How #Gift Saved My Self-Esteem

Fashion, no frills.

83 per cent of our readers said they would buy something they saw on Instagram

"We are far more than the measure of our material pieces"

FULL DISCLOSURE: I should know better, but I don’t. Yes, as an editor who’s worked in the fashion industry for just short of a decade, and as someone whose bullsh*t detector is constantly set to MI5, I should be able to cut through the fray of the ‘best life’ moniker.

Alas, as many of us know, there’s something about the Instagram world that can leave you feeling short of the mark. That constant, low-level reminder of a whole world of coolness that doesn’t belong to you can feel rather – well – shitty.

We spend our days in the same scroll-repeat status. Wake up: lust after someone’s Chloé Tess bag. Commute: marvel over how so-and-so’s Johanna Ortiz holiday tote is far superior to my Cult Gaia imitation. Evening time (or, as I like to call it, the scrolling hour): fall down a rabbit hole of cataloguing your favourite It girl’s collection of summer espadrilles.

As I write this, there’s a throng of cool-girls in grandad sandals, assaulting my eyes with iterations in Chanel, Prada and Isabel Marant that are – plain and simple – way above my pay grade. It begs the question: if I can’t play the game, is it really that fun to perennially take five on the bench? There are only so many fire emojis or ‘delish’ endorsements you can comment before you start looking inward.

The recent spate of social media backlash advises that you should unfollow every account that doesn’t ‘spark joy’ in you. The problem there? If I did that, I’d be left with a few family members, close pals and a cat shelter or two, #RehomeMittens. The sad reality is, while there are undoubtedly accounts that can make me do a green-eyed double take, often these are the ones that, ultimately, leave me feeling inspired.

Which is why the introduction of #gift, as part of advertising standards in the UK, is a wonderful thing. Legally, a person of influence is required to say when something has been provided as a press gift. Simple, I know. But, effective.

Suddenly, the veil was lifted. The joy returned: enjoying fashion for the pure love of it. Suddenly the power was gone; that same compulsive urge of see-and-compare just dissolved. They say you should never look a gift horse in the mouth. But that is what it is: a gift.

I repeat, it is not real.

Once you realise that, you can lead a far more content existence. I know I certainly am.

Read the full article on '#gift' in this month's Irish Tatler. On shelves now.

Main image by Lynn

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