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Curating life with intentionality: Westminster alumni make connections through social platforms

Along with the Other Pieces Instagram, McCaskey and Dobbins have a blog that has posts about online dating as well as how to be the best-looking bridesmaid.
(Madison Hales)

Clothes, body image and the highs and lows of life are just some of the things that followers of the Instagram and blog Other Pieces get a glimpse of regularly. 

Founders, Sara McCaskey and Jacqs Dobbins, who are both graduates of Westminster College, began a friendship through a shared space in the Office of Marketing and Communication. That shared experience turned into a joined Instagram account and blog. 

Coined a “hideout for interesting, intelligent, badass women,” Other Pieces is a place for people to connect and also get outfit option ideas.  

The blog has sections for inspiration on style, lifestyle and travel. Every post has a heavily trafficked comment section.  Followers connect with recommendations for a favorite fall sweater, or a go-to pair of summer sandals (both McCaskey and Dobbins recommend the brand LOQ). 

But what runs deeper is the feeling of connection, according to them.

“When we post something, we get full conversations going on in our DM’s with complete strangers, but I feel like they get us, and we get them,” Dobbins said. 

When it came to starting the Instagram page and blog, both McCaskey and Dobbins were coming from different perspectives. 

McCaskey was moving into an apartment that had only one closet. She did some research into the capsule wardrobe movement in attempts to make the one closet apartment work. The focus behind the movement is quality, multi-use wardrobe options, but with fewer pieces.

Dobbins had spent some time working in the retail space while in college, exposing problems, and was looking for a way to keep her style while shopping more ethically. 

Westminster alumni Jacqs Dobbins (left) and Sara McCaskey (right) out and about in May 2019. Their shared Instagram, Other Pieces, showcases different and similar fashion choices. 
(Photo Courtesy: Other Pieces)

“She was coming from the capsule wardrobe, and I was coming from the ethical side, and it was just magic,” Dobbins said. “We wanted to talk about it all the time, so we figured that there had to be other people who wanted to talk about it too.” 

Working in the Marketing and Communication office while at Westminster gave both McCaskey and Dobbins insight. Learning how to write for different audiences, as well as learning how to cut through the noise and get to quality information proved to be invaluable, they said.

“I wanted to create a really thoughtful place where we’re not just adding to the noise,” McCaskey said.

According to a survey done by the Pew Research Center in 2018, 35% of U.S. adults now use Instagram, an increase of seven percentage points from 28% in 2016. 

With a steady increase in users, McCaskey and Dobbins wanted to make sure that they were being authentic with the followers they have. In a recent post to their over 2,000 followers, Dobbins said, “Sara and I want this to be a space for more than just fashion. We want to be real about what we’re dealing with.”

Katie Kirkman, a follower of the Other Pieces’ Instagram, is the kind of audience McCaskey and Dobbins said they are after. 

“I keep gravitating towards their content because they do such an amazing job reflecting their individual personalities through their style, while still fitting together cohesively,” Kirkman said. “Not to mention, they do so with class, poise, and refreshing dose of reality. They just seemed like two cool girls you’d want to hang out with and talk about life with.”

McCaskey and Dobbins discuss friendship, support, the highs and lows of life and body image, a space people often shy away from.

“For me, it has helped me to be vulnerable and learn that it’s okay to have emotions, and that it’s a universal thing to go through shit,” Dobbins said. “The more I’m able to share, the better the whole experience feels for me.” 

McCaskey echoed Dobbins’ sentiment.

“We just allowed ourselves to express whatever it was we wanted to express,” she said.

Ultimately, both McCaskey and Dobbins want followers to be themselves.

“Stop preventing yourself from doing the thing you want to do,” McCaskey said.

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Madison Hales
Madison Hales is a senior communication major. She enjoys being a part time vegan, shoe shopping and spending time with her grandmother. Madison is eager to use the skills she has acquired in the real world.

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