The Budget Babe | Affordable Fashion & Style Blog

10 Ways to Make a Celebrity Look Your Own

Here's how to get inspired by your favorite celebrity fashion.
Celebrities offer a lot in the way of outfit inspiration, after all, they're usually dressed by professional stylists in the latest trends. And when they're not on the red carpet, they're usually wearing pretty regular clothes, not high-fashion runway looks. But while I strive to replicate celebrity looks as closely as possible with my daily "Dress by Number" posts, the goal was never to have readers mirror the look, rather, my aim is to present each outfit like a recipe - you can follow it step by step to achieve a certain look, but then you should feel free to improvise, edit and tweak that look to make it your own. Here are ten ways to do just that.

Kristin Cavallari Photo Credit: All Access / BACKGRID

1. Play with color.
Color can be manipulated in countless ways when composing an outfit, so it's important to first identify the key colors in a given look, then see why they matter. If the outfit relies on colorblocking, try switching out complementary hues. If a celeb has colorblocked red and hot pink, try blue and neon yellow (rather than say, red and black which would completely change the feel of the look). If the outfit relies on neutrals with a pop of color, you'll have a lot more leeway in terms of what color you choose. Skinny jeans with a coral blazer? Try swapping the blazer for sky blue, pink or green. Little black dress with a red belt and red heels? As long as you match the belt and heels, you can pick any color in the rainbow.

2. Switch up the proportions.
Stylists will tell you that proportions and fit are more important than any other element in a look as these visually define your silhouette more so than color or fabric textures, etc. If you're trying to achieve a certain look, the key to success will be mirroring those same proportions. Once you've nailed it, you can begin to play with those boundaries, say, the length of a skirt or sleeves on a shirt. You may have to alter other elements in your look to maintain a coherent look but it's worth playing around.

3. Change the shoes.
Some looks rely on "the shoe" but most of the time, you can easily switch up the shoes in a look to make it your own. I'm always swapping flats for heels when I get inspired by a celebrity outfit. Or swapping the color of the shoe, say, by adding a bright red flat instead of black or a leopard print heel instead of a nude platform. Alternatively, you might upgrade a flat to a pump to make a laid-back celebrity look work for the office.

4. Mix up the prints.
Once you've identified the key prints in a look - are they floral? futuristic? geometric? - feel free to mix them up based on what you have in your closet. Maybe you love how a celebrity paired a floral A-line midi skirt with a simple white top. As long as you keep the same basic proportions, the print of the skirt doesn't really matter. In fact, by switching up the print of the skirt and the color of the top, you will have created an almost infinite number of new outfit ideas for yourself.

5. Add or subtract layers.
Sometimes layers are integral to achieving a certain look, say, a tough biker jacket with a flirty floral dress. But that's not to say you couldn't juxtapose a girly frock with a leather vest instead. Or just take off the jacket altogether if it's too hot to wear a leather jacket and add edgy jewelry or a hat to make the look your own. Another easy tip: Add a blazer to almost any knit top and bottom look to make it work appropriate. Or, remove that same blazer to create a casual weekend look.

6. Adjust the fabrics.
By manipulating the fabrics in a look you love, you can make it work for your climate or a different season altogether. For example, let's say you love how a certain celebrity (or blogger or catalog model) paired a striped tee with a neon skirt - for spring. Go ahead and swap that lightweight tee for a chunky knit sweater and that breezy skirt for a heavier weave and you'll have taken the look from one season to the next. On the same note, you can always winterize summer looks by adding tights and a jacket, another one of my favorite tricks since its chilly where I live a good nine months out of the year.

7. Make it work for your figure.
I often find myself inspired by models-off-duty like Kate Moss and Miranda Kerr, but for some inexplicable reason, I'm unable to replicate their looks. Hmmm, wonder why. My solution varies by outfit, but generally I have to make small adjustments like wearing a fitted tee instead of a drapey one. The drapey one might look rocker-chic on Kate Moss, but it just looks sloppy on little ol' me. Someone like Diane Kruger can get away with wearing skintight leather pants and a crop top, but me? I'll wear my leatherette leggings with a bum-covering tunic and leg-lengthening heels. If you love a look, I guarantee there's a way to make it work for your figure, you just have to experiment.

8. Carry a different bag.
Don't you just hate it when an otherwise slovenly celeb grabs coffee carrying a $2,000 designer handbag and suddenly gets hailed as a style icon? I know, I know, I'm guilty of featuring these very celebs from time to time. But my point is that a designer handbag doesn't necessary create an outfit, nor should you feel the need to shell out two months rent on a handbag just to look put together. Sometimes a designer bag can be a crutch that we hide behind (myself included) but don't think you can't get inspired by a look just because a celeb is carrying a certain bag which she probably got as a gift anyways. Just look at the style (structured? slouchy?) and color and see if you have something similar that will work for your lifestyle.

9. Get creative with your accessories.
Things like scarves, jewelry and belts can really transform a look, so pay close attention to these items when you're trying to recreate a celebrity look for yourself. Then, feel free to shake things up. Try a skinny belt instead of a wide belt, statement earrings in lieu of a statement necklace, or a aqua scarf that brings out the color of your eyes instead of a lime green hue that makes you look washed out.

10. Experiment with your beauty look.
Sometimes the beauty look is essential to an ensemble - perhaps a top-knot with a popped collar blouse or loose beachy waves with a strapless maxi dress. But most of the time, you can make a celebrity look your own by playing with makeup and hair. Maybe a casual celebrity look just needs a nice cat-eye or bold red lip to take it up a notch. Or maybe your favorite pop star is rocking neon lips and hair, which you might translate to a neon nail or eyeliner for everyday. The possibilities are endless!

What are your tips for changing up a celebrity look to make it your own? How have you taken inspiration from "Dress by Number" posts in the past? Lessons learned? Things you've improved? I'd love to know.

This is a really great post. This post has so many great tips and makes some excellent points. Thank you!
#1 Nicole (Homepage) on 2012-05-30 11:39 (Reply)
Thx for the feedback, these were ideas I had often thought about but never put down on paper - and it kinda had to be said!
#1.1 The Budget Babe on 2012-05-30 18:09 (Reply)
Great post and great tips! Thank you!
#2 Isis on 2012-05-30 17:23 (Reply)
Thanks for reading, hope you found something useful!
#2.1 The Budget Babe on 2012-05-30 18:10 (Reply)
This is great, not just because it helps readers make celebrity looks their own, but because it really sums up the basic "rules" of being generally fashionable. If more people knew and understood how all of your suggestions work on a visual level, the world would look and feel happier! You cover the bases here, too, from accessories to beauty to proportions. Awesome.
#3 Shannon on 2012-05-30 23:28 (Reply)
Very kind of you to say, thanks. I had another thought - if someone's unsure whether or not a look they are wearing "works," try taking a picture. I often see a myriad of fashion sins staring back at me when I take a photograph of myself, which shows you things that aren't always visible in the mirror!
#3.1 The Budget Babe on 2012-05-31 11:02 (Reply)
I like the "Dress by Number" and "Celebrity Style" posts because they offer an easy and quick way for me to see the latest trends, and how to wear them. I don't necessarily dress like that, or purchase those items, rather I use them to keep up to date on what's going on in fashion. If I happen to like a particular trend - like color blocking for example - I go back to those posts for inspiration.

I like how you mentioned Kate Moss and Miranda Kerr. I often find myself inspired by models-off-duty as well, specially Kate Moss. However, I can't pull off the blazer + tee + jeans look. It's "effortless chic" on her, but on my it just looks funny.
#4 Deb on 2012-05-31 11:29 (Reply)
Totally agree.
#4.1 The Budget Babe on 2012-06-01 12:02 (Reply)
This is great!! I have loved your dress by number posts and implemented many of these ideas just because of financial reasons and using what I have and making it work. Since I have been following your blog I have received so many compliments on my style and fashion sense. It really cracks me up, because I am just using what I have and trying to be inspired by the looks you post. It has been such a great experience I have even been asked to take people shopping and help them. This has meant so much, especially since I work with teens and they appreciate an "older" person who appreciates fashion. I really owe it all to you! THANK YOU BUDGET BABE!!! And thanks for this post to help fill in more of the blanks.
#5 danielle on 2012-05-31 11:46 (Reply)
This made my day, thanks for the great feedback, I truly appreciate hearing this!
#5.1 The Budget Babe on 2012-06-01 12:01 (Reply)
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