THE INSTAGRAM EFFECT

Truth is, people rarely look as polished as they do on Instagram, photos are usually captured when we are feeling the best version of ourselves. When our make up is done, when we are having a good hair day, when we feel a little less bloated than the week before. Instagram is basically like constantly looking at someones best side, their best life, all shot in their best light. It has the power to make people look like they have all their shit together before the age of twenty five, it can make couples appear happier than they actually are, and it can generally just make life look a little sweeter than it probably is behind the scenes… 

The Instagram effect is something I diagnose myself with when I’ve been having a down day, and spent way too long scrolling through my feed, knowing it’s likely to make me feel worse (but doing it anyway). A feed full of best sides and best impressions can create a head full of self doubt…

Am I eating the right things? Am I going on enough amazing holidays? Am I shopping at the right places? Instagram will catch you on a bad day and most likely make that bad day feel a lot worse. It takes a certain amount of strength and self confidence to partake in social media and still feel confident in the person you are, and the lifestyle you lead. You have to learn to tune out what the majority are doing and follow your own lead, you have to learn to have faith in your own pace and your own quirks – the things that make you different from a sea of people trying to emulate another sea of people…

On the flip side, I don’t think there should be any shame in only wanting to document the happy, most attractive parts of life – it’s human nature to want to hold onto fond memories. You rarely flick through an old photo album and see images of sad times – it’s considered inappropriate to pull out the camera when someone is crying (although there’s many beautiful images by various photographers of people doing so). On top of that, we all have enough to deal with in our own lives half the time, right? Most people use social media as a form of escapism, and that’s absolutely fine too… 

However, too much time spent on social scrolling through a certain type of social media can result in being out of touch with reality – suddenly we are tricked into thinking everyone should be perfectly toned, with perfect skin, and the perfect house. Again, all before the age of twenty five might I add…

I’m rarely one to take pictures in my underwear, but I thought these sort of fit the theme, so I’m rolling with them. The reason I love wearing high waisted jeans so much is because they suck in my stomach and make me feel good about myself. When I sit down I have little rolls like most people – I just don’t care enough about working out to make them disappear, and I’ve accepted that. My underwear never matches, and I have a scar on my belly button where I had my belly button pierced in some vain attempt to fit in. I was sixteen and everyone was doing it – my skin rejected it, but I actually think the scar is kind of cool. Imperfections are cool. 

I dislike the tops of my arms and legs – they never feel toned (no matter how hard I try), so I wear blouses that skim them, and make me feel good. I had an operation last year which some of you may have read about on here, it’s an ongoing thing that niggles away at my self confidence, yet here I am with my bra showing, so I guess that means I have everything all figured out to some… 

I get spots on my face now and then – sometimes I use concealer, and sometimes I don’t. Neither of these things affect who I am as a person. I’ve spent far too long on YouTube over the years looking up various procedures and watching people do ridiculous things to their bodies and faces – sometimes it makes me want to do the same, but mostly it makes me sad that we live in a world where so many of us can’t accept difference.

How boring would life be if we all looked the same? How boring would it be if everyone you ever encountered had the same thoughts and the same personality?

A few years ago, I would weigh myself every single morning as though I’d somehow miraculously shrink over night. I’d use calorie counting apps, and I’d measure my waist religiously. I’d tricked myself into believing that one body type was the most beautiful – I’d tricked myself into believing that I’d somehow be happier if my body measurements fit a specific mould. It’s so ridiculous when I look back – I don’t own scales anymore, and I only measure myself now if I want to figure out whether a certain piece of clothing I’m lusting after will fit properly… 

There’s nothing wrong with wearing clothes that empower you and taking images that show you at your ‘best’, but there’s also nothing wrong with your naked face and those stretch marks you’d rather weren’t there. Don’t assume for a second that because one girl has something you don’t have, that somehow invalidates your beauty or potential in life… 

 I decided to take these in between shooting outfits last week – they were taken by my photographer who has pretty much seen me in every situation by this point. I’d been feeling a bit rubbish about my body since the start of the year for various reasons, so I decided to put on a new bralet and snap myself out of it, in true (albeit quite vain), Sex And The City style. I was wearing this new bralet underneath my T-shirt and I thought to myself – I might be a little bigger than I’ve been before, I might be a little smaller than I’ve been before, but this is me. If I don’t learn to accept myself regardless of how I look, then I’ll never be truly happy. My body has continued to change from the moment I was born, and it will continue change for the rest of my time on earth…

That’s a beautiful thing.

 

Alice x


Photographs by Adriana

Bralet – Sezane

Cardigan – Topshop (sold out)

Jeans – vintage Levi via Beyond Retro

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11 Comments

  1. Alice, this is such a wonderful and honest post. I can’t explain how much I can relate to everything you wrote, and surely i am not the only one. These images are beautiful and go so well with what you wrote. Stay true to yourself and remember that it’s totally ok to have a bad day. Don’t beat yourself over it x

  2. Instagram is definitely a form of escapism and like you said, there’s nothing wrong with sharing the best parts of your life. I like to scroll on Instagram but I usually limit how much time I spend on it. It’s very easy to get sucked into the comparing and what not especially on a day when you’re already feeling a bit rubbish.

    I wear high waist jeans for the same reason too! Being 100% comfortable in your body takes a while and it’s something I’ve been working on. This post was very inspiring to read.
    PS: Love the bralette! xx

    Coco Bella Blog

  3. Love this Alice… really been on my mind recently, and even though it affects me I find I’m also uploading my best pictures and possibly contributing to someone else feeling this way!
    I think it’s important to realise that imperfections are what make us unique in our own beautiful way… plus you look amazing! <3

  4. Beautiful post by a truly beautiful lady inside and out. You always seem to write what I more or less think everyday- and it’s reassuring to know I’m not the only one who thinks it. Thank you as always for helping my anxious little brain seem like it’s not alone in the world . 🙂

    1. Thank you so much – you’re definitely not alone! I’m such an over thinker and I’ve always been a worrier, writing definitely helps 🙂 xx

  5. I won’t lie and say that I follow a lot of fashion blogs but I can spot a writer with depth who isn’t afraid to be honest. This is beautifully written, Alice xx

  6. Alice this is so well written! You’ve become one of my favorite blogs that I look forward to reading and check back often! This topic is a tough one! I can sometimes find myself in the same boat—comparing and wishing for the same life as the perfectly staged ones I see on IG. I’m doing my best to remember that it’s for inspiration and sometimes (maybe this isn’t good?) motivation to be a better version of myself. I follow a lot of beauty bloggers and I have major skin issues that aren’t easily treated. So sometimes it depresses me but I’ve begun to embrace it and share more of what my daily life is like which includes hardly any staging and most definitely no makeup. (Not that sharing those things are wrong or bad). Ive found I feel more at ease and it’s easier to accept your “flaws” when you make them “normal”. ❤️

    1. Thank you! And I totally agree with you, I think it all depends what kind of things you’re experiencing in your own life. Also, we definitely have the power to create feeds that are inspiring and meaningful, half the time we look at things when they know they will make us feel worse xxx

  7. You look gorgeous Alice – so powerful and confident! I absolutely love this post, because you’re right: there’s absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to document the happy, and as long as you can bring yourself back to reality after scrolling on your feed for hours, then it’s all okay! It’s the moment that we fixate on these ‘highlight reels’ and ‘perfect people’ that the Instagram affect totally takes place!

    “How boring would life be if we all looked the same? How boring would it be if everyone you ever encountered had the same thoughts and the same personality?” – and, in answer to this… life would be pretty damn boring!

    I used to be so similar to you – forever calorie counting, worrying about my size, and now I don’t care, I’m the happiest I’ve ever been! I’m ME and I’m doing MY own thing, that’s all that should matter! xxx

    1. Exactly! And you’re so beautiful – I know it’s not always compensation for what goes on internally, but you’re a lovely soul inside and out. I’m so glad to hear you’re happier and looking after yourself xxxx

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