ARE YOU WEARING THIS AGAIN? - MY THOUGHTS ON THE FASHION BLOGGING INDUSTRY
I’ve been hearing a lot of things lately that made me think about the blogging industry in general, more specifically fashion blogging. Basically, I’ve been seeing a lot of girls on Instagram say that they feel like they can’t be fashion bloggers because they’re not rich.
And because they’re not rich, they can’t constantly do huge hauls and buy clothes every week for outfit posts, so they feel like they can’t be fashion bloggers at all.
This intrigued me, because I’ve certainly felt that way in the past. A lot of people look at fashion bloggers for inspiration, so they want to see new clothes on display, not always the same stuff on rotation.
And I don’t want to speak for everyone else, but for someone like me, who grew up worshipping Vogue, I was kind of under the impression that fashion is all about wearing something once and then moving on. Think about it, how often have you seen the same piece of clothing featured twice in Vogue?… Didn’t think so!
So when I started blogging, I was really putting myself under a lot of pressure to post about new clothes, constantly. But you see, the problem was (and still is) that I’m a full-time blogger, without the huge numbers to back it up. I don’t have hundreds of thousands of followers on Instagram, and the site you’re on gets a few thousand views a month, which is great considering the circumstances and how long ago I started, but it’s far from enough.
It’s far from enough to make a living out of it, it’s far from enough to buy new clothes every week, and it’s far from enough to be on the radar of the huge fashion brands that send huge bloggers tons of clothes for free.
*Side note: I wrote a full post on what it’s like being a full-time micro-influencer, which you can read here if you haven’t.
Needless to say, I was a little discouraged. But then, I saw a response that made me breathe a sigh of relief: “I don’t look at fashion bloggers to watch them flash their super expensive hauls and shove their discount codes down my throat. I don’t watch because I want to be envious of all the free stuff they get. Most of the time, I won’t even buy what they’re showing, or even click on it. I watch fashion bloggers to see how they style their outfits. How they bring the clothes to life. It doesn’t take any talent to spend $500 on a haul, but it takes talent to style one skirt 20 different ways. That’s what I want to see”.
And I want to be SUPER CLEAR here. I’m not hating on anyone or throwing shade. Everyone does things their own way, and that’s GREAT. Hauls are there for a reason. I watch them myself, when I’m curious about a new brand and I want to see how their clothes fit or what the quality looks like. I’m actually grateful when I search Youtube with a brand name + the words “haul” & “XS” and something comes up, because they give me a better idea of wether or not it’s worth it to order from that brand.
And I know it does take talent to make a 15 minute video and have people interested and entertained from beginning to end. You have to be charismatic, you have to be entertaining, funny… You have to have talent. I know that. And I’m the first one to say it.
And if I actually want to buy something, I’m also grateful for a discount code. Heck, it makes me save 20%, how stupid would I be to pass it up, right? I personally don’t do discount codes - yet, but it’s not because I haven’t been offered. I get dozens of emails every month from brands asking me to promote their products, wanting to send me free products and give me a discount code. But it’s always brands that sell products I don’t believe in, like heating tools for hair (you guys know I don’t let my hair even come close to a heating tool) or activewear in busy, loud patterns, which is something I would never wear in real life. Since I don’t want to compromise my integrity and be untrustworthy, I say no. Even though I might be able to make a quick buck out of it, that’s not how I want to manage my business.
But that answer gave me some kind of relief, because I realized that people aren’t only in it for the novelty aspect, and that it’s actually possible to provide value with fashion blogging, further than just “inspiring”, which seems pretty vague to me.
I also feel like as fashion bloggers, we should be held to a certain level of responsibility. I personally don’t feel comfortable recommending a $2000 sweater, because I know my readers don’t have that kind of money to spend. If they did, they’d be looking at a blogger who also wears all those super expensive designer brands for inspiration. Once again, there might be some exceptions, but you get what I’m saying: I’m talking about the majority. And I know that the majority doesn’t go out 3 times a week on a shopping spree.
Furthermore, I feel like in this day and age, with the conversation going stronger than ever on sustainability, it just doesn’t make sense to buy so much stuff constantly, wether it’s clothes, makeup, or anything else. I feel like it’s important to be conscious of the lifestyle we’re projecting, just like we’re getting more and more conscious about not trying to project the image of the perfect life on Instagram. Because that’s not true and it makes the whole industry look phoney, on top of making readers and followers feel bad about themselves. And you might not want to think of it that way, but if you’re a blogger, influencer, or whatever you want to call yourself, your readers and followers are your customers. It’s your job to make them happy.
And if you know anything about marketing and consumer behaviour, you know that making the customer feel bad about themselves isn’t gonna make them stay. Have you ever heard the term “customer experience”? If you’re providing any product or service, you want the user to feel good while they’re using your product or service. If you make people feel like sh*t about themselves when they look at your Instagram page or your blog, they’re not going to stay in the long run.
The same way we try to be realistic and transparent about the fact that our lives aren’t always sunshine and peonies, and there are bad hair days and sick days, we should also be realistic and transparent about the fact that our closets aren’t always perfect either. And they’re not entirely new every other day.
I have yet to meet a woman who has never worn the same dress twice, and I personally don’t think it’s necessary to pretend to be that woman either. I feel like it’s time for us, influencers, to wake up and smell the coffee: Fashion isn’t disposable, even though the industry might sometimes seem like it is. A lot goes into making a garment (I studied fashion design, I should know) and a lot of time and effort goes into making the money that allows your followers to be able to buy these clothes, too.
In a certain way, I feel like it’s disrespectful to boast about the ridiculous amount of clothes and accessories you get every other day. And people are starting to pick up on it and get sick of it. When Instagram stories came out, it was all about doing unboxings and showing off all those PR packages. But people got annoyed pretty quickly, because truth is, who wants to watch that?
Personally, I don’t want to watch 30 slides about every single package you got in the mail this week. It bores me. If I want to know what you have, I’ll look at your pictures and call it a day. When I watch Instagram stories, I want to know more about YOU. What are you up to, what are your thoughts on this and that, etc. That new handbag and those 33 new dresses you just got in the mail? Cool, I just saw them on Fashion Nova’s website.
Once again, unless you’re doing a try-on haul and providing value, telling me about size and fit and quality, there’s no value in showing me the 200 new items someone sent your for free. Because realistically, you’re not doing anyone a favour. Brands don’t like their products to be shown for 2.5 seconds between two other products from their competitors. Readers and followers don’t get any value out of it… So who are you doing it for, really?
And I know I’m saying this, but I’ve also been guilty of it. Every time I would get a Sephora package, or go shopping, I’d show everything off on my stories. Everyone else was doing it, and I thought that’s what people wanted to see. But then I stopped doing it, because it didn’t really feel good, and I felt like people’s response to it was a thousand percent lower then when I was talking about something that happened to me, giving my thoughts on something, or reviewing something I actually took the time to try and test out. As a side note, if you look at all the super successful bloggers with millions of followers, they’re all doing the latter rather than the former. They either don’t have time to show everything they receive in PR, or they realize that to keep up with their massive business, they have to provide value.
And I’m not immune to shiny, beautiful things either. Truth is, right after Christmas, I bought myself a handbag that I’d been coveting for months, because it went on sale and I figured I could afford it. And you know what? Two days later, I was back on Nordstrom’s website, looking at handbags, wondering which one I should get next. WTF, right? Why couldn’t I just enjoy my new bag, that I’d been wanting for so long, instead of feeling the instant gratification coming from opening the package, setting it aside, and then looking to buy more? At that moment, I had a realization and a quote flashed in my head. If you’ve seen Fight Club, then you’ve heard the quote “We buy things we don’t need, with money we don’t have, to impress people we don’t like”.
I find that quote to be incredibly powerful, and quite frankly, it’s a reality check we all need. And I’m not the only one who’s starting to realize that. If you watch Youtube, then you probably know who Samantha Ravndahl is. If you don’t, she’s a makeup artist turned beauty Youtuber, and she made the conscious decision to remove herself from brands’ PR lists, because she found the amount of waste to be excessive and too much to handle.
I’m honestly not on anyone’s PR list, but I can only imagine what kind of implications came with that decision. And you know what? She since then mentioned that she feels much more creative and inspired, now that she doesn’t have that overwhelming amount of products coming her way. 3 eye looks with the same palette anyone? YES, PLEASE.
Because personally, if I buy an eyeshadow palette, I want to know how I can use it. But really use it. Not use it once and set it aside before moving on to the next best thing. I want to know how to use it for a daytime look, a nighttime look, a work appropriate look, a brunch look… You get it. I want someone who shows me how to get the best of what I just spent my money on.
Same goes for fashion. I feel like most of us buy a specific item of clothing because we see it working in a specific way. But once you’ve worn the skirt you bought to go with that specific top, for your best friend’s bachelorette party, how do you make it work for another occasion? Can you wear it to work? Happy hour? Brunch? That’s what I want to know.
If you’re wondering where all of this is coming from, I’ll be upfront. This post wasn’t supposed to be about my thoughts on the fashion blogging industry. It was actually supposed to be about this specific outfit. But then I realized I had already posted an outfit with this sweater, and I thought “Oh, damn, now I can’t use these pictures”.
Which is stupid really, because the other outfit was totally different. I paired the same sweater with latex leggings, sandals, and my pineapple purse. The sweater was not tucked in, and the vibe of the outfit was totally different. Actually, please see for yourself.
So then my thought process was, “Oh, that’s cool, I can show 2 different ways of wearing an oversized sweater”. But I still felt like I needed to justify that. And then I started writing… And this happened. So I changed the title of this post to the one you just read, and decided to go at it.
Because I’ve recently been told I should share more of my actual thoughts, but also because I feel like as bloggers (fashion, beauty, food, whatever) it’s an important part of our job to shed the light on some less well-known aspects of the industry… Or at least share what it feels like for us, individually.
We hear that all the time, but blogging as a massive industry is so new, it sometimes feels like the wild wild west. And if no one talks about it, if we’re not starting conversations, opening the door to other people’s perspective and some kind of change in any way, shape or form, that’s not going to change. Nothing is going to get better. And I feel like the one thing we want, no matter if we’re blogging about “10 ways to wear a LBD” or doing daily massive fashion hauls, is for this industry to get better.
So here I am, letting you know that from now on, I want to explore the option of a little more sustainability. I’ll keep showing you new clothes and beauty products, but I’ll also start showing you different ways to style things. I’ll talk more about affordable beauty brands, and how you can be balling on a budget. In my Instagram stories, I might show you products here and there, but they’re going to be things I actually tried and love, things I think could make a positive difference in your life.
And if I ever do a haul or give you guys a discount code, it’s going to be a try-on haul with LOTS of information on fit, fabric and feel. And it’s going to be a discount code to get a product that I would get myself, even without a discount code… That way it’s just the cherry on top, and not like I’m trying to sell you something that sucks just to make a few pennies off of your purchase.
But for now, please enjoy these pictures on how to style an oversized sweater in a super casual way, with the sleeves rolled-up (my favourite way to wear anything long sleeves) and tucked in a low-waisted pant. Since an oversized sweater is so versatile, I thought I would link a few options for you guys (right below). They’re all under $100, and I feel like they’re all super cool and would help all of us go through the last few months of Winter a little easier, ha!
Now I want to know how you guys feel about everything I mentioned. Do you agree? Disagree? If you’re a blogger, what’s your take on things? And if you’re a consumer, how do you feel about the industry and the content that’s presented to you? Let’s start a conversation and make this industry a little better every day.
Love you guys,