Tabatha Wharton



a year+ in the life of my evolving, offbeat aesthetic as i navigate being
a mid-30s-femme-grown-up-emo-punk-single-mom-graduate-student-non-profit-employee-fashionista.


If you follow my public Instagram, you may have picked up that I went to Columbus for a popup instameet in the historic German Village neighborhood this past weekend. I was supposed to actually do a shoot that morning north of the city, but due to the extreme cold it was postponed. So when this came up, I was game, mostly because it’s been a long time since I’ve gone on a shoot and my brain was already geared toward that mindset and I so rarely get to go out and do things completely for myself anymore, and a small adventure sounded like a good idea.

I get asked a lot to explain what an instameet is, and I always kind of struggle (mostly because I still feel weird talking about modeling as a thing I consistently do). Basically, they’re cooperative meetups in usually interesting or well-known locations where a bunch of photographers and sometimes models of all skill levels get together to take pictures, learn from each other, and build community. I went to this one because the organizer said the purpose was for portrait shooting … and you need a face for that, generally.

Lucky me, I indeed have a face. And I’m used to having it in front of a camera, among a group of strangers.

And as the case a portion of the time, I was the only model who showed up, which is both fun because then there are so many different photos but also sometimes weird because I’m the only one without a camera, being like, well, I hope this’ll do because my entire purpose of showing up is to stand here in some aesthetically pleasing manner, so hope I’m up to everyone’s snuff.

Because that is a small anxiety of mine — never knowing exactly how to show up to these things when there isn’t a clear theme or specific look that the meet is trying to achieve. Maybe it’s the theatre kid in me, but it’s a lot easier for me to slip into a character than it is to just exist as something close to “normal” — part of the fun of all these shoots, for me, is the dressing up and the creativity and the how-far-can-I-push-it-ness of it all, but when it’s time for me to just look like an average human, I panic. I mean, my daily look is all black and moto boots and resting bitch face and that’s … intimidating to some people who aren’t used to me, so I hear. And that’s not entirely photogenic or visually interesting, if we’re going to be honest.

So here’s me trying to look festive and passable as mainstream while also not feeling like I’m dressing up in basic bitch drag. I think, based on the photos I’ve gotten back, that it worked out just fine.

Grey cotton turtleneck bodysuit: ASOS
Rinse skinny jeans: Old Navy
Silver leather belt: Vince Camuto
Crimson glitter knit beanie: handmade & borrowed
Burgundy plaid flannel infinity scarf: handmade gift
Black studded sole combat boots: Catherine Malandrino
Lipstick: KVD Everlasting Love Liquid in Nosferatu