Finding Your Aesthetic: Fashion Choices For The Socially Active

Ashwitha De Mel

A 20-year-old college student with a passion for reading, writing and finding the time to fit in all my hobbies and projects into one lifetime.

First Impressions Matter

Someone once told me that even if I feel like a three-day-old turd, there’s no reason to dress like it, and quite frankly that sentence has never been truer. Creating a social presence online can be daring and tough work, but finding the perfect style or aesthetic can really do you a number. I do not mean to come off as shallow and narcissistic but if you choose to play the network game, it won’t hurt to pay attention to how you present yourself. Do I still sound like someone that walked straight out of The Devil Wears Prada and is forcing you to upgrade your chucks into Jimmy Choos? Let me explain.

Whether you’re a social figure trying to gather more followers with a flawless aesthetic or a simple homebody just trying to be pretty online, one thing you most definitely need to focus on is how you look. It’s a great practice for online purposes as well as in real life. You want to make sure people see you for who you are and treat you accordingly. If you don’t take yourself seriously enough to put thought into your appearance and outlook, then neither will anyone else. This should not in any way drive you into covering up your flaws with makeup or hiding your insecure body with clothes you think society will like. Embrace yourself. Find out what you love about yourself and what you feel most comfortable in- and then rock it. Think about all the body positivity activists on Instagram. They’ve found their style and are serving looks with their aesthetic, so don’t ever feel like you have to change yourself to meet society’s wants. The best way to sell your brand and aesthetic on social media is by being confident and consistent with your style. Strong and capable, soft and sensual- whatever it is, a cleverly handled aesthetic can get you places.

I’m half sure you’re wondering why someone would want to write an entire article on something so well known, but hear me out. Firstly, the aesthetics on Tumblr are not the only aesthetics in the world. You know what I’m talking about; the grungy emo, the trippy hipster, the vintage Lana Del Rey, the bold and bright, and the kawaii Harajuku. Sure they’re easy to use considering they exist and there’s plenty of content to rip off of online, but if you want to make it far, you gotta bring something new to your feed.

1. Let’s Talk Colour


That’s right. Colour theory. We’re taking this way back. I want you to think Bauhaus, Picasso and Wes Anderson. They’re all super different, but they all utilise colour as more than just something that is visually pleasing. Colour becomes a tool that is used very minimally and to evoke a certain emotion or to set a certain mood. This can be a great way to start an aesthetic. The colour of your clothes can be carefully chosen to convey the type of mood you’re going for and the personality you want your social platform to portray. Think of Ariana Grande’s glitzy diva aesthetic and Halsey’s rebel grunge. Lily Singh (iiSuperwomanii) is well known for wearing what she feels comfortable in and still being on brand with her colourful and bright casual wear. These are all pretty basic aesthetic styles, but you… you can be smarter. Use colour as your weapon, and study different ways to pair colours to best suit your purpose. Various colour schemes such as triadic colours, contrasting colours and low saturated schemes can give off different moods.

2. What’s In Style?

Anything you want, baby. Remember, your aesthetic online should either represent yourself or the brand you are trying to portray. There are no rules here, but it’s best to have a specific vision and go forth with that in mind. It’s easy to get lost with trends, but the best icons don’t follow, so never be afraid to be out of the box.

That doesn’t mean you can’t draw inspiration from existing aesthetics- so feel free to mix and match your favourite details till you find a functioning style. Think of Billie Eilish with her oversized ponchos, of Dua Lipa and her authentic semi-retro style, Imagine Dragons and their deconstructed grunge aesthetic. The choices are endless and the ball is in your court. Fashion blogs and mood boards on Pinterest can help you narrow your focus, but keep in mind that your brand and aesthetic should be yours. Stay away from plagiarism as much as you can and if you ever get tempted, just imagine having to deal with the backlash when you’re famous.

3. “Aesthetically Pleasing”

At this point, you’ve probably figured what clothes and accessories you need to pair up to create your unique look- but is it ready for your social platform? Most people think they need to keep up with the best brands to stay trending, but that isn’t true. As long as you make it yours and give it personality, you can turn your thrift store treasures and hand-me-down blessings into something coveted by your followers. Don’t be embarrassed to mix up your clothing and make it entirely yours. No one would have guessed holes in pants would be something remotely fashionable before the grunge aesthetic made its rounds, so go out and get creative.  Dig out your closet favourites and mix them up to create different looks for different posts.

Changing the backdrop for your pictures can help add flavour to your meticulously selected apparel, and don’t forget to accessorize appropriately. Filters and colour grading your posts can tie the aesthetic together neatly, so if you do have the time feel free to edit your photos. This isn’t as difficult as it may sound- mess around with the saturation, colour grades, warmth and contrast to perfect the mood/personality of your post.

Voila! There you have it- a functioning aesthetic that you made yourself. Now go out and bless people’s feeds.