The Chic List: ‘Likes’? It’s a love-hate thing…

Every year we all grow a little, evolve a little, as does our personal style. You, like me, are probably not quite the same woman you were this time last year – especially after the real-life horror movie we’ve all endured. Ever look back at photographs of yourself and think: how on earth did I ever wear, do, say or date that? Me too.

Posted on Instagram in a dress by Usisi Sister and black Havaianas

As an avid user of social media in the world of fashion, it’s been fascinating of late to watch something that’s been unfolding among my peers. In 2019, Instagram announced that it was taking away its ‘likes’ feature to combat the negative effect it can have on people’s mental health. A ‘like’ count feeds straight into the powerful human desires of wanting to be admired, popular, flattered. That’s why they’re so damn addictive.

The famous line in T S Eliot’s poem The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock always comes to mind: ‘I have measured out my life with coffee spoons’. Insert ‘likes’ here instead of coffee spoons and you get the idea of time frittered away on something all consuming.

Putting yourself out there on Instagram in your favourite trousers or showcasing a new brand you’ve spent months creating can be very scary. What if the ‘likes’ don’t come? How does that make you feel? Never forget that behind every perfect social media image, there’s real life, full of cracks and stresses.

Two years after the initial announcement, Instagram’s big change arrived silently in the middle of the pandemic. It’s now giving people the option to ‘hide’ their ‘likes’ – a description which to me doesn’t sound positive. Instead it sounds sneaky and shameful. But, despite the negative terminology, from small to large accounts, more and more women are starting to ‘hide’ their like count. And I completely understand why.

I’m a grown-up who’s been around the block a few times. With life experience comes self-knowledge. You feel more in tune with your personal style. But, despite this, I can still feel the pressure of ‘likes’. In the past, I’ve decided not to post something I loved because of the fear of boos and hisses and no engagement. Which is terrible because that kills creativity and boldness – and all the things that make life interesting. How on earth much younger girls and women deal with social media’s anxiety-inducing algorithms is beyond me.

Will this move by Instagram change things for the better? The jury’s out – but I hope it’s a start…

Jumper, £165, navygrey.co

A favourite knit inspired by the traditional cut of a man’s jumper. This brand’s attention to detail is supreme.

Sunglasses, £220, Givenchy, matchesfashion.com

My favourite brand for sophisticated sunnies.

Jacket, £255, Ganni, net-a-porter.com

Waistcoat blazers are all the rage. Team with summer trousers for a polished look.

Hat, £264, Artesano, net-a-porter.com

The cherry on top. This will add style to every holiday outfit.

Dress, £49.99, zara.com

A cobalt blue that grabs attention. Pair with strappy heels for a night out.

Trainers, £145, fairfaxandfavor.com

Love these chic trainers from homegrown brand Fairfax & Favor.

Follow me on Instagram @thestylistandthewardrobe