There is a lot written about social media making people feel bad about themselves, and while I have had my frustrations with social media it’s never been about feeling bad about myself. To my mind, there is a treasure trove to be learned from other people’s Instagram and Pinterest accounts as well as my own. You can elevate your style with social media. You can even elevate your life. It’s all in how you use it.
I have I ever felt bad about how I look, my age or my personal style because of social media, nor do I compare my lifestyle to my peers on social media or in real life. There will always be someone more stylish, prettier, thinner and wealthier. This is a fact I accepted years ago.
A few days ago, I went through photographs from the very beginning of Sharing A Journey to get a feel for the changes I’ve made over the past few years since we started and to check in with some of my favorite accounts to see what they are doing. (Unfortunately, with all the algorithm changes I have to go looking for my favorite accounts; they are no longer just in my feed.) Here are a few things I gleaned:
- Being photographed frequently has helped me see myself as others might see me, which really feels strange at first. Instead of focusing on a single blemish on my skin, (as I used to) I now see the whole me, front and back. Most of us take a quick look in the mirror, and often don’t even turn around to see the back—That’s how I was, even as a fashion and style lover, I put together my outfit, did a quick once over and out the door I went. Seeing myself in photographs helped me identify areas of improvement and begin to eliminate things that weren’t working for me.
- Seeing how I look in photos has caused me to re-consider shape, fit, color and to notice how I feel in clothes more. I can see the difference between something that is o.k. and something that is really good. It’s just as easy to wear something “really good” so I don’t bother with wearing things that are “just ok” any more.
- I was surprised by what didn’t work. Unfortunately for me, I’m not the “comfy” Jenn Aniston type (gosh I wish I were)—nor do I look or feel quite right in boho. Sure, I’ve worn those looks, but on me, they fall into the “just ok” category. (On others, they are “wow”.)
- Early on with the blog, I experimented with trends and found that while many were “cute” and looked ok, they weren’t “me”; next to none of the trend pieces I have bought over the past three years are in my current wardrobe.
- Considering what looks to share on the blog has caused me to reflect on lifestyle, and how many of us have experienced changes in our lifestyles and correspondingly our closets require change as well.
- Through social media, I have a stronger sense of what is really going on in fashion, not just what we see in magazines, stores or on the runway. For example, through social media, I noticed that the work place has become much more casual, so I’ve elevated my causal wardrobe to make it more work friendly while reducing the number of dresses and formal work pieces I own.
- In looking at my own social media feed, I notice patterns; the colors I gravitate to, as well as those that aren’t working as well. I see how various silhouettes look, the fit, and quality of the clothing I’ve chosen. This has helped me to see my own style emerging.
- When I consider my photographs, I take note as to how I feel when wearing a certain outfit, and what I’d change to make the look better. Outfits we have to fuss with to get a good photograph, or outfits that are just “ok” are re-evaluated or passed on.
With all the beautiful bloggers in the 50+ community, as well as all the younger women on the various social media platforms, you may wonder if I feel jealous, or compare myself to others.
If I feel a twinge of jealousy, I stop myself and ask what the other person is doing that I want to bring into my own life, and what I can do to make that happen. (You can read my blog post about envy here, plus I have a little workbook on the subject). If they are slimmer, for example, I consider my work out goals, or lack there of and decide whether to up my game. If I decide not to improve myself, I don’t have any business being jealous: I’ve made a conscious choice. If I don’t like my choice I can always change it.
If someone is creating beautiful pictures or I love their outfits; I break down the look to see whether something similar would be good for me. If so, I’m not afraid to add it into my wardrobe. If the look is not for me, I just admire it. In my opinion it’s good to be inspired by others and elevate ourselves accordingly, not tear someone down because they look great.
In fact, admiring various styles and learning how they come together has helped me appreciate the artistry of good style so much more. I derive much more joy in seeing beautiful looks, even if they aren’t my personal style.
When I find outfits I love, I pin them to my favorites board on Pinterest. I look for patterns, (such as all the camel colored coats I’ve pinned) outfit vibes I love and color combinations I want to try in my own wardrobe. You can literally take photos into your closet or the store and replicate them to see if it’s your jam or not. We learn so much from doing things like this even if we don’t end up liking the look on ourselves.
I follow and admire a variety of people, but emulate those who are a similar height and build to me. There is no point in my trying to look like Kim Kardasian since I am tall, slim and blond. My mother, who is under five feet asks why I don’t style looks short, curvy people can wear. I advise her enjoy fashion but to look for petite curvy women whose style she admires to emulate. Mind you, when she visits I often spend days styling her and send her home with piles of great new outfits that suit her figure.
If I admire an item that is out of my price range, I put it on my wish list, look for similar items in my price range, save up, look for it on consignment or wait for a sale. In today’s market place it is very easy to replicate looks we love at all price points.
I also love seeing what other women are doing differently. Some follow trends or combine colors I would not have thought of. Its fun to try to re-create the look with items from my own wardrobe or go shopping just to try fresh ideas.
If you want to learn more about your own style and are not on social media, try doing a selfie every day for thirty days. Take note of how you feel in various outfits, which you get complements on and which you can improve upon. Try wearing our favorite pieces in different combinations or with different accessories. Create your own favorites Pinterest board and start pinning. Make time for a “try on” session each season to clear out looks that don’t work any more. Finally, keep a wish list on your phone so that when you shop, you can hone in on what you really want and need to elevate your wardrobe. You will definitely learn a lot I know I have.
Do you ever look at how your style has evolved? Any cringe worthy pictures you care to share with us? Cant be worse than my BoHo look!
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