I have a feeling you’re here because you have a desire to up-level your personal style or your wardrobe in one way or another. And I’d also bet I’m not the only source of your style inspiration. Maybe you’re following an influencer (or two dozen), scouring outfit-of-the-day posts, and signing up for various outfit and closet challenges.
Social media and other online platforms, like Pinterest, are invaluable resources that put endless inspiration and information at our fingertips. But if we’re not careful about who we’re following and what we’re taking in, we can find ourselves on a slippery slope toward toxic comparison and dissatisfaction with our own wardrobes, bodies, and lives as a whole.
In an effort to maintain our sanity and self-esteem, in this episode of HER Style Podcast, we’re going to take an honest look at Who’s Influencing Your Style and what to do if you don’t like what you see.
How Our Buying Habits Have Changed
Millennials (those of us born between 1981 and 1996) spend an average of 2.5 hours per day on social media. When you do the math, that means we’re investing ever so slightly more than 38 DAYS per year on social media. Yes, friend, it’s likely you’re losing more than a month of your life every year scrolling Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, or your platforms of choice. And that’s just Millennials! Teens 13 to 18 years old today are reportedly spending an average of 7.5 hours on social media EVERY DAY. I can’t even bear to crunch the numbers on that one!
On top of that, 54% of social media users research products on social media, and 71% of users are more likely to purchase products and services based on social media referrals. I also discovered that 49% of consumers depend on influencers’ opinions prior to making a purchase and people who are influenced by social media are 4X more likely to spend more on purchases.
This is a massive shift in buying behavior and it’s unprecedented in our lifetime. It’s so important to be educated consumers and make intentional decisions about our investments.
Now, you might be thinking… Heather, this isn’t me! I’m not even on social media, so why does this matter?
Well, if you use search engines like Google and Pinterest or subscribe to blogs or email communities (yes, including my own!), or watch TV, or interact with the world around you in ANY way, you are likely being influenced by others. Even if it’s your best friend telling you about the boots she received for Christmas and is obsessed with.
So what I want to accomplish with this podcast episode is to make sure you’re being influenced in ways that are conscious and aligned with who you are and what you desire ─not only for your closet, but your life as well. Because, as these statistics show, we’re more likely to make purchases based on recommendations from the people we admire. I don’t want you to do this impulsively or blindly.
It’s critical to look beyond style alone. Before you hit the “follow” or “subscribe” button, there are 4 additional factors to consider.
Please don’t get me wrong. I am ALL FOR diversity in your newsfeed!
However, when it comes to where you’re taking your style cues, seek out those who represent you well. To avoid headaches and the frustrating feeling that you can’t pull off the coolest trends of the season, look for styles you love on women with a similar body type as your own.
The more alike in size, proportion, and scale, the less guesswork you’ll have to make about whether a particular silhouette or outfit combination will work for you, too.
Think about it this way. When you’re trying to find inspiration to redecorate a room in your home, it’s easier to apply ideas you see in rooms that have a similar layout and size as your space. This is especially true for foundational elements like furniture placement, right? The same goes for your outfit. It’s important to copy frameworks from women who have an overall similar figure. That’s not to say, you can’t pull in smaller details and other ideas from more diverse style sources, just like you might bring in a picture frame or throw pillow you saw in the dream home space that’s twice the size of yours! You’re not going to take ALL the elements of that room, but you can bring in little touches after you’ve dialed-in the basic layout of the space.
To translate that back to your style, I would consider the foundational elements of fit to be, again, the proportion, silhouette, and scale of your clothing and accessories.
To that same point, color matters as well.
You might be captivated by a single hue, color combination, or print that your favorite influencer is wearing today. But before you run out and buy up a copycat look for yourself, think about how it’ll look on YOU. This is even more important if your personal coloring is vastly different from theirs.
The closer the skin tone, hair color, and contrast levels of your style muse, the better guarantee those colors and prints will bring out your best as well.
If you don’t think it’s going to have the same “wow” effect on you, adapt it! If you have more dramatic and vibrant coloring, punch it up by opting for saturated versions of those colors. Or on the other hand, if you have a more muted skin tone and hair color, tone it down and recreate the look with a softer spin.
Likewise, you can opt for warmer or cooler versions of a color to suit your complexion as well. Taking this extra step to think through what works for YOU versus blindly duplicating someone else’s style is what’s going to elevate your wardrobe and make you look enviably and effortlessly put together. And it’ll help bring out YOUR best, as I said before.
When you wear your best colors, you’re going to look more vibrant, refreshed, healthier, and in harmony with your outfits. You’re also likely to receive way more compliments. And I want that for you! So please don’t dismiss the importance of this step.
The next factor I encourage you to consider is whether your lifestyle aligns with this person’s.
I get the appeal of escapism. It can be fun to fantasize and set goals based on the lifestyles we see possible through social media… IF that’s what you genuinely want. There’s no harm in living vicariously through the world travelers, the Joanna Gaines-style homemakers, or any other dream scenario/closet/or day-to-day routine that appeals to you.
But going green with envy is never a good look! So instead, set yourself up for success and focus your attention on sources of style inspiration that promote a similar lifestyle to your own.
Your wardrobe will ideally meet the demands of your schedule and commitments. If you’re shopping with blinders on, it’s more likely that you’re going to neglect your needs and invest in pieces just because they look cute or stylish or edgy or in-demand, rather than stopping to think about what’s going to get you through the day and make it easier to get dressed in the morning.
When we shop impulsively, we end up with a closet full of clothes and nothing to wear. I believe this becomes a bigger trap when we’re following people whose lives aren’t really anything like our own. So do yourself a favor and check in on this question before you hit that follow button!
And of course, the same goes for your budget. I do believe it can be a fun challenge to find the look for less and pick up designer dups from time-to-time. But if everyone in your feed is toting YSL bags and Gucci belts and making you feel any sense of lack or envy, ask yourself if it’s worth experiencing those feelings every time you pop on social media.
I know, you’re following them purely for inspiration and we all want to be purely happy and empowered by those with more success than us. And we’re also human. These feelings come up. If it’s something you’re struggling with, you might want to stop and think about whether you’re setting a trap for yourself. Because my #1 issue with social platforms is the comparison game they can so easily lead us into. I’m not immune to this either! I go through social breaks often for this very reason. And I am quick to unfollow someone, not because they’re not a perfectly lovely and wonderful human being, but because I usually feel a certain kind of way when I see their posts.
Another helpful point to remember is most popular influencers are working with brand partners and are receiving FREE swag they’ll likely convince you you need to buy. This is their JOB. They are making money by selling you not only things… but on a lifestyle. I’m not saying this is unethical or wrong, it’s just something to be very aware of as you’re scrolling. Things aren’t always as they seem.
So if you want to beat the social blues, I recommend that you follow style influencers who have a similar shopping cap as your own. If you like to invest under $100 on your shoes and the people you follow are consistently flaunting footwear at a 4-figure price point, maybe think twice about whether that’s someone you should be taking style cues from.
Again, it’s okay to set goals and have ambition and to want nice things for yourself. What I’m proposing is that if it doesn’t make you feel good and it messes with your sense of contentment, think twice. See if you can find bloggers, influencers, magazines, or stores that better connect with your financial needs right now. You can always scale up when you’re ready!
So I hope you’ll take these tips to heart. Carve out a few minutes today or sometime this week to comb through the blogs, emails, and social media accounts you subscribe to with a critical eye.
Are they truly serving you and your style goals? Or are they simply cluttering up your mind and your newsfeeds?
Either way, show yourself (and these influencers) compassion and love. You might be in a different place now than when you first followed them. This podcast episode might have brought new things to light.
Moving forward, ask yourself whether the people you’re considering following have similar figures, coloring, lifestyles, budget, and even personal values as yourself. What’s for one person might not be for another and that’s totally okay. Take what works for you, encourages you on your journey, and leave the rest. Simple as that.