So, that brings me to my "ingenious" idea. I set up a digital closet of MY OWN clothes on my computer with the basic idea similar to sites like Polyvore that let you create digital outfits. The best part is, although it can be somewhat time consuming to create, it is fairly easy to do, and maintain. You don't even need any fancy programs, while I usually view my closet in Paint Shop Pro 7, you can get a similar view out of Windows Explorer/My Computer (if your folder does not show thumbnails, simply right click any blank space in your folder, go down to "View" and select one of the icon/thumbnail options).
I love this idea for so many reasons. It will encourage me to make better use out of the clothes that I already own. Before buying any clothes on-line, I can easily see how it will fit into my wardrobe (IE whether I will get much wear out of it). It will also help me love and appreciate the clothes I already have more. Here is how to make your own digital closet:
Step 1) Go Windows Explorer/My Computer and create a new folder called "My Closet."
Step 2) Create whatever subfolders you would like. Here are the folders I created:
"My clothes" - If you have a lot of clothes, or would like it more organized, you may want to break it down even further into "Tops," "Bottoms," "Shoes," "Accessories," etc. Personally I prefer it all to be in the same folder because I feel that it gives me more inspiration being able to see everything together (however, I may change my mind once I get more of my clothes added).
"Ideas" - Use for photos you find that give you ideas on how to wear YOUR pieces. Keep in mind, it doesn't have to be the same exact pieces you own, as long as you can create a similar look with your own pieces.
"Outfits" - Use to keep the collages of outfits you put together, so, you can have a go-to set of outfits.
"Work Clothes" - If you have to wear a specific type of clothes at work that you are likely not to wear in your normal life, you may choose to create a separate folder for these clothes. Of course, if you don't care about getting more innovative with your work clothes, and you are sure you can't work any of the pieces into your regular wardrobe, than there really is no reason to even add these pieces to your digital closet.
Step 3) Start saving/taking photos of your clothes. It is easiest to start with the clothes you have purchased recently; chances are you will still be able to find photos of those pieces on the web-site for the store where you bought it, and simply right click to save the images into your "My clothes" folder. For clothes I could not find anymore on the store web-sites, I simply did a Google Image Search for the items (For example: "'Old Navy' leopard cardigan"), because chances are, someone, somewhere on the web reposted the image before it was removed from the store's web-site. Yahoo Image Search can work well too. Polyvore is also good for searching for images of the pieces, because they often still have photos up of pieces after they become out of stock. For any pieces you can no longer find photos of on-line, you can take your own photos of them, or save photos on-line of pieces that are similar. Here is how the "My Clothes" folder of my closet is coming along:
Step 4) Save outfit inspiration ideas. This step is completely optional, however, I like to find outfit photos on-line to give me new ideas of how to wear my pieces. Pinterest and Lookbook.nu are good sites for this. Simply type in a general description of whatever piece you want inspiration for. For example, for my shirt below, I could try searching for "pink chevron shirt," "pink chevron top," etc. If you can't find many results, trying leaving the color of the piece off (try searching for just "chevron top"), or using slightly different description terms (for example: top, shirt, blouse) and you'll come up with different results.
Fashion blogs can be helpful for ideas, although as I mentioned above, they often have such generic results that they won't be a lot of help in giving you ideas of how to wear YOUR clothes. That said, I like the setup that Girl With Curves' has to her blog, because on the side of her blog she has a section when you can "Browse By Category." While not as specific to your clothes as the search method on sites like Pinterest and Lookbook, you can still browse for all outfits with cardigans, skinny jeans, booties, etc. for ideas.
Step 5) Create your digital outfits. I use Paint Shop Pro for this step, however, you could easily use MS Paint for this (which comes free with most computers). All you do is create a new blank image, and copy and paste whatever pieces you want to wear together, and save the image. For example, here is an outfit I created on my computer with my own clothes (you may remember it from my Wear It Wednesday: Graphic T-shirts post: