Creative Sources for Fashion Inspiration

By on October 19, 2015

Fashion isn’t about spending the most money or having the fullest walk-in closet. It’s about finding individual pieces that inspire you and reflect your personality. Whether you’re a fitness instructor, school teacher, or business executive, good fashion design requires that you start thinking like an artist. You also have to keep your radar on at all times and seize inspiration wherever it appears. And remember, fashion is about self-expression — not chasing trends. Here are four creative sources for fashion inspiration that can help you find your true style.


Many design elements such as color, material, texture, and construction come together to make a piece of clothing. These are the same elements that architects and interior designers use when designing a building or interior space. If you pay attention to the latest fashion trends, it can be difficult not to judge every piece of clothing by what you’ve seen on the cover of Vogue. However, by studying an art form that you are less familiar with, you can begin to develop a clearer sense of what you like. When studying architecture, pay special attention to the formal lines, ornamentation, and interplay of light and shadow.

Thrift Stores

Today’s fashion is a culmination of everything that has come before, and the vintage clothing movement reflects that idea. Savvy shoppers with a small budget know that the local thrift shop is filled with treasures that look like they’ve just fallen off the runway. You need only a little imagination and patience to find them.

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Here’s a game: Find a picture of a celebrity wearing an outfit that you love. Now head to your local thrift store and try to recreate the look. Even if you aren’t able to make a perfect copy, this focused approach is bound to turn up more than a few perfect pieces. And don’t forget to recycle some of your old pieces so that someone else can make them new again.

The Theater

Movies and music have long held a monopoly when it comes to setting the pace for fashion. For those interested in thinking outside the box, look no further than the world of theater. A Broadway show can be an unexpected bridge to a new world of fashion inspiration. Whether it’s the pop-fueled ’50s and ’60s in “Jersey Boys” or the ’80s and ’90s in “Fun Home,” a night at the theater is also a window into the history of fashion. Iconic, sincere costume design is a key element to any production and is as important as the sets and dialogue in creating a believable reality on stage. For you, these costumes are an opportunity to experience past trends in a new context.

Fashion Blogs

Finding a really good fashion blog that reflects your own sensibilities can be a great shortcut to design inspiration. It’s also a chance to get an unfiltered opinion or an unbiased perspective that can be a lot harder to find in the advertisement-driven world of fashion publications. Sorting through the ever-expanding blogosphere for a fresh perspective can be as impossible as finding a needle in a haystack. Luckily, Instagram has made it easy with a running feed of the latest looks, vintage throwbacks, and trend-busting ideas. Harper’s Bazaar recently published a list of the 14 best Instagram fashion bloggers. It’s a great place to start.

Aaron Rote #Chicago freelance writer and poet specializing in quick wit and quick turnarounds.

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Creative Sources for Fashion Inspiration