Your guide to styling a fashion inspired image using props from your own wardrobe

There are so many ways you can use clothing and accessories to add context into fashion inspired images. You can Compose your image as you would put together an outfit and always be mindful of the theme and story you are telling when choosing your accessories. There’s no need to be a fashionista, anyone can raid their own wardrobe and have fun creating an #OOTD. Here are some handy accessories you can start with:

1. The Outfit

Whilst not an accessory as such but often the hero piece, let’s begin with the outfit. Because of their scale and size, the clothing itself can be the hardest part to style in your image. Pay special attention to it and style around it. Perhaps accentuate its colour, beautiful pattern or textural element. There are so many ways you can style it. Lay it down so all or part of it will be in the frame depending on its relative size, fold it up neatly, drape it across your frame or perhaps even wear it! Include your hand in the frame showing a beautiful woollen jumper sleeve clutching a coffee or choosing a watch as you get ready for the day. Check out our blog ‘Top tips for nailing that hands in frame shot’ for more inspiration on including your hands.

Some weekend essentials featuring some casual folding. Source:  @ardaisy_

Some weekend essentials featuring some casual folding. Source: @ardaisy_

Tips:

  • It’s a good idea to iron your items before including them in your image...creases and folds can be distracting to the eye.

  • Pay attention to any tags visible on the clothing. The brand tags are usually aesthetically pleasing so make sure these are neat if they can be seen but we really don’t want to see the care instructions!

  • Scarfs can add that extra pop of colour or softness to any outfit and image!

2. Bags

Bags are a handy prop and accessory to any outfit as you can fill them and have things spilling out of them. Just make sure the bag complements the theme of your composition and the story you are telling.

A statement bag featured with all the essentials. Source:  @ardaisy_

A statement bag featured with all the essentials. Source: @ardaisy_

Tips:

  • The straps of the bag are just as important as the bag itself. Arrange these neatly if you are doing a tidy arrangement or have a bit of fun with them if the bag has long straps and you are a little bit more casual or messy. 

  • Refer to #whatsinmybag and #bagspil on Instagram for bags full of more inspiration!

3. Shoes

Shoes can be a difficult element to style into your composition as they are often quite bulky and awkward, but they can be a lot of fun if you play around. You can even put your legs in the frame wearing some shoes with your favourite jeans or a statement skirt.

A neaty arranged flatlay featuring some black pumps. Source:  @whatshepictures

A neaty arranged flatlay featuring some black pumps. Source: @whatshepictures

A lone shoe [and it’s laces] makes a statement. Source:  @nehemiah.tay

A lone shoe [and it’s laces] makes a statement. Source: @nehemiah.tay

Tips:

  • Use clean or [relatively] new shoes in your composition.

  • Take note of the shoelaces if you are styling trainers or joggers. You can tie them neatly or use them a bit more artistically to add some flair.

  • Don’t feel obliged to use both shoes just because they come in a pair!

  • Pay attention to their position and the shadow they cast as they are often higher and more dominant than the other items in your composition.

4. Hats

Hats can definitely help to set the mood of your image. A lovely sun hat gives us a summery, beachy vibe. A woollen hat gives us a more cosy, snuggly feel. The perfect straw hat can add texture to your composition or a maroon woollen hats can add some warmth.

The hat steals the show in Ruth’s flatay. Source:  @thecontentcreative

The hat steals the show in Ruth’s flatay. Source: @thecontentcreative

Tips:

  • Op shops are a great place to find fabulous hats. I have a collection of beautiful woollen hats and sun hats I have collected over the years for next to nothing!

  • Lettering on a hat can add to the story you are telling.

5. Glasses

A pair of reading glasses or sunglasses are a very handy prop. You might be doing a sophisticated flatlay or a casual, beachy one, they are so important for setting the tone of your image and telling the story.

A clever addition of reading glasses for a sophisticated feel. Source:  @nehemiah.tay

A clever addition of reading glasses for a sophisticated feel. Source: @nehemiah.tay

These peachy sunglasses add to the peachy keen theme of this flatlay. Source:  @ardaisy_

These peachy sunglasses add to the peachy keen theme of this flatlay. Source: @ardaisy_

Tips:

  • Always be mindful of the reflections [especially your own!] in the glasses. Angle the glasses so that they reflect a plain ceiling or surface. Or have fun with their reflection!

  • Again, scout op shops for different, colourful and interesting glasses. You just never know when they might be the perfect prop!

6. Watches

Watches are a very handy prop and accessory indeed, a must in your wardrobe repertoire! 

A watch put cleverly into context. Source:  @nehemiah.tay

A watch put cleverly into context. Source: @nehemiah.tay

Connie wears a watch as well as featuring a couple in her image. Source:  @whatshepictures

Connie wears a watch as well as featuring a couple in her image. Source: @whatshepictures

Tips:

  • Take note of the time whilst you are photographing, especially if the watch is a hero piece. It’s more aesthetically pleasing if the clock hands are in a nice position. There’s a reason why watches are always photographed showing 10:10. I’m not saying to use this time but make sure the time reflects the story you are telling. For example, a morning time if you are getting ready in the morning or midday if you are going to lunch.

7. Jewellery

Jewellery is what I call the perfect ‘fillers’ for your images. You can scatter rings, necklaces and brackets around to complement your outfit even though in reality you would never wear it all at once!

Connie has scattered rings, necklaces and bangles around this epic flatlay. Source:  @whatshepictures

Connie has scattered rings, necklaces and bangles around this epic flatlay. Source: @whatshepictures

Tips:

  • There are so many other ‘fillers’ you can add to your composition to complete the story from flowers and books, magazines, journals and pens, makeup, your phone or camera and coffee cups or cups of tea…the list is endless.

So I hope this has inspired you to look in your wardrobe and see what you can create! Think about the story you are telling and the things that put this story into context and have some fun with fashion!

Happy faffing!

Marisa from @marisa.young xx

Community Manager for @creativelysquared


Please join us for our September 23 - 29 creative challenge ‘In Context’. Cëe from @ardaisy_will be our mentor. She will be featuring her favourite entries and feedback on the @creativelysquared Instagram account. You can find Cëe at @ardaisy_ on Instagram. We invite you to join Cëe and the rest of the Creatively Squared community to bring things in to context. Hit the button below for entry information and full resources.