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Bobbie finds real style on the streets

While runways and fashion magazines are great places to search for style inspiration, sometimes great looks are already being worn by real women. TODAY style editor Bobbie Thomas shares the  fashionable, everyday looks she saw out on the streets.
/ Source: TODAY contributor

Runways and fashion magazines are great places to search for style inspiration, but my favorite source is all around me — in my fellow females. I often find myself “checking out” other women on the street, while I'm passing by in a cab, or eating lunch in a restaurant. It's a great way to get a fresh perspective and see that there really is more than one way to wear something. I love to see women boldly “break the rules.” And while the much-loved "makeover" is a relevant way to learn along with the brave subject, I instead wanted to celebrate everyday women with great personal style (no glam squad needed).

We often focus on what needs improvement, but not often enough on what’s already great. So with camera in hand, I took to the streets in search of new friends to inspire us all.

Mix neutrals
One of my favorite things to spot is a blend of neutrals in one ensemble. And yes, it’s OK to mix black and brown! (In fact, TODAY’s own Matt Lauer loves to wear brown shoes with his black suits.) This is one of the most common questions I’m asked about in terms of color. Naina, a blogger from Boston, grabbed my eye with her chic black boots and brown bag combo. While a black bag would have worked as well, the chocolate brown added another element, softening her look. Khadija, a student from New York, layered basic black underneath her on-trend camel cape, but didn’t go with the obvious — a black belt. Rather, she not only cinched her waist, but tied the outfit together in less contrived way with a brown belt.

Embrace color
Black and brown are the popular go-to colors in most wardrobes, but bright hues are an easy way to update or refresh your look. Brenda, a model from Houston, proves you can be a chameleon — even with her red hair. Although you may expect her to avoid contrasting colors, she not only wears bold brights but combines unexpected hues. When you don’t know what to wear with a vibrant top or skirt, try a similar but different shade (e.g., green-blue and kelly green). And for all those who have ever worried that your curves can’t handle color or patterns, Ebony, a makeup artist from Atlanta, shows us all that you can break free from hiding in the dark. She flaunted her fabulous figure in a punchy plaid belted shirtdress (a $2 thrift store find!) that she unbuttoned at the top to allow a blue cami to peek through and separate the pattern from her face. Color can also do wonders for women with fair complexions and silver-gray hair. Stylish sisters Betty and Sarah from Atlanta paired their sunny top layers with lighter neutrals on the bottom.

Add extras
When I saw Deirdra from New York walking by with her bold green bag, I thought she looked fantastic. A pop of color paired with a solid suit is always a great idea; however, a vivid accessory has much more versatility than most may expect. Sometimes a strong print needs an equally shocking partner, so don’t be afraid to mix statement pieces together. And don’t forget the small extras. A headband or simple stud can pull your look together without fuss. I met Milis, a fresh-faced tourist from Stockholm, and loved her carefree style of a tank, shorts and cross-body bag. While this was great for sightseeing, a quick switch from her ponytail to a royal blue headband was all she needed to add a little color and look ready for lunch with the girls without worrying about makeup.

If you have a stylish sister, modern mom or fashionable friend you admire — send me a picture and I could be talking about their look on air! And beware, I may stop you on the street next!