A few weeks ago, on Instagram, I asked you all a question:
"Who do you follow online for style inspiration and do they look just like you?"
It's something I started asking myself a few years ago actually, when I was feeling a bit uninspired by this communal space. The photos I was seeing day after day felt the same (a reality I was probably feeding into myself), editing styles began to blend together with too much of the same preset package being used and even captions started to read like a formula. Suddenly, while scrolling through my feed, I couldn't shake the feeling I was following a lot of the same type of person, right down to the way they looked, how they dressed, what size they wore and even how they posed.
Of course, I realized that was on me. Not them. I had hit the follow button. I had curated my feed. And I was the one left wanting for more.
I'll stop here and say this before I continue: None of this is to say we shouldn't follow people online who look like us or who we identify with. In fact, I think that's the beauty of online communities like this -- it allows us to connect with and relate to people just like us, going through similar situations, or in the instance of style, give us the inspiration (and yes, confidence!) we need to put a similar outfit together for our respective style, budget and body types.
But after reviewing my feed, I felt like I was cutting myself short -- that I was missing out on a lot of style content that didn't fit my "specific mold," but that I could, nonetheless, get a ton of inspiration from.
Cue my friend, Kellie.
I've known Kellie for several years now. I remember my friend and photographer, Lydia showing me her account and I instantly fell for her fearless style, her killer wit and her contagious confidence. Yes, our respective styles are quite different, but I was drawn to her photographs, the angles, the perspectives and the unique space where our styles seemed to overlap so to speak. Yes, we may be different sizes, but that was the last thing I was looking at. At the end of the day, true style is style, no matter what your size tag might read. And Kellie, my friends, has style in spades. And then some.
She and I have chatted at great lengths about this topic together -- how it's manifested over the years in the content creator space (especially as the words 'inclusivity' and 'representation' get thrown around a lot) and how to best tackle it, from both sides of the size spectrum. Generally speaking, straight size influencers tend to follow other straight size influencers and plus size influencers tend to follow other plus size influencers, with not a lot of overlap in between, again, generally speaking, perhaps because neither group feels represented by the other. To reiterate, there's nothing wrong with following people who look just like you, but what if we, as true appreciators of style (and substance!), could make more of a dedicated effort to connect with and find inspiration from those who don't look just like us. Whose shape or size might be different than ours. Whose style might be a bit outside of our comfort zones. Whose background is totally unlike our own. Or perhaps they're older. Perhaps they're younger. What if?
My guess (and Kellie's guess, too), is that we'll find a hell of a lot more common ground than we will find differences.
All of this is to say, the past few years, and certainly this year, I'm dedicating more time and energy to fostering and creating this to be an online space where I feel more people are represented. Not just in the content I create here, but also in the content I consume -- one begets the other, right?. So when it comes to what I consume online, that starts and ends with me. Granted, none of the above is meant to make you feel ashamed or bad about who follow or who you don't follow online. I'm also not trying to imply there is any kind of nefarious intent going on here. But rather, I hope it encourages you to evaluate your behavior when it comes to deciding who to follow and support online, and really reflect on how you can be more inclusive with that decision. It may seem small, and yes, even insignificant in that moment, but that's how change comes about.
I'm happy to report, I know a lot of beautiful and talented folks who I'm so honored to call friends in this space, who yes, like Kellie, don't look just like me, and I'm so excited to collaborate more with them this year.
In the meantime, I'd love to know your thoughts on the above! And please, when you get a moment, hop over to read Kellie's own words here. I think she captures some beautiful sentiment in her own essay.
OUTFIT DETAILS: ON KRYSTAL Saloni dress (via Rent the Runway) // Balenciaga heels // Express bodysuit // Hunter Bell skirt (via Rent the Runway) // Dior heels // Olympia Le-Tan clutch ON KELLIE Eloquii pink top // Nouveau tulle skirt // Eloquii cardigan sweater dress
[…] feel like I may have fallen a bit short, I think we covered some great ground nonetheless. I shared my thoughts on body inclusivity in the influencer space, started a dialogue on fertility options as you enter your 30s, detailed how I handle ruts and mood […]
This was fantastic! I love these shots and your perspective!
Thank you so much, Tabitha! That means a lot to me!!
Yes…diversifying is good. I have women of all aged on my feed.
Completely agree, Lisa! Thanks for reading!
Im guilty of just following accounts just for the sake of following so they can follow me back but a couple months ago I realized that I was missing out of the beauty of instagram…and that is to follow people who truly inspires me….I started to clean my feed too
Thanks for your comment, Neisha! I agree — that’s the beauty of Instagram! Discovering new and inspiring people from all over the world!
These photos are everything!!! So glad you’re inclusive. I LOVE Kellie’s style
chevrons & éclairs
Thanks, love!! Isn’t Kellie just fabulous?!
Kellie’s style is breathtaking. I need to follow different fashion accounts!
Kellie is the real deal — with such great style! Glad I could introduce you to her!
I know I commented on Insta about this, but I love this and it’s so inspiring! I’ve been following your blog for so many years and I think this is the first time I’ve seen a post that resonates to much with me. Style is style and we all should feel free to get our inspiration from everywhere. Excited to see both of you post more on this topic!
Aw! Thank you, Jeniese! I’m so glad this topic resonated with you!! That means the world to me!
I love that you are doing a series on this topic. My style in complete different from your’s and many of the blogger’s / influencer’s that I follow but as you said, at the end of the day, true style is style.
Thanks Narisa! I’m glad that this topic resonates with you — it’s definitely something I’ve been thinking about a lot and I’m glad to hear your feed is already diverse! Thanks for reading!
I recently started making an effort to seek out and re-curate my Instagram feed with women who were more diverse across the board and I absolutely love the result. I feel so much more inspired by the variety. It sucks that I even had to make a conscious effort to seek out diversity because it goes to show that, for some reason, what’s being promoted much more broadly on social media (whether it be the fault of an algorithm or whatever) is just one specific kind of look.
briana | youngsophisticate.com
I couldn’t agree more, Briana. Whether it’s in part to an algorithm or the fact certain main stream brands only work with a certain type of blogger, thereby determining the content you and I see a lot of, it really does require us to change the dynamic to demand more diverse content. That starts with us.
loving these photos of you and Kellie
Kellie’s style is so gorgeous
I need to follow more diverse fashion accounts
Thanks, Nat! Kellie’s style is stunning, isn’t it?