I learned a lot more from the #LiftedHerLook challenge than I ever thought I would. My intention was to mix up my wardrobe and learn to be more creative with the clothes I already own. It was mostly for my own personal growth and sharing it was a way to hold myself accountable.
It wound up being a lot more than that, so today I thought I’d share what I learned.
Before we jump in, here are posts I did, including who I lifted my look from and my own outfit details:
Original Ideas Can Grow Your Instagram
My Instagram grew more during this 30 (ish) day challenge than it did in the last year. This was a completely unexpected but welcome result.
When I started the challenge I intended to show whose look I “lifted” each day. I never anticipated that instagrammers much larger than me would share my posts on their stories. Many did and each time they did, I gained a few new followers.
I’ve since lost some of them, probably because they realized I’m not actually a fashion blogger and they’re over the pictures of my kid and dog, but still, weirdly successful.
I’m Not Immune to Influencer Marketing
I went in to this challenge believing that it would be easy to not want to buy things that lots of fashion bloggers have. I have lots of clothes and had recently got a few new things and I was excited to wear them.
Turns out, it’s hard to not be tempted by the images we see online. Throughout the month I became low-key obsessed with specific items.
First I wanted a slouchy turtleneck sweater. I debated it for weeks and eventually caved and bought one from American Eagle. Then I wanted something leopard. Leopard shoes, leopard scarf. I started coveting a pair of Madewell mules that every blogger seems to have. All in all, it was much harder than I thought to tune out the consumer culture of it all.
I Follow a Lot of Women Who Look Like Me
The women I follow on Instagram are overwhelmingly white. This is not how my real life community looks (or my family) and as I chose outfits I did notice that women of color were missing from my Instagram feed.
It’s something that I’m aware of and am taking steps to make my feed more reflective of real life. I should probably do some soul-searching about why I follow white women, almost exclusively. There are millions of fantastic women of color to follow on Instagram and if my feed is my own little curated world, then I’d like it to be reflective of the inclusive world I’d like to live in.
In terms of diversity, I also follow almost zero men. This does not bother me.
Stories are More Real and Entertaining When You Just Wing It
Throughout the month I got more and more comfortable recording Instagram stories where I talked directly to the camera. I started off the month recording and deleting and re-recording. I was self-conscious and would immediately re-record any story with a word stumble or an awkward pause.
By the end of the #liftedherlook challenge, I was only doing one take and the stories that resulted felt so much more real. They were much more me. Recording every day allowed me to show myself – flaws and all – a bit more in a way that I think my audience really enjoyed.
I Felt Really Basic
I hate the word basic and I hate that I’m using it this way but throughout the challenge, as I wore things everyone else was wearing, I felt pretty basic.
How many times can we see booties, destroyed jeans, and a sweater with a little front tuck?
It forced me to wonder why I want the things everyone else wants; why I like what everyone else likes. I’m unique in some ways (I guess) but style is not one of those ways. I don’t know what that says about me and I wondered if I should take more style risks in order to be more of an individual but honestly, I just have no desire to do that.
I did not post any photos of myself holding a Starbucks cup though so let’s pretend like that makes me 2% less basic.
I Have Better Instincts Than I Thought
There were plenty of days when I had an outfit picked out myself that I wanted to wear. Turns out, it was harder than I thought to just wear outfits picked out by other people. Sometimes I wanted the freedom to wear what I wanted to wear!
I Have More Clothes Than I Need
Toward the end of the challenge I realized there were things I hadn’t even worn yet. Things I love! I could do no repeat outfits for 30 days and still have clothes I hadn’t worn. This felt like a sign that I needed to lay off buying any winter clothes. I have plenty.
I’m a Sucker for a Sale
I knew this going in to the challenge but the original intention was to wear the clothes I already had.
Unfortunately I did this challenge exactly during the best sale season of the year – November to December. This only increased my temptation to buy things, as so many influencers were sharing great deals on stuff I wanted. I did wind up buying a few things on Black Friday (which I always intended) and one sweater online.
Getting Ready Every Day is a Mom Win
Throughout the challenge I had many questions from other Moms asking how I get ready every day, especially since I work from home.
I just do. Getting ready makes me feel good and starts my day. I don’t like to spend all day in pjs or leggings because frankly, it makes me feel like a giant turd.
Putting on a little makeup and feeling put together does huge things for me in terms of productivity so I make sure to carve out time every morning to do it.
I’m Pretty Content With My Body
I’m sure you’ve noticed that many of the most popular fashion bloggers have nearly supermodel level bodies. My body looks nothing like a supermodel and I worried that by putting myself in a position of direct comparison with some of these ladies, that I might be hard on myself about my own body.
This wound up not being an issue. Partially because I chose women with a variety of body types and partially because, well, I’m 30 and this is the only body I get. No point in comparing it to women with legs that would reach my waist.
As I reflect on the month, I had almost no negative thoughts about my body and that makes me really proud of where I am mentally.
I unintentionally chose women who live in colder climates. I didn’t realize this until someone pointed out that I’d chosen 3 ladies from Connecticut in a row. It’s winter in Philly and the ladies from Southern California or Texas just aren’t bundled the way I need to be most days.
I’m not great at keeping up with DMs. I felt super rude but I just couldn’t respond to all of the DMs I got on Instagram. It’s basically like trying to keep up with dozens of texting conversations at once. I just don’t have the capacity and at some point you have to prioritize and I can’t spend hours a day on Instagram. If this was you, I’m sorry.
I cleaned my mirror A LOT. Ben loves to touch the mirror and I wound up cleaning it daily before I took a picture of my outfit.
Overall this challenge was really fun for me and I intend to keep doing #liftedherlook on Instagram occasionally (probably once a week).