How to Make a Fashion Mood Board & Use It to Shop Mindfully

Giada Nizzoli

How to Make a Fashion Mood Board & Use It to Shop Mindfully

From Pinterest boards to collages and saving your favourite Instagram images: are you a big fan of visual inspiration? 

And are you also trying to ditch fast fashion and shop more sustainably, by any chance?

Then you’re going to LOVE creating a fashion mood board!

What is a fashion mood board? (Simple fashion mood board definition)

A fashion mood board or style board is a visual collage of images that’ll guide your clothing aesthetic. The kinds of images that make you feel inspired whenever you look at them!

Fashion brands and designers create moodboards to stay focused and keep their clothing lines consistent. But as a consumer?

You can make one to go from following trends to having your own signature style and shopping more mindfully. 

Fashion style board ideas and examples

Your fashion mood board can look… however you want it to look! But to give you a general idea:

A beautiful fashion mood boardCredit: studiomse - Pinterest

A cottagecore fashion style boardCredit: Nancy W. - Pinterest

Example of an elegant fashion mood board

Credit: illustrationbymi - Instagram

How can a fashion mood board help you ditch fast fashion?

Friends embracing their own fashion styles

You’ll create your own style instead of following trends 

As Alec Leach states in The World Is on Fire But We're Still Buying Shoes:

“Clothes in the hype era aren't products to own, they're moments to broadcast, to share on Instagram for 24 hours. They're here, then they're not – they are more like memes than products.”

Fast fashion’s entire business model is based on churning out new clothes as cheaply and quickly as possiblewithout caring about the environment and the rights of garment workers.

There are now 52 micro-seasons per year, and ultra fast fashion brands like SHEIN and Boohoo upload thousands of new garments every week. 

So, you’re encouraged to keep buying clothes, throw them away after wearing them a couple of times (God forbid you’re seen with the same outfit again!) and… repeat.

But when you create your own style and fashion moodboard? You’ll no longer feel compelled to buy all those throwaway garments!

You’ll fall in love with your clothes 

Your fashion mood board will help you focus on garments that inspire you and actually make you happy

It’ll be easier to get creative with them, remix them to create different outfits, and rewear them confidently.

You’ll be more mindful with your new purchases

Do you ever open your (*cough cough* overflowing) wardrobe, think you’ve got nothing to wear, and decide the only solution is buying new clothes?

Well, as Andrea Cheong proves in her book—also titled Why Don't I Have Anything to Wear?the opposite is true.

So, when you start following your own style instead of buying dozens of fast fashion garments to follow random trends?

You’ll get to invest in fewer higher-quality clothes that:

  • Were designed to last
  • Were made sustainably and by garment workers who are guaranteed fair wages and working conditions
  • You’ll actually want to keep and rewear for years 

How to create your fashion mood board

Friends creating fashion style boards together using a laptop in a cafe

1. Choose the format of your fashion mood board

  • We recommend creating a digital fashion style board online because it’s easier to put together, keep with you, and update. You can do that on free platforms like Pinterest and Canva
  • However, if you’re more of a crafty person, you can make a physical fashion mood board using a large sheet of paper or a cork board. You’ll then use fashion and lifestyle magazines for inspiration or print out the images you find online (more on that soon!)

2. Get clear on your signature fashion style

If you want it to work, don’t just chuck random pretty images together!

  • Start with your existing wardrobe – What clothes do you wear the most? Do they make you happy?
  • Think of outfits that inspire you – Film and TV-show characters, celebrities, influencers… Who makes you think “I want to dress more like them?”

Then, look at the clothes and styles you found. What do they have in common? For example:

  • Specific colours
  • An aesthetic (like cottagecore)
  • Inspiration from a decade
  • A vibe

and so on.

Once you’re clear on that, describe your ideal style (or styles) with a few adjectives, names of aesthetics, or keywords—like romantic, sporty, dark academia, 70s glam fashion, pastel-like, etc.

3. Look for images of this style 

Use your new keywords to find relevant images for your fashion style board (or, if using physical magazines, to stay on track). For example, you can do that on:

  • Google
  • Pinterest
  • Stock image websites like Unsplash and Pexel 
  • Instagram

Whenever a photo resonates with you, save it (you’ll curate your collage later on).

But what are you actually looking for?

4. Know what to include in your fashion moodboard

Our advice is to start from the bigger picture and then focus on the details. You can create your fashion moodboard by looking for:

  • Images that match your overall style and vibe
  • Words that describe it 
  • Meaningful reminders and positive affirmations like “I only wear clothes that match my businesswoman aesthetic and were made ethically”
  • Lifestyle images 
  • Colours and swatches
  • Patterns
  • Garment photos
  • Accessories 
  • Materials 

And of course, anything else that would help you stick to your own style!

5. Put your fashion moodboard together

There are no strict rules! Fashion style boards are personal. So, it’s important that you create one that inspires you.

But if you need some fashion mood board ideas:

  • Go through all your images, and be selective – Only keep what means the most to you
  • Play with different sizes – You could make your most meaningful photos bigger (for example, one of a model wearing your dream outfit) and details (like materials) smaller
  • One or more? – You can create a single fashion moodboard or different ones that match your habits (like seasonal boards, or a board for lifestyle clothes and one for work)
  • Get creative – Some people love fashion boards that are filled with images, often overlapping. Others prefers a minimalist approach. Once again, it’s up to you! Psst: on Canva, you can start with a “fashion mood board template,” or you can pin images on Pinterest
  • Remember: it’s not set in stone – Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to get it right the first time. Your fashion style board can evolve with you

How to use your new fashion mood board to shop more mindfully and sustainably

Example of a fashion moodboardCredit: Yi wu - Pinterest

You’ve put together your fashion style board. Great job! What now?

  • Use it to stay inspired
  • Have it on your phone, too
  • Look at it before ANY new purchase – Your fashion mood board can help you resist overconsumption. So, remind yourself of why it’s important to you. Focus on how much better you feel when you wear clothes in your style rather than random fast fashion trends

Ready to focus on clothes that match your fashion moodboard and were made ethically?

You can find them right here on Project Cece! We brought hundreds of fair trade brands in one place and added filters to narrow down your search. 

And if you've found this helpful, start receiving our tips and inspiration to make even more sustainable fashion choices.

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Project Cece is a platform that collects ethical fashion from vetted brands and shops in one place. Browse ethical fashion for women and men and find items that fit your style, budget and values!

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