Returning clothes after one photo? Why the Instagram narcissists might just have the right idea

Lisa Armstrong
A model takes a selfie at a Dolce & Gabbana fashion show. 

News hot in  from that crucible of fashion intel, Barclays:  just under 10 percent of 35-44 year olds are now in the habit of buying items with no intention of keeping them – they tuck in the price tickets, crop out the swing tag, post the pic of Instagram to demonstrate their OOTD (Outfit of the Day) and then return.

I know. The world doesn’t need any more selfies. Ever. (Scurries off to take  a picture for Instagram account strictly for “professional” purposes). The world doesn’t need any more raging narcissists either. Or OOD’s. Probably

But are we really meant to be appalled?  The self-obsessive nature of OOD pasters is annoying, although weren’t we all vain when we were young and gorgeous? (Granted, 44 is stretching the definition of young. But vanity knows no age boundaries. And we should be very grateful that it doesn’t, because vanity is often the main motivation for a lot of us to stay healthy).

Oslo street style

But let’s get off the high moral ground for a moment, if the view up there is bracing. There but for the grace of God etc, because  show me the person who never sang into a hairbrush or didn’t extensively scrutinise their profile, their three quarter profile and their full on image in the mirror (don’t say that was just me) and I’ll put them forward for An Exceptional Human award. Luckily for those of us born before 2007, we didn’t have the means to put our callow self-admiration on display, by which time most of us knew better.

Surely the bank should be delighted at this frugality and the greens should applaud this novel approach to the sharing, recycling circle of life.

My naughty little sister used to do exactly the same when we were teenagers. Only she was wearing them to parties rather than poncing around in them for selfies. I don’t know which was the riskier strategy.  

19 new season buys to refresh your wardrobe

I couldn’t do it because I always wanted to own stuff – a trait, now that all my possessions are spilling out of the endless storage I’ve had built over the years – is causing me some distress and, probably, giving me cancer.

Could it be the borrowers. might actually be rendering society a service: the sooner everyone realises that Instagram – that conduit into people’s "real, authentic"  lives is as staged as any high-gloss magazine, the happier we’ll all be. And if the e-tailers, who are currently covering the costs of delivery and returns, can work out a sliding postage-and-packing tariff for these unofficial loans, we could be on our way to a new economic model.