5 ways social media has changed how we dress

Thx heaps, Instagram.

Contrary to popular belief, fashion did, in fact, exist prior to smartphones and social media. I know. There were thigh-high boots, there were designer handbags and there was fashion week – although you would only know about it if you were an industry insider who was invited.

Back then, we could pop down to Macca’s for a late-night McFlurry wearing our favourite grey marle (stained) trackies. Do that today, and you’re playing with fire. 

You’re guaranteed to see someone you know because nowadays, there are paparazzi literally everywhere. Before you even make it home, you’re on Jemima’s Insta story looking nothing like you do on your carefully-curated account, with soft serve on your top and ugg boots on your feet. Your cover is blown. You might as well move countries.  

So other than catching our every move and randomly embarrassing us, how exactly has social media changed how we dress? 

1. We don’t repeat outfits

I, for one, have always been a huge advocate of the repeat outfit. 

Occasionally, I’ve put together what feels like the cutest damn combo I’ve ever seen and wear it all day with pride. Needless to say, I’m snapping my #ootd because if I don’t, it didn’t actually happen. I’m making Insta stories as insurance, just in case.

The next day rolls in and hey, maybe I’m running late or maybe I’ve lost my touch from yesterday, but for the life of me, I can’t find one thing in my wardrobe I’m not repulsed by. 

Before, I could’ve slipped seamlessly into yesterday’s outfit, but today? No. I can’t. Because it’s already been all over my ’gram and people will think I either had a one night stand, or worse, actually repeated my outfit. I decide to stay in my pyjamas and not leave the house instead. 

2. We dress for other people 

It’s a question that’s been asked since the dawn of time: who do women dress for? At first, we thought it was men. Until we realised it totally wasn’t and it was actually other women we’re trying to impress.

Then there are some rare birds, which claim to truly dress for themselves. Although to those people I ask: if you were the last person on earth, what would you wear every day? Your leather pants or your doona worn as a poncho?

Social media has added a whole new element to this. We don’t just dress for ourselves or other people. We dress for a whole bunch of strangers, too. In fact, we ‘Insta-bloggers’ get dressed and take photos of our outfits for that exact reason (even if we say we’re just on a coffee run).

3. Even worse, we dress like other people

Recently, a Vogue editor labelled bloggers as “heralding the death of style.”

More recently, Street Smith penned her opinion of what she found to be the uninspiring street style at Melbourne Fashion Festival. 

Most recently, we asked if a WAG in a pretty dress is really the gold standard of styling in Australia.

It got me thinking: remember when we had our own style? When the only outfits we copied were of Jessica, the coolest girl at school, so we could be exactly like her?

Today, it’s like we copy the head-to-toe style of bloggers and Instagram stars, rather than having our own unique point of view. We’re all guilty of it. For some, they’re minor felonies – seeing an expertly-styled sweater on a blog and clicking through to buy.

For others, the situation is much more dire, like ripping off complete looks, dressing like one particular person every day, and forgetting your own sense of style altogether.

4. We have to have it 

On the subject of expertly-styled sweaters, raise your hand if you’ve bought something because it looked cool as f*ck in a street style pic?

On one hand, social media is the ‘new’ magazine. It brings shopping to us. But on the other, social media encourages us to buy something we might not have looked twice at, simply because of how it looks in a highly-edited image with at least three filters over it. 

Sometimes you gotta stop and ask yourself: hey personal style, where you at?

5. We get sad 

Every morning, night, and at least 2000 times throughout the day, I torture myself with the wonderful wardrobes of the Interwebs. I see that Kim Kardashian is getting another custom-made Balmain dress. Every day I go through #BLOGGERMAIL with the bloggers I follow. I find out that my friend Hannah just bought a pair of sick new metallic boots that I can’t afford. 

All of this makes me sad. It’s like the bosses at Instagram are sitting around a big boardroom table arranging my feed, rubbing it in my face and laughing at me. It can make me instantly hate on my own wardrobe, wonder why I wasn’t #blessed with such killer style and second-guess the outfit I have on right now. It’s prob the same with you, too.

So to make ourselves feel better we tap for tags, find out what they’re wearing, enter our credit card details and wait for our new stolen outfit to arrive. It’s one big vicious cycle. 

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