It’s a love–hate relationship the one I have with social media. Push and pull. Some days, I absolutely love it and can see myself represented in the different facets of the online community, but other days I feel it pulling me in all sorts of different negative directions from which I have to consciously pull myself out of. Some days I succeed, but others, I just accept that I’m drowning in a big pool of darkness with no way out and I hope the next day will be better.
I would describe the online universe as a place that can sometimes look like a big stinky trash bag which one would really love to stay clear of, but in that same bag, amongst all the filth and dirt, there are also rare gems and unexpected treasures deep within. The funky odour it exudes gives enough reason to stay away, but the possibilities of what could be discovered below it provide enough incentive to go hunting.
That’s exactly how I would describe the online platforms to a person who had never heard of it or experienced it first-hand. There is so much good, but there’s also a ton of bad, it all depends on where you put your hands while you dig and what your fingers touch. Literally.
I’m one of the many guilty ones who also goes digging to see what I may stumble upon on a daily basis and while sometimes I hate the way the online space makes me feel, most days I can’t imagine my life without it. That’s probably an awful thing, but it’s the truth and it’s the truth I’m awake to. The online world in all its forms creeps into everything I do. It has the power to shift narratives, ideas, positions. With it, we cancel our targets and put the next shiny item up on display on an altar until we are over them too. It influences and questions our perspectives. It judges us more than we judge ourselves in real time. It has so much power and yet it’s so much power we give away freely.
A couple of months ago, I came to the realisation that something about me had definitely changed. It was my fashion sense and personal style.
‘Safe’. That’s exactly how I would describe my outfit choices before the gradual change. I was more of a t-shirt/leggings kind of girl. I thrived in the simple and comfortable without much space for experimentation.
My worst nightmare used to be choosing outfits for the next day as I never knew what I wanted to wear. I’d find myself staring at my wardrobe for way longer than I’d love to admit only to end up picking the exact same styles in different shades. I mean, it’s not that hard to match black with black after all, right?
I would go for really mild shades which really didn’t scream any sort of desire for attention. Staying away from loud vivid colours, I’d remain as risk-free and unadventurous with my fashion style… or lack thereof.
At some point, however, something changed. I purchased my first neon bright green sweater on boohoo as well as a multi-coloured striped one. I began to switch up the clothes I was wearing while trying to mix and match patterns and textures. My safe choices went out the window and I started to allow myself to risk looking like a fool in order to wear a different or may I say more fashionable outfits. Around the same time, I discovered the YouTube channel of one of my current favourites, bestdressed aka Ashley, and together with her awfully weird yet relatable sense of humour, I was introduced to a new interest for fashion that I didn’t know I had.
I’ve always been a girly girl in the sense that I’ve always loved to shop and add new items to my collection, but for some reason I never allowed myself to run a little bit outside the box and wear outfits I thought were pushing it a little or were unusual. In my mind, there were looks for various occasions and for some reason I just wouldn’t allow myself to cross that line, not even a little.
So, what exactly changed? I strongly believe it was all the scrolling and double tapping I was doing, and still do, to be honest. At some point, Instagram became the first app I’d open after opening my eyes every morning. The #OOTD’s, #WIWN’s and #OutfitPosts hijacked my feed bombarding me with so many images and outfit ideas. That, in turn, made me want to explore more and try out new looks and combinations myself. I began to wear the clothes in my wardrobe I had neglected for so long and I began adding unique pieces to my collection: slogan t-shirts, overalls, skirts and shorts, dresses and sweaters… a lot of sweaters. The sky is the limit they say. Wrong. In this case, my bank account is!
To me, the change in my personal style is a positive one. I now enjoy making a statement with the clothes I wear and exploring my creativity when putting on pieces. I take pleasure in the fact that I now know and recognize the power an outfit can have on how a person is perceived or viewed. No more hiding behind unflattering clothes and dark colours because I just couldn’t be bothered. Was it comfort or laziness? I’m yet to decide.
Maybe I started wanting to put more effort into the way I dressed because I also wanted to look good in front of the cameras too. Did I begin to care more as an effect of my double-tapping on Instagram? Maybe it wasn’t about clothes, but more importantly about allowing myself to be seen. Maybe, I’m just finally letting myself be.
It wasn’t immediate, the evolving of personal style. In fact, I only noticed it not too long ago. It was probably when I discovered I could arrange my wardrobe in order of colour schemes that I realised I had made a lot of different buys that I wouldn’t have at the age of 17.
While I am loving this current phase of change and exploration, I can’t help but wonder: in what other ways could I be changing without realising?
Your restless romantic roamer