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 bag (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? Maybe 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.