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On the pursuit of free fashion and personal style

I have always loved fashion. Sometime circa 1979 I started ripping out photos from Teen Magazine and Seventeen Magazine and hanging them on my closet door for inspiration. I still have a huge box of clippings that I can't bring myself to throw out.  

Looking back through them is walk down memory lane and while my taste has evolved, it's interesting how many of my preferences have remained consistent. Short hair? Yes. Sweater dress with matching tights? Yes (though maybe not white ones). Cute gold ballet flats?  Yes please!  High school sophmore to 46 year old woman, my go to uniform has remained remarkably the same. 

When I married in 2003, I revisited my cache of wedding dress photos circa 1987. Yes, I started picking out wedding dresses almost 20 years before I actually married. LOTS of super big shoulders and headband style veils, but still, some good ideas there, too (at least this is what I say as I move my boxes of clippings from home to home to home). 

Heather and Roberta demonstrate the 30 day wardrobe challenge.

Wardrobe Challenge: Day 2, mix at least two textures into your look

I finally kicked my clipping addiction around 2008 when I discovered my even more addictive passion, Pinterest, but that’s post for another day. For me, fashion is a daily outlet for creativity. Some people cook, some sew, some paint, some write. I "fashion". Each day, you get a fresh chance to "make" something that expresses who you are and who you want to be in that moment. It’s just fun, and if you make a mistake, there’s always tomorrow. 

I have a style compatriot here at the library: Assistant Director Roberta Johnson aka The Chic Librarian. She enjoys clothes as much as I. We are currently doing "Who What Wear’s 30-Day Wardrobe Challenge".  Silly yes, but a fun respite from 8 hours of “library administration” and "space audits".  

Over the years, I’ve discovered all sorts of places to search for fashion inspiration, I thought I’d share some today.  

Foreign Fashion Magazines 

Hola magazine cover

Hola, Hello and Paris Match are my go-to’s for European fashion inspiration.

In high school when I had no money, I'd go to the library and thumb through every issue of Paris Match, ignoring all the politics and focusing exclusively on what the women were wearing. Once I did have a little money in my pocket, I'd spend it all—probably $25 a month—on fashion magazines. And these days, I've pretty much come full circle, saving myself hundreds of dollars a year (at least a couple pairs of shoes) by checking them out at the library. I’m (still) especially fond of the foreign ones like Hola, Hello! Magazine and Paris Match.  I still don’t read French or Spanish, but that doesn’t matter. Photos will suffice—the European royalty, Spanish music and film stars and Parisian socialites in these magazines really know how to dress. If you love to read magazines online, there are hundreds of them you can read for free on Zinio, too. 

Fashion Blogs

Screenshot of WhoWhatWear blog

Do you follow fashion blogs? I have almost fifty blogs I follow via Gosh that sounds a little crazy, but the beauty of Feedly is you don’t have to actually read, just scroll through the pictures. Some of my favorites: Tom & Lorenzo, Carolines Mode,  RDujour, Keep It Chic, Who What Wear, YouLookFab and Seersucker+Saddles.   And the best part?    You can pin right off your Feedly to…


Fashion images from Pinterest

Pinterest can be a never-ending buffet of fashion inspiration served up, on demand, directly to you. Surf through the “Women’s Fashion” live feed or start following individual boards that directly match your style to get a customized feed.  I confess to having at least 10 fashion boards I have created and pin to (catalog by type, of course. I do work in a library), plus two for hair, one for my kids and one entitled “Stuff I almost Bought”. Check out how crazy I am here. 

Books on Fashion & Personal Style

The library offers hundreds of books on fashion and personal style. I guarantee you, if you can find it on Amazon, you can get it from your library. Trick: go to the online catalog, type "personal style" into the key word search box and click the “search all Libraries” box. You’ll get a list of available titles from every library in the system. Next sort by “Published Date” so that all the new ones float to the top. Place the ones that look good on hold and in a week or two you’ll have a whole stack of fashion inspiration just waiting at DPPL for you to pick up. Some of my favorites:

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