Flex your fashion vocab! Remove generic adjectives from your comments on outfit posts: An exercise

obsessed with those pants

SO GOOD

living for this!

That outfit is so chic πŸ’•

Sincere compliments are a wonderful thing to receive and give. They’re also a great opportunity to practice honing your sense of how outfits are put together and identifying items or styling that you like. Here’s a challenge: next time you think “omg that outfit is so good!” or another generic phrase, take a minute and try and come up with something more specific that you like about the outfit.

You can actually leave it as a comment or not (depending on the account I feel kinda weird leaving long comments on Instagram versus reddit WAYWT threads – at any rate I think it could come across as creepy if you post a novel-length reply to someone’s ootd who didn’t ask for it and you have never interacted with before), but the process of identifying concrete things in outfits that you like will give you more actionable ideas on how you might like to style (or not style) your own outfits. If you don’t really follow any fashion accounts on IG, you can practice this on any outfit photo – from Pinterest, magazines, whatever.

You can also do this on your own outfits, but sometimes it can be hard to be objective on your own outfits or maybe you just don’t have the wardrobe to make any outfits you really love yet. This is also easier to do on outfits that immediately make you feel something rather than perhaps your weekday look that you’ve been totally desensitized to.

This can be hard at first, but it will get easier over time! I feel like my practice studying for essay components of standardized tests in high school really prepared me for this sort of thing. The whole thing was basically “pull specific elements out of this random thing to support some thoughts on it, GO”, lol.

Of course this can also totally apply in a negative direction and help identify what you don’t like about outfits, but as the concept and vocabulary is the same I would rather not have a huge downer of a post.

Generic words that should give you pause so you can think of what you really think:

  • cute
  • fun
  • pretty
  • good
  • chic
  • love
  • awesome

Some other things you can talk about instead:

  • color palette
  • accessories and “third pieces”
  • styling details that did not happen on accident – cuffs, tucks, hairstyling, etc
  • textures
  • prints
  • silhouettes
  • layering
  • repeated elements
  • how any of the things on this list interact with each other
  • how any of these things evoke a specific place/mood/time/event/style etc (including non-clothing-specific descriptors. Words like moody, playful, authoritative, streamlined, victorian, western… basically anything that’s more descriptive than just “cute”/”love”/”great”

An example I just made up to demonstrate different depths of comments on an outfit:

“Cute!”

The floral print is so cute!”

“The small-scale and simple geometric shapes in the floral print are so dainty but playful!”

“The small-scale and simple geometric shapes in the floral print of the dress are so dainty but playful! Pairing it with a slightly structured field jacket and chelsea boots makes the whole look feel more grounded and ready-for-adventure without going into literal techwear territory”

The above, but also add something you think would go well with it or a slight tweak that would also work in the same aesthetic or to tweak it to some other awesome look. E.g. “The small-scale and simple geometric shapes in the floral print of the dress are so dainty but playful! Pairing it with a slightly structured field jacket and chelsea boots makes the whole look feel more grounded and ready-for-adventure without going into literal techwear territory. A leather backpack or a kanken backpack would go perfectly with this aesthetic.”

Examples

Some examples with actual attached photos, in which I’m only going to write the word-vomit of my thoughts on the outfits. These do of course reflect my personal style preferences and are not totally objective. That’s okay! You don’t need to aim to be totally objective. The goal is to figure out what things you like more specifically.

To be concise, I have largely omitted prefacing “I like ___ because the ____ is _____” in favor of “the ____ is ____”. If you’re actually going to post your thoughts as comments it’s probably a good idea to leave those words that express feelings in so you don’t sound like a Vulcan πŸ˜›

If you are also a fan of these outfits, make sure to check out more of them on the posters’ Instagrams πŸ˜„

Outfit 1

I really like the unexpectedness of the collared shirt being colorful while the sweater is white. The fleecey sweater has adorable sheep vibes like she mentioned, which is cozy but more playful than say, a traditional cable-knit or fine-knit sweater. The primary colors in the color palette are also cheerful but muted enough that they aren’t the overpowering element of the outfit. The high-waisted cropped flares add a trendy element in what could potentially be a stodgy outfit and the sneakers make the whole thing feel more laid-back. But they are clean and streamlined enough to come across as a fashion choice.

Outfit 2

The extreme silhouette of the pants adds some drama to the look. The double-breasted style buttons don’t make any practical sense but add some visual interest to the base outfit which is otherwise plain texture-wise, and they thematically go with the structured coat (which itself doesn’t have any buttons what would compete with them). The rougher texture of the brown coat and boots give an earthier tone to the look. The tights/socks literally connect the fitted shoes to the rest of the outfit and also make the whole thing seem more climate-ly cohesive. The gold lining on the coat incorporates some variety in color value and complements the gold buttons. Since all the volume is on the bottom of the outfit and the boots are flat, the slightly cheeky tall topknot provides some visual contrast. It adds another small shape to the look overall which lifts the eye through the whole outfit. It’s also stylistically in the middle of a conservative bun and a more youthful ponytail.

Outfit 3

The clean geometric lines and bright colors of the bucket bag, skirt stripes that meet cleanly at an angle, and slingback(?) heeled mules work together really well to add a striking graphic feel. The bag and shoes add a trendy edge to an otherwise classic demure feminine silhouette.

Outfit 4

It’s late and my brain is fried and I can no longer compose complete sentences so we’re now switching to bulleted lists

  • stripe tee adds depth as layering + a bit of extra visual interest
  • casual fabric blazer-ish outerwear with what reads to me as some kind of platform oxford repeat the “casual version of not-casual item” element
  • the belt continues that slightly structured feel to the base outfit
  • contrast sole of shoe gives it some shape and visually lightens the chunky shoe which I think works well with the light blazer and jeans

Outfit 5

  • traditionally formal cuts of items (button-down collared shirt, trousers) in more casual fabrics and slightly loose/drapey fit – “academic/old-fashioned but does things outside” (applies to both Bilbo Baggins and Indiana Jones, haha)
  • slight patina of wear on shoes and pants
  • simple no-nonsense accessories in the leather belt and watch add small visual elements through the outfit but don’t seem frivolous
  • old-school round glasses (idk though, I think the 2000s was really the only era of not-round glasses)
  • classic earth-toned color formula

I would like to take a page out of the great teacher Zoe Hong‘s book and take this moment to evangelize “practice, not magic”.Β  If you’re scrolling through Instagram for don’t-even-wanna-know how long every day, you can take that as an opportunity to hone your stylist muscles and spend some time actively thinking in addition to enjoying #aesthetic pictures.

For these particular examples, I went back through my feed and picked some photos and I didn’t want to zombie the old posts by going back and commenting on them, so you will not see any comments from me on the actual posts. I’m definitely going to make this an intention in my comments when I am feeling more energetic. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with just saying you like an outfit if that’s all you can come up with because you’re tired or in a hurry – this post is a suggestion for an exercise you can do when you’re in the mood to work on something related to personal fashion, but don’t actually want to think about outfits on yourself.

Is this a kind of post you’d like to see more regularly? What are some things that you like about these outfits? Let me know!

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