An image from the Polyvore website.

Polyvore: cut, copy and paste your way to creative bliss

Lately, I've been encountering a lot of style blogs where the authors are completely obsessed with Polyvore, a website that allows its users to make elaborate fashion and interior design-style collages using images they’ve uncovered all over the web or on the site itself. Users can create a profile, save their collages, see and comment upon the collages that others have crafted, and have the pieces that they discover become pictures that other Polyvore fans can use in their own collages. Because of the balance between individual creativity and communal image-sharing, Polyvore allows its users to express their individuality while also expressing themselves as part of a larger creative community.

Community is a big part of the Polyvore experience. There are hundreds of different groups on the site, with names like "Polywhores" and "Insane Randomness." The site appeals to a lot of different people with widely different personal styles, and there seem to be enough groups and community for all of them. While some of the posters focus on high fashion and trendy pieces, others are more fascinated by exquisite interiors. There are also people interested in, well, "Insane Randomness" -- making pieces that feature landscapes, nature, cityscapes or whatever catches their eye.

Maybe that's part of the reason why Polyvore is so addicting. People can find beautiful shoes or dresses or art that strikes their fancy, copy and paste those items into their profile and then see how others respond not only to their collage as a whole but to the pieces they chose. Plus, they get instant feedback on the pieces that they love, which many users are really into; some even go so far as to ask their friends to please comment on their posts. It’s great for the designers and photographers as well, because each item that's pasted onto Polyvore is linked to wherever it originally came from. That way, if people really love a piece that they discover there, they can always find out right where it came from.

Something else that appeals to me about the site is being able to see what inspires other people and, subsequently, being inspired myself. I love to see how people use colors and images and then juxtapose those images in ways that I may never have considered. No matter how much you love fashion, and no matter how unique and attractive your personal style may be, it is still good to take a look at how others choose to do things. Not just through magazines, where carefully edited choices are presented to you in their best possible light by people who are paid to make things look good and tell you what is hot, but also in places like Polyvore, where everyday people who love beautiful things take the time to put those things together in beautiful ways and share them with thousands of people they will never meet. They don't do it because they're being paid or they expect to gain notoriety, but just because they want to share what inspires them and to be inspired. -- TaRosa Jacobs

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