You can learn a lot about yourself by posting a picture of your outfit on the Internet every day for a year. I know, because I did. This was a pivotal year for me – this space may not look like a lot, but to me, it’s a chronicle of everything.
I’ve accomplished a lot, failed a lot, made brave choices and bad ones. Made some money! Burned some bridges. It’s been a year, you guys.
I’ll get one thing off the table right away: many of you have probably seen that I no longer have an Instagram account. I deleted it a few days ago, and I don’t intend to bring it back (see above re: bridges burned). It’s been a painful experience, but also a healing and necessary one. I spent the last two days penning a cathartic blog post about it titled “My Year as an Instagram Influencer: All I Got Were Some Free Clothes and This Pesky Anxiety Disorder,” but I decided to keep that for me, and for you I offer only this:
Instagram was no longer a productive or healthy space for me, so I left it. I respectfully request that you don’t fill the comments section or my email inbox with questions about what happened, because this is the only comment I plan to make.
Boundaries, people, boundaries.
Now, with that out of the way, I’d like to talk about some of my biggest takeaways from 2018, my wardrobe MVPs, and my resolutions for 2019.
Less is more, and better is better
I got dressed in 2018 with the fewest number of garments I’ve ever owned since I was a child (I was a notorious clothing hoarder as a teen, so my closet was literally bursting with random things I’d had since childhood but did not wear). It was so much easier to get dressed every day with fewer clothes, and my style got so much better because of it.
But the other reason that my style got better is because my clothes were better. I had a small number of garments in 2018, true, but I was all the while rotating out old fast fashion and rotating in high quality ethical and vintage fashion. Now that I can really compare the two, it’s plain to see how much worse the fast fashion clothes were in almost every aspect – fit, quality, longevity, everything. I only have a few pieces left from the olden days, but I reach for them less and less, and I much prefer to reach for my smaller selection of nicer things.
It’s worth waiting for the right piece
There were a few times in 2018 when I knew I wanted something – a cream colored silk shell, for example, and a nice pair of leather boots. My previous strategy would have been to just buy whatever the closest approximation to that thing was at H&M or Gap and live with that little feeling of disappointment that it wasn’t exactly what I wanted.
Now, I spend weeks or sometimes even months looking for the right thing, and that investment of time really pays off. For one, I end up spending less money, because my first method is always to scan Poshmark or local consignment shops for the thing I need. For another, I know after I’ve bought it that because I’ve spent so much time considering it and searching for it, I will appreciate it and wear it often.
My style is best when I’m not looking at anyone else
I said I wasn’t going to talk about Instagram, but I will talk about this one thing: It’s really, really hard to find your own style when you spend hours of your day looking at pictures of other people on the internet, especially if literally your entire feed is other bloggers and influencers who write in the same fashion niche as you.
I found myself under a lot of pressure this year to wear what I saw other people wearing and talking about (a specific brand of cardigan that went viral, for example), but I was happiest in my personal uniform, without the influence of the new and the shiny all the time. I find Pinterest to be a much better tool for finding and curating style inspiration than Insta, so I recommend that if you’re feeling burned out on the ‘gram.
I can create cool things, and so can you
This one’s kind of meta, but it’s important. I put off starting a blog for years because I was worried that I was going to be bad at it. When I finally decided to start writing, I learned that yes, indeed I was bad at it, but people read it anyway, and lots of people even liked it. Some people liked it enough to pay me to keep doing it. Not every post on this blog is a winner, but every post that I make instead of wallowing in self-doubt and doing nothing is progress. If you’re thinking about starting a blog this year, here’s my advice: do it, and keep doing it. It may very well be bad, but you created a thing when you thought you couldn’t, and you should be proud of that.
2018 WARDROBE MVPS
A quick list of my favorite, most worn wardrobe items this year, in no particular order.
- Vetta Capsule Boxy Blouse
- Tradlands Elms Shirt (15% off with code goblinshark15)
- Everlane Square Cashmere Turtleneck
- Everlane Easy Chino
- Vetta Capsule Peg Pant (currently sold out, similar here)
- Eileen Fisher Pull On Skirt (no longer available, similar here)
- Everlane Silk Tree Dress (no longer available, similar here)
- H&M Tank Dress (no longer available, similar here)
- Everlane Short Sleeve Mini Wrap Dress
- Vintage Linen Blazer (tbh I cannot find a good vintage linen blazer for sale by an ethical company in December, but I found mine on Poshmark, so I recommend looking either there or Etsy)
- Coat Check Chicago Wool Bomber
- Everlane Oversized Blazer
- Cole Haan Suede Mule Sandals (no longer available, not a lot of good new options in December, but I found mine nearly new on Poshmark)
- Everlane Day Boots
- Nisolo Mariella Mules (currently 40% off!!! This hardly ever happens so if you’ve been thinking about these shoes I recommend shopping this sale)
2019 NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS
- Read 52 books, 1 book per week
- Finish writing my sci-fi novel
- Go rock climbing with my husband every day before work
- Bring my lunch to the office every day
- Post on this blog – a lot
I specifically didn’t include any wardrobe resolutions on this list because I’m still working those out. Now that I’m off Instagram, there are some things I need to re-calibrate in terms of how I buy clothes and how I get dressed. It’s like I came out of the bunker after the radiation went away – I need some time to readjust to the real world and remember what it’s like to live in it.
I intend to start using this blog in much the same way that I was using insta – daily outfits, daily feelings – so if you liked that kind of thing there, I hope you’ll continue to visit here.
To all my readers who have been with me for a long time, and to those of you who are new, thank you for reading. I appreciate you, and I wish you the happiest of new years!
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24 thoughts on “State of the Goblin Shark: Reflections on a Year of Blogging”
I loved following you on Instagram and am happy to continue following here on the blog. Your posts continue to help me solidify my own style and figure out how I can look and feel my best. Happy New Year!
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Thank you, Hannah! That means so much to me ❤
I will miss you on Instagram, but look forward to you posting frequently here. Your blog is definitely one of my favorites!
Welcome to the club! The not-on-instagram club that is. I kind of recognized early on that I’m much too sensitive of a person to be on it. It’s set up to make people feel dissatisfied with their lives I think. Occasionally I’ll still go on it in an intentional way to look at a select few accounts. I might spend 2-3 minutes on it per week and I never post on it. I’m glad you backed away from it when it no longer made sense for you. I’m also glad that you will be blogging a lot more! I think more people should do it, keep it personal, and focused. Thanks for keeping this going and Happy New Year!
If you’re keeping up the platinum hair, I’d love to read a follow up post on care/maintenance.
I am definitely keeping up with the platinum hair! You can count on future posts about upkeep, styling, etc.
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Happy New Year, Renee! You’ll be missed on Instagram, but I’m glad you’re being proactive and taking care of yourself. I look forward to following you here!
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Very happy I found your blog this year. Excited to see what 2019 brings for you.
After seeing you were off Instagram, I’ve been religiously checking your blog in hopes that you’d be keeping up here and I’m so glad you’ll still be writing!! I value your honest voice, transparency and perspective on ethical fashion. I get overwhelmed too by all the styles and brands that I honestly don’t care for much but seem ubiquitous and standard so I’ve deeply enjoyed the permission to cultivate my own style while still being ethical! I’m looking forward to seeing all your posts to come 🙂
I am so excited to see some of my favorite bloggers focusing on their blogs, so I can still follow along! I am not an influencer (like at all) and still had to jump ship from Instagram, because it was also extremely unhealthy for me, even though I had literally nothing riding on it. I also respect your decision not to talk in depth about your reasons for leaving at this point — I feel like the “Insta Culture” asks us to respond to everything before we’re allowed to critically analyze anything, and that’s just not my jam. Also, unless we’re an elected official, we don’t owe anyone (let alone the faceless public) the details of our lives.
Since getting off the ‘gram, I have been enjoying asking myself, “What do I want to wear?” without being bombarded by images of the “item of the hour.” Agreed that Pinterest is better inspiration! I’m enjoying playing around with that again.
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Wishing you all the best in 2019. Will miss seeing you on the gram but hope to keep knowing you as you are not only talented but unmistakably genuine.
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I’m glad you’re still blogging! I’ll definitely be following along here and I’m glad you’re still sharing in this corner of the internet ❤️
I’m proud of you!! It’s a Small step for me but I’m trying to do the same with Facebook – there isn’t anything there for me anymore but the habit is so strong. It’s good to see it can still be done!!
I’m excited to follow you on this blog’
I deleted my Instagram app off my phone and specifically looked for yours because you created such a refreshing space on Instagram. It really is the thief of joy, but your blog and IG inspired me a lot about sustainable and stylish clothing. I’ll continue to follow you here!
Hooray! Glad to see you’ll still be writing.
I found your blog via Instagram just in time, apparently, and I’m glad I did! I really like your writing voice and your fashion sense. Also you are 100% right about blazers. I’ll be looking forward to keeping up with your style evolution here.
These new Year’s resolutions are great! Reading a book a week and going rock climbing before work sounds like such a wonderful idea!
Love this, Renee! So inspired by your choice to step away from Instagram. Your words here are beautiful + powerful! I will absolutely be following along via your blog posts.
Happy you are blogging more frequently. I really like this format better than instagram which always feels so fast. I am enjoying your journey. Good luck with the books! I set myself a goal of 75 this year but also include plays – which are a quick read. Take care of yourself!
So glad to see you are still writing here and I 100% respect and admire your decision to get off Instagram!
Missing you on IG but I’m happy that you’re finding balance. I think one of the big myths is that we “have” to do anything because that’s the way it’s done, whether that’s “as a style blogger you have to be on IG” (for me this was “as a tech person I have to be on Twitter”) or that we have to look/wear/do/be a certain thing. We can go our own ways that are the most productive and happy for us! I’m so glad you’ll still be posting here ❤
Glad you’re still planning on blogging! I was wondering if you’d be back on instagram, but it seems like you’ve made the decision that’s best for you. I completely respect and understand the comparison game Instagram can carry. You’ll be missed on IG and always welcome to return if you feel it’s the right place for you to be. Hope you will continue posting here! 🙂
Aw gosh, that’s so kind of you to say – thank you. I’m 99.9% sure I won’t be making a return to Instagram, but I really appreciate you coming here to read my work instead! 🙂