YOU MAY OR MAY NOT HAVE NOTICED,
but over the last year and half I have scaled back drastically on my style-specific posts. Which is probably a weird thing to do, given that one of my things has always been to showcase that there is “style in everything”. Here’s the thing. I still like style, and clothes, and fashion, and shopping. And I still believe there is style in everything. But what I don’t like about style, or more specifically fashion, is the excessiveness, the waste, the pressure to keep up, the exclusivity. Even more so, I don’t like how much of it seems to be fueled by social media.
As someone who has always had a smaller clothing budget, I’ve spent most of my life wearing primarily items I could find either on-sale or thrifted, or that I saved up (for what would feel like an eternity) to buy. I understood the value of an investment item, how sticking to classic pieces made your closet go farther and I became a pro at wearing one thing multiple ways. When I started this site, and I decided to incorporate my love of fashion into the content, to me, that meant sharing fashion as I knew it- on sale, thrifted, re-worn. It worked (well, as much as a a lime green cardigan, F21 accessories and too much leopard could work…if you’ve ever wondered why I deleted old outfit posts, now you know…).
But, as the world of social media and blogging grew, so did my site and my following, and along with it opportunities to evolve and expand. I started shopping more, even though my budget hadn’t changed all that much. But what had changed was the pressure to keep up. To be cool. To wear the latest trend. To always have something new to share to keep content relevant and interesting. To push sales (that aren’t even all that good). To always have an affiliate link to share (I mean, the horror of having to share something that I didn’t have a link to!). To get noticed and, fingers-crossed, regrammed. It began to feel like everyone was wearing something new every day, getting noticed, growing like crazy…and I was left in the dust of the back corner of the thrift store sorting through pairs of old Levi’s praying for just one of them to fit me.
Not only was I feeling frustrated by the pressure to keep up, I also started to get really jealous that I didn’t have the budget to shop the way everyone else seemed to. I’d also get really depressed about my body because it felt like all of the trendy pieces never worked for my body type (the blessing and curse of being well-endowed up top). On top of that, something just didn’t sit well with me with this idea of constantly telling people about new pieces and making someone feel the same pressure that I was feeling, to shop (possibly outside of their means) to keep up, meanwhile there are so many struggling with poverty, homelessness and keeping up with the basics of life. I also am not a fan of being part of an industry where people are essentially conning people to make money aka buying things just to shoot photos in them so that they can then share said items with an affiliate link, only to have returned the actual items they’re peddling. Meanwhile, other people think this person has an endless budget and the coolest closet and they feel bad about themselves because they don’t/can’t afford to/can’t keep up. Oh, and can we also talk about just how incredibly wasteful and excessive it all is? Between clothing ending up in landfills, all the extra packaging from buying so much and, the chemicals and energy used to produce clothing, it puts a real toll on our already struggling planet.
To be totally honest, all these thoughts and feelings made me feel a bit lost and a bit down on myself. I love my platform, my site, my audience. But I didn’t like what I as seeing in the fashion space as a whole and I wanted to use my voice and platform for good, not to add to the noise. Yet, I felt like anytime I tried to to share something different, it quickly disappeared in the black hole that is the internet (case in point- this post where I talk about why I don’t promote big sales). So, instead of saying something, I just stopped saying anything.
I’ve been processing these thoughts and feelings and how to proceed ever since. This site has always been an extension of my personal life and the reality is, in my personal life, I still don’t have some big clothing budget, I don’t really follow trends (if you’re looking for dad sneakers, you’ve come to the wrong place), I like classic pieces in basic colors, I feel the most comfortable in jeans and a tee, I love thrifting, I’m always saving for my next investment piece, I like to make sustainable clothing choices, and, despite what you might think, I’ve never stopped loving style.
After almost a year of reflecting on this, I still don’t have all the answers, but that hasn’t stopped me from taking steps forward. I’ve slowly been cleaning out my closet so that it only holds classic items, items that are well-made from quality materials that actually fit me and actually make me feel good, I’ve stopped buying only things I can link and instead buy things because I love them (crazy concept, I know), I’ve remembered to shop for what works for my body and not someone else’s (and even launched a whole series around it…Hey B.Support!), I’ve begun making more purchases from companies that are doing good and making an impact, I’ve dedicated more time to working on projects that do good and spent less time comparing my closet to some stranger’s closet on the internet, and I’ve fully committed to transforming my closet into something that is built entirely on sustainable pieces from conscious brands (more on that here).
Here on the site, as far as style is concerned, some of the shifts I want to focus on include highlighting brands that are using high-quality materials, are sustainable, are local and/or are making an impact. I want to show more ways to wear one piece, highlight thrifted items, emphasize quality over quantity and showcase that just because you’ve worn something already doesn’t mean you can’t look stylish in it. I want to use editorial images (because I do have fun putting together and shooting that kind of content) in longer think-pieces, like this one, as a means to inspire doing good, having discussions or being creative, not just for you to click “Purchase”. And, of course, I want to continue to showcase the style found in every aspect of life (aka packing lists and what to wear where or dressing & dining), and how style can enhance an experience (like a cute dress to wear to a backyard bbq) but that it isn’t the whole experience nor should it ever take away from an experience.
Oh, and don’t even get my started on outfits when I was traveling. The pressure to have “the perfect outfit to match the location” (with something new that I could use affiliate links for, of course) reached such high levels that I’m mortified at the things it made me do. The complete and total meltdowns I would have, the fights it would cause between Dave + I, the hours I would spend shopping for something else because I didn’t like anything I packed and, then consequently just grabbing something quick and easy from places I was familiar with, like H&M, all the while missing out on the very place I had traveled so far to experience. It all finally caught up with me when, on a trip last year, I did my usual move of running to a store, buying a bunch of things, lugging them around (in addition to our regular luggage) all with the intention that I would return whatever didn’t work for photos at the end of the trip. Joke was on me, though, because the store’s return policy was totally different abroad than it was here in the states and I was stuck with several hundred dollars worth of items I didn’t really even like to begin with…all for a few photos and affiliate link clicks. I felt dumb and tbh, quite mad at myself. But I’m also grateful for the expensive, but invaluable, wake-up call it gave me. Just the other day, while in Palm Springs, on a trip that was for relaxing, not working, I found myself going down a familiar rabbit hole, thinking about a photo app, feeling like I had nothing to wear, running to H&M…and then realizing I didn’t even like anything in the store/everything was made with terrible materials. I walked out without purchasing a single thing, went back to the hotel and re-worked a few pieces, went out for drinks, took a few quick snaps (in which I realized anything I came close to impulse purchasing would have actually looked terrible), and then did this crazy thing where I put away my phone and just enjoyed my time.
Here’s the thing. Clothes and trends come and go, social media changes daily, but having body confidence, feeling good about yourself and the clothes you wear, loving your life (not someone else’s), doing good for others, making an impact, giving back, helping the planet, being kind, traveling somewhere to experience and learn about a new culture…those things never go out of style. And, at the end of the day, that’s the real style I hope to inspire you to find in every aspect of your life…