This is the first in a four-part series brought to you by Stoli. On your next much-needed blogging break, indulge your tastebuds with the new Salted Karamel – sweet caramelized sugar and soft English toffee with a light saltiness makes for a completely delicious treat! Check out more at Stoli.com and tweet us @Stoli #SaltedKaramel.
There’s an old expression that people in the Greek system sometimes use to describe what it’s like: From the outside you can’t understand it, and from the inside you can’t explain it.
It may be oversimplified, but I think you can say the same thing about fashion and style blogging. It’s something that, if you’re reading this, you most likely participate in or have an appreciation for. But to everyone else, it might seem like we’re vain, ego-driven fashion-obsessed maniacs with too much disposable income and no self awareness.
Critics are quick to, well, critique the fashion blogging community for our frivolous spending, but the reality is that big-ticket purchases by highly visible bloggers draw attention and create stereotypes that don’t (even by a longshot) characterize our whole community.
Do many of us love a good indulgence? Of course. And ultimately, we’re all allowed to save and spend and splurge and budget as we see fit. In fact, it’s one of the great joys of working hard and saving your money to spend it on something you really want or need.
So what should we indulge in, and what should we hold back for? We’re not going to tell you what to do, but we certainly have a few ideas…
These are IFB’s Essential Indulgences for Fashion Bloggers:
A DSLR camera
We’re big believers in spending the money to get a great camera. The return on investment is huge. Once you learn how to manipulate and customize the settings and adjust the apperture and ISO to suit your photo shoots, you’ll end up with crisp, gorgeous images that will give your blog (and your blogger / photographer title more cred).
Here’s the thing: we know that point-and-shoot cameras can take pretty good photos, and they they are by-and-large less expensive than a DSLR, but arguably only slightly less expensive (and less practical) than a smart phone, that takes great pictures too. We say, skip the middle man!
Classic, seasonless pieces
There’s a reason everyone endorses this philosophy, and despite the fast turnover rate of our style, it’s still always going to be worthwhile to invest in quality items that have stood the test of time. It’s important not to let this perceived responsibility to your audience to be a beacon of style and forward-thinking dressing rule your budget (and your personal tastes!). Yes you’re a blogger, but you’re also an adult with a life to live away from the computer. High quality, gorgeous pieces that transcend trends (think black pumps, trench coats, silk blouses) are the foundation of a wardrobe that will last a lifetime.
Allocating your shopping budget is a very personal process, and we can’t tell you how to spend your money and what to spend it on. If you find the latest Proenza Schouler stacked heel to be something you cannot live without – fair enough! Though you give up a lot of quality when you shop at high street shops like Zara and H&M, they can be a goldmine for items that will mix in with your basics to create on-trend looks to get you through the season. Will it last? Maybe – we’ve all had those random finds from Forever 21 that somehow last for five years. How you spend your money on clothing and accessories is completely up to you, and has more to do with not going into debt, no matter if you splurge on trendy pieces or classics.
Odds are, if you’re a blogger you already have a computer, and probably a laptop, that you use to produce your content. It’s arguably the most important and vital piece of equipment necessary to produce a blog (and run your life), so it’s a worthy investment piece. A laptop is ultimately a smarter investment for a blogger than a desktop because you can work remotely while you travel, work, commute, vacation, etc.
Tablet computers are fun and convenient, and some people really use them to get work done, read, and get organized. Mostly though, they are a superfluous toy for watching movies, playing games, and doing much of the things you can do on a computer or smart phone. If you’re budgeting your money for gadgets to help you blog, stick with the computer, DSLR and phone, and wait to get a tablet.
A graphic designer to customize your site (or a great WordPress theme)
This is one of our favorite blogger indulgences. The benefits of hiring a graphic designer to customize your blog are far-reaching and insanely rewarding, especially if you have no design experience. A designer will work with you to make your site’s look and feel, as well as the navigation and design tailor made for you. Their portfolio should give you an idea of their typical style, so look around to find one that appeals to you.
Some WordPress themes (or Tumblr themes) are very inexpensive, and a great way to get a quick template and semi-customized blog. Some themes can run as much as $200, which is pretty near the price you might pay for a graphic designer (roughly). If you know a lot about CSS and coding already, a theme might be the better option for you, but if you’re a novice with specific needs, we recommend hiring a designer.
Seriously. Get thee to a relaxing destination, and bring that camera. Everyone needs a little time to decompress, travel, see a new part of the world, visit friends and family – and at the very least experience a change of scenery for a day or two.
Along with recharging your batteries, you’re also giving yourself a heap of potential new blog content. From packing tips to travel stories, outfit photos and city guides there are many way you can incorporate your vacation into interesting, fresh content. Even if you don't use your time off as a direct source of posts, it can be a silent source of refreshed perspectives, renewed energy and inspiration.
Listen, indulgence doesn’t have to be a dirty word. Or a word that indicates frivolity or reckless spending. Indulging is all about treating yourself to something that will enrich your life, make you happier, and bring you joy. If it’s a DSLR camera – fantastic! If it’s an Alaia bootie – that’s fine too. The point is to #treatyoself – and do it with smarts. (And don’t go broke!)