Behind the Scenes Holiday 2009: Style Me Merry

Thanks to our “Behind the Scenes” blog series, you now know how most Mod photo shoots come together, the process of creating an elaborately themed set, and the zeitgeist of a ModCloth shoot. For this installment of BTS, I’m giving you an inside look at how the extraordinary ensembles are chosen and put together, starring the leading lady of ModCloth, Susan!

Find out more after the jump…

ModCloth lookbooks are more than just photographs of outfits. They are stylish inspirations, quirky examples, and delightful depictions of what ModCloth is really all about.

The process begins when Susan and the buyers make their purchases for the next seasons. The lovely ladies of the Buying team travel to markets, as they are known in the fashion industry, all over the world from “Magic” in Las Vegas to “Bread and Butter” in Berlin, ensuring that the resulting ModCloth products are a hand-picked selection of absolutely incredible indie designers, including some very hard-to-find labels.

When asked if the buyers ever purposely choose pieces that go together, Susan said, “When we’re buying, we do consider what goes together, but it’s hard to always create outfits given the limited amount of time we have. However, we do always keep it in mind, since we wear a lot of ModCloth, ourselves!”


Prior to the photoshoot, Susan and the other stylists put their creatively chic minds together to create the posh, polished, and perfect looks that you see on the site. For Susan, styling has always been a passion, “It’s like playing dress-up,” she said, and who wouldn’t love that? When creating ensembles, they choose the items that they “feel the strongest about.” But, what does that mean?

“Sometimes, it’s an item that we love because it is so unique. Sometimes, it’s something that’s very on-trend for the new season. Sometimes, it’s something that’s just really classic – an item everyone needs to own,” Susan explained. By maintaining a brilliant balance of these elements, ModCloth’s lookbooks result in a bevy of beautiful looks that not only stand out in a sea of everyday fashion, but also contain key pieces that build a wardrobe that will sustain stylishness for seasons to come.

So, where does the inspiration for these outstanding outfits come from? Why, it comes from everywhere, including you, ModLovers! While Susan admits that styling instincts play a large role in creating the pretty pairings, she also reads close to 100 fashion blogs daily, and has “Fashion Inspiration,” “Make-up Inspiration,” and “Cute Inspiration” folders on her desktop, which contain thousands of style-provoking images, including many of real, regular people.


You’ve heard us say it before, but we’ll say it again – ModCloth really is all about the “de-mod-critization” of fashion. Real people hold the most style significance, from the aforementioned bloggers, to customers’ comments, to our innovative “Be the Buyer” project, to the models that appear on our site! Speaking of which – ModCloth often uses real girls that Susan has seen on the street, approached, and simply invited to model for us. That’s right, forget ANTM, because your big modeling break could be right around the corner! ModCloth chooses models that are “inspirational and aspirational.” Using real girls gives us a one-of-a-kind look that both stimulates your stylishness and encourages you with attainable and accessible images. Power to the ModPeople!

As I observed Susan and the other stylists putting the finishing touches on the holiday lookbook wardrobe, she explained that on the final day accessories are selected for each ensemble. Upon the racks, I saw cozy knits, posh patterns, flirty florals, stately stripes, and shimmering sequins – oh my! Susan and the other stylists alternated between pulling garments out and matching them with accessories, and plucking perfect necklaces, bags, scarves, tights, and the like, and pairing them up to sweaters, frocks, and skirts to complete the lovely looks.

They wrapped up the stellar styling for the Holiday ’09 lookbook, and I asked Susan if she had any final thoughts she wanted to share with the ModLife readers. She had these perfect pearls of wisdom to dispense, “I don’t believe in the phrase, ‘I can’t pull that off.’ If you don’t take risks, it’ll be that much harder for you to create something wonderful and unique. Wear what makes you happy, because there is so much creativity and beauty in doing that.”

If you’re not inspired by that, then you’d better check your fashion pulse.

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9 Responses to Behind the Scenes Holiday 2009: Style Me Merry

  1. Lulu 11/30/2009 at 7:08 pm #

    i didn’t know you pulled girls off the street to model! how awesome, haha

    and i always love your styling =) i love taking inspiration from the lookbooks, and people have told me i should be their own personal stylist… maybe one day?! ;)

  2. Megan 11/30/2009 at 7:15 pm #

    I love the Holiday 09 look book just as much as I love the Movember one.

  3. Danielle 11/30/2009 at 9:24 pm #

    This is so inspiring to know that ModCloth truly gathers their inspiration from real life women. Just another reason to love you guys even more!

  4. Jacky 12/01/2009 at 12:26 am #

    Love that you use normal girls to model, though I am kind of a twig naturally and need the stick ones too so I can see what it’d look like on me (I ate all the tg stuffing btw, I can’t help it!)

    also love that the item I just purchased before it was put in the look book was one of the items =)

  5. nicole 12/01/2009 at 7:58 am #

    susan is such an amazing woman, and that last quote was really inspiring! it’s always cool to see how things work at modcloth, but learning more about how susan does it was amazing :)

  6. Maggie 12/01/2009 at 9:48 am #

    love it. all of it. such a great read and I second and third it how awesome it is that you use real girls off the street. i might have to move for the hope of being chosen :)

  7. c_tyler 12/01/2009 at 9:56 am #

    Great post! Really enjoyed reading about your lookbook process and love the latest styles. Thanks to Susan for reminding me to get that nasty little “I can’t pull that off” phrase out of my head! You guys are great!

  8. Susan 12/03/2009 at 2:44 pm #

    Thanks for all the kind words! You ladies totally made my day.

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  1. ModLife » Blog Archive » Behind the Scenes: A Model Citizen - 01/11/2010

    [...] the prior edition of Behind the Scenes, I mentioned that ModCloth models are often not professional models at all, but regular gals that [...]

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