As a blogger who is enthusiastic about fashion yet has a very specific taste, it can be easy for me to get stuck in a style rut. With internet access at my fingertips and the amount of inspiration on social media, you’d think it would be simple to remedy this issue.
But while it’s true that the online world can be helpful in helping to spice up my fashion game at times, it can also feel monotonous and dull to search for inspiration there. I personally prefer a different method: exploring my city.
I start by walking to the farmer’s market, only meters away from the city’s former grain-trade building that’s now a grocery store. Let my eyes take in the vibrant colors of the fruits and vegetables displayed in the original paper boxes in which they come. Observe the sellers talking to their regulars about the weather while bagging deep burgundy cherries, pale florets of cauliflowers, and green, fragrant bunches of mint. Take in the sight of the orange juice machine turning pyramids of oranges into fresh juice the color of the sun.
I watch the florists prepare flower bouquets in my favorite pastel shades – purple, pink, yellow. Infer the different textures of the plants and flowers – prickly, bulging, grainy, silky, solely through vision. Notice the fluorescent blue of the slushie that the ice cream seller hands out to waiting hands. Observe other people’s styles, no matter young or old.
I browse through the sellers of handmade Indian garments on the main square, with their colorful offerings. Harem pants, dresses and flowy skirts in clashing colors and motifs. Fabrics with shades ranging from tea brown to the brightest orange, patterns ranging from patchwork to thin stripes. Bags made of raffia or hand-dyed fabrics, some adorned with golden beads and trimmings.
I visit the small independents shops peppering the streets. Walk inside the shop that only sells rainbow-themed food and paraphernalia and another one that specializes in dresses and handmade porcelain jewelry. Take a peek inside the windows of the comicbook shop with yellowing volumes stacked up the ceiling and the record shop decorated with retro posters. Stroll through the quieter of the streets until I find some not-so-hidden gems – minimalist fair fashion boutiques, the coolest vintage shops.
As I said earlier, with the prevalence of social media influence nowadays, it’s easy to let myself be inspired by what I see online. But taking in the sights of my own city, something obvious but often taken for granted, inspires me in ways that are different from the digital world. Unlike social media or even fashion magazines, it rarely tells me what specific items to buy or style tribes to follow. It provides me with only the raw material – evoked feelings, fresh ideas, arrays of memories. It’s my job to turn them in into fashion decisions that make me comfortable, confident and free to express what I want. It’s flexible and allows for more creative freedom. Maybe that’s why it’s so inspiring.
But what I like about it the most is that it encourages me to get inspired by things that are outside my comfort zone. There is only a handful of things with which I’m personally obsessed when it comes to most of my fashion choices. I tend to get attracted to particular color schemes, periods and styles. It’s easy to get stuck in what I’m comfortable in. But the city often reminds me of the many wonderful things outside of them. Different colors, different ideas, different styles.
What’s your favorite way to get over a style rut? What do you do to get inspired when it comes to fashion? Feel free to share your thoughts.