Creating a mood board is a beautiful way to identify, refine and visualize your personal style. And it’s a great point of reference for future purchases and other wardrobe updates.
There are a few different methods to create a style mood board. All have their pros and cons. So choose the one that gets your creative juices flowing!
3 Different Methods to Create a Style Mood Board
- Classic: Using pictures that have been printed or cut out from magazines or other ‘offline’ sources.
- Designed: Arranging digital images with the help of software (e.g., Photoshop, Canva, Powerpoint).
- Dynamic: Creating a style mood board on Pinterest.
All three methods to create a style mood board have their pros and cons. The classic way is less flexible. The advantage is that you can place your final collage somewhere near you, so you always have it in sight.
Mood boards designed with the help of software like Photoshop or Canva are less of a hassle because you save the step of printing or cutting out images. However, you need at least some basic knowledge of the software you use.
The apparent disadvantage of Pinterest is that the possibilities to beautifully arrange images are very limited. On the other hand, a Pinterest board is quickly created and can easily be updated.
Create a Style Mood Board in 3 Simple Steps
Step 1: Collection
Regardless of the chosen method, start by collecting as many images as possible. Take a rainy Sunday afternoon to search for photos that somehow appeal to you. Don’t be too critical and selective in this first round.
Sources of Inspiration
- Print and online magazines
- Fashion or lifestyle blogs
- (Coffee table) books
- Selfies (yes!)
Don’t restrict yourself to either electronically available images or printed versions. There’s always a way to transfer an image to another medium. For instance, you can print out electronically available photos to use them in a classic collage. Or you can scan a page from a book or magazine or take a picture of it with your phone.
Just a quick note. We always have to respect copyright laws! So please be extra cautious when using a mood board for business purposes, e.g., to describe your brand.
Step 2: Selection
Once you’ve collected a good amount of images, it’s time to narrow down your preferences. Take it slow and pick only those images that truly speak to you.
But don’t start designing your board in this phase. You may choose photos only because they fit nicely into the arrangement and not because they truly represent your style.
From my experience, a mood board best represents your style when you choose images from all these categories.
Images that …
- represent the overall vibe of your style
- show specific key pieces or details
- reflect preferred silhouettes and cuts
- show colors, fabrics, textures
- show styling ideas (including accessories, hair, and makeup)
- express the overall mood (e.g., referring to art, lifestyle, nature)
Step 3: Curation
‘To curate’ is often defined as ‘thoughtfully presenting a carefully chosen selection’ – and this precisely is what we’re going to do now.
In step 3, we refine our selection even more and appealingly arrange our favorites. There are essentially no rules or limitations here except those that come with the chosen medium.
How to Use Your Style Mood Board
There are basically two primary use cases for your style mood board. The first is to support you to identify, refine and visualize your personal style. This is why the entire creative process is as important as the outcome itself. While you’re collecting, selecting, and curating, you’ll become step by step more aware of what you actually love and want. You’ve probably known it before, but it just wasn’t on top of your mind.
The second use case is when your style board serves as a point of reference whenever you have to make a decision. Be it when decluttering your closet and decide what to keep and discard, or for every future wardrobe planning and purchasing decision. Especially when it comes to clothing, we are surrounded by an abundance of choices. And this makes it sometimes difficult to select the perfect pieces. A style mood board can help us stay on track, uniquely express our style, and avoid shopping mistakes.
Allow Your Style to Evolve – And Adjust Your Board As You Go
Your personal style is never set in stone. Instead, allow it to evolve over time. This means your style mood board also needs an update every now and then. You can either schedule a date for revision, e.g., at the beginning of a new season. Or make it whenever you feel something is changing and your board doesn’t reflect this.
However, I would always suggest that you keep previous versions for reference. In my experience, going over these earlier versions can be an eye-opener.
A Million Other Uses for Mood or Style Boards
A mood board can be a great source of inspiration for a variety of different questions. I guess there are a million other uses beyond capturing your personal (clothing) style. Here are just a few examples:
- Deciding on an interior design style
- Visualizing your dream life
- Planning the overall vibe of a wedding
- Narrowing down travel destinations
- Reflecting on your personal or company brand
On the other hand, creating a mood board isn’t the only way to discover and document your style. Check out my Ultimate Guide to a Well-Curated Wardrobe for more ideas.
And now, have fun creating your own mood board! I’d love to hear how you get on with my tips, or even better, see what you come up with!