Let’s be honest: On days when you’re sitting in those boring lecture classes and cursing the fact that you forgot to bring your laptop, staring at the Internet activity of the people in front of you is pretty much your best option to pass the time. By now, I’m sure you’ve casually stalked a number of Tumblr queues and Pinterest boards of those fashionable people who sit in front of you. Although popular websites can have no shortage of fashion inspiration, look to lesser-known sites to really get your fix.
For the runway obsessed, head to style.com for just about every collection known to mankind. The website has slideshows and reviews of collections dating back more than a decade, and it is an excellent barometer for establishing just when certain designers exploded on the scene. Of course fall and spring shows get the most love, but if you’re a serious fashion fan, you’ll be able to find archives of resort and pre-fall shows as well. Those of you who really like seeing what the rich and famous wore last Saturday will be pleased because the site also keeps tabs on red carpet events and industry parties. If you’re in love with any of the images you see, style.com makes it easy for you to save your favorites in online lookbooks.
Pinterest may have usurped some of styling website Polyvore’s popularity, but Polyvore is still by far the best place to go if you feel like playing magazine editor. Polyvore allows you to collect your favorite fashion pieces from around the Internet and create virtual collages of just about anything, from interesting art pieces to looks you’d like to wear. If you find the perfect piece while casually browsing online, the clip function makes it easy for you to save the item to use in a collage. Just don’t get too caught up in browsing already-uploaded clothing items: lust-worthy pieces are aggregated from across all corners of the Internet, and it might be hard to resist the urge to click on the links and spend.
The Fashion Spot bills itself as a one-stop shop for just about anything industry related. Its blog content and runway coverage is solid, but its biggest strength lies in its online community. Hundreds of users post to The Fashion Spot’s forums, creating conversations on everything from that latest runway show to the article on page 322 of last month’s French Vogue. If you’re looking for specific editorials from magazine back issues, search the archives because it’s undoubtedly been scanned and uploaded on a past thread. The fashion spot forums are designed for people with connections to, or at least serious interest in, the industry, so membership is by invitation only. Still, almost all the forums are available for general viewing. If you’re set on becoming part of the conversation, the site doles out invitations several times a year, and current users can also send invites, so it doesn’t hurt to get on the waiting list.
Just about every big fashion website has a section devoted to street style, but some of the best looks on the Internet come from independent blogs. Scott Schuman’s The Sartorialist blog pioneered street style photography in 2005 and is still going strong. Photographer Yvan Rodic’s blog, Facehunter, has similarly been chronicling looks from streets all over the world since 2006. If candid pictures are your favorite, also be sure to check out Bill Cunningham’s On the Street column for The New York Times. It appears each Sunday in print, but his cheeky online podcast is the most endearing accompaniment to his photos.
Literature and history nerds will find lots to love about Textbook, a blog that takes inspiration from famous characters and historical figures and pairs them with modern outfits that might suit their style. Atticus Finch, for example, might look dapper dressed in head-to-toe Ralph Lauren, while Archduke Franz Ferdinand would probably have favored heavy coats by Burberry and Alexander McQueen. Sure, the concept is a bit far-fetched, but it’s also a fabulous context with which to view the latest collections.