Not Buying It… How has the recession affected your fashion blog?

When I first started blogging, it was more of a deterrent of my shopping addiction.
I compulsively bought clothes, almost to the point of being embarrassed to post about my new scores. But as time went on, my shopping habits changed, some to do with what I was learning about clothing production and some ethical issues, some to do with the fact I couldn't sustain unhealthy shopping habits.

Then the recession happened. It's hard to say if my financial state has to do with the economy, or my general feelings about fashion were shifting anyway. I had moved to another country, lived in a place where it was possible to blog full time, I took a dramatic pay cut, and half the time I was flat broke. But that's ‘normal' for people starting a new career, in a new country.

However, the recession does play a part in what I post about, as the sales become more attractive to shoppers, it seems silly not to publish these. Also, the fact my economic situation has shifted, my daily outfits have become more routine as I wear the same clothes regularly therefore making my outfits unpostable, ‘leggings-cardigan-scarf-tank post #233 coming up!' And by the way, my leggings have reached the point of beyond-repair.

How strong is the tie between fashion and shopping anyway? Do they have to be synonymous?

Not Buying It…

Here's a lovely video of Vivienne Westwood talking about not-buying (via Sister Wolf) of course she's been saying that for years.. and while we're at it… Bits ‘n Bobbins has a great discussion about not-shopping too, not to mention the Telegraph talks about how now, isn't the time for throw away fashion.

Has the recession affected your blog? Has it affected you?

In what ways?

image by anyjazz65

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44 Responses

  1. Princess Dominique

    I keep an eye out for deals especially in this season or state of our economy. I recently got a pair of Givenchy shoes for 70% off that I know I would have NEVER been able to afford if we weren’t in the middle of a recession. People just can’t afford to pay those outrageous prices and I find that it benefits those who do have even a little to spend. I tell my visitors to just wait, wait, wait and wait some more, never impulse buy. What you see tomorrow will ALWAYS be on sale tomorrow–or next week.
    .-= Princess Dominique´s last blog ..Weekly Shopping and Goodies =-.

  2. Ashe Mischief

    Now that I’m not living on student loan funds anymore, and instead am on a super lower admin salary, my shopping habits have definitely changed. That could be partially related to the recession (because I’d probably be in a higher management position otherwise). At the same time, I’m thankful for it, because I really consider debt/savings/income more when I’m planning purchases (like I FINALLY bought a pair of Fluevogs I’d been wanting for almost a year now for my birthday, but bought them on eBay (worn 1x), so I got them cheaper…).

    It’s hard, because it makes hobbies like my Etsy shop feel a bit … failed? It’s not why I do it, but it definitely is something that crosses my mind.

    From a blog standpoint, I find that the recession may hurt blogs most when it comes to monetization. I feel lucky, because I don’t think my blog has ever been focused on what I’m wearing or what I’d bought recently– so it’s not affecting my stories much. I can still window shop, share pieces that I think are beautiful & amazing, and I can’t buy them. That hasn’t changed much, as I don’t buy everything I love anyhow….
    .-= Ashe Mischief´s last blog ..Betto Ditto for Evans U.K. =-.

  3. K-Line

    My habits have changed for many reasons – one being that I really have as much stuff as I can manage without being burdened by it. So I’m trying to recycle some of my current pieces to make space for new ones (that’s why I love Laws of General Economy). I also feel more comfortable with online purchasing and online vintage purchasing than I used to be – based on the experiences of others I’ve read about. I’m more of a bargain hunter now – I always was, truth be told, but then I was a bit more impulse driven. Combo of having more than enough things I love and can wear in multiple ways and needing to put money in other directions has made me less of a shopper overall. But a better one.
    .-= K-Line´s last blog ..A Rose By Any Other Name… =-.

  4. Fabulous Finds Gal

    Great post and discussion. Well, my blog hasn’t changed since I only began blogging in January. But, my shopping on all levels has certainly changed. I used to go thrifting almost everyday to score vintage clothing and home items. Now, I go once a week. I found I have such a collection that wasn’t wearing, because we slashed our entertainment budget, that I started a website. I guess you could say the recession has changed this collector into a dealer of sorts.

    And, I am said to say that when I follow the gals that buy an outfit a day or multiple antiques for the home, it’s a turn off. I’m not sure if I am jealous or that my priorities have changed forever. I would like to think the later. I think that living through excess of the 80’s and having the recent recession hit hard, I think my attitude about spending and excess has changed. I find myself enjoying simpilier things, moments with my family, days at the beach and a more orderly lifestyle. This shopoholic just may be changed forever. But, only time will tell…
    .-= Fabulous Finds Gal´s last blog ..The Pin-Up Poet Book by Author Andrea Grant and Special Insightful Interview =-.

  5. Retro Chick

    When I was a student I had a major shopping habit, and the debts I ran up doing that caught up with me well before the recession meaning I was permanently broke and whilst I still loved fashion and clothes I had to seriously change the way I shopped and thought about my wardrobe.

    Indirectly this is what lead into me becoming a blogger and selling clothing, so almost the opposite of Jennine! When I shopped a lot I saw myself as a consumer, but as I realised that it was possible to be fashionable and stylish without massively consuming resources or spending a fortune I felt more like it was something I wanted to share to stop other people ending up in my situation.

    In a way the recession has been good for me as more people are starting to realise that disposable fashion isn’t the way forward and are looking more at second hand and vintage shopping as a way of saving money.
    .-= Retro Chick´s last blog ..How Green Are Your Pants? =-.

  6. Jennine

    ❤ dominique…are you serious! that sounds amazing. that’s the one good thing about the recession, sales. and cheap rent.
    ❤ ashe… i wonder how much etsy people feel the effects of recession. perhaps it’s better since they can offer better (wholesale-ish) prices? but yeah, my blog hasn’t really evolved around affiliate links, but i could imagine it would be difficult if it did…
    ❤ fabfinds..oh that’s interesting, i wondered how other people felt about the ones who have new stuff every day. i’d like to do it in some respects, but i don’t think it’s worth it any more
    ❤ retro…hehe…well i was running out! that’s why i had to blog, to get that endless scrolling on ebay out of my head! but your shop is great, i’m so glad you were able to make something out of the recession…

  7. KB

    I’ve only had my blog a few months, but I don’t think my spending habits have really changed. I use it as an outlet to post my wares, when most friends without jobs wouldn’t really be interested. I do think that blogging has encouraged my thrifty side, I’m looking on ebay more and I’m also getting to learn about new places to buy clothes, as well as etsy sellers, so I can try and look a bit different. I definitely want to DIY more, after seeing how some bloggers can make their own clothes, and it makes me feel like I can do it too. Saying that, my latest post was about some serious consumption, but I also like to post about inspiration and exhibitions as well, as well as my view on fashion. I will continue to buy, though everything will be discounted and not too frivolous.
    .-= KB´s last blog ..Topshop Invasion =-.

  8. maria

    I’ve only really begun my blog, so I’ve already started out with little and just mostly work with what’s already in my closet!! It’s hard though because I feel the pull to go out shopping to get the latest trends, but I just remind myself that I have plenty of interesting pieces in my closet!!
    .-= maria´s last blog ..What I Wore Yesterday: 07.14.09- A Day at the Beach =-.

  9. Stylish Thought

    I actually pondered this the other day, when I realized that I hadn’t bought anything new for myself in nearly 3 months. Once a compulsive shopper, the recession has really taken a toll on my shopping habits, bringing them to a grinding halt. I often think that this affects fashion blogs and my blog because readers are interested in the next, new, now purchase.

    And as much as we want to separate fashion from buying, fashion is a multi-billion dollar business that contributes to our economy, so at times they are intertwined. I don’t believe that buying should be as compulsive as it appears on blogs and that maybe the recession has slowed down consumption.

    Will it affect fashion blogging, I think it will make it evolve and not just revolve around newness, but more on how fashion can improve your life, not just whittle your bank account.
    .-= Stylish Thought´s last blog ..Ask Ms. Thought: Fab Freelancing =-.

  10. Princess Poochie

    I don’t think it’s changed my blog but I do think it’s changed me a bit. Sadly I’m still a bit of a “grasshopper” but I’m trying to be better. I was one of those people who could always find something I loved and wanted to have. Now I actually have just been not even walking in to Target and have been deleting emails with offers and getting rid of catalogs unopened. I try to avoid even the temptation since I’m so bad at resisting.

    That said, I’ve still bought stuff but am trying to adjust my financial situation, so it’s been much less than my peak was. Not that the peak level of shopping I did was good at all. I’ve also been trying to do more things in terms of creating content with what I have or what I’m doing. Less about buying something new over and over again.
    .-= Princess Poochie´s last blog ..Color Study – Hearts =-.

  11. tina

    My shopping habits, once filled with impulse, healing and escapism, are a thing of the past. I’ve been having the same thoughts as you Jennine, as far as – is it just the economy and i’m scaling back? or is my outlook on the whole fashion industry and consumerism shifting… I think it’s a chicken and egg situation, in addition to making an effort to use (and reuse) what I have in the name of reducing waste. My blog is only a year old, so I’m actually just hitting my stride as far as content and layout and frequency of posts. I do find myself looking to other fashion bloggers for the same thrill I used to get from shopping. It’s free, it’s visual and carries a nice little rush!
    .-= tina´s last blog ..July Giveaway winner! =-.

  12. Nubiasnonsense

    Great point! The recession has affected so many things in peoples every day lives. I think I look out for sales a lot more instead of just picking up certain things and not looking at the price tag.

    I am also a big fan of thrift and vintage which I always find at great prices I’m happy to say. I think bloggers that post a lot of there outfits at some point feel like they want to go get something new, interesting, trendy, worthy of a good piece of writing. A lot of bloggers compensate by making wish list of things they would love to have which is great because I’ve find some pretty interesting items that way.

    I don’t think it has changed my blog so much, atleast not yet. But it will take getting use to when you see so many wonderful goodies and think twice.

  13. Jennine

    ❤kb…sounds like you have a well rounded approach!
    ❤maria…hehe, i’ve been doing much the same thing too… 🙂
    ❤stylish thought… good point… i wonder how shopping habits will change, instead of the ‘must have now’ we have a lot of more thoughtful pieces in our wardrobe… and on our blogs.
    ❤poochie… oh tell me about it, what’s out now is good, but it’s hard to be excited over every little thing
    ❤nubiasense… love wishslits and thrifting… those i do even when times are good! but yeah, i’ve been seeing a lot more of that!
    ❤alicia… absolutely, i think it’s pretty much what everyone is doing now a days…. and i don’t think it’s all that bad.

  14. Kasey

    It has affected mine slightly, I was never one to put too many luxury items on my blog and if I did it was kind of a “wish list” type story I would do about it or a “finally went on sale” thing. I’ve had to full out reject some blog proposals from companies, there is no way I”m going to feature a sight that sales a thousand dollar shoes when there are people getting ready to go on strike from their jobs because their benefits are being cut, or people not getting raises, or people just full on out of work.
    .-= Kasey´s last blog ..Event Alert: Free Shipping at Net-A-Porter =-.

  15. Eli

    Being that my blog name revolved around thrifting – I feel that from when I started, I have had a shift, believe it or not. I used to have many posts that were like “Look at all the things I found at the thrift store today!” But that was when my look consisted mainly of vintage, I think. I’ve become more toned down on what I wear I feel, since I started blogging three years ago. Now, I dont go as often to the thrift stores, so I dont even share that aspect much more on the blog anymore. Mostly because, prices seem to have risen at thrift stores. I think they are taking advantage of people not having money by increasing their prices. And on the other spectrum, stores have been dropping their prices so that I am able to supplement my wardrobe with more new clothes. But even then, Im buying less of that. I feel like I’m repeating outfits, and most days I dislike what Im wearing (because Im at work all day), so I dont take a photo. Which makes me post about other things. I did do one post about a bodywash someone gave me, and I had a commenter accuse me of being paid to blog.

    During my blog lifetime I have had four different jobs. In the beginning I went from teaching, and then doing retail on the side to supplement my income. To working part time at a library to transition out of the career of teaching because I felt like it was going nowhere, which I did right in time because our states’ economy has really made teachers suffer. To working only part time where I had a lot of free time to dedicate to my blog, when my numbers went up. But part time doesn’t pay the bills. I finally took a chance to work full time. And that has left me with little or no time to shop, not to mention blog. This fall I will be going back to school to get my masters and am considering scaling back the blog majorly, to focus on school, so that I have a real future. I know a lot of people have the recession affect the content of your blog, but I feel like the recession is affecting my whole blog itself!! Im not complaining though, I love to do it when I can. I just don’t want it to turn into a burden instead of fun.
    .-= Eli´s last blog ..Swapmeet Day / Beach Day =-.

  16. grechen

    what a great discussion…

    since my blogs are my business, i’ve been really keeping a close eye on my affiliate sales this year, trying to see if they’re affected much by the recession – i.e. people aren’t buying as much – and you know what i’ve found? first, according to my forecast (based on YTD) i’m on track to sell about 16% more through my sites this year than last year, but also:
    average order sizes are going UP, which in my mind indicates that maybe people are spending more $$ less often; they may be buying quality over quantity (which is great & what i’ve been “preaching” for years!).

    seems to me the latest frenzy over the alexander wang coco duffel selling out in hours & days indicates that people are still willing to spend the big bucks on things they love…thankfully i was lucky enough to be able to trade with an advertiser for mine 🙂

    as for me, personally, i stopped buying a lot quite some time ago. i’m not making a lot less money, i’m just trying not to spend it as soon as it comes in anymore…but until i saw some of the new james perse items, i’ve not been really tempted by anything either.
    .-= grechen´s last blog ..Cydwoq Sale =-.

  17. Steff Metal

    It’s strange, but I’ve been buying MORE during the recession, in part because since I started blogging I started discovering stuff that I actually liked online – stuff that I’ve never SEEN in shop in New Zealand – and blogging about it, so I’ve been buying more. Also, I married my wonderful husband, who is always encouraging me to treat myself, buy myself a pretty dress, etc. I am a compulsive saver – I really, really hate spending money on myself, so having him around teaches me to be a bit flexible when it comes to money, which is a good thing 🙂

    So, I’ve been buying more, but not because of the recession. I haven’t been affected by the recession in a big financial way, but it has made me think more about recycling, reusing and renewable resources. It’s also completely redesigned our eating habits for the better 🙂 And I have more money for pretty clothes. Yaaay!
    .-= Steff Metal´s last blog ..Linking Horn for July 16, 2009 =-.

  18. dreamsequins

    This is such a great post– something I’ve been thinking about recently, too. I think most of us are floating back to reality and realizing what we have to spend versus what we want to spend or think we need to spend.

    Writing about fashion doesn’t necessarily entail writing about shopping, although the two are at times inextricably linked. Like you, Jennine, as early as 2008, I was spending, and never on sale, usually at full price. There was a feeling that if you didn’t jump on something at that very moment, someone else would sneak up behind you and take your things– this consumer competition applied to many facets of living– buying clothing or making restaurant reservations or even buying an apartment…. But with the recession, and with people scaling back, I think it’s made me more cautious about my own buying habits.

    I started my blog to write about independent fashion– and these are usually stories about craftmanship and creativity– which, yes, unfortunately mean higher price points, but my habits as a consumer are definitely changing. I’d rather have a few nice items than a closet full of cheap items that fall apart easily… I’m especially intrigued by DIY and being more strategic about sales.
    .-= dreamsequins´s last blog ..Super Awesome Giveaway: Mademoiselle Style =-.

  19. eyeliah

    I already had to take stock of my spending 3 years ago when we moved to Vancouver, where I make less money and the cost of living is higher. It really prepared me for this recession. The changes I made back then was switching to mostly thrifting and online (dsecondhand) shopping, buying items only to fill specific voids and finding new ways to mix and match the clothes I already have. When the recession hit, I started attending and hosting clothing swaps which is a free way to aquire new (to me) clothes and wear things totally out of my regular realm. That is now my favorite way to “shop”.
    .-= eyeliah´s last blog ..Look of the Day ~ Street Fashion in Krakow =-.

  20. Danielle

    Since I try to watch broader trends in fashion and business I have found the recession to be a source of inspiration – it seems like a time of transition is an interesting time to be an observer and thinker and entrepreneurial and experimental. As far as my own shopping, I don’t shop or do outfit posts, it was never a significant part of my site. I guess one side effect is I’m finding I need to make more deals with clients when it comes to negotiating trade in lieu of cash which means I get more new clothes than I usually do, so I have started including the occasional post with new acquisitions, which also helps give the client a bit of buzz. Still much prefer cash to clothes any day!

    As far as monetizing my blog, I made my first foray into a unique sponsorship program this year in May. Despite having done next to no direct promotion, I’ve been amazed to get a couple new sponsors every month just through serendipity and word of mouth. Businesses are looking for ways to promote themselves inexpensively and directly, and they’re ready to consider smaller, niche blogs to do that. Its pretty cool.
    .-= Danielle´s last blog ..just a thought – physical appearances =-.

  21. Annaliese

    I love saving towards a goal. I will not eat out or spend on unwanted items if I really, really want something. I will wear the same pieces that I have in my wardrobe and then mix them up with ultra cute and current accessories.

    Someone told me that the key to success is patience. And this is something that I defiantly do have.

    On my blog I like to share my hints & tips for finding a bargain outfit that looks just as good as the designer labels. At first I would post the latest high end fashion pieces but I realized that wasn’t very me, so now I go to the closest chain stores to see what they have in. It seems to be working really well as I am saving to go overseas for 3 months and I am still able to buy an outfit once a week.

    So my advice would be, saving is a good thing, try chain stores, be patient (e.g. saving towards a high priced item or waiting for something to goal) and have fun!!

    .-= Annaliese ´s last blog ..What’s in the bag? =-.

  22. Michelle

    You know, it’s kind of funny, but the recession hasn’t hit us, as a couple, that hard. We just moved and Matt’s having a hard time finding a job, but I’m really doing pretty well with my sewing and design; once Matt gets a job we’ll be better off than we’ve ever been. Not, you know, excessively so or anything, but this should be a good business year for us with some opportunities that will be happening later. It almost makes me feel guilty because I’m doing okay at a time when a lot of people aren’t, and there’s all these great sales for me to take advantage of now that I finally can!

    As far as my blog, I don’t think I was ever much into “Oh look what I bought this week” sort of thing; I tend to be thrifty anyways (except for when it comes to shoes, haha.) I’m personally not much into blogs that just consist of a spending journal of ridiculously expensive things, myself.
    .-= Michelle´s last blog ..Marvelous Monday! =-.

  23. Prêt-à-Porter P

    i dont think its affected my blog. my blog is not really about anything, i like to think it’s more about inspiration.
    im not very trendy, so i tend to buy the “classic” Classics anyway. But i was always a savvy shopper. I’m used to waiting for sales, ebay, loehmann’s, etc… my philosophy is to get what i want at the best price. Also I know where to scrimp like target/gap/f21 for basics.

    Since i have enough clothes, i consider each purchase more. I rarely impulse buy. Everything has to be something special and be versatile w/ what i already own. regardless of price, i hate to buy things “just to buy things.”

  24. Pearl Westwood

    What an interestinng discussion! I actually started my blog as a means of occupying me from constant ebay and other website scourings! The recession has really started to bite, I have bought a fair few items lately but as mentioned above when the sales are up to 90% off I am still not spending anywhere near what I was doing. I am really having to stand back and assess each purchase. But I am also finding I am getting more enjoyment from pieces I have waited for and buying quality that will last. I am still posting about the new shiney things I would like, but hey whats the point of a blog if you can’t indulge in a little bit of fantasy! Its knowing where to draw the line, and window shopping is still free!
    .-= Pearl Westwood´s last blog ..Quick outfit post, a bit preppy, a bit Damien, and D&G loafers! =-.

  25. Sophie

    Great topic. I think the recession has made an impact on my blog in a few different ways.

    1. I’ve noticed that people that are purchasing (thru affiliate links) are spending less per purchase. For example instead of spending $300 or $400 from Zappos, Steve Madden, bebe or whatever the shopping site is…now women are spending less per transaction. Probably $70-150, in that range as opposed to several hundred dollars at one time. So ultimately my affiliate income from my blogs has dropped about 30%. I think women are still shopping online (that will not stop) but they are spending less and buying fewer items than before the recession slammed everyone.

    2. The topics I choose to write about now have changed somewhat. Every week I look for at least 2-3 posts that focus on fashion on a budget, get this look for less and so on. Right now those topics seem to be most popular and I think I’m providing more value to my readers by giving information that is more relevant based on the current conditions. Don’t get me wrong, I still have to get in my ultra fab posts where I talk about designer and high end stuff as well. I just don’t do it as often now.

    3. Since affiliate income has been down somewhat I’ve looked for alternative monetization strategies. I’ve found that Chitika has been working great for SE traffic. I had a friend tell me about it and I’m really glad I started using it as it has more than made up the gap in the decline in affiliate revenue over the last 2 months. I’ve also recently started using ShopStyle’s “ShopSense” program and have been very pleased with that so far although I’ve only been using it for about 4-5 weeks now. I love their widgets and how easy it is to implement my looks that I put together into my blog posts.

    I knew that I loved blogging about fashion since the first week my blog went live. My passion has only continued to grow and so I’ve come to the realization that I needed to develop more blogs so that I was diversified and gave myself multiple ways to make money from blogging. That’s why I found my partner to help me and we should have 5-6 blogs before the end of the year. Niche blogs are the way to go!!

    For me personally the recession has made me spend less online as well. I realize I don’t need as many things and probably only buy 2-3 items a month. Recently I bought from and got like 90% off the original price and has had some amazing deals as well. Now is a great time for bargains but I still only get 1 item that I feel I will truly love and that will be a long term piece to my wardrobe. Since the recession I monitor my spending much more and evaluate each purchase as to whether or not I really need or want something prior to buying.
    .-= Sophie´s last blog ..Lace Up This Fall & Winter =-.

  26. lisa

    Even before the recession, I realized I was shopping a lot more than was necessary and buying things I didn’t need or wouldn’t wear. I made myself go on a shopping ban for 5 months–no clothing, no accessories (although makeup was permissible)–to force myself to really think about my consumption habits and be choosier about what I buy. Nowadays I try to buy items in such a way that they fill gaps in my closet, i.e. a mental checklist of seasonal things I’d like to find, and if it doesn’t fit on the list I feel less tempted to buy it.

    Financially, I’ve always tried to save as much as possible, and ironically, the recession has made me spend more: My high-interest savings account isn’t yielding as high an interest rate as it used to even though I’ve saved a lot more, so I’m not as motivated to save as much.
    .-= lisa´s last blog ..Product Review: Decleor Paris Aromessence Ylang Ylang Night Balm =-.

  27. rose

    I’ve been reworking my clothes and going vintage for ages so I haven’t really felt the effects of the recession in terms of my style. Its great to see so many varied reactions, thanks for posting the question.