Instagram, You Don't Have To Wear That Dress Tonight.

As with many young girls, I've always been obsessed with fashion and developing my own sense of style. There's something so therapeutic about putting together what you deem to be a perfect outfit and wearing it with pride. Not for anyone else but purely to suit your own taste. I would religiously dissect every page, from cover to cover of all my favourite fashion magazines. Their words were gospel to me and their style direction was imperative to follow. The phrase "fashion bible" seems a touch naff but for all intents and purposes, it is probably the most accurate description of how highly I regarded every little bit of content in each one of those magazines. Historically the latest trends were simply handed to you on a plate via fashion magazines and fashion magazines alone, yes there were other mediums of fashion inspiration but none as reputable as the wisdom of Vogue, Elle or Harper's Bazaar to name a few. You were simply TOLD what was on trend (see The Devil Wears Prada for further details) and you were happy to oblige. When you think about it, that's a really scary concept- how we dressed was dictated to us by a team of people, "higher beings" who seemed so far removed from your own life but you still aspired to be... Because that seems rational, right? We were told what were dos, what were don'ts and most illogically, what were "must haves". I hate that expression, "must have". It's consumerism at it's most blatant. You MUST own materialistic things in order to have a better life... Sorry I know that comes across all serious and "anti-establishment" but that's the bare face of it, you're brain washed into thinking something you want is in fact something you need or you die... And a kitten dies too... And the world implodes...
Back to calm, relaxing thoughts- I'd like to think we've moved forward from that magazine mentality of being ordered what to wear and just accepting it. Now social media reigns supreme and we on some level "decide" our own trends. We actively take the culture and creativity around us and draw from it our own sense of style. There's something pretty liberating about that! We've learned to self express! Who knew we were all the next Miranda Presley? I've been thinking about the idea of trends for a while now and have been mustering together just exactly how I felt about it in order to write this post. Mainly because I feel like I'm faced with it on a daily (hourly) basis on Instagram. But the more I analyse social media trends, the more I can't help but notice how damaging it can be too. It's almost like there's two types of trend; The fashionable and then The Conforming. The fashionable is simply what is "of the times" so to speak, what we see in film, music and on TV. Fashionable is current and innovative. It's about what is relevant. The conforming however, is what we feel we MUST wear.
Social Media has made self comparison with others far too easy and it's only natural to see someone you idealise and think, "how can I be more like them". Most of the time I don't think we even know we're doing it, but I assure you at some point in our lives we're all guilty of it! And it's this constant self critiquing which makes some of us feel the need to conform. I see it all too much on Instagram, this newly sprung ideology of a perfect, almost elitist "blogger" lifestyle which makes others feel like they have to follow suit in order to be equally successful. It honestly worries me sometimes how easy it is to loose your own identity through purely comparing yourself with countless other girls' Instagram accounts, whom ironically are all most likely doing the exact same thing as you. Comparing and self analysing! It's exhausting for us. And it's the one thing I hate about "trends" on social media. They often derive from a false lifestyle portrayed by others which effectively tells us like the age old magazines, what we MUST have. Let's be real here, no one is going to die, not even the kitten. You should never ever wear anything because you feel you have to, you don't have to do anything... Especially not where personal style is concerned.
Don't get me wrong, I'm by no means saying I don't follow trends I see on my social media...But it's just maybe "follow" is the wrong word? More like draw from them? It's amazing to feel inspired by others around you and its great that we're all so eager to share and influence one another... Jeez, I'd be out of a blogger job if expressing and sharing personal style wasn't relevant or necessary. I guess it's another plus point to trends on social media, we are now more inclined to feel inspired by women we can actually relate to and have common ground with rather than unhealthily obsessing over unobtainable lifestyles of strangers we see on the front of magazines (Kardashian's I'm shaking my head at you right now). The point we mustn't forget is; It's about taking a trend or an idea and adapting it to your taste and your style. It's not about having to wear something. Its about wanting to, enjoying it, owning it and feeling good. Not everything which is "so totally in right now" is going to be your thing and that's fine, none of it's compulsory.
On one hand I find I've become so set in my style ways, most trends seem to pass me right on by. Sometimes it's unintentional and sometimes I'm very VERY conscious of it. My sister text me the other day to say she'd seen Urban Outfitters were selling Juicy Couture tracksuits. She was terrified and wanted to know if noughtie's style was suddenly cool again. I reassured her, Paris Hilton's wardrobe circa The Simple Life days was DEFINITELY not cool again and even if it was, it's ok we can just screen it out. I was there for that fashion car crash the first time, I don't need to repeat it. Sometimes we try too hard to make trends happen or to be as "new" and avant-garde as possible. It's forcing fashion to happen. In the legendary words of Regina George, "stop trying to make it happen, it's not going to happen". 
On the other hand I find myself adapting to trend without even realising it! Slip dresses for example have well and truly been introduced into my wardrobe as a staple which falls neatly in line with the Nineties revival we're seeing all over the show right now. It's just such a comfy shape (anything which hides a food baby is good by my standards) and ideal for throwing on over your favourite tee for an easy, effortless and overall spot on outfit. See my personal favourite in the photos above and below, Nobody's Child win at this look. Just so we're clear, I have no intention of embracing this fashion phase with entirely full open arms. As with the noughtie's, I was alive the first time round and there's something a little bit unnerving to me about wearing an outfit not too dissimilar from that worn by 10 year old me at my year 5 school disco whilst dancing to Christina Aguilera's Gene In A Bottle and drinking Panda Pop. But it's about taking the bits you love and incorporating it into your own version.
I realise by writing this post maybe I'm over thinking things as much as everyone else, but it's hard for us not too. We lead by example and it's constantly in our faces all day, every day. But if we continue to meticulously follow others lifestyles the way we are doing, our style will become as filter of personality as the photos we aspire to look like! First rule of social trends should undoubtedly be: don't believe everything you see on Instagram... The squeaky clean lifestyle that's being sold to you, is probably not as obtainable as it seems. It's most likely as staged as this months Vogue editorials. A perfect wardrobe doesn't equal a perfect life. Oh and you don't need that dress....

Unless you want it.

Sophia x

Shop My Outfit
Slip Dress- Nobody's Child
Tee- Sundara Karma Merch Stand
Necklace- Vintage
Boots- Urban Outfitters see similar here

Photography by Rosie Ann Butcher

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