Is Instagram Ruining Our Personal Style IRL?

Shireen Mohyi

Shireen was born and raised in Metro-Detroit and currently resides in Brooklyn. She is most passionate about beauty, entertainment, and all things breakfast-related. Seriously, this girl will eat a bagel any hour of the day. She likes to think she’s funny, so please laugh at her jokes.

It’s safe to say that at this point, social media has a pretty powerful influence on the way we think. A handful of the most famous people are leaders on certain platforms with tens of millions of people keeping tabs on their day to day.

Instagram is a key player in influence with over 600 million users in 2016. It’s truly become a way of life. Careers like modeling, food blogging, makeup artistry or being Kim Kardashian can blossom out of having a consistent and aesthetically-pleasing feed. (KKW, if you’re reading this, I still love you.) Oh, and that the word “selfie” somehow ended up in Webster’s dictionary. We’ve come really far as a society.

I’m not going to lie to you, I absolutely love Instagram. It’s an endless catalog of anything you could possibly want to look at. It’s responsible for 28 percent of my phone’s battery life and 65 percent of the reason I end up going to sleep much later than planned.

As someone spending that solid chunk of time, double-tapping image after image, you can’t help but notice that quite a lot of those praised for their personal style have the same look. You know, the ones that start trends and result in you and your friends all showing up to plans wearing nearly the same thing. Who is to blame here?

Blaming the social world is wrong, but blaming the media isn’t. We’re obsessed with celebrities and are constantly consuming their information and images. It makes perfect sense that those being hounded by paparazzi decided to employ someone to make them look their best every day, all the time. What makes style such a wonderful thing is that it’s an expression of who a person is, where they’re from and where they want to go. It tells as much of a story as anything could, and is something that no one can take from you. Yet, when the inspiration you’re pulling comes from calculated outfits put together by someone who makes a living off of styling others; the authenticity is gone.

There is an unspoken rule of “cool” that has been employed due to Hollywood It-Girls adopting the same look (and evidently, the same stylists). There has always been those girls, which isn’t a bad thing in the slightest. It’s the manufacturing behind every outfit, every hairstyle, every shade of lipstick. Those strategized looks have been tried and tested, not created because it reflected a moment or an attitude or a vibe, but because it’s been made to sell a brand, a product.

So, while many of us, myself included, turn to our Instagram feed for what to wear, let’s be mindful of who we’re drawing our notes from. Let’s not compete with our followers in a silent game of “Who Wore It Best.” Let’s be more comfortable with stepping outside of the Insta-norm and wearing what speaks to us instead of what has flooded our feeds.

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