This is the story of how I fell for the fiction.
I was minding my own business a couple of months ago, probably trying to find reviews on something I’d just bought, when I was hit over the head by The Truths.
Can you handle them?
Truth #1 is that the world portrayed in style blogs and Pinterest doesn’t exist. Those carefree poses in perfect outfits… they last just long enough for the photo shoot, and then the t-shirts and jeans come back out and the makeup comes off. It’s a staged life, really. Do the bloggers ever get to be real, or do they have to be walking Photoshop all the time?
Truth #2 is that bloggers are paid to sell. It’s their job to create a frenzy for a dress or shoe that we really don’t need. Just click that link to give them the money! (No really, don’t click their links. It gives them all the monies even when they don’t disclose that bit of information. Or, click if you want to. But be informed about what the clicking does!) They are given very expensive items to showcase on their blogs. Or lots of inexpensive items. Or, if they’ve really made it, a collaboration! As long as they showcase! And sell those same items to unsuspecting clickers! And wear those items for at least 60 seconds while glee-faux-ly prancing down the street! Some bloggers then sell the things that they got for free. What else are they going to do? They can’t possibly be photographed in the same things again! And who knows if they actually even like what they got for free.
I’ve always loved to shop, but over the past 3-4 years, the problem had become a different animal. It was all related to the truths above. When I first started following style blogs, I wanted to be like the bloggers. I wanted to look impeccable, and it ached to know that I couldn’t dress that way daily. I tried to find ways to incorporate the types of things I was “supposed” to be wearing to be current, but I still couldn’t manage it. I really thought I just needed a bigger budget, more clothes, more shoes.
But, I also needed somewhere to go. And a nightlife. And a passport. Or something. I needed to have something significant to do so that I could look the part. I had nothing… just some at-home part-time work, errands, and school things with my kids.
I was missing the life that accompanies the style blog “look.”
This summer, I came to the conclusion that even the blogger “life” is not really true at all. It’s all a stage. It’s a timestamp of supposed perfection.
I am an intelligent person, but I did exactly what I was supposed to do: I got caught up in the facade. I really believed that I had to have the “must-have” things of the season. The things the bloggers “lusted after” would complete my wardrobe. Oxblood skinnies. Chunky scarves. A mustard sweater. I’m ashamed to admit that I was “dying for” the ubiquitous studded shoes, though they would have at most zero wears in my lifetime. But I needed them in my closet!
If I didn’t like the way something looked on the blogger or model, I just had to adjust my eyes to the look. Eventually I’d come around and like the style. So, I started purchasing things that I thought looked unflattering. I bought a pair of heels so that I could start training my feet to accept the pain. You have to wear heels with jeans, right? (Nevermind that I’ve never, not once, seen that combination in real life.)
While I used to shop for fun, I started to feel like I was on an impossible mission that would never be finished. But I had to do it! I was so close to finding exactly what I needed.
Exactly what my computer screen was telling me I needed.
There are tons of women who have fallen the same way. Maybe those with shopaholic tendencies are worse off, but I bet some women started to become shopaholics thanks to blogs and Pinterest. I hope they are able to catch themselves and stop now.
This doesn’t only affect women. I’ve been researching a typically-male item on a dominantly-male forum. They use the word “obsessed” just as much as the female bloggers. There was a thread talking about how much purchasing that type of item had increased significantly as a result of that particular forum, how budgets were constantly blown, and how wives/girlfriends/significant others had to be placated so that they can continue to buy/sell/flip more of those items.
I’ve missed too much being caught up in this world. I’ve wanted to get back to reading good fiction, but spend all my free time reading harmful and dangerous material: style and fashion blogs. My 8-year-old has unexpectedly become an avid reader and I want to catch up with him. We’re going to read a book together soon. I want to get caught up in the world of well-written fiction, not shopping-inducing fakery.
Hallelujah! They are shilling swindlers!
My dear husband read this post and said a couple of interesting things. He referred to them as “commercial” blogs, which is an apt description, and that the people that run them are online salespeople. Someone has quit some other job to become a salesperson, or never had another job and this is a first gig that happens to bring in a lot of money. That is sad, the young 20-somethings who have only ever done this. Do they really think this will last forever? It’s akin to the Biebs “retiring” or whatever he said he was doing a year or two ago. I have more to say, and will be blogging more about it.
Thanks for this post. I stopped following many of these blogs, since I’ve been “obsessing” over a designer bag, that costs around 3k. Nobody NEEDS a bag that costs that much! However I couldn’t stop thinking about it.
Hell, as you say, we’re intelligent people, why do we fall for that? Insane!
Oh yes, the obsession! I had to stop reading about pricey bags, too. I had never been a bag person, and suddenly I was. How did that happen??
Hi. I’m new to your blog. Fantastic writing and you are so spot on. I laughed out loud regarding the “heels and jeans” combination. I also have never seen this on the street. Thanks for being real. We all need a dose of reality to keep us in check.
I couldn’t agree more- I have really stopped following bloggers as well. We all know they slip into comfort shoes after they take off their studded shoes
Hi! Great blog post. Sorting real from fantasy can be quite a task in the world of style blogs:) I blog, but I am not what you would call a commercial blogger. It’s a hobby, a way to connect with like minded individuals and I absolutely only post what I wear on a daily basis. I also know of and read a number of other blogs that are simply real people posting their real life outfits… that’s the kind of style blog I really love reading. It’s a good thing when we can stand up and reject the “must haves” promoted on many blogs… what is wrong with just being you? 🙂
I still love reading those types of blogs, too! They’re hard to find, though, because they’re not the ones that “everyone” links to, you know? Maybe now that I’ve sorted out the fiction, I can try to find more real-life blogs.
‘Fiction’ is spot on. I have always regarded so-called ‘Women’s magazines’ as toxic waste – they are full of narrow, toxic ideas about what Women should supposedly obsess about (men/fashion/make-up) and have nothing useful to say about the things that really matter: education, health, careers, balanced relationships, and are therefore an expensive waste of trees! Online fashion blogs are only one step away – their underlying messages need to be taken with a huge pinch of salt. NO ONE on earth lives a picture-perfect life. No one. And trying to emulate these carefully crafted images is self-defeating; these commercial blogs only exist to perpetuate a never-ending, insatiable cycle of buying, craving & more buying. There is no end. They reel you in & then feed off you forever more. My suggestion would be to take a step back: by all means read about those whom you genuinely admire & seek inspiration from (a specific designer/artist/writer etc), but know that you can create a self image FAR SUPERIOR to that being marketed at you by the commercial blogs. Why? Because you are not a blank canvas to be stamped on by the latest fad. You are an individual with a rich past, a real life & your own creative energy – and how you choose to (re)present yourself will reflect that individuality. Don’t let the fashion industry hijack your tastes; they are awash with really stupid fashion ‘advice’ – I often find their colour/clothing combinations really UGLY (remember the combat trouser + heels fad? Yuck!) Seriously, you can make far better judgements/selections for yourself. I’m afraid I’m rather cynical about ‘must have’ items – I see it as the ultimate sales technique for getting rid of stock the shops would otherwise not be able to sell. It’s almost always unwearable/unusable rubbish! Choose carefully, choose well, choose what works for you. Good luck!
I just found your blog and I am so glad I did. Everything you wrote about resonated with me and I am now on my journey to being me, unfollowing unrealistic blogs, and being comfortable with what I wear and not try to fill my closet with what I “should” have. Thank you are a great post.