The Price of Fashion Blogging

Fellow fashion blogger, Ashe Mischief introduced a very interesting topic this morning on her blog and I wanted to share it, as well as add my own personal thoughts. She confronts the topic surrounding the financial consequences that fashion blogging might have on our lives. Ashe says, “We write about fashion– but we don’t often write or talk about the financial choices behind our sartorial choices.”

In addition to sharing her own personal struggles with the cost of fashion blogging, other women expressed having similar issues as well. One felt that real financial responsibilities (ie: rent, groceries, health care) hold them back from sharing their daily outfit posts, because they feel their readers will become bored with their reworked closet favorites. Another expressed that fashion blogging sent them into a downward spiral resulting in a very destructive shopping habit.

So we have to look at a few things: Why do we feel it’s necessary to financially compete with our fellow bloggers? Is it really worth it?

A few months ago I started a formspring account and found that I was being confronted with a lot of financial questions. Many wanted to know things like what my day job is, how I can afford Chanel bags, and if I constantly go shopping. At first I found it a bit strange that people were questioning this, but to be honest I have no shame and nothing to hide. And after reading Ashe’s post, I’m now understanding why they wanted to know these things about me.

At the age of 18, I found myself in a heap of debt due to major immaturity and a terrible shopping addiction. Almost 10 years later,  I don’t own any credit cards and I’m very happy about that. (And I’m pretty relieved this happened pre-fashion blogging. hahah.) So how do I afford my “fashion blogger lifestyle?” The answer is. . . I have a job, I’m a thrifting treasure hunter and I don’t feel pressured by the wardrobes of other bloggers.

I think the main issue at hand is struggling with self inflicted “peer pressure” from comparing one’s wardrobes to other bloggers. Nobody should be doing this to themselves. The reality of fashion blogging is this, MOST of these people are not paid bloggers, they live at home with their parents, suffer from credit card debt or have trust funds. And to be honest, style comes from within not from your bank account. I’ve always said that just because you’re sporting this season’s outfit from the runaway doesn’t mean you have style, you just have the financial means.

Recently, I found myself bored with bloggers who were constantly showing off their overly expensive purchases and offering nothing but self indulgent outfit posts. I love looking at clothing just as much as the next person, but I actually enjoy reading blogs for thought provoking content and creativity. Has our society really become that obsessed with consumption that these are the people we label as inspiring or allow to make us feel inferior? I’m sorry but a teenager with rich parents is not going to make me feel ashamed of what I can afford or my wardrobe.

The bloggers I admire are those who work with what they’ve got. So you wore that black dress last week with a different jacket? Your entire outfit is labeled with thrifted or Forever 21? So what? Do you love your outfit and does it make you feel good about yourself? So share it with the world. Our blogs are a personal expression of who we are, and that shouldn’t be held back because of another person’s financial advantages. I love runway fashion just as much as the next person, and I’ll drool all over magazine editorials, but I won’t risk my livelihood just to say I own something. And to be honest, if I’m going to really splurge on something expensive it’s going to be a classic piece of fashion, not a 2010 runaway item.

So how do we overcome this? More DIY posts, bargain shopping tips, showcase indie designers and most importantly encouraging our fellow bloggers to not be ashamed of their wardrobe allowance. I’m not saying we shouldn’t shop or fulfill desires to keep up with trends, but let’s be smart about it. Nobody should feel inferior to anyone because of their financial situation, size, gender, shape, race, etc, ESPECIALLY in the “blogosphere”.  We blog for ourselves not for anyone else.

“Style is knowing who you are, what you want to say, and not giving a damn.”
– Gore Vidal

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  1. says

    Fabulous post, doll! It's strange, because I feel like a lot of people reading my post are reading more of it as true to myself and all of it as my own story as opposed to the portions I've shared as my own story.

    I'm not a trendy shopper, and when I shop, I buy things I love and with the intent I'll own them a VERY long time. I always try to buy quality, independently made or owned, and right now, I have a good job with the means to pay for things on their own– but I had one slip this year and a bad month, so people like to jump to and think that I'm always like this. (Those these are thoughts for the next post.)

    But like you said–some of us DO have jobs. I have a great position at a university with a decent salary for a 26 year old. So I CAN afford to buy things on top of my expenses… that's hard for people to wrap their heads around, I think. You can tell the weeks I'm working 70 hours because of the lack of blog posts that week (and usually the following week).

  2. says

    Such a fabulous post. This is exactly what I was trying to touch on in my response to Ashe's post. Style isn't about the size of your wallet. It comes through whether you're wearing a brand new dress or a tshirt you've worn twenty times before.

    I don't feel like this is the price of fashion blogging so much as this is the price of fashion. Everyone needs to take a step back and stop trying to keep up with the Jones'.

  3. says

    great companion post.

    i am always amazed that people think spending a lot and paying to wear other peoples names on overpriced items on their bodies make you "special".

    i always think of the book and movie shopaholic when i see some of the blogs..

    there is almost a sense of desperation with some of the bloggers and their need to be seen as an have the latest…to pay the most..

    i find it sad..

    maybe its my age..i am in the 40 club and way past the day when i care much about what anyone thinks..let alone what someone else has..not that i ever did…

    i hope that the addressing of these subjects will in fact help folks as i wrote on ashe mischief take a moment and think about the real price that they are paying for the choices that they are making.

  4. says

    Very interesting read and I thank you for this! I had recently been suggested by my peers to show more outfits, as I write often on trends, designers, and how-to's finding my blog content heavy, so I switched it up a bit, showing what I have in my closet…

    I think I am finding a balance of the two, as just launching an online boutique, and I am unemployed, my funds are very tight! It does not help that I have a big appetite for nice things, but most of my pieces are and have lasted me a long time, because like Mischief said, quality over quantity!

    Thank you for this post, I found you through Ashe's tweets!

  5. says

    I think a lot of people forget that fashion is about creativity, not cost. I have a job and a killer connection at a major online indie retailer that lets me afford a few things I wouldn't be able to otherwise, but I'm more impressed by someone's thrifty recreation than a name brand any day.

  6. says

    I have just read Ashe's post and now yours, so I am going to comment here.

    Both your posts are very interesting and I agree with a lot of what is said.

    As a Fashion blogger with occasional outfit posts, I have to say I have never really felt under pressure to compete with other style bloggers financially.

    Reading blogs does have a negative side, which essentially is that it allows you to discover lots of brands and clothes you wouldn't normally have heard of… so the temptation to buy stuff gets bigger.

    Personally, I don't have a credit card, don't want one. I work freelance, so my income is up and down. I don't spend that much money on clothes, but I constantly like to reinvent what I already have… So far, I don't think anyone even noticed i wore the same stuff various times!


  7. says

    i don't often comment on your blog BUT i love it for the imagery, the inspiration and your outfit posts!

    i, too, have become bored with seeing picture after picture of girls in overpriced outfits that keep me wondering how the hell they can afford it. i work and i know that i wouldn't be able to afford anything they wear! but, i have learned that i need to just take the inspiration for what's it worth and keep doing me. that's why i barely ever look at where they bought whatever outfit they have on and i just appreciate how they've put stuff together. i know that if i wanted to wear something similar, i would be able to find it for cheap somewhere.

    thank you for writing this post and also posting the other article.

  8. Crystal says

    This is why I started following your blog! You feel more down to earth than a lot of superficial bloggers I see. I feel like I can relate to you more because you wear a lot of the same things I would sport and for your DIY nature. Anything that I have that is expensive was either on sale or an E-Bay deal!

  9. says

    This is why I started a budget blog! I was tired of reading all these blogs with beautiful clothes but all of them were just way too much $$ for me. I don't want to give budget blogs a bad name, but many of the ones I came across just didn't seem to have a spark or flare to them. So incorporated my love of music into it.

    I do include designer clothing posts at times, but my blog is focused mainly on budget shopping and womens' music.

    I, myself, have a very bad problem with shopping. I've had to have my mother bail me out several times. I don't know that it's an addiction–just not sure–because the thought of going into serious debt scares me so much I would never go past $500. I do buy the occasional clothes on Gilt and sites like that, but I reserve it for clothing that will be put to serious use like work.

  10. ripley says

    thanks for continuing the conversation!

    I really think it's important to be kind and think about the insecurity that haunts people when they don't have much money. The peer pressure thing is serious, and it's partly self-inflicted, but it can be reinforced by a sort of code of silence around money. Someone for whom money is an issue can feel stigmatized when it seems to be no issue at all for everyone around them. It feels like it's not the norm to worry about affording stuff (even though it probably is the norm, statistically speaking). I think it's generous and kind to address that and make people who have money worries feel welcome in the fashion blogging world, and it also leads to a better and more realistic take on fashionable living! (not to say that fantasy doesn't matter, but the fantasy that money is no object can be harmful –especially to one's credit card balances)

    So I'm really glad to see bloggers taking this on directly.

  11. Chase says

    Love this post. And I love this blog because you never came off as those bloggers who think of cost over creativity. I can totally relate to the way you dress and think which is why I love this blog so much

  12. says

    I just wrote a post dealing with the EXACT same issues – but mine is called "Things I don't care about" haha I do feel it's competitive as well.

  13. says

    Very interesting post. You and the commenters hit the nail on the head with your description of fashion bloggers who seem to just keep buying designer things. I live with my parents and have a good job, so I can afford to splurge on nice things occasionally. But I have other goals for my future that require financial means (travel, owning my own home, etc.). Even though I have the means to buy something, it doesn't mean I should do it at the expense of everything else I want to achieve in life. Fashion is only one part of who I am, not all of me.

  14. says

    Love this…

    I had my blog for over a year before I started posting outfit pics. Too be honest, I find it rather difficult to find time around my day job and personal life to hold a mini photo session. Although, having a glimpse to whom is behind the blog is important I started mine for the appreciation of fashion and how to incorporate the runway inspiration into reality. I am a hound for a great sale and discount and if I am fortunate to find something designer, you betcha it was at least 80% off and a wardrobe staple.

  15. says

    I really never gave much tough to bloggers labels but their use of said labels or no label at all; style has nothing to do with financial means and everything with creativity. And as you so aptly put it we should blog for ourselves not to try and compete with the next girls’ wardrobe.

  16. says

    love the post, and I LOVE that particular quote by Gore Vidal.

    I am also turned off by bloggers with a lot of money or who receive tons of freebies. I enjoy reading about girls like me, who often don't work in fashion and just enjoy putting together their daily outfits on a serious budget and an everyday lifestyle.

  17. says

    Great post. I've often thought about the financial consequences of my blogging (and the costs in terms of time, other relationships, emotions). I agree with you about the importance of creativity and resourcefulness above all else. There are so many blogs out there and it's great to read more that share my vision. Cheers!

  18. says

    Very good post! Of course reading fashion blogs gives you some "inspiration", and you might start to long for something you saw on a blog, and there's nothing wrong with that. But I think it's a good idea to ask yourself before you buy something (something expensive or very trendy), if you want to buy it for use in real life or for outfit pictures. If you buy it only for the outfit pictures, you don't need it.

  19. says

    I am not a fashion blogger, but being a vintage seller occasions me to read lots o' fashion blogs. I am so glad someone else finds constant outfit posts to be self-indulgent. Blogs with real, interesting content are so few and far between.

  20. says

    I love that both you and Ashe addressed this issue.

    While I do think those bloggers with unending budgets may have a little bit of an advantage at times, recently I've felt more drawn to blogs that contain items I could actually have…through vintage, DIY and mixing higher end with inexpensive basics.

    It's a constant battle – because I do enjoy having the latest "IT" thing. And as a blogger, I can easily talk myself into the thinking that it's "necessary" for my blog. Posts like this are such a good reminder why it's important to not fall in this competitive mindset. Thanks for sharing your story.

    XO Piper

  21. says

    i love this post! And all the others I've seen recently confront financial concerns.

    I too know what its like to be struggling with credit card payments but still have the urge to shop .

    My blog is dedicated to both savvy fashion and finance!

    come check it out:)

  22. says

    Although for as far back as I can remember I have LOVED all things fashion related. But I wouldn't consider my a "fashion blogger" I would consider myself I guess a "mommy blogger" because I write more about mother/wife related issues, etc. But I have started doing more fashion related post, but I was intimidated because I was thinking "Who would want to see this Mom's outfits?" but I pushed through and because of it I have become more creative and wearing things that I like instead of wearing what the catalog put together for me. No I'm not wearing Chanel or Jimmy Choo (one day very soon I hope too) but I do love entering into this fashion world and I TRY not to be intimidated by other fashion, craft, or mommy bloggers.

    Good post.

  23. says

    Amen to that.

    Since I am a food blogger and not a fashion blogger I don't really deal with this. But I do deal with the oh I have nothing to wear. When reality is I have a ton to wear. I just see something on the blog and feel the need to have.

    But now I am focused on just looking at the blogs on how to style what I have.

  24. says

    Hey lady, I really enjoyed reading this. You are absolutely right. I know I've felt "the pressure" too and it's nice to hear someone actually mentioning this taboo.

  25. says

    BRAVO! I LOVE this post and you know what I feel exactly the same way. I don't need to compete with anyone, I don't have a million dollars to splurge on clothing nor do I need to show off the little bit of luxuries I can afford here and there. It's all about your individuality and what you want to share with the world. At the end of the day whatever makes you happy is what matters. I think a lot of bloggers want readers to think they live this grand life when a lot of us are struggling the same way. I have nothing to hide either I am just being myself…a young girl from brooklyn who loves style and culture! AWESOME AWESOME blog!

  26. says

    I've been thinking a lot about this topic lately, so I am glad that you posted about it. It is frustrating to be pinching pennies while reading about other people's designer purchases, so I think it is great when a blog emphasizes originality and style. Unfortunately, I think the pressure to compete is building thus making discussion about this topic vital. Great post!

  27. says

    This was an excellent, thought-provoking post! I often post outfit shots, but not because I want to "show off" anything – it's just that I know I like to look at outfit posts (whether the person is clad in designer stuff top to toe or prefers thrift stores) and I want to provide content to readers that I know I like to see myself. I think making do with what you have, but being creative about it, is what I love most about fashion blogging! :)

  28. says

    I responded to Ashe's post as well, with pretty much the exact same sentiment. Ironically, the outfit I posted was nearly exactly the same as the outfit I posted the day before that, only slightly remixed. I think it's very important for bloggers to realize that it's not a competition and that style is never dependent on money. All my favorite bloggers are extremely thrifty.

  29. says

    this is such a great post, and something i really needed to read. it does get difficult to read the blogs of those that inspire me, but know that a wardrobe similar to theirs will never be possible on my tight budget. it's all about working with what you've got. And to be completely honest, how difficult is it to dress when someone is giving you free clothing or your parents are buying them for you. the bloggers i love are the ones who create fabulous outfits on small budgets and use the runway as inspiration.

  30. says

    Not only did you bring up a very huge issue amongst bloggers, but you've also answered it respectively.

    I, personally, have gotten sick of reading bloggers with the aforementioned in what they are wearing; it's consistently what was given as courtesy or the latest & greatest here & there. It is extremely boring and not at all interesting. A majority look like replicates of mannequins.

    Thank you for bringing this up. I'm going to link from you to my blog about this. Let me know if you mind.

    P.S. I discovered you while going through IFB approvals. I'm the IFB Moderator.

    Anyway, great job. You've got a new follower.



  31. says

    I found your post through Ashe's, & just as I told her, I have so much respect for you for bringing up a subject that many are too ashamed to mention.

    Point blank: I loved this post. Mainly because I am struggling hardcore with envy & feeling inferior. Knowing that there are others who have gone through (& overcome!) these struggles is a breath of fresh air for me.

    Thank you. & bravo!

  32. says

    I'm glad you bring this topic up! I try my hardest to make my purchases smart ones! An accessory can go a long way, a new pair of socks to wear with your heels, a fun and inexpensive ring, a thrift store is for me a godsend, and reading blogs for inspiration NOT labels are fashion morsels I thrive on!!! thanks for pointing this out~ fashion doesn't have to be expensive.. WORK WHAT YOU'VE GOT

  33. Lorena says

    Well said !

    I had not encountered this topic in blogland before and I have to say I never thought about it.

    I do see bloggers that have some kick ass items I would like to have but it never made me feel and they never made me feel like they were showing off.

    I have to say that yes, if you want something, workf for it… or just put it on lay away!


  1. […] price, Im sure there are cheap accessories to accompany it at the store next door, right?  Betsey J of thatbloggergirl shared about her credit card debt at age 18 and how despite being comfortably well off now, still […]

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