Posting Outfits to Instagram: Considering Pros and Cons

One of the suggestions for posts / instastories I received was how to build up the confidence to post outfit pictures to Instagram, because putting yourself out there is scary! Here’s how I approach it.

Personally I find that uncertainty (“what if???”) is the overarching factor around posting nerves, so my general advice on getting more confidence to post is to be clear about your own motivations for posting. If you have a “why am I even doing this??” moment of nerves, it’s a lot easier to get over it if you’ve literally taken notes with the answer.

On the flip side, identify the scenarios that make you hesitate to post, think about whether and decide that you’re going to join the masses of outfit chroniclers of Instagram.

Remember positive outcomes of posting

Why do you want to post on a public Instagram? Remember all the good things you get or are hoping to get from doing this.

➡️ Motivation to make a better outfit (whatever better means for you) because you’re posting it to the world
➡️ Wear a better outfit
➡️ Feel cooler/more confident all day 😎

✅ Easy way to see your posts at a glance with notes.

✅ If you’re on Instagram every day anyway, then it could help you be more consistent about taking outfit photos vs if you were just storing them away in a phone album.

✅ Interaction with other ootd accounts

💃🏻 It’s fun!

Identify why you’re reluctant to post

There are plenty of good reasons to not want to post on a public account! Don’t feel like you have to. I find that at least acknowledging and listing out specific things I’m worried about and then really thinking about what kind of effect they’d have on me in the near, medium, and long term often results in me deciding that I could actually deal with things.

😰 Ask yourself, if X plausible scenario happened, would there actually be long term negative consequences?

🤔 Think of how you’d like to react that in advance so you can handle it confidently if it does happen.

🔎 E.g. IRL friends or coworkers find your account

🙌🏼 You are starting an outfit diary Instagram. Embrace it! Own it! It’s a legitimate hobby! (Although, if you work in a super conservative industry or something then it would be prudent to decide whether the sorts of photos you’re going to post will reflect poorly on you in the eyes of your higher-ups if it did come up).

😬 What if I post a photo and people think it’s weird?

If anyone you know in person actually starts making fun of you for wearing different things or being into fashion, then they have some issues and you can pity them 💃🏻 Or it can be a teachable moment if you feel like going that route.

This is something I’m still working on internalizing myself, but if you’re just afraid that people won’t like your style, it’s important to work on accepting that no one can possibly make a universally beloved style. Posting publicly can help you really embrace your own aesthetic because it will force you to acknowledge this and grow a tougher skin.

🤖 What if people steal my photos and use them to make a fake account somewhere for a bot or to catfish people on tinder? (I have seen at least one account that had cloned my feed! I just reported it and Instagram removed it right away, but you can never be sure you’ll find them all…)

The internet sucks. If you cannot accept that level of potential suckage, that is totally understandable 👌 Move on and live your best life IRL!

Etc. But don’t get wrapped up in hypotheticals for too long!

📵 You can decide that it’s not worth the risk for you, and have confidence that you made the right choice for yourself now.

You can compromise! Post your outfits but not your face 🌟

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You don’t need to show your face on the account if you’re not comfortable with that! And you can still get all the benefit of seeing your outfit. I started out with my face cropped out myself, and eventually put it in when I felt that seeing the full proportions including my head was more useful to me and outweighed my fear of what would happen if I showed it.

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Cropping your head out is straightforward, but if you like to show your hair or hat or your photo setup makes the Instagram aspect ratios not work, the easiest way imo is to add stickers or draw on your photo in the instastories editor.

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Use the color-select eyedropper tool to get a freaky erased face effect

You can also post stuff you’re less confident about just in instastories. Of course people could always screenshot it, but it will be up only temporarily.

Another fun option is to wear a mask. If I’d had this mask earlier, I probably would have worn it instead of cropping my head out for the first month 😂

sxivmxd

Another option is you could post to a private Instagram account until you feel like you want to open it up. Even if you are happy keeping it private indefinitely, this way you can get the bonus of the UI and at least one-way participation on other posts. I recommend keeping a separate account for fashion/OOTD posts because it will make looking through your outfit archives easier and it will also not spam your existing followers, friends, and family who may not be interested in fashion with your photos.

If you want to mix in your outfit pics with another account, consider using a unique hashtag so that you can easily filter and view all your outfit photos later. Using a unique or lesser-used hashtag (like #redditffa) can also help notify you if a bot has copied your posts or account, because if you’re subscribed to the hashtag then the posts will show up.

Put your best foot forward

(This section added on February 14th)

As a final note, I think it also always helps if you’re putting your best foot forward. Know that you did a solid job creating your post, and feel proud of it.

I don’t mean you need to get a roll of butcher paper or drop cloth for a clean background and buy studio lighting and edit your photos in lightroom before posting, but do some legwork up front to make it easier for you to look as good as you can in the 10 min or whatever you have allotted for outfit photographic and posting.

  • Find a spot in your house where you can set your phone and take a well-angled (to capture most true-to-life proportions) and decently-lit photograph of your outfit.
  • Spend $20 on a tripod or gorillapod if it will make your life that much easier if you’re taking 350 outfit photos a year and every morning you have a precarious stack of books and magazines you’re propping your phone up with on your kitchn table.
  • Figure out what filter you want to use and what sort of basic editing (e.g. contrast and brightness adjustments) works best for photos taken in your spot, with your wardrobe’s color palette (i.e. don’t use filters that apply too much warm or cool tones, if your goal is to see what your outfits look like and not just have a super a-e-s-t-h-e-t-i-c feed for the likes), at the time of day you’ll take your photos.
  • Spend one day trying different poses with different silhouettes of clothing and find a 1-3 poses that work for you.

A lot of this whole post I think was pretty basic stuff, but hopefully it was still helpful to have enumerated. 📋

If you’re in the process of curating your own style and wardrobe, I HIGHLY recommend taking daily outfit photos and cataloguing them somewhere, even if you don’t share them. It is so helpful for recognizing patterns of things you like and don’t like in your whole wardrobe, whether things really fit, and the third-person view can help you think more creatively about styling choices you could try. Before I started my Instagram account I catalogued all my outfits in Airtable (lol, I actually also still catalogue all my outfits in Airtable), which you can read more about on the Wardrobe Tracking page.

2 thoughts on “Posting Outfits to Instagram: Considering Pros and Cons

  1. Ah, Instagram. I do not use the app but I still browse posts of certain hashtags. I would add that if a user is uncomfortable posing for a photo but wants to display an outfit or item for their personal archive, a dress form goes a long way. It can be done well in practice and be a good way to focus solely on the clothing and styling. So decide if you, the imaginary user, are concerned with the styling of your items and/or the fit of the items, because, obviously, a dress form will not accurately convey the fit of your clothing upon that imaginary body of yours. My humble two cents!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A dress form is a good suggestion for archive photos! I usually try to find stock photos for that sort of thing, but I think a dress form would make a better reference photo than a flatlay. But yeah, for full outfits there’s really no substitute for actually getting a picture of things on yourself.

      Like

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