This outfit might seem a little familiar. I posted an almost identical outfit a couple of months ago with the same pretty, demure skirt and a very cropped tee. I absolutely adore the skirt and I’ve worn it dozens of times, so it seemed like a natural choice to shoot and share it again. But I have to admit that I’ve been doubting myself, debating whether I should post the outfit as it’s similar to the previous one. I’ve even shifted dates so there’s a sufficient gap between the two posts. Talk about overthinking it! I’m not Kate Middleton and it’s not going to make headlines if I repeat an outfit. Yet, the fear was there.
As an old timer in the blogging world, I’ve seen the blogosphere change a lot over the years. Back when I started, it was very personal and a little rough around the edges. It was a rebellion against the super glossy monthly magazines; an authentic and accountable voice. We wrote about what we loved rather than kowtowing to advertisers. It was genuine. But as blogging has evolved into a form of mainstream media, it’s become much more polished and professional than it used to, which had both good and bad points.
On the plus side, I have seen countless people use their blog as a platform to launch a really successful career. A blogger is essentially a one-person publishing house and as such, bloggers build up a plethora of skills from writing, shooting, art direction, branding, editing, social media management, the list goes on! The online presence bloggers build up is so invaluable to brands and it can become a full time career. I met Matthew Zorpas long before he started his blog, The Gentleman Blogger, and I couldn’t be more pleased that he has become one of the most in demand menswear bloggers in the world. The evolution of blogging has also created in-house roles as well as entire agencies to manage influencers. That is the power of the blogosphere.
I also love the democracy within blogging; anyone can use it as a platform and it’s been incredible to see so many different types of women gain a following. Women who don’t look like they just stepped out of a magazine or off a runway. As a woman of colour, it’s so heartening to see women of all shades thriving. It’s so dope that Kaushal of Kaushal Beauty is a L’oreal ambassador! It’s also brilliant to see plus-size bloggers like Nadia Aboulhosn and Danielle Vanier absolutely slaying. There’s still a long way to go for true equality but I feel like the blogosphere is more than doing its part to help give equal prominence to all minorities.
However, there can’t be positives without some negatives. I’ve been blogging for long enough to remember when it first started, it felt like a community. Most of us knew each other and we would be rooting for each other. The blogging landscape in 2017 is quite different. It feels so fractured with lots of different blogging tribes or cliques and there seems to be a Twitter brouhaha every other week now. The negativity is almost deafening.
There are also the totally unrealistic expectations that blogging sets. The lifestyle portrayed has become such a contrived view of perfection. There has been lots of talk about bloggers photoshopping their blog and Instagram images, not just to punch up the colour but magazine-level airbrushing where the images are tweaked so much they barely resemble them. I’ve also heard of bloggers who have a separate credit card to order designer pieces to shoot and then return. There’s an immense pressure to have the latest pieces to shoot. But going to such lengths only to buy and return something while providing free publicity is ridiculous!
I feel like enough is enough. Blogging started from a good place, a genuine voice fighting against the sea of airbrushing, photoshopping and unattainability. But in an effort to evolve and refine blogging, we’ve now become what the magazines were. Pushing the envelope and striving to be better are great but I feel like we also have a responsibility to be accountable to our audiences. Things like excessive photoshopping or creating a fake lifestyle just feel deceitful.
It’s easy to call our the negative aspects but I have to admit, I also feel the pressure to create editorial-style images and have a constantly updated wardrobe. But I try to stay grounded to who I am. And if that means shooting the same skirt a couple of times then so be it. I’m a real person, I saw this skirt on ASOS, bought it and absolutely adore it.
Top – Miss Selfridge
Skirt – ASOS
Bag – Chloe
Heels – Sophia Webster
Photography: Adorn Girl.