I’m slightly obsessed with Pinterest. I mean, who isn’t? With at least one keyword and a click of the search icon, you can find dozens and dozens of ideas from recipes to home décor, crafts to cleaning tips, outfit inspo to makeup tutorials and a million things in between. I have personal boards for my various interests, private boards custom curated for my clients, and style and content boards you can follow for daily updates.
There are so many wonderful uses for Pinterest. But if you’re anything like me, you’ve also faced the challenge of trying to pull off the picture perfect outfit ideas you’ve pinned —and falling flat. Why is it so difficult to look as flawless as the style influencers we see all over social media and our favorite search engine? Thankfully, I have the answer to this. And I’m going to break down the 5 reasons you struggle to pull off Pinterest outfit inspo and what to do about it.
1. The outfit isn’t really your style
Clearly, something attracts you to the outfits you try to carbon copy. Otherwise, you wouldn’t waste your time. But I don’t think I’m alone in sometimes trying to emulate someone else’s style just because it works so well for them without thinking about whether it’ll actually work for me. To throw myself under the bus, I’m often visually drawn to neutral, head-to-toe oatmeal, soft gray, and camel colored outfits on Pinterest. But in reality, I get bored very quickly without enough color in my closet.
Maybe you love chic designer dresses but your real day-to-day life calls for running the kids to sports practice and heading up the PTO. Or you might be drawn to cute athleisure looks while your schedule is actually packed with corporate meetings and client dinners. If an outfit doesn’t fit the needs of your life, it’s never going to feel right at the end of the day. Pinterest can be great for daydreaming about the life, budget, and activities you might be longing or striving for. And it’s equally important to give yourself a quick reality check before you hit “add to cart”.
Think about what you truly love (and have a need for) in your wardrobe. Do you crave comfort? Are top quality and luxury priorities for you? How do you feel about incorporating color and pattern into your closet? What do you reach for most days when you go to get dressed? If you’re not clear on your signature style, I have an awesome free style quiz that will give you tons of helpful insight in 5-minutes or less.
2. The colors or patterns aren’t right for you
Please don’t get me wrong. I am ALL for diversity in your Pinterest feed! It’s critical to see and hear an assortment of people, perspectives, and preferences. However, when it comes to where you’re taking your style cues, you do want to seek out those who represent YOU well.
To avoid headaches and the frustrating feeling that you can’t pull off the trending styles of the season, opt for the looks you love on women with similar personal coloring and contrast as your own. The closer the skin tone, hair color, and contrast levels of the influencers who inspire you, the better guarantee those colors and prints will bring out your best as well!
Here are a few things to consider:
Is your personal coloring cool, neutral, or warm? Check out this article for help making your best guess.
Do you have low, medium, or high contrast? Meaning what’s the difference in value between your hair color, skin tone, and eye color? Consider the standard gray scale. A color’s value is its lightness or darkness, as compared with the following increments:
If you have very fair skin (8-10) and jet-black hair (1-2), then you have high personal contrast levels. On the other hand, if your coloring is all light or all dark, you have low contrast. If your hair or eyes are somewhat darker or lighter than your complexion, you might have medium contrast.
Why does this matter? You want to balance the overall value difference in your outfit or prints with your own levels. If you have low contrast coloring but you put on an extremely high contrast ensemble, you might get lost and overpowered by it. If you pair your high contrast coloring with a low contrast outfit, your outfit might look lackluster and dull. This isn’t always the case. But a good general rule of thumb is to create visual harmony between your outfit and yourself.
Similarly, do your prints compliment the pattern in your pretty face?
Consider whether the lines in your eyebrows, eyes, nose, and mouth are curved or straight. ➟ Repeat that movement in your prints.
Are the edges of your facial features very clearly pronounced, more undefined, or somewhere in between? ➟ Echo these edges with a similar print definition.
How much space is there between your eyes, nose, and mouth? ➟ Balance this with the background in your patterns.
Starting to get the idea?
As a personal style coach, my goal is always that your wardrobe choices bring out your best and let YOU take center stage. In order to curate a closet you love, you want to start becoming more selective and only choose items that mirror and highlight your uniquely beautiful personal features. Buy your best colors and prints regardless of what floods your Pinterest feed.
3. The silhouette doesn’t flatter your body’s inherent shape
Considering your silhouette is more about your body’s inherent design than your specific clothing size. So instead of playing the comparison game with an influencer’s size, I want you to look at the overall outline instead. Do they have a similar width between their shoulders, waist, hips, and thighs as you?
If an outfit looks amazing on a model with a rectangular frame but you have an hourglass figure, pause and think first about how that same look may (or may not) work for you. If you have a triangular shape, like I do, you’ll probably prefer styles that add volume and weight at your shoulders rather than your hips.
Here are a couple of quick tips to shop for your body type…
Where you want to widen the appearance of your body:
- Add layers and volume
- Use horizontal lines and prints
- Wear lighter colors
Where you want to narrow the appearance of your body:
- Create definition with the use of belts or peplums and layering below
- Use diagonal or vertical lines and prints to break up the space
- Wear darker colors
4. The proportions are off
Don’t forget to keep your proportions in mind. As we’ve been talking about, it’s ideal to find outfit inspo from someone with similar head-to-toe ratios. Maybe you’ve heard of the term 8 heads before? This refers to the “perfect proportion” of the easy-to-dress body, which is made up of 8 head lengths from top to bottom.
To figure out your body’s proportions, start by measuring the length of your face. Then, see whether each of these sections of your body are greater than, less than, or equal to the length of your face:
- Chin to waist (where you body naturally indents if you lean to the side) = 2 head lengths
- Waist to hips (where your body naturally creases when you sit in a chair) = 1 head length
- Hips to soles of feet = 4 head lengths
These measurements will tell you if you’re long or short waisted, if you have a long or short rise, and so on. Hopefully, you get the idea! To create good proportions, balance the top of your body with the bottom of your body (where you are short – lengthen, where you are long – shorten).
Here are a couple of tricks to accomplish this…
Where you want to lengthen the appearance of your body:
- Use vertical lines and prints to keep the eye moving up and down
- Try monochromatic colors (ex. a head-to-toe navy outfit)
Where you want to shorten the appearance of your body:
- Use horizontal lines and prints
- Try color blocking to break up the space
5. The quality or fit isn’t ideal
If you’ve factored in your signature style, your best prints and colors, your body’s shape and proportions, and you still don’t love the way an online outfit translates to you in real life, it might come down to a matter of quality and fit.
Before you buy, always read the reviews of an item or manufacturer. What do others say about the feel of the fabric, the comfort and wear, or the size accuracy? Is there anything you need to factor in before you choose your size and confidently checkout?
I recommend looking at the materials, especially if quality and ease of care are important to you. And it’s also very important to compare your measurements with any size charts provided. I know that’s a step we often skip but it’s provided for a reason and can save you many headaches and easily avoidable returns. Take this extra precaution and choose the size that fits your largest measurement! It’s much easier to have something taken in than let out by a tailor.
There you have it: The 5 reasons you struggle to pull off Pinterest outfit inspo AND what to do about it.
I hope these practical tips make choosing the right looks to try at least ten times easier and give you the confidence to take your style game to the next level. There are endless influencers to follow, outfits to copy, and stores to shop. Use this advice to narrow down your selections to those that truly resonate with your style values, who you are, and how you want to show up. At the end of the day, authenticity and originality are everything.
And tell me if I missed any of your struggles in the comments. Did this article ring a bell or do you feel like there’s another factor that’s felt off for you in trying to recreate your favorite looks? If so, I’d love to feature it in a follow up post! Tell me all about it and let’s continue the conversation below.