Insta Anxiety

And how it makes us shop

I follow just over 600 accounts on Instagram. I’m still figuring out how to manage my engagement with them all. So I’m picky about who I do follow until I’ve figured out how to enjoy the content I want without my brain exploding into a ticker tape parade of double taps.

I’ve also become aware of those accounts that give me the envy. The bad kind of envy. The kind that makes me flick to my folder of shopping apps and work my way through them, or look at my Instagram photos and feel completely inadequate.

Isabel Selles

I know some people like to follow aspirational accounts. I get it, it’s an escape. I follow some of those too, but I’ve found there are those I aspire to be and those I am anxious to be. Big difference. My current favourite account is IsabelSelles. I mean she leaves the fire emoji out in the cold. But, I find her really accessible. She wears a lot of simple but amazing outfits, she wears the same thing more than once and is a lover of jeans. Her looks are completely re-creatable. Her photos don’t make me feel bad, they make me want to look good. 

Now, and this is totally new information peeps, if an account does the opposite; if it makes me hate my hair, question my back-garden photo shoots and has me scouring ASOS for an instant ego boost, then I can, believe it or not, unfollow! Or if you want to be less brutal just mute them so they stop showing in your feed. I’ve definitely done that to a few of the huge accounts when I realised they were making me feel inadequate rather than inspired.

The problem with fast fashion is that it feeds on our insecurity. It knows we want to feel as good as the next girl, and the easiest, quickest way to do that is to buy something new and swank about in it. If we didn’t have these insecurities, or at least less of them, we might not need the shopping spree quite so badly. So, my very basic advice? Unfollow those accounts that make you want to shop. I don’t mean the ones that wear outfits you love and like to copy because you’re confident they would look good on you; I mean the ones that send you into a self-loathing cycle where only an impulse buy will stop the spinning. 

Lauren Bravo points out in her book ‘How to Break up With Fast Fashion’ that there is a difference between enjoying and wanting. So, you can absolutely enjoy those clothes and those feeds that light up your eyes without constantly wanting to buy all the stuff you see on them. Enjoy the fashion and the inspiration but if the self-doubt starts scratching, hit the block button and not the high street. 

The accounts that trigger these feelings will vary for us all. I don’t have a blanket rule on which are good and which are ‘bad’. I’ve muted all the High Street retailers so I’m not blasted with ‘New In’ every morning and I’m following less nineteen-year olds with their endlessly smooth skin. I like accounts a bit like me but better. Realistically aspirational (catchy that isn’t it)?! So figure out what hits the spot and inspires you, and what gets you reaching for the retail therapy panic button and next time you find yourself in a self-esteem emergency, push unfollow not ‘buy now’. 

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