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  • Lakyn Carlton

How to Make a Moodboard

When you're first embarking on your style journey, it can be difficult to distill your personal tastes into a few words or images. Luckily, that's not the point of the moodboard. Rather than serving as a checklist of styles and pieces you intend to try/buy, the moodboard is a visualization: as abstract as it is tangible. The path to your truest, most personal style does not start with the moodboard: the moodboard is simply a way to see what you've already spent a lifetime seeing, experiencing, and feeling and how it affects the way you want to express yourself.

I say all that to say the Pinterest moodboard is a great way to get a sense of your style, but creating one does not create style. You still have to do the work to, you know, be a person, and form an identity that you understand and can communicate through your aesthetic choices.

Finding Inspiration 

It's easy to get overwhelmed on Pinterest, but, it helps to remember that it is a search engine, just like Google, and to find what you're looking for, you're gonna have to, you know, search for it. But, don't feel discouraged if you don't know exactly what you're looking for. Here's some search terms I recommend for getting your moodboard started:

  • Celebrities whose style you like + "style" or "outfits"

  • Films with iconic costumes/styling

  • Style archetypes and descriptors i.e. feminine, romantic, classic, sophisticated, effortless, bohemian, colorful ( + "style" or "outfits")

  • Color combinations you like i.e. "yellow blue" + "outfit"

  • Pieces that you already own i.e. "wide leg trousers," "graphic tee," "cropped cardigan," etc. + "outfit"

  • Time periods/eras i.e. "1980s," "victorian" + "fashion"

  • Think of how you would describe the style of people you admire in real life? Your "glamorous" grandmother with clothes from the 50s; your "cool" older sister in her "edgy" "goth" clothes; your "colorful" grandfather's "fisherman sweaters"

Don't worry about creating a cohesive vision just yet: your focus, here, is simply collecting inspirational images. I recommend saving at least 100 to start, and paying close attention to ensure you have options for work and play, cold and warm weather, and casual and dressy.

The Cull

Once you've collected a wide array of images that you're attracted to on the surface level, it's time to dig deeper.

Now, bestie, I'm not accusing you of doing this, but a lot of times, when we’re seeking inspiration on the internet, we end up being “inspired” by things for the wrong reasons. While putting purely pretty things together can be fun, it’s important to be honest:

  • Did you save that image because you like the outfit, or just the body wearing it?

  • Do you want those clothes, or the lifestyle you think they’ll bring you?

  • Are you imagining you in these looks, or just putting your head on their body and not actually honoring yourself? There’s nothing wrong with crafting a fantasy, but the goal here is to bring it into the real world. I don’t wanna hear any of this “I’d wear it if I lost x amount of pounds,” or “this would be cute for a photoshoot.”

  • Focus on you and your actual lifestyle, right here and right now: Is it practical?

Remove all the images in which it's not specifically the clothes or the way that they are styled that resonates with you.

The Anti-Moodboard

Some people thrive on negativity. Not me, but some of you, out there. If you're struggling to figure out what you really, really like, sometimes, the solution is to work backwards from what you really, really don't like.

It may seem silly to make a moodboard of stuff you explicitly hate, but, just like the moodboard is a tool to visualize your taste, the anti-moodboard is a tool to understand your taste. To be successful, however, you will have to analyze the why behind all the varying degrees of dislike, from the "I'm just not into it" to the "burn it with fire and never speak of it again." Through this exercise, you'll also develop standards that help you when you're ready to shop: after all, knowing what to avoid (because you'll never wear it) is just as important as figuring out what to look for.


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