Last month, as another year came to a close, I realized that I upped my sartorial game in 2022. While I’ve enjoyed playing dress up for as long as I can remember, in the past year I finally had the courage to try new trends and styles that never would’ve fit into my intensely curated aesthetic of dark colors and classic silhouettes. And it wasn’t a coincidence: At the beginning of 2022, I made a mood board to map out what I wanted my style to look like for the year. It was worth the effort.
The board served as my personal stylist. Not only did it help fine-tune my fashion DNA and personal style, but it made my usual sartorial morning anxiety calmer. It also assisted my packing process, from a press trip to Finland and a summer in Arizona to my vacations at home in Puerto Rico, not to mention the stressful reality of getting dressed to go to an office after two years working from home.
Using runway and street style photos, as well as archival images of celebrities and designers as inspiration, I meticulously added each outfit to a Pinterest board that I regularly updated throughout the year. In the vast universe of digital collaging, I was able to tune up my style and expand it at the same time. Take, for example, the many versions of suiting I pinned to my board throughout 2022, which evolved from all-black versions worn with sneakers, to cream monochrome iterations that featured wrap-around and obi belts. Then, there were the multiple black slip dresses I saved, which were styled with sweaters and boots for a comfy, casual vibe to white T-shirts and bright red boots. There were also ensembles that I now see as the beginnings of the bikercore and balletcore trends, both of which I've incorporated into my closet as they've come to dominate the fashion cycle.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, conversations around how our personalities, values, and priorities have been impacted by this time have dominated the news cycle. And fashion, one of the tools most of us use to express ourselves, was bound to be one of the areas most affected because, after all, who cares what we look like when the world around us seems to be collapsing? At least that was my thinking in 2020 and 2021, resulting in a dreary time where my relationship with style deteriorated but ultimately drove me to Pinterest in January 2022.
The mood board changed all of that: I wore a shirt dress with a corset, an all-black suit paired with asymmetrical sandals, a nude slip dress with chunky pearl earrings, a black lace catsuit under a poofy black mini dress, and a white dress shirt with a black tie and red handbag. All of these outfits featured elements that were found in my 2022 mood board, and as I got ready for every work day, events, and night outs, the board was there to remind me of who I wanted to be — and look like — last year.
Looking back, the mood board had three core elements that are crucial for every one else considering doing this exercise. First, it fit my lifestyle needs, featuring outfits that I could easily replicate in all facets of my life, whether for work, personal purposes, or special occasions. It also included outfits that were created with a good mix of basics and trendy items, making it easier for me to reach for the core pieces in my closet without having to spend much on trends. Lastly, there was an aesthetic unison that kept my style streamlined and personable.
Now, as 2023 hits, a new board is already under way. It includes images of Emily in Paris’ Camille and turtleneck looks worn by Victoria Beckham, as well as plenty of Saint Laurent logo brooches and Indie Sleaze black outfits that are in tune with the trend cycle’s return to the 2010s. While it's hard to change at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Day, it's much easier to start with the basics. Or dress the part before we make it there. I’m already excited to look in the fashion rearview mirror come December, but for now, it’s time to dress up.