By Hillary Johnson
You’re walking down the street. Suddenly, your eye catches a woman wearing a stylish striped shirt, tall knee-high leather boots and a vibrantly colored patterned skirt.
The next day, you’re in your closet and find yourself thinking about that same outfit. Inspired, you pattern your outfit for the day after your new fashion “muse.”
Although Webster’s New World College Dictionary offers several defitions for “style,” the one best suited to this discussion is “the current fashionable way of dressing, speaking, acting.” In turn, the best definition for “inspiration” found was “any stimulus to creative thought or action.”
But what exactly is style inspiration and where do we get it? Following these definitions, style inspiration is when you are inspired to express yourself in a creative way through your choice of clothing and accessories.
In turn, the styles or fashions we choose to wear help define us. They create the face we show to the world, and every little accessory contributes to the overall effect.
And style inspiration can come from anywhere: a family member, your best friend, a store window. But many of those style inpirations come from media, fashion media.
Fashion Media & the Digital Age
For years, the “women’s” or “fashion” section of the daily newspaper or or a handful of magazines — most of which covered everything from recipes to cleaning tips as well as fashion — dominated the “fashion media” mass market. There was, of course, one exception.
Vogue, the queen of high-fashion magazines, was founded in 1892. It has been providing brilliant writing and creative vision to readers ever since. Every page offers fashion and style ideas as well the latest runway and “street style” trends and developments.
- Vogue cover March 2011
- (image from google images)
Each page offers something different to all readers, whether it be the high-fashion elegance of ads from designers like Louis Vuitton, Dior or Oscar de la Renta, or articles about up and coming fashion photographers featuring their remarkable work, each page of the magazine offers something to live by. Celebrities, models and inspirational women from politics and the arts grace the cover of Vogue each month, each one looking sensational.
“I can remember going to my Grandmother’s house and seeing issues of Vogue scattered on the coffee table,” SMU junior Audra Fulp reminisces.
And yes, Vogue and editor Anna Wintour still weild significant power in the fashion industry. But for young men and women growing up in this digital age, the locus of power has shifted. Young fashionistas are still inspired by the fierce, beautiful images in Vogue, whether they are scouring the print edition or the one on their iPad. But it is the multimedia fashion icons, the bloggers, who have become this group’s true style inspiration, muse, friend.
For example, the celebrated French fashion blogger Garance Dore recently visited SMU to speak to members of the Fashion Media minor. Currently based in New York, the petite, dark-haired Dore — wearing pants, layered shirts, a jacket and dynamite shoes — captivated the packed hall. Then, after the lecture, the audience of mostly young women rushed the front of the room, eager to meet their idol and have a photo snapped — solid proof that each one had indeed met Dore.
“It was like Mick Jagger was in the room,” says Camille Kraeplin, director of the Fashion Media minor. ” I knew she [Dore] was very popular, but I didn’t expect that level of excitement.”
In the past, that kind of excitement was usually reserved for TV or film stars, with whom people felt a certain level of intimacy. I mean, we know so much about Jen (Aniston), it’s as if we know her, right? Good bloggers create the same aura. Not only do they share finformation, but they do so in a way that makes their fans feel like their friends.
Fashion, Lifestyle, Life
For today’s generation, the fashion blog has become the online bible for fashionistas to turn to for creative inspiration on everyday trends. Scrolling through page after page of any given style blog, it is not till you’ve reached the top of the blog AGAIN that you realize you’ve been sitting at your computer for hours, imprisoned by stunning images of timeless handbags and marvelously styled shots of pumpkin cheesecake.
Fashion bloggers today take pictures of their own fabulous outfits as well as capturing “streetstyle” fashion, or photos of stylish women in their natural urban habitat – the city streets.
The style blog Cupcakes and Cashmere, launched in 2008 by Emily Schuman, is a favorite of chic young fashion-lovers. Schuman says her blog is “a way to document the things that inspire [her], which [she’s] since turned into a book of the same name.”
Named No. 9 in the top 99 fashion blogs, Cupcakes and Cashmere is known as an influential style blog that keeps readers coming back.
Cupcakes and Cashmere is one of many blogs that not only document the author’s amazing style but also focus on many delicious seasonal recipes, sections on “how to” and “DIY” (do it yourself), as well as a section featuring décor.
The Sartorialist, currently ranked No. 1 among the top 99 blogs, has also generated a lot of interest among young trendsetters. Founded by photographer Scott Schuman, it caters to both men and women. And the blog’s profile has risen along with Schuman’s, whose work been featured in national ad campaigns for brands like Gap and Verizon.
Fashion blogs inspire us not only to spice up our dull wardrobes, but also to turn a dusty old bookshelf into a beautiful new centerpiece for a room. Offering a plethora of fashion ideas as well as home design tips, fashion and lifestyle blogs empower readers to be more creative with their style – and their lives.