Finding Inspiration


Street Style is always one of the first places I look for inspiration. Books, magazines, and Pinterest are all great tools for mining through creative content, but I love observing firsthand the inventive outfits the average citizen can put together.

The spirit of street style was a big source of inspiration for our new pattern that comes out next Tuesday, so I want to share some of the ideas that led to my design.

When I’m out and about on the streets of Portland, I’m always looking at the clothing of perfect strangers, wondering where they got that skirt, or those loafers.

Every city has its own unique street style scene. Here in Portland we’re all enamored with plaid, leather, and oversized outerwear. Trends tend to vary from region to region, so to stay in touch with what’s happening on the sidewalks of the rest of the fashion world, I sift through street style blogs.

Right now I’m particularly captivated by Parisian street style – I love that as a whole it appears put-together, with just a touch of quirk and edge to keep things interesting.

Below are some images straight from Paris I’ve been recently captivated by.


1) The Sartorialist

2) Street Peeper

3) Easy Fashion Paris

4) Iconia Street Style Blog

5) Iconia Street Style Blog

6) Trendy Crew


7) The Sartorialist

8) Trendy Crew

9) Style Du Monde

10) Friendly Madrid

11) Arabia Style

12) Advanced Style

Where do you go to find inspiring street style? Do you prefer to hit the streets or browse some blogs?

Kris Blackmore   —   Designer

Kris is the designer at Colette, and also writes and illustrates our sewing patterns. A graduate of The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM), this Texas native worked for a variety of companies in the fashion industry before joining Colette in 2013. On our blog, Kris helps solve your wardrobe woes through the Wardrobe Architect series she writes.

Comments 30

Tina D

I do follow Advanced Style, but I usually stay away from a lot of street style blogs, as they have a tendency to only showcase a certain demographic (please correct me if I’m wrong). I mean, as I say that, I do follow some designers on Insta, who do that as well, but I follow some other fashion instagrammers very tailored to my aesthetic, no matter what the age, size, sex, race. Notoriouslydapper is a great inspiration for me. It maybe weird, but fashionable men inspire me, I think because I don’t want to copy them, I appreciate their aesthetic and wonder what the matching female one would be.


Tina, I absolutely identify with your point of view. The lack of variety in many street style blogs can feel very exclusive to a certain kind of person. I love Advanced Style and the message that it sends, that you don’t have to be a certain age, body type, or ethnicity to enjoy and participate in fashion.

I particularly enjoy mens street style. Perhaps it is because it allows me to admire from a more objective point of view. Instead of getting bogged down by “well, I don’t look like that lady” I can admire an unusual collar, or great color combo with fresh eyes. I will have to check out NotoriouslyDapper!


I also pay attention to street style and celebrity style because I think fashion is fun and I like to stay current (within reason). I get my inspiration too from TV and movies… recently I put together a plan for my Spring sewing and found myself referencing the new TV show Love, Vicky Vale from the old Batman, Three Coins in A Foundtain, and one of my favorite Youtubers. To me, all these looks hang together because of general shape and color palette, but to others they might look like a total mishmash!

I am also loving Parisian style at the moment (and to be fair, always)…I love seeing how trends change from city to city! Chicago definitely has a different vibe to Paris and even to Portland!


I love the idea of using television and movies as a basis for your sewing projects!

Agreed, while there is certainly a global fashion economy informing a lot of homogenous trends, it’s nice to notice the styles certain cities or regions gravitate toward.


Love that red, white, and blue coat! So french and very ’60s!


I love that too!


I have stopped reading most street style blogs and I long for street style blogs that showcase more variety and “real women”. From my point of view, it seems that there’s a lot of repetition and sameness in these blogs and I’m over images of bored, ultra thin models in black motorcycle jackets, trainers, skinny jeans, cell phone and designer clutch. I would follow blogs that offer more inspiration, creativity and variety in street style.

Biking home today (in Portland), I had to do a double take as I passed a man who is a doppelganger for Michael Landon in Little House on the Prairie – long hair, wide brim hat, rustic peasant shirt unbuttoned to the navel and leather braces. More cow path style than street style but a distinctive look nonetheless!


“Cow path style.” I love it!


I agree with you! There is a lot of repetitive subject matter that winds up on street style blogs and it can become rather stale. I think the amazing thing about the styles I spy when I’m out and about is that they’re on a wide range of people with varying backgrounds, body types, and lifestyles. I wish that sort of diversity was more highly represented.

Judith Staley

Interesting! I’m hoping this pattern is one I’ve been looking for recently – a summer coat/jacket – simple shape, no fastening, slightly over sized? Am I right? Look forward to finding out next week


Well, I live in Paris, and I must tell you that your views are a little romanticised, sorry… Everybody is wearing dark clothes, jeans and jumpers, the usual gloomy workday outfit. We had the worldwide “hipster” trend last year, with flower skirt, high hairbun and tartan shirt, but now I’m longging for the days where people will stop wearing those hiddeous hairy coat in the subway (sorry if you have one, but being short, it seams that I always have to breathe trough someone else furry lined hood). Tring my best to add as much Colette and fox printed clothes I can, but it is a loosing battle…
Please go on and maybe more people will take the hint and -insert brandname here- stores will start closing ! Go self style !


If I see clothes that I like I take sneaky pictures and then find pattern pieces from my library that pretty much match and go from there!


Mayybe it’s because I am, ahem, an older lady, but I only recently heard of street style.

What inspires me? Color and pattern. I love browsing museum websites to look at paintings. If I can incorporate a geo pattern or a color flourish or a lush floral element I’m pleased.


This museum at Florida Institute of Technology happens to be 10 minutes away.


What a wonderful resource to have so close to you! I bet you can tap into so much creative energy there.


Unfortunately, by the time I figured out what is meant by street style, it morphed from real (as in, not consciously trying) to planned, packaged and branded. Honestly, most street fashion photos look like photo shoots to me, which is unappealing. I try to look beyond the manipulation to see if there are specific details, color combinations, etc. that I can get inspiration from, but after a few photos, I find these sites tiring and a time suck. My inspiration comes from museum shows and pre modern media artwork, pattern catalogs, other sewists’ blogs, and fabric stores, both online and brick/mortar. Even blogs can be excessively packaged, and I learn as much from other sewists’ failures as I do their successes, but few of those get published. Since I live in semi-rural Appalachia, looking at local street style is really not an option. Thanks for the links – very helpful to have some direction, and I especially appreciate Advanced Style link as very few street fashions features mature models, or those with a few extra pounds that might give me ideas for what might work on me. I guess for this reason – lack of much of a realistic reflection – I gravitate toward technical and abstract, and not literal, inspiration.


Also, wouldn’t it be great to see street fashion images that were only of non RTW? All homemade, bespoke, up cycled, whatever, but NOT purchased in a traditional store? I don’t see how it could be done, but I would love to see it…


That’s kind of what the wardrobe remix flickr group used to be – not only vintage/handmade, but that was definitely included.


I must be showing my age but the last time I followed street style was in the 90s when street became fashion and those crazy $7 thrift dresses that we scrounged for were copied on the runway. The 90s were the one and only time where a poor college kid could look cool every day on a dime without any help from a blog. I miss the uniqueness of those days, the “alternative” looks that came from doing with what you had.
Honestly, I find most street style here in Seattle to lean toward athleisure (still trending!). When is this going away? Seattle is certainly not Paris. And while I certainly do love comfort (I’m now in my 40s), and need to dress for the rain, I hate athleisure! I would never say I’ve like formality in dressing (I don’t work in an office and disdain business attire) but I feel as though our cultural lack of formality in dress here does not a style capital make. I guess grunge was it for us (and I lived in SF at that time) so I’m afraid my style still reflected that demographic.


Hey Lisa, I’m in my 40s as well and I feel very much the same as you. I took my love of 90s grunge to be a sign of middle age, but there was something so fresh about digging around on my mothers wardrobe and re-working vintage clothes to be whatever I wanted. I remember I had just started Uni and people I knew or even didn’t know would say “I love your style” and I actually didn’t know how to define it, but I knew exactly what I wanted and how I would put things together. Now I’ve started a Bachelor of Design in Fashion and Textiles so I’m back to it – I still don’t know how to define my style but I definitely know what I like.


As much as I love getting inspiration from street style blogs and instagram posts, I tend to stay away from it now. I agree with majority of other commenters, the thin models and their photos seem too staged and too much for real life. I can not afford designer accessories, and nor do I want them. I am not into over the top clothing that gets worn once, may be twice. I tend to gravitate towards style that is appropriate for everyday life. I would love to see how a blogger mixes one item into 5 different outfits, or something like that. I am very inspired by style that is appropriate in daily life and is “real”. For that reason I find myself more inspired by sewing bloggers and the way they put outfits together :)


I agree with you Anya, those types of fashion just aren’t for me right now. While interesting to look at, I’m a work from home mom with very little time to dedicate to sewing or working on my wardrobe, so I don’t have time for crazy outfits that won’t be work on a weekly basis. I love looking at blogs or style sites that show capsule wardrobes and having basic uniform pieces that can be mixed and matched. And those are the Colette patterns I tend to gravitate toward also, the Mabel Skirt, Aster shirt, and many of the Seamwork patterns that are just great basics. But maybe I’ll have to get out of my box and have a little fun with this new pattern. :)


I am so glad you mentioned capsule wardrobes and basic uniform! I completely agree with you. As much as I like to look at street style and I can appreciate it, I also gravitate towards solid (un-fun) basics that are great wardrobe builders and can be worn over and over again.


Yes, when I first started sewing apparel, I loved finding fun prints, and trying out different things, but then after spending hours working on them, I’d find them hanging in my closet, never finding an opportunity to be worn. So now I tend to go for things I know I’ll get a lot of use out of, so that all my hard work isn’t wasted! :)


I couldn’t agree more! All my funky prints and experiments do end up hanging in my closet unworn, and it’s very sad.


Me too! Right now I’m sewing a black tee. I really do need one.


I totally agree with Robin, I would love to see a non RTW style blog, but how to do it..? I enjoy seeing how “real”(non celebrity) people put their looks together, but am often distracted by the way so many style (is that the right word?) themselves identically: the same way of cuffing the pants/tucking the shirt/looping the belts, etc. It adds a weird homogeneity to my eyes, which actually has nothing to do with the clothes and I find myself having to make an effort to look past it. Most often I think it’s the older ladies and gentlemen who really own their looks; maybe because they’ve had more time to hone their personal style. But there aren’t as many images of an older demographic.


Most of my inspiration comes from nature -the colors and textures. I love soft colors (for my tops and darker colors for skirts and pants) and organic fabrics. I never look at magazines they’re just too fake for me. The only magazine I read is Seamworks not only for your patterns, but for your informative articles -like your blog.

Aimee Steinberger

I like a lot of the cute skirts + sneakers combos! Comfort but still cute.

teresa martinez

Sincerely Jules and Carine Roitfeld CRFASHIONBOOK….and my inspiration is my Aunt Gigi who taught me how to dance the swing via American Bandstand and all about fashion and sewing….we are a multigenerational Los Angeles family so LA fashion is ingrained in me!

We’re sorry, comments for this post have been closed.