R&R Sophisticate: Tools To Create Your Signature Look Part 1-The Look Book

We've all seen her. She's the girl who is always impeccably dressed with hair that constantly fluctuates from different degrees of fabulousness every time you see her. She commands a room with a presence that is equal parts Kimora Lee Simmons, Beyonce, and Michelle Obama. Everything about her is intricate and immaculate, yet she always has a pulled together, effortless aura around her. Oh and let's not forget that her face is always decked with the latest from the MAC counter. How does she combine Goodwill, Target, Chanel, and Chloe purchases with a perfect balance that blends into something that solely hers? She's got something that's worth much more than anything by the latest status brand: personal style. Style is something that takes lots of effort to develop, but once you have it, shopping is much easier and a whole lot more fun.

A "look book" is a great first step to discovering your personal style. Traditionally used by haute couture fashion houses to demonstrate how a collection of clothing will work together, look books have been increasingly more popular in mainstream magazines and advertisements because of their ability to show the intentions that a designer has for a piece in a more complete way. They are great playgrounds for experimenting with combinations and they can help you ensure that you will get exactly the look that you are aiming for. Ready to make your own? Follow these steps and you'll have a blueprint for a style that's all your own.

1. Decide on whether you want to go digital or hard copy with your look book.

A look book can be a cheap Mead notebook from Wal Mart or a file on your iPad. As long as you have plenty of space to organize all of the clips, pictures, and other tidbits that you'll collect along the way to your personal style, it doesn't matter how you keep them together. I prefer a pretty journal-like notebook with pockets since I like to move the pieces around to get a better idea of how they will work together. Image consultant Arash Mazinani has some great ideas for how to make a more tech savvy look book.

2. Look for inspiration from everything around you.

Always be on the look out for stylish clips for your look book. Movies, passersby at the mall, even flowers or birds could give you an idea for a fierce outfit. Street style blogs like this one from Essence that focuses on Atlanta or this one from Memphis are a great place to get ideas and see how they work on real women.

3. Become a magazine junkie

I can spend hours in my stacks of magazines cutting out pictures of things that I'd like to add to my style. Of course you'll want to have copies of the major fashion mags, but even home decor glossies might have something that could pique your interest. Do you love how the colors in a room from Elle Decor come together? Cut it out, put it in your look book, and head to the mall to try putting together an outfit with the same colors.

4. Don't let a great outfit idea pass you by. Capture it in your look book!

Keep a camera on hand to take pictures of things that inspire you as you travel. Great outfit ideas are like a song on the radio that you love but don't know the name of. If you don't capture at least some of it, the idea may be gone forever. Nothing is more frustrating than having the perfect idea for an outfit that fades away before you get a chance to see how it will work.

Happy clipping!