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09 September 2014

Instagram vs Personal style


It took me three weeks, a pair of £120 shoes and a long hard chat with myself to realise that I didn’t, despite their sartorial credo, like mules. I just didn’t. They looked weird on my feet and their name reminded me of the infertile love children of two animals I’m not overtly fond of. Nevertheless, when I clicked go on a pair of (overpriced) COS interpretations I genuinely thought I could make it work; I’d done my research (Pinterest) on how to wear them and sold a couple pairs of unworn converse  (because who really wears them if they aren’t white/black/navy) to foot some of the bill. I was ready for a challenge and some questioning stares from strangers on Ken high. Nothing I hadn’t done before. They arrived, that new leather smell at first enticing and then it began to wear off. I wore them twice before realising that I did not particularly want to wear them again. Sitting on my floor trying to get the best angle for their Depop debut, I couldn’t remember for the life of me why I’d bought them in the first place. It wasn’t an impulse buy (two weeks of saving and searching for the perfect pair does not an impulse buy make) and I wasn’t blinded by any kind of sale deal. This one was on me.

I don’t see myself as ever having been particularly concerned with being ‘trendy’ or the malarkey of being ‘it’, so what was it that had blind-sided me into buying a pair of shoes I really didn’t love, let alone like all that much? I think it would be easy enough to point a general finger at The Internet, but it didn’t take long for me to twig that I’d first seen mules and a lot of the trends I do make the conscious decision to indulge in on Instagram. The previous Fashion Week they’d been everywhere, and now they were resurfacing on every other foot, just a scroll away. I’d never really twigged before how the virtues of personal taste may be undermined by our desire to be aesthetically pleasing. That’s what it is right? I see ‘X’ wearing them and getting so many likes and something in my mind twigs that they must be appeasing to the masses; I am a part of that mass. I should really own a pair of mules/birks/a bucket hat (?). 

Maybe in principal it isn’t an issue; I’m an adult, I can feed, bathe and clothe myself most days so surely I can distinguish between sartorial FOMO and items I genuinely see myself wearing. The thing is, we check our instagram so many times a day we are constantly in that mode whereby we are our online persona. In that ideal world, I love mules and they love me too. It’s a mutual friendship that is so heavenly I look like I’ve owned them since birth. The disparity between that and the actual me, the real me, the not-instagram-me is sometimes worryingly large. Internet me loves the idea of sartorially controversial pieces, real me likes usually just likes Nike’s and leather skirts. Culottes, at a stretch, because they’re glorified pyjamas. Real me, frankly, is not as cool as my Internet ideal- perhaps that kind of distinction bothers us more than we even realise. After the mules incident (henceforth it shall be known) I started wondering how much of what I owned started as a longing gaze at my phone screen and a subtle desire to be the kind of person who likes that sort of thing. But despite the possible threat to personal style fast fashion like that offers, the ability to temporarily blind us, it's possible that there are virtues in aspiring to be someone with a slightly more daring side when it comes to getting dressed in the morning. Maybe gaining an ability to discern between things I actually want to wear and things I wish I wanted to wear comes from switching off sometimes, or maybe, just maybe, there is a balance between the two whereby I can both be myself and encompass a bit of my own personal internet dream world. Sartorial ambition, shall we call it? They say don't beat it until you've tried it.


  1. Greaaaaat post!!! I loved it, as it is something I can relate to so much. I have been known to buy something (not something expensive.. more like a smoothie, or a coffee that I really don't want) just to Instagram it... cringe!!!

    Shot From The Street | Fashion Blog

  2. food for thought!

  3. This is so true. Whether we want it or not, oftentimes the people we follow on social media are the ones influencing our decisions. Now, I can't say this is completely bad because I have at times found things (in fashion or in other areas) that I've been very happy with. We follow them for a reason, right? But the hard part comes when we find the need to be a bit more discerning and reasonable.

    The fact that you wrote this means you're already seeing it :p
    I have never liked mules. Never. They look horrible on me and I just don't like them.


  4. she is gorgeous..

  5. an amazing article … love reading your features like this.

    And oh lord it's all so true, the amount of times I've tried to buy into a trend (without even realising I've been mesmerised by the fashion pack) only to realise that it really just doesn't suit my style. Sigh, but as you say, what's the harm in dabbling in both your own personal style & a bit of the sartorial dream. So long as the pennies are still coming in, i'll probably still keep trying out new things which I only wish i could pull off ;)

    Mel x

  6. oooh i totally know that feeling !!!

  7. Oh Camilla, you've expressed so eloquently the thoughts that frequently come into my mind when browsing through Instagram or online blogs. I feel as if even though I have no interest in following particular trends, certain items that I wouldn't usually consider enter my wishlist radar without me realising - all because I've scrolled pass and double tapped to like it just a few too many times!

  8. Hey, I like culottes because they're glorified pajamas that you can wear out and about.

    But, whether we like it or not blogs and instagrams and youtube channels can have a pretty big influence on our purchasing habits even for things we wouldn't normally buy. That's what makes them successful - making you believe you need so-and-so item when you proabbly don't.
    I think acknowledging that this happens is a big step in curating purchases to things that you actually do want. I'm much better with clothes shopping but I still get into trouble with beauty purchases - because I obviously need 5 new lipsticks from that new line.
    Shopping from a place with a great return policy is a never a bad idea either!

    beauty, style, life || bespectacled

  9. I've said it too many times before, but your writing is such a treat!

    Can totally relate to this, though I don't necessarily see it as a bad thing. Swings and roundabouts on what I end up loving vs hating and all part of the fun - for me at least.

    Georgina from

  10. I wasn't going to comment, but I am particularly self-aware of how my hair looks like today, and that note made me feel better. Thank you :)

    (and I'm glad I'm not on instagram, or have 120€ to spend on heels. I did almost buy a pair of coated burgundy jeans, tho, had the good sense to ask a friend if I should.)

  11. Brilliantly written and spot-on in sentiment.
    I have mules x 2 and I heart them both....but do I wear them to Waitrose? Not so much.
    You have made me want some Gazelles though :)

  12. This is such a though provoking piece! I'm always amazed when I realise how huge of an impact the internet in such simple decisions like buying clothes and even what we make for dinner ect. xox

  13. I really love when you write these kind of posts.I think everybody/anybody who doesn't live under a rock can feel identified with this. xx


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