power suit queen, a pretty prairie belle, an über-mod urbanite, or just a scrappy grunger like me, wearing clothes that rejuvenate you is an essential part of keeping you feeling beautiful and confident.  So if you know the root-style that’s going to make you feel great, dig into it and revel, no matter what the current trends dictate.  Everything old is new again, so one of these days you may just find yourself on the cutting edge.  Until then, at least you won’t be yawning for inspiration at every passing fad.


Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go shine up my combat boots.


  • Charley

    My 15 year old sister is channelling grunge despite the fact she was born a few weeks before Kurt died. I have to say it is making me nostalgic.

    I just look like a cowgirl with Keith Richards hair whatever I do so I give up, ha!

  • Sayward

    @ Charley – yeah, it seems like there’s a grunge resurgence brimming right now. I’ll be curious to see how it’s re-interpreted.

    ‘ cowgirl with Keith Richards hair’ sounds pretty much amazing to me! ha!

  • Heather

    oh my gosh! i totally remember those pictures of the grunge girl with black hair-i think i may have had them up in my highschool locker. LOL. holy blast from the past….memories of my 17 year old awkward self are re-emerging!

  • Sayward

    @ Heather – I had the same reaction when I found them! I remember those images so clearly from my junior high/early high school days. CRAZY!