I currently follow about 850 Instagram accounts, which, typing that out, suddenly seems like way too many. Oof. Anyway, the vast majority are friends and colleagues; the rest of the accounts are comprised animal shelters, local tattoo artists, goofy internet-famous cats and dogs (and a domestic raccoon), and a handful of celebrities.
For the most part, I don't follow gimmicky Instagram accounts — ones that aren't so much about the life of the person/super-cute animal or the mission of the business, but a theme, rather. With these kinds of accounts — and there are a lot of them — either I find the themes kind of cheesy and contrived, or I give potentially interesting ones a shot and get tired of them within a week.
There are a few exceptions, though — themed Instagram accounts so clever and enjoyable that, after double-tapping each time one of their photos shows up in my feed, I want to throw my phone across the room in an unflatteringly envious rage, yelling, "Why didn't I think of that?!"
They say you gotta get a gimmick. OK, so "they" are the strippers in Gypsy, and the context is a burlesque routine, but still — it's applicable to other things, like Instagram accounts. And sometimes, that gimmick is actually really amusing.
These are my favorites.
There's not much I know about the woman behind this account other than what I've gathered from following it: she's attractive, she travels a lot, and she doesn't tell Starbucks baristas her name.
"Every time they ask my name I say 'Surprise me.' It's funny how people see you," her anonymous bio reads. And I kind of love that idea.
In addition to baristas guessing common names that they think just seem to suit her, several Starbucks employees have taken the opportunity to be creative, writing everything from "Empress of China" to "Pretty Lady" to "Mickey Mouse." I'm definitely tempted to try this.
Even more anonymous than the Starbucks lady in that you never see a face, this account features a hand, facing palm up, holding something. Sounds boring when I put it that way, but it's so beautifully shot that even when the hand is holding something kind of mundane, it's still a pleasure to look at it.
Sometimes the hand belongs to the mystery photographer, and sometimes there are guest hands, which made me realize something: people are really hard to tell apart by palms alone. Also, there's no pressure to make sure your nails look great from this angle.
Catherine Gray started this Instagram account only a couple weeks ago. "I'm collecting 40 jumpsuits to celebrate turning 40 years old," her bio states, and I'm totally into this idea.
She throws in the occasional non-jumpsuit photo — it's her account, she can do what she wants — but I've started looking forward to the colorful photos of her modeling bold, retro, hard-to-use-the-bathroom-in outfits.
There are a kabillion pets with their own Instagram accounts, the more popular ones based mostly on the animal's quirky appearance. And while BZ the dog is plenty silly-looking, it's her owner's rule that sets this account apart in a simple but adorable way: if someone asks to take a picture of BZ, BZ's owner then asks to take a picture of BZ on that person's shoulder.
I love that BZ seems to have gotten increasingly comfortable on shoulders, most recently starting to cross her little paws.
Have you ever gone shopping at a thrift store and just laaaaaughed and laughed over how ridiculous some of the defunct clothing brands' names are? No? Just me?
Well, it can't be just me, because that's the whole theme of this Instagram account: WTF labels on vintage clothing.
It was almost impossible for me to narrow down their feed to a couple favorites to share with you here. This account is my sense of humor in a nutshell.
This account — in which parents submit examples of why their children refused to eat the food they were given —was recommended to me by Amber, and I haven't stopped laughing.
I also haven't stopped empathizing because I was totally one of these kids.
It's been almost 12 years since Mean Girls was in theaters, and it's still tirelessly quotable. And even though those quotes didn't really need new life breathed into them, this account manages to do that — with old art.
This was another Amber recommendation, so maybe I'll surprise her on her next birthday by printing and framing one of these. I guess I can't exactly surprise her, though, since she's probably reading this. Whatever — her birthday is in December, so she'll forget by then. (So will I.)
This account has a special place in my heart because there's nothing I look more forward to when going into a New York City bodega than checking to see if they have a cat. Sanitary conditions be damned — it should be the law that every bodega has a cat!
The account managers have been cool enough to post three of my pictures. I have, of course, submitted, like, 40.
Your turn! What are your favorite gimmicky Instagram accounts? Do you follow any of the ones above?