I recently started thinking about the notion of authenticity in blogging, as it had been brought to my attention through recent re-branding of some blogs I follow. This is really not a new thing: as I've said before, and will say again, I'm actually really familiar with the claims of how 'inauthentic' bloggers are. But as always, I only thought it would be apropos, and kinda fun, to draw out a story's lesson to discuss this topic, and what better a story of false identity than Twelfth Night? If you've never read it, I demand you to stop reading my blog for the moment, and go get the ebook. (Or is it really, an e-play? Hm....) Long story short, a pair of twins get shipwrecked in Illyria, Viola the girl, Sebastian the boy. Sebastian appears to go missing, so Viola dresses up as him, calls herself Cesario, and pretends to be a dude (shame on 15C Illyria for making Viola think she can't just be herself..), then she falls in love with this dude, who is in love with this other chick (bc he thinks Viola's a dude), and then this other chick falls in love with Viola (bc, again, she thinks Viola's a dude). Point being, one falsehood basically created this messed up triangle that only a fairy like Puck could've imagined because he's that much of a twit (that is, if he somehow found his way to Illyria from the Midsummer "forest"). But moving along, my point, is that it took one lie, one sense of inauthenticity to create a whole picture of inauthenticity in the story.
And I think people often have this misconception about bloggers. If something as frivolous as their Instagram feed seems 'too perfect,' or the photos they post with their boyfriends, or friend, or material possessions seem 'so perfect,' they're written off as 'inauthentic' or 'fake.' And to those believers, I tell you two things. 1) You're taking Instagram way too seriously, and 2) Off that, one's Instagram "story" is not necessarily their story. We already know that. Now, we also do know that social media pushes us to display the 'best' versions of ourselves, but even this is a super bold notion. Not everyone feels that way about what they post. My blog, my Instagram, any online work I display, for example, is authentic because it's the way I view the world. And it's weird, and it's odd, as I'm both of those things -- I mean I tie literary stories to fashion, and mostly dark stories at that-- believe me, I'm the first to recognize the oddity of it. But just because I work hard at Instagram and see it as some type of art doesn't mean I'm a fake person. All of my 'aesthetics' that I post are my perspective of the world -- with a dark, Tim-Burton-esque, highlight and shadow. (I'm actually the complete opposite of fake here or else I wouldn't be giving my opinion on this so candidly, lol). Point being, it's good to re-evaluate your social presence if you do feel like you're creating a persona that's not you. But more importantly, you shouldn't let that happen to begin with. Because, people should follow you, for you. Ok, lol, END RANT.
MOVING on, to clothes, phew haha. To draw out "authenticity" and it's opposite, I wanted to play with layering and fabrics for this look. I started with this really lovely black top with lace sleeves I picked up at Nordstrom's BP a few years ago, and added a light pink silky Brandy Melville (in black here) tank over top. Next, to play with layering and levels, I tucked them into these super slick black jeans I picked up from Urban Outfitters and added black Jeffrey Campbell booties. To give the look a little dimension and texture, I added this gorgeous gold vintage belt left to me by my late grandfather (I know he's smirkily smiling down at the fact I now am taking/wearing his clothes!!), and added one of my all-time favorite jackets, this piece from BCBG I purchased a few years back. For accessories, I threw on a choker of course, and these gold wide framed aviators.
And now a quote that I think nicely sums up the theme today::
“In nature there's no blemish but the mind. None can be called deformed but the unkind.”
[Twelfth Night 3.4]
Cheers, xx - A. Martine
P.S. Just a fun tidbit. If you follow me regularly on social media you've probably already seen this 100 times (#sorrynotsorry!), but my first contributing article for Teen Vogue just went live last week! READ IT HERE.