One Millennial’s Quest To Understand TikTok

TikTok: the video app that’s confusing as sh*t and makes me feel old.

When I first noticed TikTok videos seeping into my Instagram feed here and there, I was like, “why is anyone using any social media platform other than Instagram? These people clearly have some extra free time on their hands. What losers!” But then I kept seeing the videos pop up and kept hearing people rave about how addictive the app is, and I thought, “okay, I guess I have some free time, too.”

Upon downloading TikTok, I felt utterly confused. My first observations were as follows:

☆There are more teens in braces than not
☆I’m hearing lots of music (mostly pop and rap) that will forever be stuck in my head
☆I’m seeing lots of dumbass dances (sorry) set to said pop and rap music
☆These weird voice filters are making these teenagers sound like robots

gI simply did not understand the point of this childish app! Gen-Z has really lost it. But then, I stumbled upon fashion influencer Brittany Xavier’s TikTok and was like, “this is some sh*t I can get behind!” She posts fashion and beauty videos, but they always have a cool and unexpected twist, like in these posts here and here, that makes me question if she is the next Steven Spielberg.

I chatted with Brittany to get the inside scoop on how the hell she makes these videos and any tips she has on using the app in general. So if you’re a millennial who feels ancient trying to understand TikTok, this one’s for you. 

Actually Spend Time On The App 

“The most important thing to do is to spend time on TikTok to understand the culture and what’s trending,” explains Brittany. “If you post a video just as you would on Instagram stories, it won’t do well.” 

VERY true. The second you open TikTok you will know v well that you are not on Instagram. You barely have to put any effort into IG Stories (well, who am I kidding, we all have f*ckboys to secretly impress, but you know what I mean), whereas on TikTok, you better have your self-timer set up and that dance routine mastered. (So much work…)

You also better be familiar with the “for you” page—the place where all the trending videos are posted. “I follow the ‘fashion’ and ‘beauty’ hashtags as well as the ‘for you’ page to check out what’s trending and if I like any of those,” says Brittany. Which leads us to her next tip… 

Use The Trending Songs 

“The trending songs will help your videos spread more,” Brittany explains. This, here, is the key to TikTok and a totally new concept for my useless, IG-programmed brain! Certain songs have gained popularity on TikTok—for what reason, I’m not totally sure, but it’s usually because one of those stupid (again, sorry) dances went viral using the song. So, if you use a trending song, you are way more likely to get a spot on the coveted “for you” page. Unless you’re not even posting and are merely using the app to stalk your ex and his new girlfriend, in which case you might benefit from an article with a different set of tips.

Take The Time To Plan Your Videos 

“If you want to perform well on TikTok, you really have to set aside time and commit. It really needs to be a priority,” explains Brittany. “Some of my videos take two hours to make—I want to make sure I have all the right clothes and lighting set up. And if I’m trying to do a smooth transition, that means I have to exit at the exact right second, which takes time.” 

This was comforting for my overly competitive, narcissistic and social media-obsessed heart to hear. Why am I not able to make my TikToks as entertaining as hers? OH, because I’m too busy watching Bravo. Brittany makes it look so easy, but there’s a ton of thought and a huge time commitment required from her to make these videos so damn good. She said she even goes so far as to mark the spot where she was standing to make her transitions seamless. “People don’t want to spend time on the app, but that’s why their videos don’t perform,” Brittany says. And THAT’S why you aren’t a TikTok influencer, Sydney Becky!!! 

Make Sure Your Videos Always Have A Takeaway

“I don’t even look at TikTok as social media. I look at it as entertainment,” Brittany explains. “You can’t just post selfies of your makeup; there has to be a big reveal at the end or some kind of value-added takeaway.” It’s true—I personally don’t love watching videos that don’t have some kind of punch or surprise to them. 

“I’m still trying to obtain followers that are into fashion and beauty, while also incorporating whatever trends I’m seeing.” I think this is where popular fashion/beauty influencers are having trouble translating onto TikTok—they just repost whatever videos they’d normally post on Instagram, without putting any emphasis on a solid takeaway, or, tbh, trying to appeal to teenage monsters with zero attention span. 

Don’t Make Your Videos Too Long 

As just mentioned, attention spans are basically—wait, what was I saying? oh, right—a thing of the past. So, “keep it simple, don’t overthink it, and maybe only showcase 3 outfits vs. the 10,” says Brittany. 

While Brittany is really only using the app for fun and to fit in with her 12-year-old daughter, Tommy Hilfiger (whom she was already in talks with) has already asked her to include their brand in two of her videos, so I think we all know where this app is going: $$$$$!!! 

I’m super interested to see what the next wave of TikTok influencers will look like. Musicians are even using the app in hopes of having their songs blow up, so maybe the next Lil Wayne is really just one weird-ass, robotic dance away! Come to think of it, will underground rappers be the next Flat Tummy Tea influencers? Only time will tell!

Images: brittanyxavier / Instagram

How To Pull Off Polka Dots Like A Fashion Blogger For Cheap

To polka dot or polka not? Let’s pretend I never said that. Dad jokes aside, polka dots are very on trend right now, and I have to be honest, I am kind of obsessed with it. This trend may take some getting used to, but, I am telling you, there are multiple ways you can rock this without feeling like the president of your fifth grade class. Remember when Elle Woods’ advisor told her to have a backup for Harvard and that they wouldn’t be impressed that she aced History of Polka Dots? Well, joke’s on her, because Elle became the best lawyer and POLKA DOTS ARE HERE TO STAY. Every blogger has been rocking this trend, all in very different ways.

As always, I have three blogger-inspired looks I recreated, and duhhh I saved you a ton of money!

Look 1: Polka Dots in Paris

Au revoir! See you next season Paris! ????????♥ #weworewhatparis

A post shared by Danielle Bernstein (@weworewhat) on

First, this AFRM dress is $128, and could be reasonable, except for the fact that it’s not. So that’s why I found you something very similar from Forever 21 for $32. I threw it on with my Public Desire white boots (also a trend I hope never ends) and some $10 sunglasses, and we are ready to go. This is a great look for a bridal or baby shower blacking out on a rooftop during spring.

Forever21 tiered flounce maxi dress

Look 2: Pretty in Polka Dots

#OOTD ???????? @swarovski #ad @fwrd #fwrdtravels

A post shared by Olivia Culpo (@oliviaculpo) on

Olivia, Olivia, Oliva. $600 for a top???? Must be nice. Here is the SAME SHIRT for $50 from Zara. I love these bodysuits from Zara because they are extremely versatile. It’s like buying two shirts for the price of one. You can pin this and wear it to work, or wear it open on a night out with the girls.

Zara polka dot bodysuit

Look 3: Polka Dot Pose

???? new @lioness_official denim mini

A post shared by Danielle Bernstein (@weworewhat) on

Lastly, I switched this look up for you, just to show you how to rock polka dots in different ways. I found this dress at Forever 21 for $38. I put a Zara blouse on underneath and my Public desire boots again, then obvs my go-to sunglasses. I love dresses that you can wear during spring time with a shirt underneath, and then easily rock at summer patio parties.

Forever 21 polka dot mini cami dress

Bonus Polka Dots Looks

Are you nuts for polka dots? Here are some extra ways to rock this trend for cheap.

Try some polka dot tights with a black dress and heels.

Forever 21 sheer dotted tights

Put on this headband with an all-black or all white bathing suit this summer, and you’ll be the coolest girl at the beach.

Forever 21 polka dot headband

Polka dot crop top???? How cute with jeans or black pants.

Forever21 polka dot crop top

Images: weworewhat (2), oliviaculpo / Instagram; Maya Media (3)
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