Why you should create an inspiration folder of outfits you love

woman writing in her inspiration folder

This blog post was first published in 2019, but now we are all under lockdown it’s a great article to revisit.  Getting your clothes to work hard for you is the best return on your investment in them.  Get in touch with what you really love to wear.  Create an inspiration folder of outfit ideas that you love.

How to create an inspiration folder of ideas you love

You may think that an outfit inspiration folder is not for you.  That it’s for creative types, women who are really into “fashion” or women with a lot of time on their hands.  However, I’m here to tell you that we all need an inspiration folder and here are five great reasons why you should design your own folder.

First, what is a clothes inspiration folder?  Basically it’s a collection, either digital or physical, of pictures/pages of clothes, outfits and “looks” that you like.  You can have an inspiration folder for anything, I’m sure you will have had one for your home refurbishment, or house extension at some point.  Well this is the same but it’s for your wardrobeWF sign up to list form

Best wardrobe organiser ideas – different types of inspiration folders

You could have two folders 1. ideas that you like for work clothes and 2. ideas that you like for home clothes but that’s not necessary.  The idea is to collect pictures/images that you love and to discover how to find inspiration and how to become inspired to find outfits that you want to wear.

I have a buff folder with all my pictures in.  I’ve been collecting images for so many years.  Occasionally I’ll retire an image, but rarely.  You can keep a  physical collection, they could just be stapled together to begin with.  Or you could keep a digital collection somewhere like Asana or Evernote – simply snap the image you love and store it away.  Your inspiration folder at the simplest level needs to work for you.  It doesn’t matter to begin with how it looks, just get going.

That covers the basics.  Now for the compelling reasons why creating an inspiration folder is not just for the fashion/designer crowd, and how you can benefit from having oneWF sign up to list form

An inspiration folder gives you a strategic advantage

In business, how you look is a major factor in the trust and confidence that another person will place in you.  Physiognomy used to be considered a science in Renaissance times.  Your ability to do your job well or to do well at interview and be appointed to a new job, will partly be based on how you look and what you wear.  Whether this is right or wrong, given that this is the case, choosing the right clothes to wear and looking good gives you a strategic advantage in the work marketplace.

How to harness inspiration

By keeping an inspirations folder, you will learn how to find your inspiration, as your brain tunes in to the importance that good outfits represent to you.  So for example if you save pictures of women in suits and without realising it they are wearing bold statement jewellery, then your brain will probably pick up on this fact even if you haven’t consciously done so.  Then, when it comes to buying jewellery you may choose bolder pieces than you would have previously done.

Another strategic advantage of keeping an inspiration folder is that it will help you improve your look.  You may find yourself paying more attention to details because you are more intentional about what you are wearing.  Essentially an inspiration folder teaches you how to inspire yourself in a positive affirming way.  Your inspiration folder brings out what is already within you: what you would like to wear; how you would like to look.  It shows you how to find inspiration within yourself, rather than looking to others and wanting to copy themWF sign up to list form

Design your own folder: future planning for the job you want to step into

Secondly, keeping an inspiration folder is future planning for the job you want to step into.  If you changed jobs now either a promotion or a move into a job that suits you better, what would you wear?  Would you smarten up your look, or would you relax it?  How would you express your personality and the character traits you want to convey to your work colleagues?  Clothes are a powerful non-verbal language and an inspiration folder helps you to find your inspiration. Finding your inspiration focuses you on what you are conveying, or what you want to convey, without saying a word.  So, your inspiration folder helps form the message you want to convey before you get to your wardrobe and think, “What am I going to wear for this important, make or break meeting?”


An inspiration folder is empowering and gives you clarity

The third reason why you should keep an inspiration folder is that it puts the decision making process of buying and wearing clothes back in your hands so it is both empowering and gives you clarity.  If you are not intentional about what you wear then you are probably saying things like, “I’ve got nothing to wear”, “I don’t know what to wear”, “Nothing suits me”.  At that point you may run off to the shops and expect them to present you with a variety of ideas and solve your problem.  Well, the problem with that is that stores are there to present you with ideas, not to solve your problems.  You need to solve your own problems first and then go and look at the ideas.  An inspiration folder gives you peace of mind over what you want to wear.  It gives you control.  So, for example, if the majority of he dresses/skirts in your ideas folder are knee length, but dresses in the shops this season are midi length then you know you have a choice.

  1. You can wait for that trend to pass and for knee length dresses to return.
  2. You could buy but have them tailored to the right length
  3. Buy knowing that it is a compromise – don’t recommend, will probably lead to 2 or binning.
Chic lady working outside at a cafe on laptop creating her inspiration folder
How to create an inspiration folder of outfits you love

Creating an inspiration folder says, “This is what I want to wear and somewhere I’ll find it”, or, “This is an idea of what I would love to wear but I don’t know how to get there”.  There is more satisfaction to be had in finding the right item after 49 fruitless searches than in buying clothes that aren’t quite right on 50 occasions.

An Inspiration folder will save you money

The fourth reason why you should create an inspiration folder is that you will save money.  Creating an inspiration folder stops you buying random pieces of clothing you don’t need.  It also stops you panic buying expensive items because you are going somewhere and don’t know what to wear.  The order in your mind should be:

inspiration folder – items to purchase – your wardrobe, or

your wardrobe – items to purchase – inspiration folder.

If you go through your current wardrobe there may be some items that are missing.  For example, you may be missing a “best” work outfit, the outfit that you would wear for an interview, or lunch with the Board of Directors, or the important client meeting.  If you are saving images of what that outfit will look like then it will help you be more intentional about what you are wearing and not compromise by buying.

Be intentional with an Inspiration Folder

By being intentional you can also decide what you are going to do between now and when you find that perfect outfit.  Which outfit is going to step up and become that “best outfit” even on a temporary basis?  By deciding that in advance it will save all those moments of fretting and indecision in front of the wardrobe.  If you have a list of “items to buy” it will save you from random purchasing because you have a strategy.  With that strategy in place you can be on the look out for those items in a relaxed manner.  This becomes a fun game to play and a satisfying one at that.  You may be at the airport and find that perfect pair of gloves.  Or you may be at a jewellery launch and find the perfect pair of ear-rings.  

I have written another post on how to create 5 new outfits from clothes you already own.  which is definitely worth checking out as you read this post.  Creating new outfits from clothes you already own makes your existing clothes work harder for you.  If you could create even 3 new outfits right now, it would tide you over until you find a “best” work outfit.  This will definitely save you money by preventing you embarking on a random purchasing spree.

An inspiration folder will stop wardrobe complacency

The fifth and final reason for keeping an inspiration folder is that it stops wardrobe complacency.  If you always wear a suit and a coloured scarf around your neck, that may be your look and it may be amazing and look fantastic.  But you can mix it up a bit.  Keeping an inspiration folder of outfits that you like will show to yourself what great alternatives you are willing to wear.  The post I mentioned above, about creating 5 new outfits from clothes you already own will also stop wardrobe complacency in its tracks so do check that out.

Did you like this post?  Did you find it useful?  Let me know in the comments below what you specifically found useful about it.

Where to learn more

Would you like to learn more?  We have other great content added to the website regularly.  Learn how dressing affects your attitude and confidence.  or how to organise your wardrobe and get your life back.  


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