Ever heard of a lookbook? It's a collection of photos pulled together to showcase a model, a photographer, a stylist, or just a "look" or theme. Style lookbooks help you develop a 360 degree view of a style you like or would like to learn.
If you identify with a particular artist or actor/actress--because of skin tone, skin type, hair type, or just because you really love their style--a lookbook based on that person's best looks is a great resource for you to refer back to and copy from.
I don't know about you, but when I want to try a new look--either a new hairstyle, haircut, or makeup trend--I usually try to find images online first, that I can collect and save as reference.
These days, there are many resources we can tap into while searching for material to add or to create your own lookbook(s).
No need to look through dozens of magazines ripping ads and articles out anymore! Guilty. Been there and done that. It's so much easier to bookmark sites and pages, or to copy images and save them on your computer or in a document.
Google's own Boutiques website is a haven, though I've yet to find any lookbooks that are typically "me." Mostly, I go there to see what's trending and avant garde.
Other sources of great looks are sites such as: Fashionista, the Working Wardrobe blog, Speaking of Style blog, and more.
What about your favorite fashion magazine? Or a favorite store? Stores like Ann Taylor and JJill have great "what's hot" and "just in" pages where you can find great outfits already pulled together for you.
When I want to study hair styles, I always pore through hundreds of photos on Google Images. I used to purchase expensive hairstyle magazines, but no more!
I typically find there's one photo that has the just-right bangs, while another may have the just-right rear view of the hairstyle I want. Printouts of these photos together, usually in a MS Word document, help me communicate my idea/concept to the hairstylist when I'm getting my next hair cut.
Websites such as Aveda's hair style gallery, Bumble and Bumble's style book, and Redken's The Hair Files and Style Gallery have some great hair trends pages that are worth checking out periodically.
Local hair salons also typically have some sort of gallery that showcases their talent's projects and style. Check out Aveda, Redken, or Bumble and Bumble affiliated salons. They're usually best bets for great galleries--and best of all, you may find a great stylist there that you want to try out, not just a great hairstyle or hair cut for your lookbook.
For makeup lookbooks, usually Sephora's Beauty Talk or a favorite makeup brand are the best resources.
I check periodically Chanel Makeup Confidential and Clinique's What's New to make sure I'm aware of hot new colors and eyemakeup trends.
YouTube can also be a great resource for application or styling techniques. I became obsessed with various gurus' channels on YouTube in 2007, and I still check out their latest looks and tutorials a couple of times a year.
One of my favorite ways to search is by putting in particular keywords (style, work appropriate, etc.) on Google Blog Search. I've found countless favorite sites this way, that I've added to my Google Reader.
So where are reliable sources of information? Everywhere. Just pick a look or style (or key word!) and explore away.