Make a fashion mood board
New Year. New You.
I hate that cliché almost as much as I hate peppermint in chocolate - a great idea that's never executed quite as you imagine it.
Whilst I'm a total believer in reinvention, I prefer tweaks and tinkering to an all out overhaul.
Slow evolution usually equals more long-term results and when it comes to fashion the end game is to have honed a style that you can call your signature.
The beginning of a new year is by it's very nature a great time to try new things, adopt a trend or re-boot your look but before you hit the shops for your winter wardrobe (yes, the department store launch their AW collections this month) try creating a mood board first - a visual inspiration of clothes, looks and colours that you'd like to wear/try/buy in 2013.
Not only will it help you develop your look but it may save you money by inspiring you to reinterpret clothes you already own. Here's how:
TAKE A BLANK CANVAS This isn't a school project so invest in a board that can be displayed in your bedroom or creative space. Opt for a good quality felt board with a wooden or metal frame. Neutral white, nude or grey will create the best back drop. Try: You can make a chic board by backing an un-glassed vintage picture frame with cork or felt board from the hardware store.
FIND YOUR MUSE Central to a mood board is a muse. He/she is defined by a character or person whose style you admire and would like to emulate. Or just steal. I choose a retro and current day muse - it's a good way to connect the dots between classics and trends. Jackie Kennedy images will show you how to belt a trench coat exactly the right way and images of Kate Moss will show you how to make it work shrugged over a ball gown.
CURATE AND EDIT "The best part of creating a mood board is not having any rhyme or reason to it", says stylist and blogger, Claire Fabb, of www.yellowbutton.com.au. "Once you see all the pieces you like on a board together, the mood is created. Whether it's a collection of feathers, a great metallic belt, a ridiculously indulgent pair of metallic, spiked heels - You are creating the mood from what you're drawn to - it's not something you should over think". Magazines are a great place to start, but the best boards come from throwing the net a little wider. Trawl jumble sales for old books, film posters and album covers. Print out type that you love, hand write quotes, snip wall paper, cut fabric and ribbon samples, press flowers, pick buttons - anything and everything that visually stimulates or calms you. Start a collection box and then edit as you pin. You'll be amazed at how quickly themes evolve.
GOOGLE AND PRINT Try searching in adjectives rather than people and places - pink dress, yellow shoe, sparkly tiara - this will throw up images you might not have seen before. Another amazing resource is Pinterest. "It's so efficient and easy to use", says Fabb. "It's one of the easiest ways to create a board because you can follow someone who has a great 'eye' and you are automatically exposed, prompted with images you like without spending hours trawling sites trying to find something, which might appeal to you".
BUILD IT AND IT (MIGHT) COME What's on your fashion Bucket List? An Hermes Birkin? Louboutin heels? A collection piece from Marilyn Monroe's closet? Find an image of your heart's desire and put it in a place of prominence on the board. If you believe in the premise of self-help book The Secret, this visual affirmation just might help you attain it. Certainly something I'm prepared to try if it means the stork delivers a vintage rose gold Rolex.
VIRTUAL STYLE If this all sounds a little too Martha Stewart then try a virtual version. There are lots of apps that allow you to create an inspiration board on your smart phone or tablet. Search the web for images, quotes, colours and then use virtual pins, sticky tape and post-it notes to collage your board. One of the bonuses of doing it this way is that you can update it regularly and share with friends.
Paula Joye is Editor of www.lifestyled.com.au
Sydney Morning Herald