Lessons from Moonlighting As a Social Media Fashion Critic

Stephen Tornetta
February 7, 2020

My sweet, precious babies, the 2020 Oscars are upon us!

No one: Stephen, what’s your favorite season?

Me in my best Moira Rose accent: Awards!

And while I’ve seen like, 0.2% of the Best Picture nominees (shout out to Parasite and Marriage Story!!!), I care about one thing: the fashion of the red carpet. If we’re friends on Instagram (follow me!) , you know that I live for awards season. 

Several awards seasons ago, I started sharing pictures and personal commentary on all the outfits worn by celebrities to these events. It was so long ago that you still couldn’t share main feed posts to your story on Instagram, so I had a whole system of saving, commenting, and then posting. It was a pain, but I had fun doing it.

I wasn’t even sure if my followers liked seeing it or if they cared what I thought. I started because I loved seeing how people express themselves through fashion. I believe that clothes are a unique way to see into the psyche of a person, so it’s always fun to postulate what J.Lo was thinking when she wore the now-infamous “bow dress” to this year’s Golden Globes!

I also sensed a hole in the market with the cancellation of Fashion Police—RIP Joan Rivers, who I once met at a taping of the show after the SAG Awards—so posting filled that gap and created a fun environment for me to share my opinions.

I never thought that it would be as popular as it has become, though. When I post to my story for any awards or fashion event, my views literally double! It’s pretty wild. Here are a couple of tips and tricks I’ve noticed that enhance engagement with my followers.

People love an “easy access” engagement tool: use polls and voting buttons!

I’ve found that people really like to use these buttons to express their opinions about any of the posts I make. The poll allows them to quickly engage with the post without a heavy lift on their end. What’s interesting to me is that polls and voting buttons often lead to further conversations and direct messages to me about the looks. I’ve definitely had some fun banter with my followers!

Don’t be afraid to be controversial—state your opinions and own them!

“Did Gwyneth really hide all those diamonds under that brown dress?!?!” That was my initial reaction to her look at the Golden Globes, but once I started to analyze it a little further, I really thought the styling and thought process behind the look was super fresh and new. 

She was wearing a sheer brown tulle dress, after all, and THAT was the main event. Had she thrown the diamond necklace on top of it, it would have taken away from the overall look. Hiding the necklace under the dress subdued it and allowed both pieces to work together and shine (so to speak). The sleek styling of her hair countered the busyness of the voluminous skirt and ruffles. The long earrings mirrored her hair styling and also helped to bring your eye down to the necklace and the rest of the look. It all makes sense to me!

With that being said, my followers HATED it! Many people DMed me to say this, but I loved the strong reactions. Like any piece of art, it’s much better to hate something than have no emotions at all about. I still stan Goop for this lewk!

Get creative—don’t be afraid to make posts personal and fun.

Not everyone can say they go through the trouble of changing their bitmoji’s outfit to post on social media, but I certainly do. I mean, if my digital self can’t get dressed up for an event, how could I rightfully comment on what celebrities wear?! 

People definitely respond more when I post something with my own commentary or with a reaction of my face or my bitmoji. My voice helps to create a personal connection that makes a post become more than just a picture. Creating posts with texts that uses a color from the picture or uses a graphic that compliments the picture also really helps.

There are countless other ways to engage your followers with posts to your stories, but these are some ways that work for me. By using my Instagram stories, I’m able to expand conversations about a topic that I’m passionate about. I think that it also creates a space for people to step away from the heaviness of the world. 

If you’re into fashion, follow me this Sunday for all of the best and worst looks from the Oscars red carpet, and feel free to DM me and say hi!