Help! Is Instagram Brainwashing Our Taste in Fashion?

Because #fashun and all that.
When adidas’Originals rose gold edition Superstar 80s popped up on ASOS’ new in feed, it took me all of about 55 seconds
to add them to my basket and check out via paypal. It was simply a reflex
reaction. But my thought process behind it? Oh
my god, look at those incredible trainers with rose gold hardware. Think how
good they’ll look on my Instagram. Think how good they’ll look in a picturenext to my copper pineapple and rose gold Zoeva makeup brushes! Ah, what a
piece of art! Think of how good the image will look on my Instagram!
Hold up, wait what?
I mean, it’s
my feet that they need to look good on, not some digitally curated social media
profile. And then, “think how good they’ll
look next to my copper pineapple and rose gold makeup brushes?”
excuse me
brain, are you planning on toting the copper pineapple as a clutch and sticking
the makeup brushes on my body like a fashion-week statement gone wrong? Why has
my brain defaulted to purchasing for a social media platform rather than what I
actually LIKE?
Luckily, real life Sophie is just as obsessed with these shoes as Instagram Sophie is, so
there was no purchase regret. But this was only the most recent instance that I
recognised that I was buying for Instgaram, rather than myself. Take culottes.
So cool on social, with their swishy, calf-cutting length. Of course I bought a
pair. One sharp black pair. Another chic off-white pair. And I wore them both. Several
times. Because fashion. And everyone on Instagram has them. And they’re all
getting a tonne of likes for wearing them. Which makes culottes cool, no? Whatever, either way, I secretly hated them. And now they hang
limply off a crappy wire coat hanger in my wardrobe, shouting “WE’RE STILL
HERE!” every single time I open the wardrobe, a constant reminder of my nonsense
and frivolity and desire to fit into a certain aesthetic. It seems that Instagram
has been blinding my judgement.
We all know
exactly what I’m talking about. Those it-items that rack up the likes and pop
up all over our explore feeds. Framed wall prints with quotes. The Chloe Faye
(and it’s myriad of dupes.) Stan Smiths. #MyCalvins. The aforementioned
copper pineapple. In fact, copper anything. I mean, Style Caster even wrote a piece titled “What It-Accessories get the most likes on Instagram?” (incase you wanted to know…) And suddenly it becomes all too clear that I’m buying things for an image,
because it’ll look good on camera rather than on myself, and that’s not only
wrong, but pretty damn stupid.
Yes, fashion
has always worked like that. Something weird, interesting, ugly or pretty becomes
popular amongst a select group of individuals. These people happen to be cool,
stylish, rich (most likely all three…) – whatever. The thing ends up in all of
the magazines. Everyone wants the thing. Said thing becomes mainstream trend.
Everyone is wearing trend. It’s the circle of life (well, fashion) and
Instagram is fuelling this at a faster rate than ever before.
It’s like
Instagram is this cool popular group in high school and I want to sit with the
cool girls at their cool table but the only way into this cool popular group is
by buying the stuff that the cool group says is well, cool. And ultimately, the
online versions of ourselves are far cooler than the real-life versions of
ourselves, so we need to feed that fashionable beast, right?
It’s all
well and good buying these things to look cool for Instagram, because it is fun.
Things are cute and pretty or kitsch or just so damn aesthetically pleasing. But when everyones playing
the same game, where is it all leading to? A complete lack of personal style and a look that resembles
pretty much everyone else’s out there? Is our personal taste being undermined by
our desire to fit a certain aesthetic? And are we all just becoming sartorial clones in a mission to hit those likes? M
aybe it’s time that we take a step back from our cooler,
online selves, put down those fugly but oh-so cool glove shoes everyones yapping about, and put on that old T-shirt that we hate to admit
that we love.

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  1. I completely get this, whenever I buy something new I can't wait to take a picture of it to put on instagram and whenever I'm out shopping I make sure to take pictures of shop displays or my outfit in large shop mirrors to put on instagram. I truly love instagram but there's an anxious feeling which surrounds it – almost like FOMO but, instead it's FONP (Fear of not posting) ha, I'm just making this up now. x

  2. omg you are speaking my thoughts exactly! this is such a great post, i definitely need to break that thought cycle of only caring about an item if it'll look good on instagram!

    rachel // Style Soup

  3. So why are you on dating apps when you're in a relationship? Very unclassy way to get IG followers….

    1. 1) I'm not in a relationship anymore
      2) Leaving a totally unrelated comment anonymously is a very unclassy way to get your bitter point across…

  4. Very interesting article! I like how you actually write about something, rather than juts spill some thoughts onto a page and call it a post.

    I don't do this with clothes but I do it with places I go and things I do. For example, my boyfriend will suggest we go on a trip and I'll be thinking about the photos I can take there and hoping that it won't be grey for the photos, instead of just thinking about the good time I will have. We all definitely need to live in the now more, and just like what we like and do what we do rather than worrying about showing it off on instagram.

  5. Haha I hate culottes too, I think they're SO unflattering! Although I am considering a pair of asos culotte dungarees (which, yep, saw on instagram), so I'm victim to their allure too!

    I actually wrote a post recently about how there's this sort of blogger bubble of certain pieces of clothing, that actually you rarely see in the 'real' world but instagram leads you to believe everyone owns! Like I've never actually seen anyone carrying a Chloe Faye (or dupe!) in the flesh!

    It is sort of scary, blogs and instagram can complete alter your sense of what you like – I'm not sure what my style even is anymore!

    + great read btw, nice to see more people thinking critically about the industry! 🙂

    Anoushka Probyn – A London Fashion Blog

  6. This such a great, eye-opening post. I can't tell you how many times I've bought something purely for the aesthetic of my Instagram, regardless of whether I actually like it or not. I think we all need to take a step back sometimes and realise how trivial it all is!

    Written by Tasmine | UK Style Blog