How to find outfit photos that aren’t the same recycled pins from 2013

seen it

It can be really frustrating to look for outfit photos and find that all the results are all early 2010s blogger photos that some algorithm has decided must be classic because they were uploaded during its heyday. Things tend to be in the same few silhouettes on the same few body types and it can be hard to find fresh looks. This post contains some tips and tricks that I use when I’m trying to source images for a Pinterest board (for an item or a style).

YMMV dramatically depending on the particular item or style you’re looking for, of course, but in general my strategy is to search, skim, and iterate on your search query a lot. If you didn’t see what you wanted in the first page or two of results, it’s usually better to try again with a slightly modified search than to keep digging down the wrong path hoping it will turn something up.

Also to be clear, there isn’t anything wrong with blonde highlights and jeggings and half-tucked oversized sweaters. It’s just that there’s a lot more out there to explore, and if you’re trying to find it for any myriad of reasons, you’ll need to put in a little extra work.

Google images

Search for variations of

{item} + {outfit/runway/street style/lookbook} + {season or year}

{style} + {outfit/aesthetic/street style/lookbook} + {year}

where season can optionally be added as “fall 2014” or “fw2020” or “ss19” etc. If you are searching for a very recent one it may be more efficient to use the time filtering tool to filter to results from the past year.

Filters

  • filter to the last year or month
  • filter out Pinterest by adding “-site:pinterest.*” (the asterisk removes Pinterest from all country domains). You can also do this with Tumblr or any other site you want to exclude.
  • Filter to a particular website like vogue.com or instagram.com (I’m not sure what makes it to the google images page vs recent/top hashtags in Instagram itself) by adding “site:website.com” to your search, e.g. “wide leg pants site:vogue.com”
Images > Tools > Time

Stock photos

  • Search a site that includes a lot of brands like Nordstrom or ASOS or Lyst or even just the shopping tab in Google and check out how the item is styled. These are particularly helpful as they are generally styled more on trend than a random image from Pinterest. Personally I just start with the google shopping tab.
  • If there is a store or designer whose style generally jives with yours, in addition to searching the sites directly, search {item} + {brand} e.g. “wide leg pants modcloth” or “wide leg pants loft” to include old season items

Instagram

  • Check the hashtag on Instagram for the particular item e.g. #widelegpants or #widelegpantsoutfit
  • For styles, see what comes up by adding “aesthetic” or “core” in addition to checking “outfit”, “look”, “style”, and “fashion”. For example #grandmacore #grandmafashion or #grandmaaesthetic if you’re looking for cozy florals.
  • For personal outfit inspo, I also try to follow a wider variety of people on my fashion Instagram account and save posts from day to day. This is a slow process, but it will help immensely if you follow larger accounts in a style you like who make it a point to regularly share accounts with a similar fashion vibe but on diverse people (for example @thestylekillers, @thedisneybound, @targetstyle, and a lot of slow fashion brands are pretty good about this).
  • When searching for style inspo, if you find a brand or person whose account you love, see what accounts they follow or what the recommended accounts from their page are. Check out their post hashtags to find less obvious tags that may have the style you’re looking for.
  • Search The Style Blogger Index at The Median Moda for bloggers with different measurements or styles
Clicking the little arrow icon to the right of the follow button (the one with the person icon) will expand suggested accounts

More variety

In my experience, unless you’re directly including diversity adjectives in the search, you’re going to have a hard time finding outfits on people who are not shaped like the conventional fashion model. Don’t be shy, search! Tell the algorithms that people want to see that!

  • In Pinterest, Instagram, or Google try different variation of your search including “plus size”, “plus”, “midsize”, “petite”, etc to find looks on different shapes of people.
  • If I’m trying to diversify a Pinterest board, I will click into any pin that is even remotely close to what I’m looking for that has a model with any dimension of diversity to them and see if any of the recs are closer to the item or style I’m curating for.
  • If you know of a particular celebrity who fits the profile you’re searching for, you can also search {celebrity} + {clothing item}.
  • On Instagram hashtags you can also try and search for a style or item in another language, although that’s extremely hit or miss.
midsizestyle and midsizefashion for outfits on people approximately size US 8-14

I always appreciate seeing a lookbook (either produced by a brand or a collection from another fashion-lover just aggregating photos) that has a healthy amount of diversity because that shit doesn’t happen on accident. It takes extra work. Things have been getting a lot better especially in the last few years, but until some day in the future that may or may not come when there is more diversity of fashion images produced and search algorithms are less biased, I hope these tips will be helpful. If you have any tips or favorite sources for fashion images, feel free to share in the comments below!

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