9 Ways to Use Pinterest for Outfit Inspiration

If you’ve been a Sarah’s Real Life reader for awhile, you already know I like finding creative ways to make up different outfits. I joined Pinterest almost a year ago, and the first “board” I created was a style board for outfits and pieces I loved. What happened after I pinned these outfits? Well…they were pinned. On my board. Aaaand…yep. That’s it. It took some trial and error and strategizing to actually make my style pinboard a jumping-off point for real-life outfit ideas. Here are my tips on making Pinterest work for you. If you haven’t joined Pinterest yet, sign up here. Now get creative!

1.  Designate boards just for pinning outfit ideas.

If – in addition to outfit ideas – you like to pin images of editorials, “dream closet” items, or runway looks, you might want to separate those “aspirational” pins from your outfit pins. As great as that photo of Lady Gaga wearing Alexander McQueen is, it’s probably not going to help you figure out what to wear this weekend (and if it does, then you might be looking at the wrong blog).

Beyond that, if you plan on pinning a lot of images, break down your boards by season and/or occasion. That way, when you want inspiration for a holiday party outfit, you won’t be looking through casual summer looks.

2.  Find other style boards to follow.

You might automatically be following your Facebook friends, but that doesn’t help you much if your friends don’t have your style. You need to find some like-minded fashionable people! From your Pinterest home page, hover over the “Categories” menu at the top. Then click on “Women’s Fashion” or “Men’s Fashion.” Start scrolling through until something makes you say, “Damn. I would totally wear that.”

After you repin, click through to that person’s board. If most of his/her stuff looks appealing to you, then follow that board! (Unless of course the title of the board contains incorrect spelling or bad grammar, because it will drive you crazy every time you see it. Oh, does that only happen to me? OK.) Repeat as desired. It’s a good idea to look for new boards on a regular basis, because there are always new people joining Pinterest and who knows? They could be your fashion soulmate.

3.  Don’t just be a repinner.

Let’s face it: you can’t trust the rest of the Pinterest population to find every smidgeon of style on the internet and present it to you on a silver platter. Or a silver board. Whatever. Add the “Pin It” button to your bookmark bar. You do this from the “About” menu at the top – the second option down is “Pin It button.” (You can also click on the image above.) As you look through your favorite blogs/Tumblrs/etc., pick out photos to pin. If there’s more than one photo of a particular outfit, pick the one that highlights what you like best.

Bonus: When you pin your own outfits, you can make sure the images link back properly to their original source (which is a piece of Pinterest’s suggested “pin etiquette“).

4.  Pin outfits that include items similar to those already in your closet.

It’s discouraging to look at a board full of outfits that you can’t possibly re-create. When you’re scouring the interwebs for inspiration, keep an eye out for ensembles that contain something(s) you already own.

For example, I pinned the photo on the left because I already had yellow jeans and a chambray shirt. My jeans are more of a mustard yellow, and my chambray is long-sleeved, but the basic idea is there. I hadn’t thought to put them together, but then I did! In fact, I did it just this week (check out my version here).

5.  Pin outfits that make sense for your life.

This tip ties in with tip #1. You can pin “aspirational” photos if you want, but if you really want to use Pinterest to inspire your real-life wardrobe, then focus on what you can actually use for inspiration. If you work in a business casual office every day, then a board full of jeans outfits isn’t going to be terribly helpful.

6.  Use your descriptions for good, not evil.

OK, I don’t actually know how you could use descriptions for evil, but the point is to use them for good – as in good for you. When you pin an outfit image, make a simple note in the “description” field reminding yourself why you like it. You might think you’ll remember 3 months down the road, but let’s be realistic. For me, a description might be something like “yellow cardigan over chambray” or “cozy sweater, colored skinny jeans, ankle boots.”

Your descriptions can serve as the ingredient list for your outfit recipe (don’t you love metaphors? I do), or as a shopping list for later (see tip #7 below).

7.  Analyze your pin collection to make a shopping list.

I did this a few months ago and realized about 40% of my pins included a collared button-down shirt. Apparently I like them, but I had a whopping one collared button-down shirt in my closet. Now I’m working on growing my collection so I can start having some layering fun this fall and winter! Sometimes you don’t know what you need until you see someone else wearing it. It’s like middle school all over again.

So after you’ve got yo’self a nice little collection of images, scan through and take stock of what’s there. Is everything purple? Do you have 15 different outfits with red shoes? Lots of skirts and dresses? Just a hunch: you might really like purple/red shoes/skirts and dresses. Permission to shop: granted.

8.  Download the Pinterest app.

Even if you follow tips 1 through 7, how many people have their laptop up and running in their closet? (Don’t answer if you do.) But what does everyone always have with them? Their smartphone. With the Pinterest app (available for iPhone or android), you can refer to your lovely outfits conveniently while you’re staring into the depths of your closet (or in my case, the spare bedroom that still barely holds all of my clothes and shoes).

9.  Follow ME on Pinterest!

Yes, it’s shameless plug time. Find my Pinterest boards here.

This article is not affiliated with or sponsored by Pinterest. It is intended only as commentary. Pinterest is a registered trademark of Cold Brew Labs, Inc. Click on images to be redirected to their original source.

16 thoughts on “9 Ways to Use Pinterest for Outfit Inspiration

  1. Ugh, these are really good tips! I’m the worst at pinning. I tend to pin those beautiful outfits that I’d never really wear but are pretty to look at. Thank you for these tips! And of course I’m going to follow you now! 🙂

  2. I am generally cranky so I did not get on Facebook until many years and a ton of peer pressure after everyone else had done it. Twitter was forced on my by a professor who wanted us to tweet about class. Therefore it will probably be a few years before I start pinning, but I’ll be sure to follow you when I get there.

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