By Zoe Williams
The clothes that had been chasing me around my feed for months looked good in the adverts. Would they stand the test of being worn in real life?
It started last summer. Clothes adverts flooded my Instagram feed, and it was uncanny. One minute, I’d be envying a friend her Agnès B boiler suit (it has a bumflap, so you don’t have to take it off when you go to the loo: so French); the next, I would be served an ad for a more or less identical boiler suit, except without the flaps, and only £24.95. Had Instagram accessed the microphone on my phone and listened to my chitchat? But I hadn’t even spoken that envy out loud. They had seen inside my head.
I wanted dungarees, because they reminded me of the 80s, when I had a babysitting racket and spent all the money on them. I also wanted a maxi dress, because it seemed to meet my newly acquired aversion to tights. These things, while not profound, were intensely personal, or so they seemed. And yet there they were, telepathically, on my feed.