Last week Catherine at Not Dressed as Lamb published a really interesting post about whether or not blogging about her personal style has changed it in any way (whether for better or for worse), and it really got me thinking about the effect my blog has had on my own style.
Now, my first instinct was to say that blogging about what I wear hasn’t had any effect at all on my style, really. I still like the same kinds of things I liked when I started blogging about my outfits, after all, and I still WEAR the same things, too. Er, sometimes EXACTLY the same things, actually. I mean, here’s one of my earliest outfit posts, wearing a white Zara dress on a 2010 holiday to Tenerife:
And here I am wearing the same dress just a few months ago in Las Vegas:
Same hairstyle too, although the Vegas heat was doing its very best to destroy it in this photo, obviously. Style evolution? WHAT style evolution? GOD.
The more I thought about it, though, the more I realised that although the clothes and styles I wear haven’t changed much since I started photographing my outfits for the blog, fashion blogging HAS changed my style. Because the fact is, if it wasn’t for the blog, I probably wouldn’t even have bought that dress in the first place: or I would have (I’ve never been able to resist a good dress, fashion blog or not), but I wouldn’t actually have WORN it. I mean, heaven forbid! Where would I wear a dress like THAT? For what possible reason?
The thing is, I grew up (and still live) in a place where it’s very much NOT the done thing to stand out. Dresses of ANY description, for instance, are only for weddings – and ideally, only on the bride. (OK, OK, I’m exaggerating: it’s not quite THAT bad. You get the idea, though.) For years, I bought into that idea, and wore the same things everyone else wore, with little thought as to whether they suited me, or even whether I liked them all that much, and if I hadn’t discovered the wonderful world of fashion blogging – or personal style blogging, rather – I’m sure I’d be doing exactly the same thing now.
I DID discover fashion blogging, though. And along with it, I discovered, not just the confidence to wear the clothes I wanted to wear, even if they were a little bit different to what everyone around me was wearing, but also a whole community of people to share those outfits with. (Not literally, I hasten to add. I am NOT sharing my clothes, and you can’t make me.) Before I started blogging, I didn’t really have that. Not many of the people I know in “real” life (still hate that phrase, by the way…) are particularly interested in fashion, and even the ones who are don’t have quite the same obsessive tendencies I do. There aren’t many people, for instance, who’d gush over the ‘New In’ section on the Lindy Bop website with me, and, as silly as it might sound, when you’re interested in something, it’s much easier to sustain that interest when you have other people to share it with – which is what I found from the fashion blogging community.
So, blogging about my outfits definitely gave me the confidence to find my own style, which I think is a good thing. It hasn’t been ALL good, though. I actually first started posting outfit photos over on ShoeperWoman, as part of a challenge to wear all of my shoes in the space of a year (if you think that sounds like no challenge at all, well, you haven’t seen my shoe collection, is all I’ll say…), and I remember feeling a lot of pressure to make every outfit different, and “blog worthy”, for want of a different expression. The pressure was entirely self-imposed, by the way: it’s not like there were people emailing me and saying, “Amber, if you don’t make your outfits appropriately interesting, your ‘fashion blogger’ card will be revoked!” or anything like that, but I guess I’d been spending too much time on the internet (So what else is new?), and I somehow got the idea that it wasn’t enough to just photograph my daily outfits: I had to be constantly experimenting, and remixing, and doing God knows what else to keep up with all of the other fashion bloggers on the virtual block.
There was a lot of colour-blocking, I seem to recall. A few pairs of brightly coloured tights, which I secretly thought made me look like an overgrown toddler, but which I dutifully wore anyway, because that’s what fashion bloggers were supposed to do, and if I looked like a giant Smurf in the process, so be it. Thankfully, I got over all of that pretty quickly, and went back to wearing the clothes I liked, rather than the ones I thought I SHOULD like, but I didn’t quite get over the pressure to make every outfit “blogworthy” at all costs. I’ve always prided myself on only featuring outfits I actually wear (Or WILL actually wear, anyway: in the case of some of the sponsored/gifted items, the fact that I’m obliged to feature them within a certain time period means I don’t always have time to wear them in “real” life before I have to photograph them: especially with evening wear, say, or clothes that arrive out of season. I do always wear them at some point, though!), but that occasionally meant actually wearing outfits I might not otherwise have gone for, just because I knew I’d be blogging about them.
I don’t mean I’ve ever worn things I didn’t like, obviously: that would be super-weird, and would presumably involve buying things I didn’t like first. So while I won’t claim to never have made a mistake (I WISH I could claim to never have made a mistake!), I DID at least like the outfits at the time I wore them. That’s not to say they were always totally appropriate for the occasion, though. I’m thinking here of the time I almost froze to death at the beach because I really wanted to get some outfit shots against that amazing backdrop, and I wasn’t about to let the sudden drop in temperature stand in my way, for instance. Don’t get me wrong: I liked the outfit, and I DID get some cool photos (both literally and figuratively), but if I hadn’t had the blog to think about, I’d like to think I’d have worn something just a little more sensible, huh? (I mean, I’d LIKE to think that: it’s not necessarily a given, because there were plenty of times in my pre-blogging days when I wore something totally ridiculous too, it’s just that those times weren’t documented, thankfully.)
This year I’m going to try my best not to do that. I feel like my style has changed a bit lately: I still love my 50s-style dresses and gigantic skirts, but I’ve been finding myself buying less of the “blogworthy” pieces, and more of the classic items that I know I’ll wear forever, but probably won’t want to photograph much, because they’re just not as interesting to people. Oh, and I’m also finding myself wanting to wear the same things on repeat – like this dress, for instance, which I wore twice this week, but probably wouldn’t have bothered to photograph again after the first time I featured it, because that’s not what style bloggers do, is it? It IS what I do, though, so from now on I’m going to make more of an effort to include some of the less “blogworthy” outfits too: because that’s what life’s about, isn’t it?
(P.S. If you’re an outfit blogger, I’d love to know if your blog has changed your style – whether for better or for worse?)
Collectif dress River Island jacket Buffalo shoe boots*