I am not hugely into fashion, in that I am kind of wary of new trends and don’t embrace them until at least half the people in my known universe have already bravely gotten on board. In no way am I a trend setter or even remotely interested in spending half my paycheck on clothes. I’m not a tom boy by any means and I can wistfully admire cute outfits and accessories from afar along with the rest of you. I refuse to be a slave to the SS/AW trends but reserve the right to be jealous of girls who are and look great doing it. Yes, yes queue the wails about contradictory females-whatevs. I am already spending an extortionate amount of my paycheck on travel as it is. How do these Instagram travel girls do it? How do they look so stylish and still afford to travel to far-flung climes? How? HOW??
Instagram opened my eyes to a fantastic network of ‘go gettem’ girls who solo travel and backpack for months on end, who are committed digital nomads or who have quit their jobs and have long term travel goals in their futures. I have met some wonderfully inspirational bloggers and Instagrammers on my own travels and found a helpful group of empowering women who encourage self-discovery through travel at every opportunity.
But one thing I recurringly see adorning my Instagram feed is girls in the cutest of outfits, with perfectly tonged curls that don’t seem to be ruffled by the wind. Don’t think I haven’t noticed that y’all aren’t even slightly sweaty despite being in what clearly looks like an oven of a destination. No glistening brows, no red faces, no matted hair, no ‘dammit, I have to throw my hair up in a bun cos otherwise I’ll look like Monica from Friends’ kind of shots. And these girls must travel with steam trunks full of freshly ironed outfits.
Hurray to the girls who wear repeat outfits in Instagram photos. Kudos to the chicas who put, an albeit unnecessary, disclaimer in their caption pardoning the sticky look or hot and bothered demeanor. Show off those creased skirts and shorts, wear the same damn clothes (within reason, of course, no one likes a stink bomb). Look like a normal human who has earned a cool gelato after walking around on a furnace of a day in the sun.
We all have to abide by the same luggage weight restrictions and I am painfully aware that despite watching umpteen packing videos I still, inevitably, over pack some things and forgo something that I later regret leaving behind. High heels I am looking right at you. So how do these girls manage it? Do tell, please?
Yes, I get it, some girls can make a black bin bag look like a great outfit choice and would look well if burlap were fashionable. I would look like I was, in fact wearing a burlap bag.
My rant is that now I feel a little pressurized as I gaze slightly forlornly at my drawer o’ summer things wondering what the absolute hell to pack? I dislike me in photos and if you peruse my Instagram you will see that I would rather the photos be of the back of my head than the front. So this is not a vanity rant about how I want to look good in every selfie I take. I hate selfies.
I also feel the cold so layering up is a thing I do. Snow (haha, see what I did there!?) chance will you see me in some adorable little high street number on a chilly city break because I look like I fell into my wardrobe and came out wearing all of the things. Iceland trip, I am remembering you and how I felt like a 7 layer cheese dip. Without the cheese.
Like every other blogger out there I want the quality of my photos, their composition and clarity to stand out and be picked up by a big account. I want to give my little blog some time to sparkle. But I also have noted that the formula for such success also seems to include ‘insert pretty girl wearing a stunning outfit (which may defy crinkles or weather) in a perfectly lit scene and snap’. Dawn and sunset usually feature too and at dawn I am highly likely to be asleep or if I am awake, my bleary eyes and cranky face are not something I will be photographing. No one needs to see that.
Do I need to get up an extra hour earlier to look awake? Do I need to pack super on trend clothes and look like I woke up ‘like this’ just to get Instagram likes and shares? If that’s the case then wardrobe, sorry you will not be making room for some newcomers. Alarm clock you will NOT be set for an hour before dawn. I can still be envious of the ‘I woke up like this’ girls whose wardrobes defy reason, whose perfectly coiffed hair bounces as they frolick up some hill or mountain at sunrise. I will be the girl in a jacket and hoodie huddled over a takeaway cup of tea. Or scowling because the coffee shop wasn’t open since it was so damn early. Yes, I will be the girl who has no photos of herself meandering the streets of Athens because I was a hot damn mess and there was no need to document that with a photo. To all the bloggers I follow who hold up realistic standards for travel packing and fashion, thank you. I, Beyonce style, salute you.
Mostly because I don’t fancy feeling like a pro hobo when I travel so you guys make me feel like it’s perfectly normal to not pack six flowing dresses to wear for clifftop and rooftop photos and for assuring me that after a day wandering about and exploring a city in 40 degree heat it’s ok to look a little dewy and no one wears their hair down in 40 degree heat, amiright?! But as I prepare to pack for my next adventure I can’t help but cast a more critical eye over my travel wardrobe and wonder, are you Instagram ready?! Do I need to pack a curling tongs as well as a straightener and hair dryer when I already know my hair does what it bloody well likes on holiday and nothing I say or do can fight the humidity of my destination? What may come across as bitterness is indeed envy. Don’t get me wrong, if you can pull that off, well done. I just know it’s not me and I hope you have a team of hair and makeup artists behind the camera cos if you look that good on a normal rainy Tuesday, we can’t be friends!