Something I’ve been struggling with lately is what it means to have personal style in a world where we are constantly influenced by what other people are wearing.
I started thinking about this a few weeks ago, when I woke up, posted a photo to Instagram and realized… I was wearing the same shirt as three other bloggers that day. And I was stressed.
The shirt wasn’t gifted (which of course sometimes breeds some blogger same-ness and is a topic for another time), but it had me wondering, do I like this shirt because I really like it, or do I like it because the repetition of seeing it everywhere has made me think I like it?
As a blogger, it made me question how I add value to what you are reading if I am, maybe, so deeply influenced by what everyone else is wearing.
And, as a person, it had me asking if I really have my style as figured out as I think. And I thought, if I’m feeling this way, that some of this Instagram fatigue and personal style confusion might be happening to you as well.
So for this article, I thought I could share some of the things I’m doing to be more true to myself, hear from you all about what works for you, or we could all just vent in the comments and have some fun.
Trying to Stay True to Myself
Some days I wake up and I’m a neutrals-loving, medallion-necklace wearing, no-lipstick minimalist.
And other days I’m a sustainable fashion obsessive with a bandana wrapped around my head and a shirt made of bamboo. Can these co-exist? Absolutely, if the core elements of your style, like your color palette and your wardrobe values, are still there.
But is which one of these people I am, on any given day, affected by what I see other people in the slow fashion community wearing that week? Also yes, in a few different ways.
Recently I decided to take a few steps to try to stay true to myself, both as a person and as a blogger, independent of what the Instagram hive is wearing.
1. I Get Off the Phone
It sounds simple but as I’m sure most of you know, it is actually pretty hard to do. When I go out with friends, or to get coffee, sometimes I intentionally leave my phone at home so that I can focus on my real life around me, and how my wardrobe fits into that. The first time I did it I felt mildly naked and panicky without my phone, but it has improved.
2. I Decided to Find a Hobby That Doesn’t Include Surfing the Web About Slow Fashion and Minimalism
I was becoming so consumed in the community and thinking about how my clothes stacked up against everyone else’s that it was stressing me out. So, I’m learning to knit. It’s still fashion-related, so I can invest time in what I’m passionate about, but it’s also a personal and solitary hobby.
3. I Talked With a Personal Stylist!
In a short session, she gave me some clarity about the wardrobe contradictions I was experiencing and made recommendations based on what she had seen me wear previously. Her recommendations helped blend my styles together more and worked for my body type.
When you’re not sure where you’re heading with an outfit, the outside perspective is always beneficial. Since I can’t use a stylist every day, I also have a trusted group of friends who I know will be kind, but honest, when I have a styling question.
The Minimalist Wardrobe also has a Facebook group, where we can discuss all kinds of styling questions! If you haven’t joined yet, you can find it here.
4. I Remind Myself Not to Worry About Dressing the Same As Other People.
Yep, we’re back where we started. After making this shirt realization, there was a period where I would intentionally avoid items other people had, even if I liked them, to avoid too much repetition on my blog or Instagram. While it might be a good strategy for standing out, it’s a really bad strategy for building a wardrobe you love. Because I did actually like the shirt, whether everyone else had it or not.
So while this all began with me worrying about dressing the same as other people, I’ve realized that personal style is about being true to yourself, not about being different from everyone else.
I think we often confuse personal style with individuality, when they aren’t really the same. Personal style is independent of what other people are wearing, in that, if you really love something, it doesn’t matter if 1,000 people are also wearing it, or if nobody is wearing it.
And recognizing that has really taken the pressure off for me.
What do you guys do when social media style starts to be too much?