I personally am an avid user of Pinterest, a social media platform that allows users to scroll through photos and add them to a 'boards' organized by themes. Themes of boards can range from recipe ideas to dream vacation destinations. I mainly ‘pin’ fashion photos (and photos of minimalist watches). I think the great danger with platforms like Pinterest is that as opposed to drawing inspiration from the photos, one tries to imitate exactly what they see. This could result in fashion and style no longer being an authentic means of self-expression, and would result in, all Pinterest users dressing the same.
I’d like to first underline the difference between inspiration and imitation. There are, and always have been, trends in the fashion world. Examples of trends in the current fashion world are ruffles, stripes, and embroidery. I would argue that drawing inspiration would be, seeing pieces that are currently trendy and making them your own. Imitation on the other hand, is copying an outfit exactly as its seen on the model or mannequin, changing the way you dress completely from one season to another and simply dressing to conform and not dressing to express yourself.
Why is this even an issue? Why not just dress exactly how its seen in the magazines or on TV? Well for starters, I think that would make the fashion world a very dull place, if everyone dressed the same all of the time, the meaning behind clothing would completely disappear. And I’m a firm believer in that clothing is a means of self-expression and is a powerful tool. By choosing to conform to beauty standards and fashion trends we are actively taking away a means of self-expression that is both important and perhaps underrated. The possibility of authenticity is removed, and I think that is a frightening possibility.
A personal experience I had with authenticity and fashion was two years ago, dressing very preppy was in style, wearing oxford blouses, slacks and penny loafers was all the rage. I loved every bit of that look, and began to buy items that fit into that category. What ended up happening was that I started to feel the need to live up to a ‘look’ and was shying away from pieces I loved because they didn’t fit the label. I also started my own personal fashion blog, which added a whole extra layer of pressure. Slowly the look started to go out of style, and I started to feel more comfortable purchasing and wearing items that I loved. I started to understand that there were certain aspects of the ‘preppy’ style that I loved, and still wear to this day, but others were absolutely not 'me'. I started dressing more feminine and actively avoiding dressing to fit a label, but express myself. Not only did I stop feeling self-conscious and stressed about my outfits, but I started to love what I was wearing and embrace it.
I’d like to take my hat off to those who beat to their own drum in terms of personal style, and feel no pressure from outside to change the way they dress. I’ve always felt a lot of pressure to dress a certain way, but for some that pressure isn’t there and that’s also okay! It’s important to remember that being stylish and fashionable, has nothing to do with looking identical to the models and mannequins but has everything to do with true authentic beauty and fashion choices that reflect you, not the media or the fashion industry.