The Creative Mama » inspiring art, encouraging women

The Secret to Styling…

“When you like to style, you style your whole life–your home– yourself…everything!” she said. & a little light bulb went off in my head. Of course you do!

I was in Anthropologie meeting up with a client (who also happens to be the personal shopper at our local store) & we got lost in our love of pretty things. How we like to dress & decorate and how we find our inspiration. We were in the kitchen section of the store…my little happy place. The place I go when I am in a creative rut. & as I was picking up tea cups & dishtowels and admiring aprons that need not be added to my hefty collection I was thinking about how my brain works. & about the many women who just don’t follow how I think & plan & execute when it comes to style & direction. & I thought…I can help! Part of what I love to do is make the seemingly complicated simple…so where do we start? This is always the hard part. But it is also the easiest. I’ll break this process down for you. Hopefully you’ll find it useful as you shop for outfits for your family photo shoot, decorate your home & dress yourself in the morning!

STEP ONE: Find one piece that has all the colors. & build around that ONE piece. Pull your color palette from there. & stick to it.

Whether fashion or home decor you have to start with something inspirational. & keep it simple. This isn’t hard. You know what you love. Choose something that speaks to you. You might spend a little time finding that one inspiration piece, but once you do…the rest is easy. It can be a tea cup. a dishtowel. an apron. (see why I am at anthro all the time?!)

So here’s an example. I met up with Michele of Pinkle Toes Photography (you know her as part of The Creative Mama team!) last summer to have our family pictures taken. & here’s what you see:

+madras plaid dress (inspiration piece)

+solid, yet tailored dress for mama

+solid, yet subtly patterned shirt for dad.

+ accessories pulling out the pops of color in the madras dress (belt, bracelets, shoes etc.)

Why does it work? There is something that ties it all together: that little dress. Nothing competes too much. Nothing is overbearing. It’s harmonious.

STEP TWO: Be mindful of your patterns & textures.

A good rule of thumb is to pick one busy/small scale pattern, one bold/large scale pattern, a simple stripe & solids with texture for added interest. The bed (by moxii–LOVE!) below is a perfect example of this theory. You see:

+busy/small scale patterned quilt with the color palette (inspiration piece)

+bold/large scale patterned green & white pillow

+stripy pillow with all the colors

+textured solids & neutrals

 

Now can you apply the second rule to the first family picture? Sure can! Here is another example:

+picture on wall (inspiration piece)

+ bold/large scale patterned curtains

+busy/small scale patterned pillows

+stripy rug with all of the palette’s colors

+textured neutrals (pillows, throw, woven blinds)

+ chairs that act like bold accessories

 

STEP THREE: Overbuy. Play with it. Return half.

Have you ever watched Rachel Zoe’s show? Have you seen the amount of stuff her staff buys & returns? This is a “trial” period. Not everything is going to look great. & as much as you’d like to plan everything in one store, in one fell swoop, real magic happens if you collect over time. It’s all a dynamic collaboration & balancing act. (just don’t forget to actually make the returns!!)

Whenever I style a room or a photo shoot or just myself in the morning, there is a PILE of stuff to choose from. It’s the editing that matters. I can’t look at the pieces individually & fall in love, it’s about the big picture. If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work. Period. No matter how. cute. the. shoes. :]

Now. For some fashion. This is an example of some wild colors thrown together, yet they all work because of that handbag. The bag is the inspiration piece that pulls the peridot earrings & mustard shoes into the look. Note:

+bold patterned bag (inspiration piece)

+busy earrings

+textured solid dress

+stripy shoe

I happen to like mixing colors like this even WITHOUT inspiration pieces included in the look itself…

 

If you want to mix colors but feel like you need a place to start and don’t know where to begin, don’t hesitate to choose ANYTHING as an inspiration piece, then build your outfit around that. You don’t always have to wear it! For example:

You’re surfing pinterest one night & you fall in love with this space. You love the colors? Make it into an outfit! Note the colors: coral (walls/duvet), grey (headboard), camel (bench), pewter (side tables).

 

So here’s an outfit that can be derived from the above inspiration piece:

Notice the colors are the same–& are not necessarily colors you’d walk into the store & instantly put together. But it works!

 

Often, it just takes something to get the creativity going. One little inspiration piece can be the catalyst for MAGIC! A well coordinated family photo shoot. A beautiful room. A very well styled outfit. Just start searching around you, inspiration is EVERYWHERE! Happy styling!
 


Despite days full of washing diapers & messy fun, Shawna is determined to make mommyhood a stylish adventure. Married to the military & mother to one feisty girl, she is a passionate DIYer & loves sharing how to make the complicated simple. Shawna talks creativity, style, food, decorating, green-chic living & mommyhood at styleberryBLOG, a daily-ish dose of something fab.
To read all articles written by Shawna, click here.

About Shawna


Despite days full of washing diapers & messy fun, Shawna is determined to make mommyhood a stylish adventure. Married to the military & mother to one feisty girl and a snuggly little dude, she is a passionate DIYer & loves sharing how to make the complicated simple. Shawna talks creativity, style, food, decorating, green-chic living & mommyhood at styleberryBLOG, a daily-ish dose of something fab.

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  • Alissa

    As someone who struggles with this, I sure do appreciate your clear ideas! I have a room in my house that is driving me crazy. I’m going to try your method on it.

    I’ve thought this way for planning outfits for a family photo but never made the jump to the room. Duh. Great advice.

  • http://www.staceywoodsphoto.com Stacey Woods

    Brilliant. I love your advice, Shawna! Gorgeous examples, too.

    • http://www.styeberryblog.com shawna [of styleberryBLOG]

      thanks, Stacey!!

  • Jessica Cudzilo

    LOVED this post. As someone who loves interior design your post has sent multiple light bulbs off in my head! Thank you!

    • http://www.styleberryblog.com shawna [of styleberryBLOG]

      awesome, Jessica!! :)

  • Bee

    I LOVE that blue dress in that first pic! Where is it from?!

    • Shawna

      Hey Bee! Thanks! It’s from Anthroplogie. Last spring’s collection! :)

    • shawna [of styleberryBLOG]

      Thanks, Bee! It’s from anthro, Summer 2010 collection!