“Do you want to go London with me tomorrow?” My sister enquired late on a Saturday evening. Spending Sunday exploring the city felt rather exciting – particularly when my original schedule scripted a Marie Kondo tidy fest. London is a fashion shoot dream. Living further afield in the country, scenic hill and park pictures don’t mesh with my Instagram colour scheme. Before thinking what area of the capital to visit, I had to overcome my social media pressure. The finger-twitching, wrinkle inducing decision of choosing what to wear.
Preparing an outfit
I hung up the phone and sharply gazed upon the layers of clothes in my laundry basket. So artfully and lovingly folded, yet chaotic and stress-inducing to rummage through. Last year I practiced minimalism. My closet housed the bare essentials and led me to black, white and grey which funnily enough, helps land visitors on my blog when the colours are collectively typed via Google.
Morning awoke with the sun greeting itself boldly at my window. I had an hour until my sister arrived, ready to drive us to the station and still no clue of what outfit to wear. I scrolled through my Instagram desperate to find a garment not already publicised. Folded clothes unravelled and sprang across my bed in heaped piles like a T.K Maxx clearance sale. I comfortably left my house with a pair of light jeans and a uncaptured black blouse.
An essay on Diggit Magazine investigating fashion’s link to social pressure on women says “the way in which fashion is presented through the bodies and appearances of models can force women to look the same.” Social media combines beauty ideals around the world and puts forth looks which billions of men and women are supposed to follow. We now envy women who ten years ago, we’d never have known existed.
Social media pressure and fast fashion
The social media pressure to look stylish is affecting self-esteem, finances, artisans, workers as well as the environment. The Guardian newspaper reports “we get rid of more than 1m tonnes of clothes a year, with £140m worth going to landfill every year.” Britons buy more clothes compared to other European countries such as Italy and Sweden. With emphasis on quantity instead of quality, shoppers are continually purchasing through inexpensive sites, debatably affecting the high street.
Many inexpensive, worn only once pieces are given to charity shops. The Independent wrote an article on how charity shops are “inundated with cheap clothes that end up in landfill”. There really isn’t a bright-side to social media pressure. Kim Kardashian has lately condemned fast fashion brands writing “It’s devastating to see these fashion companies rip off designs that have taken the blood, sweat and tears of true designers”.
Her sentiments I agree with. However, the Kardashians have built their brand by influencing young girls to obsessively contemplate beauty, sex and style. In the past few years, they’ve managed to find acceptance within high fashion and now steer themselves away from outfits fans can easily copy. They need women to aspire to look like them as their main selling point – fast fashion accommodates.
I’m moving away from sites like Boohoo and Fashion Nova, trying to buy what I believe will stay in my wardrobe for longer than a season. Yet I’m buckled to the idea clothing shouldn’t be posted consecutively. I have broken the rules – my favourite faux leather skirt has made numerous appearances along with many tops I adore. When I was walking around London, my jeans and blouse gradually flamed insecurity.
My sister adorned a nice jumper and pretty silk skirt, and amongst me, designer jackets loosely on shoulders with towering heels and chic bodysuits, tailored pants and luxurious dresses. Having comfortably left my house, I suddenly felt too comfortable. Too casual and too plain. All the stunning backdrops I envisioned standing beside; depressing and glum in light of my wretched confidence.
Perfectionism asks I dress chic; it demands gloss, glamour and Parisienne simplistic glitz to feel good. I love social media and hate the constant attacks and bombardment – blaming it for every insecurity women experience. I know the burden of fixating on my physique is not entirely down to social media pressure. With or without Instagram, I would have to learn how to navigate and value myself better regardless. Yet, I’m also aware it’s human nature to compete. It’s natural to view how people are living and to measure against what you see.
The problem is, we’re seeing what isn’t real. This fact is now celebrated. Bloggers proudly admit taking 100 photos to gain 5 great images and happily confess to shooting with professional photographers merely for ‘Insta fashion’. Writing honestly doesn’t always relieve social media pressure, especially when you try to copy and can’t produce the same style despite editing.
How much pressure do you feel when taking photos or particularly fashion images?