Remember the old days of Instagram? The brown logo that we never really thought that much into until it changed, the cropped images into a square (and to think iPhone gave us a “square” photo opportunity before Instagram thought to change—the power, the influence!), the need to use the film filter on literally every single photo. There was a time when the only people we followed were the kids you sat next to in the lunchroom. To think when we first downloaded this weird, new app that it would change our entire culture as we knew it is truly mind-boggling.
As Instagram has changed throughout the years, it’s introduced us to products, concepts, services, other apps, and more. I literally got my job because of a posting on Instagram—and that’s trippy. Whether it’s ads, hearing your favorite influencer mention it over and over again, or just seeing that girl you met one time at a club junior year who has the best skin use it, Instagram is a place to discover your next obsession. There are a few things, though, that we’ve found on Instagram that have actually stood the test of time. Seeing one person use it might have inspired us to buy it, but we’re still using them all after the initial glamour has worn off.
As much as I love a good shelfie (you know what I’m talking about: those bathroom medicine cabinet pics with only the most beautiful skincare products displayed in a seemingly haphazard way—it’s a whole other world to me) or an outfit pic, some of the best things I’ve learned from Instagram aren’t something you can buy in a store. One of our favorite Instagrammers, Morgan Harper Nichols, has found a way to utilize social media for good. Instead of focusing on the comparison game, wondering why you don’t look like her or don’t have her job or her life, she’s a writer and artist who beautifully showcases her immensely motivating and uplifting messages all through the squares of Instagram.
If that wasn’t enough, Morgan created All Along You Were Blooming, a collection of poetry and art to inspire self-love and self-compassion in a way that is non-judgmental. She understands that when it comes to depression and anxiety and self-esteem, not everyone is starting at the same level. Some people don’t even have a semblance of self-confidence, whereas others just need a little help on a bad day. Reading her poetry feels like the perfect self-care just when you wake up or right before you go to bed. Aside from the motivational aspect, Morgan’s art is, in a word, phenomenal. Her creativity is just another aspect of her work that is inspiring and uplifting to anyone who reads it.
I know what you’re thinking: how the heck does a simple pair of leggings “change your life”? While I’ll admit this might be a little dramatic, it’s more than the fact that they’re incredible leggings. They do all the things a traditional pair of good leggings can do: they hold you in, they stay put when you’re on the elliptical, and they make you feel confident while you’re working out. They’re my favorite pair of leggings in my collection, no doubt about it. However, what really makes these leggings stand out is the incredible size range, the marketing, and the sustainability efforts of the brand. With three lengths and sizes ranging from XXS to 6XL, everyone can wear these leggings comfortably and confidently. And no worries: they give you the option on the site to view the leggings on various different sizes, meaning you’ll know what you’re getting before you buy.
Girlfriend doesn’t shy away from plus-size women—and no, not plus-size women who border a size 12. They continually use women of all sizes, races, abilities, and ages to model their products. Their Instagram is filled with images that inspire you to work out, regardless of your fitness level.
On the sustainability front, Girlfriend is a leader in activewear that’s as good for the environment as it feels on your body. All packaging is 100 percent recyclable, their compressive leggings and bras are made with 70 percent recycled polyester, all leggings are made with 25 percent recycled water bottles (um, cool AF), and their LITE leggings are made from recycled fishing nets. They’re transparent about the process of making their garments, which only makes us think that should be a standard for other clothing brands.
3. Bumble Bizz
Bumble isn’t a new concept to anyone. Trust me: I’ve been on more Bumble dates in my life to even count. However, their built-in business and networking platform, Bumble Bizz, might not have been on my radar if it weren’t for their Instagram presence. Their feed is filled with inspiring quotes to get you through that Monday meeting, advice for dealing with work issues, and hilarious memes you’ll absolutely send to your work wife. It’s a strange day if I don’t see at least one Bumble Bizz repost on Stories. All of their social media convinced us, and it’s a platform all women should be using.
If you’re unfamiliar with the app, it’s basically like Bumble dating but for networking. You’ll swipe right and left on people you think would be a good contact. If you’re a writer, you’ll probably want to connect with other writers, public relations associates, or copy editors; if you’re a software engineer, you’ll probably want to meet other women in tech. What sets Bumble Bizz apart, however, is that you don’t have to only swipe right on people close to your industry. Typical networking events and groups only put you in contact with people who are like you, but Bumble Bizz gives you the opportunity to meet and connect with people you might not even realize could eventually help your career.
I will shout my love for Glossier from the rooftops, but I’d be lying if I said Instagram isn’t where I first saw anyone sharing their praises for the brand. Glossier was the Instagram beauty brand before any others ended up on our radar; basically, Glossier walked so all the others could run. They made a name for themselves on social media, inspiring girls to both love skincare and makeup without having to cover their faces in products that clog pores, overly dry out the skin, and look like a mask.
Glossier’s changed the makeup and skincare routines of so many that their hero products are truly unique and different for everyone. While I love their Stretch Concealer, our other editors swear by Balm Dot Com and Futuredew. Everyone has a different favorite, but we can all agree that it’s one of our favorite Instagram-worthy brands.
Trying a new workout class didn’t seem like a necessity until it became a thing on Instagram. We’d all be happily going to our gym’s free weeknight yoga class if we didn’t hear that there was something better out there. Thankfully for ClassPass, trying a new class doesn’t feel like such a big commitment. Workout classes run a hefty price tag; I’ve seen classes close to $40 per class! ClassPass makes it easy to try something new—like that insane ab workout LeBron posted about or the SoulCycle instructor your favorite local bloggers rave about—without spending a ton or committing to a full month of something you might not like.