For Nicole Otero ‘18, fashion is an important part of her identity. Her closet helps define who she is and how she presents herself each day. When asked about her personal style, she described it as “street chic,” and she told me that her daily outfit choices usually revolve around a specific article of clothing or distinct accessory that she builds the rest of her look around.
No matter what your personal style happens to be, choosing outfits is a much more complicated process than many of us realize. How do you decide what shirt looks good with those pants you bought last week? How do you decide whether to wear silver or gold jewelry—or when is it best to wear none at all? How do you decide which dress better suits your aesthetic?
For Nicole, social media is one of her main sources for fashion inspiration and guidance. “I follow the newest trends….[and] follow a lot of fashion stars such as Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner.” She explained that following the latest trends on Instagram, Pinterest, and other social media sites helps her define her style and build her closet. For Alexia Della Valle ‘19 and Hannah Simms ‘19, inspiration and trends that define their looks often come from Pinterest and other social media sites as well.
Nicole explained that through Instagram, she is able to see her friends’ clothing as well as the style of her favorite stars and then draw more inspiration for her own closet. Hannah described a similar experience with Pinterest, using the plethora of fashion photos on the site to fuel her “comfy” style.
I myself have taken the use of technology in fashion a step further, researching all the ways that apps and social media are influencing day-to-day fashion. On Pinterest, there are countless boards devoted to different styles from bohemian to business. On Instagram, popular designers such as Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Donna Karan, Rahul Mishra, and dozens of others post sneak peaks into their collections and insights into how they define style and fashion. On YouTube, a whole new industry has built up around daily fashion and style. Fashion and beauty “gurus” such as Zoella, La Madelynn, Annalee & Jesse, Arika Sato, Lily Melrose, and others have taken YouTube by storm with videos featuring fashion hauls, seasonal look books, and beauty tips.
Clothing apps like Polyvore, Wish, and Wanelo Shopping are another source for fashion information and discounted outfits. There are also other apps like Weheartit that function similarly to Pinterest but with the more exclusive purpose of defining different personal aesthetics. There are even apps that organize your closet!
I tried the top rated closet organizer this week, called Stylebook, and sorted my closet electronically by filing everything from shoes and accessories to t-shirts and sweaters. Once my closet was organized in pictures, I could go in and create outfits electronically and receive tips on styling and creating outfits based on popular trends uploaded to the app.
Silly as it may seem, the app actually did help me to organize my closet and save time finding outfits each morning.
However we receive our fashion advice, whether it be from a Pinterest board or an artsy photo from a friend, it is clear that style has turned to social media for direction in recent years. We all are feeling its influence.
As Nicole told me, “inspiration is everywhere these days”—all you need is a phone!