How Social Media Affects Fashion & Our Buying Decisions

Fahion1The other day I was strolling down the streets of Manhattan window-shopping and people watching with one of my girlfriends. We got on the subject of fashion and started talking about how we dress and what we like to wear the most. We laughed about how I always wear neutrals and how she loves color. She made me feel better about my lack of color when she told me that she loves all the things I wear and would “pin” all of my outfits on Pinterest. She thought I was Pinterestable! That got me thinking about the relationship between fashion and social media. Has social media become a crutch for fashion and without it would people still dress the way they do? Would our buying decisions be different if we didn’t see perfectly complete outfits on Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, or Facebook? I think yes.

I have never really been able to figure out why I love wearing white, black, tan, and grey. By the sound of my color palate you would think I’m an unhappy, dark individual but, I’m actually quite the opposite. I’m outgoing and bubbly, yet I love wearing no color at all or even all black outfits. So what is the deal? I realized that I wear almost all neutrals because it is what the celebrities and fashion bloggers wear. Tell me the last time you saw Kim Kardashian, the Olsen twins, Kanye West or Cara Delevingne in bright colored clothing…? It would probably be pretty hard to do. I am very intrigued by fashion and so I follow a lot of fashion bloggers and fashion icons on social media. It is natural to want to dress like celebrities and wear what they are wearing and when social media is constantly advertising their looks it begins to affect our buying decisions. We start to gravitate toward the top that looks like the one Lauren Conrad was photographed in or the jacket that Jay Z wore during his On The Run Tour. Seeing what celebrities are wearing has never been easier than now.

texturasThe fashion industry has greatly benefited from the expansion of social media, as it has been able to grow bigger than ever before. Fashion and social media have coalesced together to become one powerful conglomerate. Designers and brands are finding new inventive ways to use social media to boost their business and exposure. For example, many fashion shows do live Tweeting to instantly showcase their lines and generate hundreds of ‘favorites’ and ‘retweets’ that create hype for the brand.

Twitter has also allowed fashionistas across the globe to get an inside look into Fashion Week through live Tweets. Last year, designers, brands, writers and celebrities provided live Tweeting insight on Fashion Week that made it simple for people to stay informed. Some trending hashtags included #NYFW (New York Fashion Week), #MBFW (Mercedes Benz Fashion Week), and #FNO (Fashion Night Out). By checking out these hashtags and keeping up with live Tweets people were able to see the hottest looks on the runways only seconds after they were debuted. The US wasn’t the only one who picked up on this clever marketing strategy. London Fashion Week (Otherwise known as #LFW) utilized live Tweets to help brands gain exposure and followers. Burberry, TopShop, River Island, and Toni & Guy were only a few of the brands who gave fans access to the clothes, hair and makeup trends of the Spring/Summer 2014 season. According to Topsy, there were an astonishing 180k Tweets mentioning #LFW!

new_york_city_madness_wallpaper_hd-wide-copyWhen your Twitter feed is cluttered with floral prints, Birkenstocks, crop tops, and metallic accessories you may feel like you need to dress in those clothes in order to fit in or look “trendy” and fashionable, that is, if you choose to look trendy. If I am being honest I am guilty of owning most of the things on that list. If I think about it though I would never have gone shopping for them and picked them out on my own because, quite frankly, most of them are strange and off the wall. The only reason I wear them is because Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Tumblr have told me they are in style, since I’ve seen them all over social media.

Pinterest is perhaps one of the most influential social media sites when it comes to fashion. If there is one board that nearly every single girl has on her Pinterest it is a style board. Whether it is named, ‘My Style,’ ‘My Closet,’ ‘Dream Closet,’ ‘Fashion,’ or anything related to fashion, you know it exists! Pinterest has fueled social medias influence on our buying decision with its thousands of adorable outfits that get pinned again and again. By the end of the week the same Jimmy Choo shoes will have been pinned by every girl you follow because one girl sees it on your board, pins it and then her friends sees it and so on. We all end up pinning the exact same things, which drives us to desire and buy very similar merchandise.

pinterestAnother reason why Pinterest is especially persuasive in our clothing buying selections is the frequent links to the clothes, attached directly to the pin. When you see a great shirt or bag that has a link to buy it, it is far too difficult to pass up. Pinterest can be like a trap pressuring you into buying certain clothes. It is just too easy!! Pinterest helps you put together fashionable outfits and allows you to purchase nearly the whole look at the same time. You can even get special early viewing privileges if you follow the right brands. Badgley Mishcka and, the popular department store, Bergdorf Goodman were some of the first companies to co-preview their collections on Pinterest.

Many women, including myself, use Pinterest as a fashion inspiration site. We pin outfits that we like then we try to recreate them. Whenever I am having one of those moments when I look in my overfilled closet and think, “I have NOTHING to wear” I look on Pinterest for some help. I wouldn’t have thought to pair the floral skirt with a striped tank but on Pinterest it looks so cute! And just like that, I am swayed into wearing something I would not have thought about wearing on my own. That is how Pinterest works. It subliminally gets us to dress the way the models do in the pictures. Seeing multiple friends also pin the same outfit reassures us that it is a good look and it makes us think we should dress that way too.

Songofstyle, eatsleepwear, sincerelyjules, and happilygrey are only a few of the admired fashion bloggers on Instagram. With some having as many as 1.6 million followers, their style is sure to be mimicked and admired by many people. The whole point of their account is to post pictures of their day-to-day outfits for followers to see and take notes on. When an outfit gets 46,337 ‘likes’ it makes you believe the look is cute, even if you may have been second guessing it at first. What you probably do not realize is that by seeing a large amount of likes on a picture of an outfit it makes you want to dress that way, or in a similar way. You may think, hey all of their followers thought their outfit was great so my friends and family will think mine is great too if I dress like the fashion blogger! Although, remember that this is all coming from the mind of a fashion crazed girl, so, maybe you don’t think this way at all, and maybe you don’t follow any fashion bloggers but I sure do and I know there are at least 1.6 million other people who do too!

aimee-song-closet-shoes-mainAimee Song @songofstyle

Fashion bloggers are not the only ones with inspiring fashion accounts, celebrity Instagram accounts have huge followings and are immensely influential in the world of fashion. Rihanna, Nicole Richie, Rachel Zoe, Miley Cyrus, and Miranda Kerr are huge fashion icons with extremely popular Instagram accounts. Their looks are showcased on their Instagram for all their fans to see. The outfits pictured in posts inspire us and since they are not unknown models, but admirable people, their fashion influence is much stronger. I love Blake Lively, so if Blake Lively were to wear cuffed jeans with platform sandals I am going to be on the hunt for cuffed jeans and platform sandals. You can pretty much swap in any celebrity that you like and the scenario works. It is natural for people to want to dress like who they marvel at, especially if that person is a celebrity or is as beautiful as Blake Lively or Mila Kunis. We are easily persuaded to wear certain colors, cuts and styles by celebrity Instagram accounts.

In addition to fashion bloggers and celebrities, fashion brands are quickly earning a strong presence on Instagram. L2 Think Tank, a digital-focused intelligence service, surveyed 249 high-standing fashion brands in 2014 and concluded that 93 percent of them had Instagram accounts. When we follow these fashion brands on Instagram we become familiarized with their products and style, which then further sways our buying decisions. If Michael Kors posts a camouflage print wristlet and it receives 74,773 ‘likes’ you may think, “well if over 70,000 people liked it then it must be cute and I want one too!” Seeing the enormous number of ‘likes’ is similar to getting your best friends approval in the dressing room. Those 74,773 people tell you that yes, it is cute and you should buy it!

Shopping through the racks would be much more difficult if we didn’t have social media feeding us the latest fashion trends and looks. There would be a lot more uncertainty in your purchases of crop tops, metallic accessories and camouflage print purses. But, because we are exposed to fashion on nearly every social media platform we are told these things are trendy and appropriate to buy. One example of how social media has impacted our buying decisions is the thing I like to call the Birkenstock phenomenon. It almost reminds me of the UGG boot days when at first no one wanted to wear the “ugly” UGGs. One may imagine Birkenstocks to be worn by their world traveling eccentric aunt, hippie colleague, or camp counselor neighbor. But no, these shoes have been seen on fashion icons and on the runways of powerhouse designers like Prada, Tommy Hilfiger, Celine, Marc Jacobs and Chloe. At first I believed the headlines that were calling the sandals an ugly shoe trend and I wanted nothing to do with the shoes. However, after seeing countless pictures of Birkenstocks on Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr and online fashion blog posts I slowly became a fan, a big fan in fact! Social media made Birkenstocks go viral and after being faced with them so many times I began to like them. It is like listening to a song. At first you don’t really like the song but then the radio plays it so many times that by the end of the week you are blasting it on repeat and singing your lungs out to it. I recognize that some people still hate the shoes but not me; I am on the hunt for a pair of cute white ones! In my case, the Birkenstock phenomenon is the prime example of how social media affects our buying decisions.

image45I ask myself, what would our closets and the fashion industry look like without social media? For one, there would probably be considerably less daring, super in-trend outfits worn by us everyday people. Without the reassurance of ‘likes’, pins, and retweets we wouldn’t be as confident about wearing bright blue mirrored sunglasses or floppy wool hats. I also believe that we would dress much differently from one another. Our outfits would illustrate a greater amount of individuality. Tell me if I’m wrong but, I think every college girl has at least one pair of Nike sneakers, Ray-Ban aviators, white skinny jeans, cutoff high-waisted jean shorts, and a Tobi dress. One of the reasons why this happens is because at the end of a week an entire sorority will have pinned the exact same outfit. If social media and fashion were not as imbedded in each other we would also have to go back to reading magazines to find out the new cutting-edge trends and styles.

I personally like that social media has taken on such a big role in the fashion industry. It keeps me up to date on everything fashion, gives me outfit inspiration, and assures me that my floral print trousers are in style. My only wish is that people dressed more uniquely. I sometimes make a point to buy things that I know others wouldn’t because I like to be different and stand out from the crowd. I think that following trends and blogs are great but don’t forget that each one of us is an individual and our selections of clothing should be a reflection of who we are as well as what society dictates.

Connectivity: The Best Part About Social Media

College is different. It’s nothing like high school. Classes are harder, exams are harder, and leaving friends is the hardest. When high school is over everyone runs out of class with excitement and eagerness in their eyes, and all their best friends right by their side. I am beyond excited for summer to be here but I am also deeply saddened to leave all my great friends that I’ve made this year. Your friends at school become your family away from home. When I go a few days without seeing my friends I feel like it has been months. How am I going to go a whole summer…?!

When college is over most people return home. Many go back to different cities in North Carolina, but some go states away or almost half way across the country. This is why I am very thankful for social media. It keeps everyone connected. Things like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, iMessage, FaceTime, Snap Chat, and so many more, make the miles apart seem not so bad. Even though I won’t be able to have lazy Sunday mornings at Elmos or late nights at Qdoba, I’ll still be able to stay up to date about what’s happening in their lives. Twitter will give me current updates on what their doing, Instagram will let me see where they are, and Snap Chat will remind me of the ugliest faces they can make.

Even when we’re apart we’ll be able to be together.

With that being said, as sad as I am to leave my school friends behind, I’m excited to see my home friends. Growing up is weird though. Summer doesn’t mean beach every day, like it used to. We’re starting to live our own lives and go off in different places. I will be in New York City for the majority of the summer, so I’m only going to get a short month with some friends, but I will take anything I can get! Once again, thank god for social media. It allows me to be connected with all my friends, no matter how far away from each other we are.

The Most Important Thing I Learned From Class

The school year is coming to an end and I just recently finished up my journalism class about mass media. It was a great class that taught me so much and I would recommend it to anyone at UNC! It may sound scary because it’s on Monday night for three hours, but… it is really interesting and opened my eyes to many new things.

One of my favorite things about the class was that it introduced me to the world of technology and mass media. I loved learning about new inventions like Google Glass and Oculus. It got me thinking about what the future holds and I liked challenging my mind to make predictions on my own of what is to come. Knowing about these things made me feel in the loop and I liked sharing the information, about new inventions, to my family and friends. My dad knows all about Ring now!

The student presentations were also a great aspect of the class. Every time someone presented I learned something new and a lot of times they gave me a good laugh. I liked seeing things from other people’s perspectives and I liked watching how they would take an event or incident and relate it to mass media.

The most important thing I learned from this class though was that having an online presence is an essential thing to have. I never realized how much can happen from an online blog and how important they are to have, especially for us college students looking for internships and jobs. It is extremely helpful to have something published online that you can easily show to future employers, to give them a sample of your work. Putting your name out there gives you a chance to be noticed. No one ever knows who’s the next person to go viral, so why not try and get yourself in the game?

Having to blog for class was a great idea. Although it was a lot of work, I enjoyed every minute of it! I liked researching things in mass media and I liked having to write for an audience, instead of for a professor. I’ve never gotten a chance to really write about what I want to write about in a class. Throughout all my years of school, papers with a predetermined topic have been assigned to me and I’ve never gotten to write in a casual, fun way about something I like. Writing for an online audience has been a completely new thing for me and I’ve come to realize that I really like doing it! I am even planning on making a blog for my summer experience in New York City!

So thank you Professor John Robinson for opening up my eyes to the world of blogs! I have enjoyed every minute of your class and, though I won’t really miss being in class until 8:30 on a Monday night, I will miss learning about all the current news in mass media from you!

10 Reasons Why GPS Is The Best Invention

I’m just sitting here, doing some thinking about they ways in which technology has changed our world and I wanted to express my thanks to MapQuest, Google Maps, and GPS systems everywhere. I don’t know what I would do without these things because, moment of truth… I can’t read a map to save my life. Yes, the little ones for amusement parks and what not aren’t that bad, but put me in a car with a map and tell me to give you directions and we will be lost within a matter of minutes. All those lefts and rights and tilts of the map, I can’t handle it.

I remember when MapQuest first came out, my mom was so excited to have printed directions that she could look at in the car. She no longer had to have her head buried in a map the entire ride and was able to avoid arguments with my dad when she told him to go in the wrong direction.

ImageThe emergence of electronic maps has made life 100 times more simple. I never really had to worry about relying on only a paper map for driving directions, because by the time I was driving GPS systems were everywhere, and I couldn’t imagine it any other way. Sometimes I get lost with my Google Maps speaking the directions out loud to me. Whoops…

GPS systems have had a very large positive impact on society. In my opinion, here are a few reasons why GPS is better than paper maps.

1. It takes two seconds to map out where you need to go because the computer system does it for you

2. You don’t have to worry about poking your eye out because there is no map to flip

3. You can avoid screaming arguments with your co-pilot, about making a wrong turn because the only person you can blame is yourself

4. You don’t get nauseous and car sick from having to read a map

5. You don’t have to try to pronounce complicated street name or cities

6. It’s rare that you’ll leave your directions behind because they’re usually on your phone or already positioned on the windshield in your car

7. You can turn up the volume and belt out songs as loud as you like

8. You can easily travel alone

9. You get an estimated arrival time that you can make your mission to beat

10. YOU HARDLY EVER GET LOST!

Incognito Fashionable Wearables

Wearables are becoming a bigger thing in society. More and more companies are now creating devices that you can wear. The only problem is most of them aren’t so fashionable and trendy.

Mashable has shed light on some new wearables that do make devices socially acceptable because people won’t even be able to tell you’re wearing them! They came up with a list of ‘seven incognito wearables that you’d never guess were gadgets.’ Some of my favorites/most impressive ones included on the list are the Dash headphones, the Ring, and the Glucose monitoring contact lenses.

Image

I am actually quite mesmerized by Ring. As I watched the promotional video my eyes grew larger and larger with excitement and curiosity. It’s such a cool gadget, everyone needs to check it out! If I could turn off the upstairs lights without having to walk all the way back upstairs I would love that! So what if sometimes I want to be a little lazy… 

I don’t own any wearables, but I would be interested in purchasing some if the price went down. I am excited by the fairly new trend of wearables but I think that if companies really want these types of products to go viral and spread that they need to A) make them more affordable for the general public and B) advertise them more heavily and in more places where people will see them, not only on tech websites and forums.

Since wearables are a new hot thing, I think that a lot of companies are heavily competing to come out with the next best gadget. However, this results in some very unnecessary new items, cough cough… Smarter Socks. Yes, I know socks disappear almost as fast as bobby pins do (girls, you know what I mean by this) but, I feel like it would be a little superfluous to spend $189 on something to help sort your socks and keep the pairs together. But hey, if that’s your thing and you’re really into keeping the same socks paired together then go for it!

ImageWhile there definitely are some over-the-top and extravagant wearables I commend these companies for taking the risk. The key is they just need to find more ways to attract people and keep them interested. But how is the big question. According to The Guardian, ‘one-third of American consumers who have owned a wearable product stopped using it within six months. What’s more, while one in 10 American adults own some form of activity tracker, half of them no longer use it.’

I believe that wearables will become a big thing soon, it will just take some time!

Your Computer = Your Life

Earlier this week I was having a lot of issues with my computer and I thought it was going to crash on me. A little bit of liquid spilled on it over the weekend and then for three days after that my computer was doing crazy things. I starting looking into new computers and began putting all my pictures onto flash drives as a precautionary measure. The thought of losing every picture, song and file on my computer made me realize how valuable my computer is it me. It’s kinda like my life compressed into a small silver rectangular box. I could bare the idea of having my 2,000 songs, thousands of pictures, and homework assignments disappear into thin air. I have nothing backed up so if they went missing off my computer I would never see them again.

ImageI got my computer thoroughly looked at and thankfully NOTHING was wrong with it! It was screaming very loud, not normal, beeps at me on Monday night, but since then nothing weird has occurred.

I hate how all of our important information and files are in the hands of a very unpredictable and unreliable thing. I know I’ve mentioned this before, in a blog post about photographs, but this kind of scare just solidifies my weariness toward technology. I have so much trust in my computer when really I shouldn’t. I hear of people’s computers crashing or getting bad water damage, till the point of no repair, but I always think, “nah that’ll never happen to me.” The truth is, it can happen to anyone!

One of my best friends just had her computer randomly crash on her yesterday and she didn’t get as lucky as me. She lost every file she ever had on her computer. That is not a situation you want to be in so make sure you have an external hard drive for your computer so you can back everything up!

I love technology, but I’ve learned I have to be very careful with it. My computer is my life, actually, it’s kind of like my baby, and if anything ever happened to it I’d be really upset. That is why I went out and bought a hard drive so that I don’t ever lose the info on it.

I say, print photographs out, make CDs, and store your most valuable files in more than one place. Computers have changed the way we work because we have everything saved online now. It is great because it makes editing a paper soo much easier and it makes sharing photos as easy as clicking a button but it also opens up the possibility of losing all of that in a matter of seconds.

On The Radar – Your Online Presence

Two years ago if you had asked me if I monitored what I put on social media I would have told you no. I never thought twice about the pictures or tweets I put out there. If something funny, yet kind of inappropriate came to mind I would tweet it right away, in hopes of obtaining many favorites.

ImageA lot has changed since I’ve been in college and since I’ve been in my mass communication class. I’m starting to realize that what you put on the internet needs to be heavily monitored and censored because you never really know who is viewing your stuff. It could be a future employer, a professor, a grandparent, or just a random stranger but regardless, so many people have access to the things you post.

Everything you put online is also a reflection of who you are. The amalgamation of your online posts essentially brand you and give you a name. This online profile is a representation of the kind of person you are and is a showcase of the work and things you have said and done. For this reason, you need to be selective in what you share with the public. I want future employers to look at my tweets, blog posts, tumblr posts, online art portfolio, etc. and say wow I like her stuff, not ooh I can’t believe she would post these things for all to see. I am starting to build up an online portfolio of all that I have done and I want to be proud to show it off, not scared that someone will find it.

ImageIn this day and age it really is important to have an online presence. It is one of the easiest ways to create a name for yourself and begin to gain a following. You never know when the HR director of a great company will stumble upon a blog post of yours that seriously sparks their interest in you. For this reason, you always have to think about your audience before you publish something online.

I know that sometimes this is a hard thing to do because, lets be honest, every so often you just get so heated or excited in the moment that you post or say something that you wouldn’t normally post. I can attest to this and am guilty of posting things in the past that probably would have been better off left as a thought in my head.

I think that any student who goes to UNC Chapel Hill will agree with me when I say that Connect Carolina might be the most blood boiling invention out there. Helplessly sitting there watching all the green circles turn to blue squares makes you want to throw your computer and/or drop out of school (for those of you who aren’t familiar with Connect Carolina, a blue box signifies that a class has been closed out and you can no longer enroll in it).

Well, my Fall 2014 registration date was three days later than the entire sophomore class, because I lost hours when I transferred, and I therefore got into precisely zero classes. In my rage of furry, I tweeted some harsh things about UNC and how I was unhappy with their registration policy, regarding transfer students. I knew it was probably wrong of me to do, but at the time I was so mad that I didn’t care. Directly after I posted the tweet I thought about my audience though and remembered that my JOMC 240 professor, John Robinson, follows me on Twitter. I was trying to make a point though so I didn’t want to delete the tweet and I thought eh he’ll probably never see it anyways! Sure enough, about five minutes later my professor responded back to the very tweet I was worried about posting. He was really cool about it though and told me that he would let me into any of his classes! Thankfully no mention of my inappropriateness.

ImageHis response is what really got me thinking about my audience. My account isn’t private so virtually anyone can look at what I post. I wouldn’t have wanted any other UNC staff seeing my rant so a few days later I decided to delete the tweet. From this experience I learned that you really do need to think twice before you post anything. Professor Robinson knows I’m not a crazy hot-headed person, but a random person reading my tweet could have gotten that impression. I’m actually quite the opposite and like to think of myself as a rather calm, easy-going person.

ImageAn individual’s online persona is something that has been growing in importance over time and is something that needs to be nurtured and protected. Even though posting that angry tweet feels like somewhat of a stress reliever, trust me, it’s better off to leave it alone. Save it as a draft, text your friends or mom about it, but don’t share it with the world if it’s not something you’re proud of calling your own!

New Tool Computes How Much Time You Spend Watching TV

Sometimes just one episode turns into just one more episode and then eh why not just one more. If this has happened to you and if you’ve ever wondered how much time you’ve spent watching these shows then you’ll like this new TV calculating tool.

This tool computes how much time you’ve spent sitting on the couch watching a show. A little scary right… All you have to do is type in the name of a show and select how many seasons you’ve seen and it will tell you how long you’ve spent watching it in days, hours, and minutes. And, if you can brave the number, it can add up the total time you’ve spent watching all TV shows.

ImageI’m not a very big fan of TV. I have my few select shows that I watch, but even then, I find that I hardly have time to watch them. I’m not the kind of person to just pick up the remote and turn on the TV. Usually there has to be something specific on for me to do that.

This scared me because I tried out the new tool and the numbers I got were pretty bad, which made me think about how much higher probably everyone’s else is. Like many other girls, I watched every episode of Gossip Girl and 90210. I have spent 5 days and 1 hour watching Gossip Girl alone and combined I’ve spent 8 days, 14 hours and 30 minutes. That over a week of my life spent sitting on a couch watching a screen. Yikes!

Try it out! Is yours higher or lower than mine?