Fashion Blogging: It’s Not Just About Pretty Pictures

ifb fashion controversy blog  Fashion Blogging: Its Not Just About Pretty Pictures

It’s not that I don’t enjoy personal and street style blogs. I do.

Some of my favorite bloggers are personal and street style bloggers and I adore their content—but this post isn’t about them. They don’t need me to laud their virtues when hundreds upon hundreds of other have already done so. They don’t need me to defend them from potentially scathing articles when they watch each other’s backs and respond with intelligent commentary. They already have  a voice in the fashion blogging community. Hell, they are the voice (and face) of the fashion blogging community.

This post is about something someone else entirely.

This post is about the invisible fashion bloggers.

Unsure who I mean?

They aren’t street style bloggers. They aren’t personal style bloggers. They don’t fit into any budget, luxury, DIY, plus-size or accessory niche. And they aren’t lifestyle bloggers.

They are fashion bloggers. Plain and simple.

The Definition of a Fashion Blogger

In recent years, the popularity of fashion bloggers of the personal and street style ilk has reached record heights. The success of the “super bloggers”—The Man Repeller’s, Garance Dore’s  and Glamourai’s of the fashion world—has changed the very essence of fashion PR and media and it seems like someone, somewhere, is always talking about one of them. But all too often we forget that these “super bloggers” weren’t overnight successes. They are intelligent, hard-working, business savvy individuals who made a name for themselves in a time when the fashion blogosphere was searching for its stars.

And now…

Not only have they become the benchmarks by which we measure our own success…

They have also become what defines us.

How many times have you seen/heard/read something related to fashion blogging in the media? How many times was the focus something other than commentary on the “look at me! lookatmyawesomeclothes!” or “this shirt is c/o brand A, this purse is c/o brand B” or “f#@! did you see what she was wearing?? WHO is the designer?!” type blog? I honestly can’t remember.

If the focus wasn’t on street style and/or personal style blogs I can almost guarantee you it was one of the niche blogs—like DIY—I mentioned above.

Clearly, these are the only types of fashion blogs in existence (insert sarcasm here):

  • Street style
  • Personal style
  • Niche

It’s a shame the biggest names in media perpetuate that stereotype. Because let’s face it. It IS a stereotype.

Earlier this week CNN jumped on the fashion-blog bandwagon and published an article featuring “Style bloggers to follow in any season.”  Did they feature some great bloggers? Definitely. Check it out and follow them if you don’t already. But what struck me most about the article was the disconnect between what they—along with IFB and StyleCaster—were saying and what they were presenting to their readers.

According to CNN reporter Emanuella Grinberg (bold emphasis mine):

“It’s no secret nowadays that some fashion bloggers wield just as much influence as magazine editors in shaping trends and sharing the latest news and images from the runways… Still, it takes more than a pretty face and fancy photography to make a blogger rise above the rest.”

Jennine Jacob of IFB and The Coveted was quoted saying (bold emphasis mine):

 “Bloggers that have a particular angle with their content have a definite advantage over others… with the ones that stand out, when you read their blog you don’t just see pretty pictures. You walk away with something.”

The article then goes on to present some of IFB and Stylecaster’s “favorite fashion bloggers from a variety of categories.”

Guess what?

Not only do all of the blogs mentioned in the article fit into the categories I mentioned earlier… they all have pretty pictures. Very pretty pictures.

I’m not saying that the content on those blogs isn’t excellent—it is. What I am saying is that there are other types of fashion blogs out there—blogs that may forego the “pretty pictures” to focus on commentary and encourage discussion of the industry and trends—and I don’t understand why they are never represented in articles like this.

Jennine’s comment that “bloggers that have a particular angle with their content have a definite advantage” is something that I often see repeated on IFB. While I don’t disagree with this idea, I do take issue with the fact that IFB seems to only encourage niche blogging instead of doing more to help promote that other type of blogger. One that doesn’t want to be pigeonholed into a “niche.” One that is equally talented in terms of high quality content but perhaps with more verbiage than imagery in a given post. There is no denying that IFB  is a great resource for fashion bloggers and they do promote bloggers of all types via the Links a la Mode series. But I also believe they have the power to help fight the stereotypes that exist and instead they often (perhaps unknowingly) perpetuate them.

What is the saying? “With great power comes great responsibility.”

When will the IFB’s and StyleCaster’s of the world move beyond such a narrow focus and embrace—and encourage—the invisible fashion blogger?

The Invisible Fashion Blogger

Finally.

Now we can talk about what the heck I mean when I say “invisible fashion blogger”

If you are still reading at this point—and you blog about fashion in some way, shape, or form—ask yourself if you have ever felt like you weren’t sure if you belonged.

  • Have you ever felt like you weren’t sure if you were a real fashion blogger?
  • Have you ever felt the need to change the focus of your blog because it wasn’t following preconceived “fashion blog criteria” notions?
  • Have you ever felt like you weren’t being represented as a fashion blogger?
  • Have you ever felt overlooked because your fashion-focus was too broad?
  • Have you ever felt your writing was too cerebral to be a fashion blogger?
  • Have you ever thought about throwing in the proverbial fashion-blogger towel because you don’t want to take photos of yourself?
  • Have you ever felt like the written word is becoming a lost art in the fashion blog community?
  • Have you ever felt like there is no room for substance in the world of fashion blogging? That discussion and conversation have been replaced by consumption and more consumption?

If you have ever felt even one of those things you are the invisible fashion blogger.

And guess what?

There is more than just a place for you in the fashion blogosphere—there is a need.

We show our individuality through fashion. So why should we conform our fashion blogs to fit a mold dictated by stereotypes?  Let’s work together to change the face of the fashion blogosphere.

No matter what our individual differences may be, there is one unifying thread that connects us all—a passion for fashion.

How about we focus on that for a change?

Let’s Talk

I want to hear from you—am I completely off base here, or do you know exactly what I am talking about?

Do you agree?

Disagree?

Think I need my head examined?

Sound off in the comments!

{ 43 comments… add one }

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            • Caz March 4, 2014, 2:49 PM

              Oh my god…I have been saying this for YEARS! When you listed all the qualities of the ‘invisible blogger’, I sat there reading and nodding my head to almost every single one. I really wish there were more bloggers like Leandra who, although do post the occasional ‘pretty picture’, are funny, witty, and concentrate more on written word. If anyone fits into that category (or doesn’t fit anywhere, for that matter), give me a shout! I need some unique and different inspiration in a world of copycats. <3 xx

              Reply
            • Emina December 17, 2013, 4:27 PM

              I am not sure where I stand in these categories ..probably more towards the invisible.. but I am ok with that. Really happy that I have discovered your blog!

              Reply
            • shuhui July 31, 2013, 5:51 PM

              I totally agree with your statement and in my opinion, not just fashion bloggers face this but anyone who blogs generally. Fashion is my passion and one of my biggest dreams would be a fashion designer. I’ve started to blog at a really young age. Partly because my mum suggested that I could treat it as a diary and at the same time I could improve my english since I live in Malaysia and I speak tons of languages so my english was at its borderline.

              At that time my posts are mostly related to my school life, my ups and downs, you know like a typical lifestyle blogger would but because I’ve never told anyone besides my family that I own a blog, whenever I tried taking pictures of my food or a pretty scenery my friends thinks I’m weird and btw, things like instagram, twitter, vine, etc does not exist at that time so I guess it was pretty odd for them. When I was around 13 the blogosphere was not that much of a stranger for Malaysians anymore, well at least in my school because the so-called “popular” girls starts to blog and post tons of pictures of themselves and their friends online. Honestly, me myself am one of the many people who’s attracted to these kind of blogs. Some of these girls don’t even have a real content or intention on creating a blog but I’ve seen their blogs, it’s full with selfies and at the end of the day people still gravitate to read these blogs compared to any other written blogs that actually have a content.

              Nevertheless, I still try to post informative posts even though there’s barely any readers. As time passes, I knew that there were a couple of my schoolmates are keeping up with my blog. This was when I was around 15 and as a teenager I was still searching my true self but one thing that I know is my passion for fashion and styling. I really love looking through fashion blogs and magazines and everyday I hope to become one of them. So I started blogging about fashion related stuff. As usual, maybe it’s just because I adore writing too but my blog posts would be like essays nagging about the latest trend or fashion. Once in a while I’ll put in some related pictures that I found on tumblr but that’s pretty much it. For some reason a lot of people in my school found out about it and start asking/telling me on ask.fm like “You don’t even have sense of style so stop trying to be a wannabe fashion blogger” or “You’re just trying to be rich and famous like other bloggers are”.

              I was really hurt about that and started to question myself. Am I really a “fashion blogger” or like they said am I just a wannabe? I do admit, if you see me on the street you would NOT expect me to be interested in fashion. I’m just a normal girl-next-door. I barely dresses up myself like any of the famous fashion bloggers but I don’t think that defines what I’m interested in. Coming from a slightly poor family I can’t even afford to buy food for myself let not being afford to buy fancy clothes and show them in my blog.

              When we look at the fashion blogger stereotypes I’m sure you guys will see girls with pretty face, perfect body shape with clothes that are always on trend and like most of you guys I love their blogs. With that much influence it could be hard sometimes to even start to write on a blog post.

              First of all I do not wear make up even though my face isn’t flawless. My clothes isn’t that interesting and even if it is, my body is what normal people consider fat and unfortunately not much people appreciate to look at them. Basically I was insecure of everything including the way I write because I’m quite bad in english.

              Sometimes I tend to search for fashion bloggers’ archives and I don’t want to sound hatred towards the stereotypes for saying this but from what I observe, especially bloggers from Malaysia most of them started like the “popular” girls in my school did. They post pretty pictures of themselves and because they’re kind of well known among my school students, their blog traffic flow was pretty good too and because of this they get instant sponsorship from all kinds of clothing shops and these does not include the professional fashion bloggers I found (mostly outside of Asia because we are quite diverse in term of blogging).

              Sorry if this comment is kind of misleading because I know my grammar is quite bad and I swear I have a lot more to say on this topic but I just don’t know where to begin since my points always jumbled up everywhere.

              Currently I’m on my new blog yeeshuhui.blogspot.com and I’m still sticking to lengthy post on fashion. I have yet to post any picture of myself but I’ve also added a few non-fashion post. The blog is now privated because I still have to deal with my insecurities. I would love to hear some advice from you guys though and if any of you seems to have experience similar issues like me, please give me your thoughts on this :( I’m 16 this year and I know I still have a long way to go and everything will be fine as long as I don’t give up and try as hard as I can but can I actually be a fashion blogger with only knowledge on fashion instead of showing it visually on myself?

              Reply
            • shuhui July 31, 2013, 5:52 PM

              Woah I just realised my comment was sooooooo long. I’m so sorry…

              Reply
            • Paul Mattfield July 1, 2013, 7:46 AM

              Thank you for writing the truth about blogging. Initially when i started i thought i would write out my passion and as the days progressed i learned the hard facts of the business and what is seams to be invisible and alone in the ocean of peoples.

              Reply
            • Hannah Broughton June 26, 2013, 1:06 PM

              Thanks for writing this post! I am still struggling to find my blogger identity and I’ve been blogging for just over a year. I used to write posts on my opinions on certain things in the fashion industry or fashion icons that inspire me. I still want to write about these things but I have been told by friends that people prefer to see more personal posts about style etc, which I have also had a go at. It does become a bit tedious and I wonder whether people do find photos of my outfits that interesting or if I should stick to more opinion/inspiration based posts.

              Reply
            • Missy June 18, 2013, 11:17 AM

              I know exactly what you are talking about here and I really enjoyed this article. I think a lot of us out there feel invisible a lot of the time. I know I’ve been blogging for about 2 years now and am constantly struggling between what I want to write about and what people want to know. Finding the balance is a trick I have yet to figure out.

              x

              Missy
              Missy latest blog post: Summer Gingham and Stripes + Favery Bracelet Giveaway!

              Reply
            • Maria Von Losch June 17, 2013, 6:30 PM

              LOVE this article and thank you for writing your truth. I’ve been fashion blogging for about 2 years now and at first I was more about content then felt readers wanted more “pretty pics” than words. I realized, my blog is MY BLOG and to write, post, express what I originally intended. So now I’ve found a nice mix of creativity while giving my readers actual tips/advice to use in styling. XO!
              Maria Von Losch latest blog post: How to Layer Necklaces

              Reply
            • magali May 31, 2013, 7:18 AM

              You have managed to write what I have been feeling….
              should I carry on?
              magali latest blog post: Polka Dot

              Reply
            • Ari May 15, 2013, 9:20 AM

              You are amazing. And intelligent. And awesome!!!!! It takes guts to challenge stereotypes in the “blogosphere” but you make some artful points. I myself, (although I’m not a blogger) i had been recently disgusted by the fashion world because of these many stereotypical bloggers. Fashion is, in my mind, one of the richest topics for personal meditation and debate; it simultaneously combines sociology, art, AND psychology at once!! So lusciously multifaceted! Instead though, many females have a miraculous way of bulldozing over this intensely deep concept, instead making “fashion” blogs into simple platforms for shameless self promotion. Most young women today, in their desperate search to cure their searing insecurities, use fashion blogging as a rich, steady income of personal flattery. Often times, it also seems that most of these women lack the intellectual capacity to post anything other than glorified “selfies”. In denial of their true mental inadequacy and/or emotional insecurity, these women are usually doomed to chain themselves to their own digital self projections, constantly craving complements to fill their inner voids, blind to the fact that curing their inner emptiness is far more complicated.

              Lol
              Rant is over y’all!!!!
              Time for me to go take a freaking shower hahaha

              Reply
            • Jo May 10, 2013, 1:41 AM

              I am a “fashion blogger” who found this post because I was feeling insecure about having inadequate pictures on my blog.

              I try to post good content and advice and less of the “this is what I wore on Wednesday” stuff..

              I have notice though that the “what I wore” glossy picture blogs seem to have lots of followers where I tend to attract much less traffic because I am focusing less on the images and more on the content.

              You article was inspirational and I am now wondering what my purpose is..

              Reply
            • July B. April 1, 2013, 1:31 AM

              So true! I found this article because I opened an account on instagram and wrote on the description ” fashion and lifestyle blogger” and was hesitant on the ” fashion” part. I write mostly about fashion, trends and style advice, but never really considered myself in this category until today. So glad you wrote this, it has kind of validated what I do;)

              Reply
            • Veshoevius March 7, 2013, 3:44 AM

              Thank you for writing this! Excellent post and as always beautifully and eloquently written! I do know exactly what you are talking about. By coincidence I just posted on my disillusionment yesterday on all this and the Susy Menkes fashion circus article before finding this post. I do think Menkes has good reason for some of her statements, but as you say, there are now fashion blogging stereotypes because of the high visibility of a portion of bloggers from what is a very narrow section of the blogging genre, but in fact fashion blogging is much broader than that. We’re not all traipsing around fashion week tents in fancy outfits trying to get our photos taken or take photos. And I’m glade you made the point about the IFB diversity myth. I think LALM is great but as someone who has had several entries over my blogging history included on the monthly roundup I have noticed that the traffic I get from this has reduced massively over time. It’s pretty hidden away amongst all the other features on the site now and I’ve come to believe the whole pretty pictures and a pretty face wins every time over thoughtful written content, because that’s what gets the real push.
              I think I said yes to pretty much all of your checklist. Like you I prefer to blog anonymously – I don’t think I would blog otherwise. I’d rather spend the time trying to write something intelligent or interesting than faff around with an outfit post but I have felt like I had to go in that direction to raise my visibility, and even then I’ve felt that not showing my face and writing long posts are actually big disadvantages.
              So thank you for giving voice to these concerns!
              Veshoevius latest blog post: The Fashion Week Blues

              Reply
            • Spencer March 3, 2013, 6:08 PM

              Very thought provoking and insightful post!

              Reply
            • Joy @ OSS March 2, 2013, 5:38 PM

              Another invisible fashion blogger here and proud! This marks the first time I’ve felt slightly validated by the fashion blogging community.
              Joy @ OSS latest blog post: Grief

              Reply
            • Anika Campbell February 27, 2013, 9:20 AM

              Hvala ljubavi, from my heart. I am actually feeling moved and teary eyed reading your post, because it resonated so deeply with me. I haven`t been blogging in forever, bc I lost my connectedness with it, and am dealing with all of the issues you list above. I have thought about quitting all together, but I can`t bring my self to do that either, bc I do have this need for an outlet, and haven`t quite given up thinking that I have a place in the blogosphere. I just don`t want to get caught up in the race of popularity and feeling defined. I miss blogging. And I miss YOU ljubavi. Hope you are well. Would love to connect with you privately :) Pusa xxxxx
              Anika Campbell latest blog post: On getting out of my own way.

              Reply
            • Maddy Marcel February 25, 2013, 3:06 PM

              I really liked this post! And I know exactly what you’re talking about. I just started blogging myself and am wrestling with the question of text to picture ratio. I worry sometimes that no-one will want to follow me because my posts have got too much writing, or because I cover more than one big topic. But ultimately I *really* believe there is a place for what I’m doing. And I’m now finding a lot of great blogs (that are just off the mainstream radar) that have thought-provoking and intellectual writing. I hope to find more. In the meantime I intend to keep doing my own thing, focus on authenticity, and hope other people find it valuable. Cheers to banishing stereotypes!

              Reply
            • paul February 24, 2013, 6:35 PM

              Je suis une âme solitaire – well that’s certainly how I feel !! I am invisible and I barely exist. I can empathise with Arash – as a male women’s fashion addict in a largely female centric world its very hard not to feel like an outsider – an alien monitoring planet earth with little chance of every being seen or recognized as an earthling let alone an alien.

              I took up blogging to help me with a personal problem; and its through blogging that I am starting to feel comfortable with myself – to the point were I am starting to admit & understand my problem. Its been a bit of a journey _ I have crashed and burnt one blog, just as it was starting to find its feet, and I am now on my second incarnation. I like my second blog. It has allowed me to develop the rules I need, and to fit my square blogging peg in the round hole of fashion, style & beauty blogging. If you check my blog out you will notice its pretty thin – its not cerebral, its not fashion incisive but it is me talking about the things I love, and showing pictures of, lets be frank, the things I would lurve to own & wear. I only post when I feel inspired, and I only post about things I am comfortable posting about – It eats at me that I am not a good beauty blogger, but I know very little about beauty products other than “colours I like” so I tend not to bother. Clothes are my thang!!

              Then as I have become more and more comfortable with my being, and got more and more addicted to the fashion blogging world I have come to realise that there is a proportion of successful bloggers who are not as comfortable with their own blogs as I am with mine – I don’t buy products to pretend they have been gifted to me, I don’t pirate other peoples content , I don’t quest for a million followers, I dont have to be told how pretty I look ( believe me, I don’t look pretty !!). So whilst I might be a lone voice, at least I’m an honest voice, content in my own being.

              I do feel victimized, I do feel ignored, I have been laughed at, and I have been looked down upon, but I have also met some wonderful supportive and inspirational people whilst on my quest – I would’nt change that for the world.

              :0)
              Paul
              xx
              paul latest blog post: Pucci AW13

              Reply
            • Arash Mazinani February 24, 2013, 2:37 PM

              wow, where do I start? First of all congrats B on a really thought provoking, well written post.

              I often feel like I’m an outsider looking in.

              Like I’m a teen looking into a house where all the other guys from my school are having a party but I’m not invited in. Occasionally some people will come outside the house and we’ll chat a little but then they’ll go back inside and I’m left watching while everyone at the party converses with each other, drinks and has a good time.

              Why do I feel like I’m an invisible blogger?

              As a guy, particularly a straight guy, commenting on fashion and style, for both men and women, I seem to be a bit of a rarity.

              I don’t post ‘outfit posts’ even though I’ve often felt my blog would probably be much more successful if I did.

              I don’t advertise on my blog, nor do many companies get in touch.

              I seem to get blanked by a lot of other bloggers when I try and engage with them on Twitter, particularly British bloggers. (I tend to find US bloggers a lot more friendly, most of my favourite bloggers are based in the US :-).

              I don’t do street style

              I don’t comment on fashion week.

              I don’t own a DSLR so most of my pictures are taken using my mobile or taken from the Internet.

              So what do I do?

              Well, I tend to enjoy writing posts that generate conversation around style and fashion and retail. Sometimes I’m a little controversial, but I’d much rather be saying something rather than nothing at all. At times I don’t feel like a fashion blogger and I almost considered switching things up to get more followers etc etc I once considered getting a DSLR to get better photos, but then thought what’s the point if I don’t even know what constitutes to a ‘great photo’. Like I mentioned earlier I thought about doing outfit posts but then that wasn’t what I started my blog for.

              Come 5 years, 7, 10, are people really going to care about what you wore on a specific date? Probably not. I wanted to great content that people could stumble upon years later and get some value from it. Whether that be a post about body image or a post on how to wear a certain piece of clothing just something with some sort of lasting appeal.

              I do feel though that IFB in particular is great at pushing that particular stereotype. But I think you have to ask yourself what you do you want to get out of your blog?

              For some people they want to make it their sole source of income, for those then IFB probably provides them with great value.

              But for many, blogs are mainly a hobby and they’re happy to make some money from it on the side, they’ll probably find some value in IFB too.

              But for those that aren’t too bothered, they just want to write about what they enjoy writing about and aren’t too bothered about making money from their blog. They tend to be the ones that feel like some how they aren’t ‘proper’ fashion bloggers because they’re not ticking certain boxes.

              I sometimes wonder whether there is a sort of fashion bloggers bubble, kind of like the internet bubble and whether it’ll burst? Everyone and their mum seems to have a blog nowadays about fashion/style so I’m interested to see what things are like in say 3-5 years time?
              Arash Mazinani latest blog post: Is Side Boob The New Cleavage?

              Reply
            • Trianna February 24, 2013, 1:54 PM

              I am so ridiculously happy that I’m not alone in this. I’ve stopped saying that I’m a “fashion blogger” because of the preconception that everyone now has of what that is.
              I write the way that I speak, articulately with opinions and the occasional slang. I despise taking pictures. Despise it. I feel that the only way that I’ll ever get anywhere in this blogging world is to follow what others are doing. Yet, I resist.
              I absolutely refuse to cover the fashion shows unless they absolutely fascinate me. If they do, I’ll add commentary. Real life commentary. Not “Oh, how beautiful!” or “Tres chic!” I write my blog because I know what it’s like to love fashion but not know what to do with it. I know what it is to love the trend, but not be able to a) afford it or b) wear it. That doesn’t make me any less fashionable. Simply broke and chubby.
              It’s amazing to me that these blogs, that are nothing better than product placement ads, are so big. I don’t think I’m the best thing out, but I wonder if some of these “invisible fashion bloggers”, would have a better chance at being noticed if IFB and others started focusing on the smaller (not as well known) blogs instead of the well known ones.
              Images are great, but there are times when words are better inspiration. Better yet. Use both. I loved this entire post and I commend you for saying something that’s been on my mind for about two years now.
              Trianna latest blog post: How to Wear Extreme Wedges

              Reply
            • Heather Fonseca February 22, 2013, 9:58 PM

              Fashion is a visual media. It is best expressed through photos or videos. Although I greatly enjoy reading about fashion, your blog included, I get most of my sartorical inspiration through the images in blogs, on Pinterest and to a lesser degree these days, in magazines.
              In a way I think being a blogger is a bit like being a teenager. We’re all excited about our possibilities, but feel marginalized anyway. As an older woman with an image heavy personal style blog I struggled with figuring out where I fit in the fashion blogging community as well. But as a visual person with a background in fashion design I love the visual aspects of blogging. I’m not a fabulous writer, so my blog has to be about the images!
              I think we just need to do what we like to do and ignore the IFB’s and Shamepuffs of the world. Obviously we’re attracting readers even if what we do is niche.

              Reply
            • Cameron February 22, 2013, 9:55 PM

              To this day, nearly three years into fashion blogging, I still wonder if my blog is a fashion blog at times. Sure, I shine the spotlight on other people’s style, and I hope my readership — the ones who aren’t a part of my violet-eyed cult, anyway — can see the fashion in all of the music videos I embed into each Music Monday post, but I also have a readership that is split three-ways between a) those who were with me from the beginning until mid-December 2011; b) those who visit my blog just to read that one post about a certain posthuman/alien genetic fiction from mid-December 2011 forward; and c) the bronies I’ve actively courted to counteract the cult I didn’t want. Not only that, but I don’t have personal style posts of my own — it would grind to a halt fast due to my limited wardrobe, for starters — or any of the other things that say, “I’m the repeller of men lost in a sea of shoes as shot by a sartorial-inclined photographer and his French fashion illustrator girlfriend.”

              In short: I still have no idea what the hell I’m doing sometimes. The only thing I can do is run my own race, and hope it makes sense for everyone else.
              Cameron latest blog post: Follow Friday: Fashionjazz

              Reply
            • FASHION TALES February 22, 2013, 6:19 PM

              Oh, this is very good B, yes of course I have thought heavily about this. Especially, since I really don’t fit into the “typical blogger,” looking crowd whatever that even means these days.
              In the past, I have often felt a bit invisible … when it seemed that the same bloggers make it on the top list of the week posts or have major press encounters from ‘this or that’, and I wonder, well what about others bloggers/writers like me? Some people think that it’s either or good style vs. a good writer, however there are many bloggers who have great style who can also write well, but certainly not everyone! I think it’s important to remember that it’s the body of work … whatever the topic! Whether it’s your styling or a controversial topic posted, etc. We are all different and there are various calibers and aspects of blogging that some may do better than others, be it writing editorials, tutorials, photography, styling or all of the previously mentioned. I am happy with my blog without it fitting into a perfectly packaged anything. To me, above all having your own passionate voice and sticking to your guns so-to-speak, regardless of the status quo (of the blogosphere) is what’s important!
              FASHION TALES latest blog post: Spring Style Diaries Part: 2 With Gudrun Sjödén

              Reply
            • kristy elena February 22, 2013, 5:58 PM

              very intelligent commentary. i like how you point out some of the hypocrisy that exists in what people say versus what they are actually saying versus what actually exists.

              nicely done, B. ;) miss you btw.

              Reply
            • Shybiker February 22, 2013, 5:34 PM

              I think some of us worry too much about where our blog fits in the world. We are better off just using our blog to express whatever appeals to us. Some of us write well, some photograph well, some dress well. We should focus on our personal interest and let that guide the blog. Trying to define ourselves is pointless and caring about what the big bloggers are doing is irrelevant to our activity.
              Shybiker latest blog post: Pro Photos

              Reply
            • M @StyleSizzle February 22, 2013, 3:17 PM

              I’m back. This conversation has fascinated me this morning and I’ve spent hours reading everyone’s responses to this, Leandra’s post and, of course, Suzy Menke’s story. I ended up writing my own post (linked below) as a response on why sponsors aren’t a necessary “evil” and can actually be good for a lot of local businesses. I really think people overlook the fact that a lot of times, it’s the little guy that needs support and I’m more than happy to shine the light on deserving people/businesses.
              M @StyleSizzle latest blog post: A Word About Sponsors

              Reply
            • Heidi/The Closet Coach February 22, 2013, 1:02 PM

              This is so full of good brain thinking I’m not sure where to start! :)

              I’m not really sure where my blog fits in to the fashion/style blogging universe.

              My niche is writing about personal style and outfit advice for working moms and other busy women. So maybe that makes it a personal style blog?

              One day a week I post an outfit photo; I started doing this because I felt it was important to show readers how I “walk the walk” of my outfit advice (and also when I try things that aren’t so successful). It also personalizes the site. So maybe that makes it a personal style blog?

              But my photos aren’t as professional looking as the big bloggers (heck, I still can’t figure out how to take bokeh pictures with my old Canon Rebel), so really don’t feel like I’m in that same universe, or even trying to be.

              I rarely write about fashion trends, other than to translate them into wearable ideas, and I never cover the runway shows. So I don’t think I’m a fashion blogger?

              And yet I would answer yes to some of your questions at the end. So I guess I’m also an invisible fashion blogger?

              If I had to pick a label for myself, I’d say I’m a style advice blogger. And someday I hope to be as awesome as other ladies in that space, like Wardrobe Oxygen or Already Pretty or Ain’t No Mom Jeans.
              Heidi/The Closet Coach latest blog post: Fab Fridays outfit set: Pops of blue

              Reply
            • Cate February 22, 2013, 11:41 AM

              B I have SO MANY HUGS FOR YOU.

              I have felt like this for YEARS, and it’s so empowering to know that I wasn’t the only one. I think your point that fashion blogging doesn’t only consist of street style and personal style is so relevant. For ages I felt like “I wasn’t doing it right” because I wasn’t posting a bazillion picture of myself to my blog. That was the only type of blog that ever seemed to make it big, and it led to my very brief, but very misguided foray onto lookbook.nu. Thank goodness I found my way out of that.

              The point is, my personal opinion is that the topics that “invisible bloggers” cover are much more salient to the average woman. They talk about real world issues that the every-woman faces when trying to look fashionable not break the bank. Things like vanity-sizing, where to get the best deals, designers who are eco-conscious or cater to plus-sizes… the list goes on. Accepting gifted items and peacocking them on your blog adds NOTHING to the discussion, and I’ve always felt that way. It takes little skill to dress yourself, but it takes a lot of time and dedication to find and promote things that matter. The research that I have seen you or Vahni put into a post is ridiculous! And you NEVER find that on a personal style blog, and yet they are off jet-setting, while bloggers like you are largely ignored. It sucks!

              I hate to point fingers, but one of the major reasons I left IFB is because of their contribution to this problem. I personally feel that there is no space in that community for the “invisible blogger” and it got very frustrated to feel like I was putting so much into a community that was ignoring me. To this day it takes a ton of willpower to not hop over there and snark post on the latest thing that I think is ridiculous. There is SO MUCH more to fashion than dressing yourself everyday, and I think that bloggers themselves need to recognize that. So many problems in the blogosphere stem from that. Remember how we all used to complain about vague comments like “Nice dress!” etc? What else are you supposed to say on a post that is just pictures of you in a dress? I much prefer blogs like yours B, that make the effort to spark meaningful discussions about issues that face us in the real world.

              In the end, I think that blogosphere in general has gotten a pretty big head. It started out with great intentions, got a taste of power and then spiraled out of control. There are so many insincere bloggers who have completely lost sight of the humility that made them great in the first place. I hope that eventually bloggers can ditch the sense of entitlement that has crept up through the ranks. It’s that very thing that has made me largely abandon most fashion blogs. If bloggers want to prove that they deserve their space in the fashion sphere, they need to prove they can bring something of substance to the table. I’m not impressed you can dress yourself.
              Cate latest blog post: Criticism/Uncensored: Why Fashion Bloggers Are Not Journalists, and How They Killed Their Credibility

              Reply
            • M @StyleSizzle February 22, 2013, 11:35 AM

              Oh, I know exactly what you’re talking about. I’m a magazine editor and freelance writer so when I first started blogging, my articles were naturally a lot lengthier and a lot more in-depth than typical blog posts. Over the past year, I’ve struggled with everything you’ve described above; friends told me to take pictures of myself, people asked for more images, less words and I was told repeatedly that everyone just wants to see pretty things and aren’t reading as much anymore. It’s sad, truth be told. Part of the reason I began my blog to begin with was to share some tidbits and behind-the-scenes things I experience when on assignment; when part of a great interview gets cut from a magazine, I now have a place to share it! And now the struggle is trying to strike a balance between what I want to say and “feed the beast” sort of speak. I invested in a camera. I started dipping my toes in personal style posts. I try to strike a bit more of a balance.
              I do think it’s important to adapt; a blog is this constantly evolving, living thing. If people are craving something specific from you, give it. But there should be a line between giving it and staying true to yourself. There are so many definitions of what a blogger is that, to be frank, no one really knows. A blogger is sometimes a writer, a photographer, a stylist, a business person, etc. There isn’t one real definition of what a blogger is anymore and I’m so sick of the the stereotype that all a blogger is capable of doing is taking pictures of themselves in the free clothes they were sent. There are plenty of bloggers out there that have a voice, and lots to say.
              M @StyleSizzle latest blog post: Embrace Spring Fashion Trends Without Spending a Dime

              Reply
            • Heidi/The Closet Coach February 22, 2013, 1:08 PM

              Keep doing what you’re doing! A million years ago I worked in newspapers, and one of the reasons I started *my* blog was to have an outlet to write article-type posts about style and fashion. Over time, the way I’ve evolved–mostly as a way to try to balance it all–is to plan out my editorial calendar using themes where each day of the week has a specific focus; some are meant to be shorter, some longer, and 1 day a week is an outfit photo.

              I also think the “blogger” label is becoming inaccurate–we’re not writing online journal entries (the original web log), we’re online writers, editors and publishers of a whole range of different kinds of content.
              Heidi/The Closet Coach latest blog post: Fab Fridays outfit set: Pops of blue

              Reply
            • MJ February 22, 2013, 10:32 AM

              As you always do B, you hit the nail right on the head. I’ve been feeling this way for over a year now and I just see the problem becoming worse. I’ve always said that blogging was a way to do away with the stereotypes perpetuated by the tightly controlled traditional media. Blogging is supposed to give we, the real consumers and people a voice and a say in the fashion that we ultimately buy. Blogging was supposed to bridge the disconnect between the fashion world and the real world. In some respects, it has done that. However, like you said it has created a new and restricting stereotype.

              There was a time where I felt I wasn’t a true fashion blogger because I wasn’t doing outfit pictures every single day. Then I realized that I’m a writer first and I wouldn’t be happy just posting images or pictures of myself. It goes back to the blogger golden rule, “Be True to Yourself”. But then if you want to go pro, the rule has become “You have to be like the other top bloggers” with pretty pictures and expensive clothes. Now the blogosphere has become supersaturated with outfit of the day bloggers that it makes it even harder for other bloggers, like myself, to be seen. I do feel sites like IFB and Stylecaster have a responsibility to all of us, and not just those who fall into those neat little categories.
              MJ latest blog post: Fierce Fashion: The Ruffle Trend

              Reply
            • Bella Q, The Citizen Rosebud February 22, 2013, 10:06 AM

              Holy fuck, you’re good B. How you can articulate then expound on something I didn’t even know I was thinking/feeling until you wrote it and I read it? Fuck. You are tearing the lid off the invisible ceiling for me, and calling out what has tangled me and my “niche”. Am I a fashion blogger? I question that all the time. Do I feel invisible? Hell, yes, especially by the likes of Style Caster and IFB, especially by IFB. They sell a story but none of their proof is in the pudding. I can’t even go on- must finish drinking morning coffee, get on with my day and come back to this.

              But I am so glad you are back to the blogg-spere, babe.

              PS: you were the FIRST non personal style blogger I decided to follow- I wanted to stick to a genre and the PS’ers were the ones I related to the most. Then you came along, refusing to pose before the camera and writing great fashion editorial pieces. I was, uh, nope. Not a personal style blogger, then I realized how much I savored your thought provoking perspective, and serious writing chops, and bink! You were on my reader. And it’s posts like these that validate the reason why.

              Quality, whatever genre or niche is always worth making room for.
              Bella Q, The Citizen Rosebud latest blog post: Street Feet: Coach Classic

              Reply
            • Reddest Roar February 22, 2013, 10:00 AM

              Hey B,
              In do know exactly what you mean. When I was writing as Mrs Bossa (it was a while ago now!), I definitely felt separate from the typical fashion blogger scene (and certainly from super bloggers). I’m considering blogging again, and in some ways it was easier and less overfacing first time round, before I was aware of any of the intimidating concepts you mentioned! It’s all too easy now to feel you have to squeeze yourself into a niche that isn’t really for you and limit yourself as a result, when in many cases people start to blog because they love to experiment with writing, whatever the subject.

              You may remember when several of us began writing as the ‘Feminist Fashion Bloggers’ collective; I certainly felt then as though we were writing for a tiny corner of the market, and part of our motivation was to broaden it as a subject and make it part of the bigger discussion. I would still like that!

              I always found it gratifying to see fellow ‘small-scale’ bloggers become ‘successful’, not necessarily through monetary gain or sponsorship, but through the amount of people reading their work, and through the quality of discussion centred around their blogs. Aside from your good self, Veshoevius of Taxonomy of my Wardrobe springs to mind as a great example; she loves fashion and has a great skill for writing mixed with a healthy irreverence, and people simply enjoy reading what she writes. As well as eyeing up her incredible shoe collection. ;)

              Reply
            • Courtney February 22, 2013, 9:39 AM

              Ooo B! Where to start?!

              When I started blogging, I was super into fashion, then I was super into makeup. Then I realized I hated the pressure of being in a “niche” so I just started writing about what *I* wanted to write about. And you know what?I liked it. Even better, other people like it too. I think having an honest voice is what attracts me to most blogs I read on a continuous basis.

              Personally, I shy away from big blogs like Man Repeller. I kind of read Garance’s blog, but not really. Why? I’m more interested in hearing opinions and not just pretty photos from whatever fashion shows are going on. I’d rather hear women I relate to talking about issues I relate to, whether it’s fashion or feminism, whatever.

              I think bloggers who last are the ones that make their blog their own. If you try to emulate what you see around you, that’s where you get in trouble. It’s not about reaching the bar or setting the bar, but doing something you believe in.
              Courtney latest blog post: Red Lipstick Challenge: Wearing Red Lipstick for a Year

              Reply
            • Heidi/The Closet Coach February 22, 2013, 1:11 PM

              Totally agree. The blogs that are in my Google Reader tagged as “always” are the ones that consistently write interesting / funny / useful posts in a strong and unique voice. They may or may not be writing about the latest fashions. They may or may not have photos of themselves, or even great photos. But they are always worth reading.
              Heidi/The Closet Coach latest blog post: Fab Fridays outfit set: Pops of blue

              Reply
            • Courtney February 22, 2013, 3:29 PM

              I totally agree. And there’s this pressure to “keep up with the Jones’s.” Get a DSLR. Pay a web designer. Buy a premium theme. Pay a publicist. Get an agent. If people would relax and actually enjoy what they’re doing (and yes, figure it out themselves), then they would be “always” blogs.
              Courtney latest blog post: Red Lipstick Challenge: Wearing Red Lipstick for a Year

              Reply
            • Cassie March 14, 2013, 12:16 AM

              I agree with this whole post, and especially Courtney’s comments. When I started blogging I just added everyone and everything I could find to my Reader, but as time goes on I find myself trimming away so many based on two things; they either don’t post very often, or they post the same sort of thing all the time. Endless outfit posts totally bore me on a blog – why not just do that on Instagram? We have so many different options for expressing ourselves these days, I really feel like blogs should be where we put the words that won’t fit anywhere else.
              Cassie latest blog post: Edward Furlong comes to Sydney…or not.

              Reply
            • GRIT & GLAMOUR February 22, 2013, 9:21 AM

              I agree that the state of affairs in fashion blogging tends to be that a select few (that are very compelling, there’s no doubt about it) get all the press and love. But that’s kind of the way of the world. Not everyone can be at the top, not everyone doing great things is going to get the accolades they deserve.

              I do agree with this: “Have you ever felt like the written word is becoming a lost art in the fashion blog community?” Yes…but this is a two-fold issue; some bloggers are more focused on the art of streetstyle photography, which is fine, so words are secondary. A larger part of this issue is the HUGE subset of bloggers who can’t write, can’t spell, don’t know the basics of grammar, AND have mediocre photos. There is NOTHING really compelling, on any level. And that’s why many of them are invisible.

              I know my blog is a weird mix of fashion, food, and lifestyle, and I’ve always said my content is more about the written word than photos, and I do think that it is. As such, I don’t really fit nicely into any one bucket, and I really never have. I do think a childhood of being wholly unpopular, of not “fitting in,” has prepared me marvelously for the reality of fashion blogging today. I’ve always marched to the beat of my own drum, sometimes for better, sometimes for worse, but I have always found comfort in the fact that I DID WHAT I WANTED TO DO. I won’t say others’ opinions don’t matter, but in reality, the only opinions that truly matter to me are my husband’s and my mother’s, and that is seriously it. So if I’m cool with them, I really don’t give a flying fig whether the rest of the world puts me on a pedestal or shoots me down…my life and blog continue either way. I’ve experienced both circumstances, and more strangely, have had the very people who shot me down turn around and put me on a pedestal. Now, who is the one who doesn’t know who they are or what they stand for in THAT situation? Certainly not me. I’m the constant.

              In the end, I am very comfortable with who I am, and whether I am invisible or not really does not matter. My blog is my place to be creative, and if people identify, super. If not, there are plenty of other blogs to keep them happy.

              Very thought-provoking post. And well-written. Which is why I always come back. ;)
              GRIT & GLAMOUR latest blog post: Worker V: 2.8 Red Rule Breaker

              Reply
            • Ashe @ Ash in Fashion February 22, 2013, 9:44 AM

              A larger part of this issue is the HUGE subset of bloggers who can’t write, can’t spell, don’t know the basics of grammar, AND have mediocre photos. There is NOTHING really compelling, on any level. And that’s why many of them are invisible.

              YES. Dear god, yes. I have to first begin my response with this. As someone who has contributed to IFB for many years(and as a contributor, I thank you, B, because you’ve given me for food for thought re: some upcoming posts I can write), I’ve seen hundreds of comments along the lines of “Why doesn’t anyone visit my site?” My mental response tends to be, “Well, WHY should they come? You can’t use a period, your photos are subpar, and you have no theme or point to your article. What the hell are you giving them?”

              As for the remainder of this post, I know you and I have talked about this often, B. I thank you for this post, because while I started my site as a place to share my love of fashion, I’ve often felt it’s unbalanced and has become more so as I’ve gotten older, grown, and changed; I’ve always been more inclined to call myself a lifestyle blogger because fashion felt so uncomfortable (and can we talk about how that’s now the rage and we’re supposed to condemn bloggers for growing? sigh.). It’s been joked on my site many, many times that my first love if writing, then film, and then fashion.

              And for a comment… I feel that I’ve lost my point, or what I needed to say, or how to articulate my response. But as I said yesterday, being called a fashion blogger leaved me with a lot of mixed emotions… maybe because, as you mentioned– I do promote consumption (to a degree, and ironically, most people DON’T see what I buy), but I want to believe that can be combined with meaningful discussions… if only writing those didn’t wipe me out.
              Ashe @ Ash in Fashion latest blog post: What I Wore: Pumped Up Kicks

              Reply
            • Cate February 22, 2013, 11:51 AM

              Ashe, I’m totally with you! As I was saying to you yesterday on twitter, I think it sucks that people like you have contributed so much to the blogosphere feel like they can’t even claim the title “fashion blogger” anymore, because the term has essentially been co-opted by the fly-by-nights with tons of cash to buy designer. Fashion is so much more than just pretty clothes, and it’s time that bloggers of substance take back the term. I always feel so mixed when articles like these are published because while I used to claim the term and I know those criticisms don’t apply to me, I can rattle off a ton of blogs who do fit that unsavoury mold without a second thought. I’m always amused when IFB rage posts about these articles (no disrespect) because it really shows me that there is no self-awareness about the kinds of things they promote. I can’t get on-board that.
              Cate latest blog post: Criticism/Uncensored: Why Fashion Bloggers Are Not Journalists, and How They Killed Their Credibility

              Reply
            • Courtney February 22, 2013, 3:25 PM

              Yes to all of this!

              I totally agree with you on your growing comment–the way I look at is this: This is my HOBBY, my love, my PASSION. All of those things. And if I’m putting so much energy and time into it, then of course I should change and transform my content every now and then. I think one huge hangup most bloggers starting out have is they are terrified to leave their niche. I’m sorry to say this because I know a lot of people here really love IFB, but it’s not all that great for bloggers when they see platforms like IFB that basically drill it into you, “Be in a niche or perish!”
              Courtney latest blog post: Red Lipstick Challenge: Wearing Red Lipstick for a Year

              Reply
            • Cassie March 14, 2013, 12:19 AM

              ” A larger part of this issue is the HUGE subset of bloggers who can’t write, can’t spell, don’t know the basics of grammar”
              I try not to be jealous of others success, because that way lies madness, but when I see people with a much bigger following than me who don’t know the difference between bear and bare, I get a little twitchy.
              Cassie latest blog post: Edward Furlong comes to Sydney…or not.

              Reply
            • Key June 7, 2013, 1:26 PM

              I agree; this is a very good and needed article.

              Reply
            • My Blogging Journey March 7, 2013, 12:46 AM

              [...] thanks to B of Beautifully Invisible whose post Fashion Blogging: It’s Not Just About Pretty Pictures inspired me to open up about my own blogging [...]