I’ve been wondering a lot lately about what personal style means in the age of Instagram. Every time we open the lid of our laptops or unlock our phones, we are immediately bombarded with the latest trend, buzzy new brand or It girl on social media. It can all start to feel a bit overwhelming, can’t it?
The dissemination of runway trends these days, via Instagram and the internet at large, is so vast and happens so quickly that it’s almost a blink-and-you’ll-miss it scenario.
The pendulum swings so fast that once the runway looks hit the store, we’ve already seen so many images of them on the internet that they feel like they’ve already lost all their sheen.
Add to that the fast fashion brands with mammoth budgets who recreate and imitate these looks at break-neck speed—using their insane social reach to plaster images across our feeds—and it feels like we’ll always be downwind of the latest trend. Our metabolism for new trends is only getting faster.
The ubiquity of trends online lessen their magic—clothing starts to feel less and less like an expression of our personality, and more like a never-ending game of trying to keep up.
Think back to school when you would save up all of your pocket/work money to splash on a pair of Betina Liano skinny jeans or converse that you ~couldn’t live without~ (am I showing my age here?) and would absolutely cherish for years to come. This seems like a prehistoric time, thanks to the shoppable function Instagram and services like Afterpay, whereby whatever we want is at our fingertips all the time.
So, is the answer abstaining from Instagram altogether? I don’t think so. Instagram is a great tool. It connects us with like-minded people from across the world, opens up job/collaboration opportunities for creatives, is a great form of self-expression, and has given a voice to smaller brands who might not otherwise have had one.
In order for our own personal style to flourish in the face of this inundation of trends, I think we need to be more mindful about our feeds, and more conscious about what content we are drawn to and why that’s so.
In a throwaway culture that thrives on a fast turnover of trends, I think it’s more important than ever to cultivate our own unique personal style.
For me, my personal style is the result of so many different factors. There’s mainstays in my wardrobe that are the sartorial equivalent of a hug from a loved one in that they feel like home—among them are blazers, turtlenecks, sneakers and jeans. These are the foundational pieces of my personal style: they make me feel good, and I know I can always rely on them when I’m in a creative rut.
I think the cornerstone of great personal style is also the ability to have fun with your outfits. Going vintage/thrift shopping can be a great way to let yourself be drawn to clothes that evoke an emotional reaction in you, rather than shopping online or in-store based on the latest trends.
Finding inspiration can also be as easy as going offline and walking in nature or around the city—taking in all the colours, textures, materials and images that surround us. For another hit of inspiration, go and see an old film, or spend the afternoon milling about a gallery or museum.
In determining your personal style in 2019, it’s important to ask ourselves why we are drawn to certain pieces of clothing and why.
Personal style is just that: personal. Do whatever works for you!