Don’t get me wrong. I love Instagram, but I sometimes get overwhelmed by the growing number of sponsored posts on the platform. On one hand, it’s never been easier to discover brands and shop new products. But on the other, it feels like every other post on my feed is trying to get me to buy something.
As a fashion influencer, I know I play a part in this. For work (that I don’t consider work because it’s my passion), I do create sponsored posts promoting the products and brands I love. But I also try to connect with my audience in other ways, mainly by sharing organic content that either inspires, informs, or entertains them. That’s why I gravitate toward other fashion influencers who do the same in their own way. They are thought leaders with a point of view, serving daily inspiration with a side of thought-provoking comments and conversations.
If you go on Instagram for style ideas as well as motivation and interesting thoughts, follow these fashion influencers. They are the real deal.
The queen of colorful, maximalist outfits, Paola Mathé knows how to create stunning imagery. “I just want to share my colors with the world,” she often says. With her artistic shots and impeccable style, she not only nails it, but she also manages to engage us beyond the visuals with equally compelling captions.
From speaking up about her pregnancy journey to dispelling negative stereotypes about her nappy hair, Paola goes past surface-level to empower us with candid conversations. In a recent post, she confessed that in 2019, she is still the only black person in many rooms she goes to, speaking out against the lack of diversity in the industry and boldly embracing who she is, her blackness. “Black and proud. Black is beautiful. Black lives matter,” the post reads. It’s truly inspiring to see bloggers with a large platform give voice to these major issues and become, in some way, part of the solution.
Lyn Slater is doing away with ageism in fashion, and I’m so here for it! The 65-year-old professor is not your average social worker. She is also a style influencer who graces feeds with modelesque snapshots of her urban, editorial style. Lyn rocks everything from a wide-leg pair of J Brand jeans to a BreeLayne black bustier leather dress. And she doesn’t hide anything while she’s at it: not her wrinkles, not her body or gray hair. She fully embraces who she is, and it’s that carefree attitude that resonates so well with women of all ages.
What further sets her apart is the way she discusses clothes on her blog. She doesn’t just talk about them; she raises questions about politics, society, and being a woman. “It’s time for a new outlook on what it means to be an older woman,” Lyn once said.
Whether she’s looking chic in a miniskirt or a two-piece bathing suit, Kellie wears whatever she wants, and she’s not afraid to show her curves. In a retail space that hasn’t historically been size-inclusive, Kelly is always discovering fresh brands and inspiring women to love their bodies. “One of the most liberating things you can do in this life is to love yourself unapologetically. … I just wanted to remind you that there is more than one way to be beautiful,” she wrote in a recent post featuring her in a one-piece bathing suit. Kellie is leading the way for plus-size women in fashion, and her confidence is refreshing.
As a fashion influencer, the founder of Friend of a Friend, and a Forbes contributor, Olivia Perez serves style and career inspiration on Instagram daily. A look at her page will tell you she’s a savvy businesswoman who’s leaving her mark on the world while wearing the most covetable designer looks.
Did I mention she’s also an entrepreneurial activist? Olivia launched System of Service in 2017 to provide impactful service opportunities to underserved communities. She has since partnered with brands like Nike to distribute food to people in need. She's leading by example and doing it in style.
While her main focus is fitness, Hannah’s closet sure gives us serious closet envy. She makes the most intricate dresses look effortless. But what I find most inspiring is her willingness to share vulnerable parts of her life to encourage other women to tell their stories and come together in a safe space. She recently opened up about her difficult pregnancy journey, and one would only need to read the comments to get a sense of the positive impact this courageous act has had on her community. Style and substance meet on Hannah’s corner of Instagram.
You can always count on Tamu for her unique spin on the current trends. She is the queen of street style glamour, always layering unique pieces and mixing eye-catching prints to create powerful outfits. You’ll find not only photo-ready outfits on her feed but also informative reports of what’s on the runway. As a street style photographer, fashion editor, and luxury brand consultant, Tamu is a force to be reckoned with.
Melanie Elturk combines her signature hijabs with statement trousers and ruffled high-neck blouses to create head-turning looks that send a positive affirmation to Muslim women around the world. You can feel Melanie’s pride in her cultural heritage throughout her posts. As the founder of Haute Hijab, she’s on a mission to showcase the stylish side of wearing hijabs and change the narrative about the women who wear them.