harriet the skye

II

Picdump incoming: I really liked these photos. This outfit is just “not me” enough to be interesting – it’s slouchy and beige where I am usually fitted and bright. My cousin gave me this newsboy cap when I was about sixteen and he was cleaning out his basement. (He also offered me a bag of ancient, crumbly weed, found in the same crate as the hat. My cousin’s an odd duck.) This coat is for sale in my Etsy shop; these boots are the first decent winter pair I’ve had in a few years. Together, it all feels so prim and somehow reporter-ly, like I’m about to whip a Moleskine from my pocket and get to work taking your words out of context.

IV III

I have been ambivalent about blogging culture lately. Make no mistake: blogging does have a culture, full of its own cliches and foibles. Some of it I enjoy, some of it I enjoy ironically, and some of it I reject. But it seems to be harder and harder to evolve as a blogger without necessarily evolving into tropes and away from yourself. I’m proud of how my photography has improved over the years. My shots look far more polished than they used to. But “polished”, in this context, too often means “identical”. I can’t help but find the charm of an earnest-but-shitty post more compelling than a magazine-quality spread. There’s more variety in spottiness. I want to be good at what I do. I want to make great sartorial art and tell epic stories with it. I also don’t want to become so Good(TM) that I lose any individual luster.

IX VI

Think about what the Good(TM) bloggers do. The kinds of shots they take, the kinds of lives they lead. Individually, each one is talented and ambitious and I wish her all the best. Collectively, they represent a world that desperately needs some fresh blood. I am sick of mason jars and manicures and pseudo-pensive close-ups. I am sick of lattes and wedding pictures and studio apartments. I don’t want any sweatshop-made c/o crap, and I will not refer to Josh as “hubby” or “the boy”. I started blogging to feed my helpless, hapless love of clothes. That’s it. I didn’t sign on for these bizarre cultural accretions. Sometimes I’m embarrassed to call myself a fashion blogger, and that makes me want to completely, totally revamp what “fashion blogger” means.

XXII XVIII XIII

Bloggers once threatened the status quo. Magazines were no longer the sole arbiter of taste; ordinary women (and men) could democratize the art of getting dressed and make fashion truly their own. Today, bloggers are the status quo. I’m disgusted by corporate shilling disguised as “gift guides”. By bloggers dressed in head to toe c/o. By the fact that the highest-profile bunch are still thin, white, and couture-clad, despite lip service to “diversity”. When did my beloved medium turn into this?

XX VII XIVsta XII

It’s easy to be lazy. I know exactly the urbane, overbright tone to slip into when I need to seem relatable. I know a particularly well-foamed latte can net me a hundred hits. Sometimes it’s nicer to feel part of a community (no matter how grating I find that community) than sit alone in radio silence with my bloodstained nudes. But I started out in blogging as one of the capital-Q Weirdos. I intend to hold onto that mantle. No matter how twee I verge, I promise I’ll always be the blogger with the zillion hats and zombie makeup. I promise to always filter fashion blogging through the lens of being me, not the other way around.

Maybe I’m pretentious. In fact, I probably am. But at least I have something to say.

XIX XV XXI

VIII

5 Comments Add yours

  1. It’s so hard for me not to get caught up in what other blogs look like, how other bloggers are styling their clothes, how other bloggers get a million comments and hits and all that jazz… because I like to be liked. I will admit it: I like to be told I am beautiful/creative/interesting/whatever the heck other things stroke my vanity, and sometimes I get tempted to fall into the style of other people or the trend going on in the blogging culture in order to get that attention… but it’s blog posts like this that remind me the more important thing is to be myself. Words are one of my love languages, so I will always thrive on getting comments and being liked… but it’s way more important to earn those things because of who I really am, and not because of some trend I am trying to follow that isn’t really myself.

    So basically… I agree! Blogging definitely has a culture, and sometimes I’m embarrassed to say I have a fashion blog, too, because people have a stigma of fashion bloggers as girls who drink Starbucks and prattle on about clothes and have no real lives other than posting pictures and trying to get attention for being pretty. And hey, sometimes yes, I do all of those things. But I try hard not to fall into a rut.

    Also, regarding photography and having perfect-as-a-magazine pictures… I much prefer photos with personality and imperfections! I relate more when a blogger’s images aren’t perfectly lit, perfectly framed, perfectly perfect… y’know. My husband disagrees, because he is a MAJOR perfectionist and overuses the reflector, in my opinion, but I like photography that looks like real life.

    Also… never stop blogging please.

  2. Very well said! I’m in the food blogging space and struggle with similar things, like over-styled (conventional) food photos. I have to constantly remind myself to stick to my own values and original motivation for writing a blog – for self-expression and creativity – an old-fashioned idea now. Sometimes I forget and get caught up…and have to bring myself back. I wish I had started blogging back in the good old days!

  3. Melanie says:

    I think your coat on the tree with the handbag on the ground is a brilliant photo, especially in this context.

  4. Marlen says:

    “At least I have something to say” <– boom *drops mic*. Seriously though, I agree a lot with this. I personally don't mind if there's a lot of c/o going on because a girls gotta make money. BUT I do mind when there's no substance to the blog anymore. That's what makes me follow or unfollow people. I need to somehow either connect with the person, become inspired by their content, or feel some kind of buzz from their words. I feel like a lot of blogs out there are just "lol I'm wearing a coat, leopard shoes, and a scarf. Follow 4 follow?" You stop that. That doesn't give me anything, it didn't teach me anything, and I feel no different. It's kind of just boring. I also really enjoy blogs that help promote small businesses or vintage- I instantly want to read more. It's awesome to support the little guys, and I always feel like it makes for a more interesting outfit/ lifestyle. So you keep doing what you're doing, we're all behind ya 🙂

    xo marlen
    Messages on a Napkin

  5. Anna says:

    I admit, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into when I started blogging. It didn’t take long for the aforementioned circumstances to reveal themselves to me. It’s basically a game. A game that you didn’t really sign up to play, if that makes any sense. Hehe. All of a sudden, I’m in it to win it, but I don’t know what the winnings are. It’s easy to get caught up in the whole thing and it’s hard to stay grounded. I just have to remind myself of why I started blogging and then all of that anxiety and apprehension melts away. I’m playing the game, but with open eyes, now.

    – Anna

    http://www.melodicthriftychic.com

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