Since my schooldays, (complete with braces and outrageously bad haircuts) I’ve kept fashion notebooks and collected my precious vogue cuttings. Pictures speak a thousand words the saying goes and ain’t that the truth…
Pretty much all my friends kept scrapbooks or had boxes full of magazine cuttings. Nowadays there is also pintrest, such an amazing resource!
The trick is to translate that ‘collection’ into workable and more or less useful reference for real life.
Why bother with a look book?
A look book is key to refining personal style and distinguishing between real & imaginary shopping needs. A look book can help with being suitably dressed for any occasion!
How to go about creating a look book
Step # one
Establish the filing system, I use A4 ‘flip books’ black covers, (so they don’t get tatty) with clear sleeves. Then I just slot the pictures in the empty folders, very easy to edit as well. When a look is no longer relevant it just gets removed. It’s best to be strict, no more than. say 10 images per lookbok, keep it manageable. I still use pintrest, but for the looks I really like to refer to. I prefer the physical to the digital.
Step # two
Collect your images. Realistically this should be a long term on going process. Although I like pintrest, my preference is for a physical look book, that can be handled and kept near my dressing area. Old and current copies of vogue, vanity fair, town & country, Harrods magazine that sort of thing. Fabric swatches and the like can also be useful for colour & texture reference but remember not to hoard….
Step # three
Group favourite images into ‘collections’ for example I’ve got the ‘office wardrobe’ lookbook, my ‘weekend ‘offduty’ look book, the ‘cool jeans’ look book, ‘Christmas party’ look book, and so on… To make it really useful refer to real life pie chart. If you are just getting started my suggestion would be to keep it simple. Create just two distinct lookbooks. The Casual day wear look book and the fantasy lifestyle one. The fantasy lifestyle one may need a bit of refining, but it’s good to have some over the top visual reference too.
Step # four
Edit edit edit. Look at the hair of the model, the accessories, the proportions of the outfit. There is a story there, where is this lovely lady dressed for? Where is she going and would you like her to be your friend? Your boss? If not, why not? The very best handbag is wasted on the wrong outfit. Super-high heels look good, mostly if we never actually move, ok for posing but not much else. Study the silhouette, the proportion and the detail. Sometimes in photos, cheap poorly made clothes, can be made to look as good as expensive well made ones, but they will not function so well! Consider the reality aspect.
Step # five
Use the lookbooks! The photos should help identify any ‘holes’ in the wardrobe. I use my look books to check what outfits can be cobbled together from existing clothes I already own, but most importantly refer to them when Shopping. It’s incredible how many people buy, as an of hand example, the latest IT bag, because it’s popular and every one has it, BUT it has no connection whatsoever with the rest of their wardrobe. Instant style massacre! Few things look worse than expensive items worn the ‘wrong’ way.
Forthcoming post: updating my office wardrobe, lookbook and the etiquette.
Personal style posts:
Personal style (part 1): Everyday wardrobe essentials
Personal style (part 2): The colour palette.
Shopping the classics (and still looking cutting edge)
Love thy wardrobe