Your Pinterest boards can be so much more than just collection buckets for your latest inspirations. In fact, a Pinterest board has all the qualities a great style defining tool needs: It's super visual and allows you to not only collect but also organise and process a ton of inspiration in a short amount of time. The one downside: it's far too easy to just pin away and let your Pinterest account turn into a rambly stream of visual consciousness without ever acting upon all that valuable inspiration you collected.
In this post I’ll show you how to actively use Pinterest as a tool to refine every component of your personal style, from your colour palette to your go-to styling tricks and also give you 10 concrete board ideas. Ready? Ok, go!
First, some ground rules:
BASIC RULES FOR USING PINTEREST AS A STYLE DEFINING TOOL
1. Give each board a defined purpose
If you want to use your boards as part of your creative process, they each need to have a clearly defined purpose. You need to know which context you are collecting inspiration for, whether that context is big and abstract like your overall personal style or small and tangible, like accessories ideas for your summer holiday.
2. Write clear descriptions
Use the description boxes of each pin to note down what exactly it is about the image that inspired you in regard to the context. Was it the colour scheme, a specific item, a combination of textures, the general style?
3. Don’t be afraid to delete pins
Regularly revisit your boards and get rid of everything you don't like anymore. Now, obviously there’s no need to do that for all of your boards, just the ones you want to use to actively refine your style, because they are the ones you need to be able to analyse as a whole. Pins that you only feel meh about not only distract from pins you love but also completely skew the overall feel of the board. So: Whenever you are giving your board a quick glance over, get rid of anything that does not inspire you anymore or that feels out of place.
And here are 10 ways you can use Pinterest to refine your personal style...
TO REVEAL YOUR COLOUR STYLE
One of the most important components of your personal style is its colour palette. We all have our own unique preferences for certain colours and a Pinterest board is a great tool for revealing those preferences for two reasons: a) it’s super easy to collect lots of images in one place and see how the individual shades work together as a whole and b) it’s even easier to find more images with a similar colour scheme through the 'Related Pins’ feature at the bottom of the page. To create a colour-focus board you first need to pick a context, whether that is your entire personal style, a seasonal wardrobe or even just a single look. Next, start pinning every image that speaks to you in some way in regard to your context. And don't feel like you have to stick to fashion-related images only: All that counts are the colours of an image so feel free to also pin things like photography, design, food, interiors, anything. After a first round of pinning you then need to go through your board, identify an overarching theme and delete any images that don't represent that theme. Your goal should be to create a coherent colour story of images that you can then use to extract individual colours and build a colour hierarchy for your wardrobe, like in this post.
TO STUDY STYLING TECHNIQUES
Any great stylist will tell you: An outfit is more than the sum of its individual pieces. It’s not only about what you wear, but how you wear it, all the little details, whether you roll up your sleeves, tuck in your shirt, add some layering etc. Good styling is what gives an outfit its individual character. The good news is that styling is a skill like any other which means you can learn it through good old practice and observation. A great way to speed up that process is to create a dedicated 'Styling Techniques' board where you collect examples of clever styling techniques you might want to incorporate into your own look. Make sure you use the description box to identify each technique and then regularly select a few to replicate.
TO PLAN YOUR STYLE CONCEPT FOR A NEW SEASON
One of the most helpful ways to use Pinterest to refine your personal style is to create boards that represent your seasonal wardrobe for the current or upcoming season. A seasonal style board should include both abstract and practical inspiration: everything from overall themes you want to base your seasonal wardrobe on (a 50s touch, a bohemian feel?) to very specific items and outfits. For me a seasonal style board is the ideal starting point for building a new capsule wardrobe at the beginning of a season: I collect inspiration throughout the months leading up to it and then analyse the board as a whole, create an overall look from it and dissect it into individual elements. If you want to see an example, the image above is an excerpt from the one I am currently working on, my spring and summer board. Click here to see the whole thing. One extra tip: Since seasonal style boards include a wide range of things, from the abstract to the very specific, it’s important that you always note down what exactly you love about an image in the description, so you’ll have an easier time processing your set later on.
TO VISUALIZE YOUR OVERALL PERSONAL STYLE
If you are currently in the process of refining your personal style, a 'master style board' is a must. How does a master board differ from a seasonal style board? It’s all about the context. A seasonal style board should include every element (colours, items, combos, materials, etc.) that you want to wear that season, i.e. it’s very specific and has a short-term focus. Your overall personal style on the other hand is likely to remain stable for many years and will influence all of your seasonal wardrobes and also many other areas of your life. Your master style board should represent the essence of your personal style, its most important qualities, from colours, textures and shapes to overall themes, moods and feelings. If you are still in the early stages of defining your style, your master board should grow with your preferences and always show your current best idea of your overall style.
TO COLLECT NON-FASHION INSPIRATION
Our style and aesthetic ideals do not just manifest as a preference for certain clothes. If you prefer clean, minimal lines when it comes to your outfits you’ll likely also favour minimalist designs for your home decor, your stationery and other everyday objects. Your aesthetic ideals are universal in that sense. A dedicated non-fashion board can help you further develop your universal style by forcing you to think outside the box and focus on things like shapes, colours, textures, etc. What, apart from fashion, inspires you visually? Nature, architecture, photography? I for example am a little obsessed with beautiful graphic designs and typography at the moment and it's very interesting to see how universal my style truly is, i.e. how well my graphic design and fashion preferences align.
TO BUILD UP A PROPORTIONS CATALOGUE
A proportion is nothing but a formula for a certain combination of silhouettes, like 'cropped, boxy t-shirt + high-waisted pencil skirt' or 'ankle-length skinny jeans + loose fitting shirt'. To expand your existing repertoire of proportions consider creating your very own proportions catalogue that is tailored to your personal style and lifestyle. Think proportions you already wear, proportions you want to try and different ways to wear your favourite items. A proportions catalogue is not just a great thing to have on hand when you are stuck for inspiration but it’s also super helpful for when you want to build a capsule wardrobe for a new season or a trip, and need a set of proportions as your starting point.
AS A STYLING PLAYGROUND
Stylists are masters of combining individual elements to create complex visual worlds that evoke a certain feeling. One of my favourite things to do on Pinterest is to dream up my own visual world or scene and bring it to life using lots of different images of anything from clothes to landscape photography to single objects. I call those boards my styling playgrounds because there are no rules. I don’t have to be practical about them or know why exactly an image speaks to me. It’s just about letting your inner feeling guide you and coming up with something that you love visually. And: Apart from being super fun to create, these kinds of boards are also a great way to practise your styling skills and train your eye.
TO GATHER DIRECT INSPIRATION
All too often we pin things that we "kinda like somehow" but would never actually wear in real life. A ‘Direct inspiration” board combats this: Fill it only with outfits that you a) would wear exactly as pictured (minor changes are ok, but note them down in the description) and b) can replicate with the contents of your current wardrobe or a few additions. That way over time you will build up a good stock of outfit ideas that you can wear as is. The ultimate remedy to that dreaded 'I have nothing to wear' syndrome.
TO PLAN A TRAVEL WARDROBE
As long as the context is small enough, you can even plan a whole wardrobe on a Pinterest board, like a travel wardrobe for example. The easiest way to create a mixable, versatile travel wardrobe is to choose a coherent overall theme. That way most of your items will go together and you can create lots of outfits from a small number of items. A Pinterest board allows you to not only visualize the theme of your travel wardrobe but also plan out all of the individual looks and items for your trip. On this board for example, I'm currently collecting ideas for a city vacation, complete with beauty looks, single items and outfits using those items. I started out by selecting representations of a few items that I already own and could imagine taking and then used the Related Pins feature to find more possible outfits that can be created from those items.
TO BUILD YOUR DREAM WARDROBE
One of my favourite creativity techniques is working with a completely blank canvas to generate new ideas. That’s why I have a whole pinterest board dedicated to outfits, items and elements that I love, but could never buy or wear right now. It’s my ‘in a different life’ dream wardrobe. Now, even though I don’t plan on replicating any of those outfits any time soon, the board still gives me lots of ideas for individual elements, like colour combinations or themes, that I can incorporate into my current wardrobe. The fact that I don’t need to be realistic when selecting them allows me just listen to my gut feeling, which is where, I find, the best creative ideas usually come from :)