Our lives have been in a state of flux — and so has our sense of style. In partnership with Macy’s, we’ve tapped R29 editors to shed light on how their personal styles have evolved in the last year, aligning them with their own specific fashion identity that offers a glimpse into who they are and a reflection of the times we’re living in. Read more about the partnership and the other fashion identities here.
It’s an unfortunate but true reality — over a year of staying indoors has endangered one species in particular: the social butterfly. Thankfully, its virtual (and fashion) counterpart has flourished during this time. The Social (Media) Butterfly, lives and draws inspiration from social media, flitting from trend to trend and seeking out the next buzz-worthy bag, shoe, or pattern.
Brenda Barrientos, social strategist for Refinery29 Somos, had always stopped short from fully expressing her personal style, too afraid and too self-conscious to draw attention to herself. But in the last year, she embarked on a journey of discovery that allowed her to figuratively break free from her chrysalis and emerge as The Social (Media) Butterfly. And with it, she’s developed a fearless approach to fashion, outfitting herself in loud prints and funky silhouettes. Because, in her own words, “Why not?” Read all about it, below.
My pre-pandemic style could be described as… “Very colorful and bold, but a little more restrained — I think I was more self-conscious or not entirely comfortable expressing who I was through fashion and beauty.”
My personal style evolved… “When I started to break out of my comfort zone. I recently bought a bright blue swirly-printed two-piece set that I never would’ve worn before the pandemic because it’s so out-there. But I’m more comfortable with standing out because at this point, why not?”
But when the pandemic hit… “I was living at home with my parents and I mostly wore sweats. I felt like I wasn’t taking care of myself. Last July, I moved out and into my own place, and it was a hard adjustment at first, but not only did I learn to be comfortable in my solitude, but I also discovered the joy in dressing up, even if it was only to run an errand or go to the grocery store. These small opportunities to leave the house are a big deal to me, so I like to take my time to get ready — about two hours. I relish the process, and it’s become a form of self-care.”
What I learned: “I definitely feel better about myself when I look good — there’s a shift in my mood and energy when my hair is done and I’m put-together. It reminds me of times before COVID. I used to hold off on wearing certain outfits because I thought I’d save them for when things returned to normal. But what was I waiting for? I might as well wear them now and live in the moment, which is why I’ll wear a bright yellow turtleneck with orange satin pants and white pointy ankle boots to the grocery store. Or slip into a pleather two-piece or an all-denim vintage jumpsuit, simply because I love the way it fits my body.”
I’m The Social (Media) Butterfly because… “I am obsessed with seeking out trends on social media. I’m on Instagram constantly because it’s part of my job — I build out strategy for R29Somos, Refinery29’s Latinx platform. Besides being on it for work, I’m constantly on my personal account discovering under-the-radar brands or influencers. My explore page is a mix of influencers, emerging brands, niche trends, and cool home decor. It’s how I draw inspiration for my own outfits, and it’s how I shop, too — tapping fashion credits on someone’s look, browsing the brand’s grid, and then making a purchase.”
My essentials include: “High-waist pants/jeans, printed pants, colorful two-piece sets, crop tops, tiny bags, and bright eyeshadow shades.”
The most surprising thing I discovered: “I’m the type of person who doesn’t mind the spotlight. I used to shy away, but I’m past that — if I like something, then I’m not going to stop myself from wearing, say, my lavender platform Crocs.”
My favorite pandemic purchases are... “These super-chunky lime green jelly sandals with daisies affixed across the top strap. I can’t wait to wear them with everything this summer.”
My 2021 personal style will… “Continue to evolve as I experiment with new trends and learn what I like and dislike. I’m free-spirited and I like to maneuver through life with an open mind, which is how I approach my personal style as well.”
Get to know more about The Social (Media) Butterfly through products and events, below.
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