When I first came across personal style blogging in 2006, it was a revelation. It changed my thinking about fashion, getting dressed, and heck, even shopping. I couldn't get enough personal style blogs (and at that time there were not that many) so I started my own.
A few years later, personal style blew up. Fashion bloggers like Fashion Toast, Style Bytes, Karla's Closet,What I Wore, the Glamourai and Tavi came on the scene. It seemed like an unstoppable force, finally the democratization of fashion. Bloggers sharing their outfits and people having insatiable appetites for this simple and (self)gratifying form of media. I have to say, that I benefited from this moment enormously. IFB would not be what it is today had it not relied on the clout The Coveted had built in its early days.
But something happened. At first I thought it was my own personal boredom with my own blog, maybe I had outgrown it even though I love writing for IFB and Eat Sleep Denim. Maybe, I thought, talking about my clothes didn't matter to me as much, or that I really only liked talking about it for fun with my friends. Maybe I just wanted to create something bigger than myself.
Denial Isn't Just a River in Egypt
Bloggers who “make it” aren't just cute anymore, they have business plans, niches, specific purposes other than broadcasting their own vanity.
Whatever it was, I noticed there was a trend of general decline in interest in personal style blogging. People aren't leaving as many comments, and the commenting on the big ones are mostly blogger-spammers promoting their own sites. Content on personal style blogs had become minimal, some just listing their clothes. Others just talking about what they ate for breakfast, or how they were so excited to work with this brand or that brand. Bloggers who “make it” aren't just cute anymore, they have business plans, niches, a specific purpose other than broadcasting their own vanity. You can tell that the pretty fashion blogger with a great wardrobe isn't making it as much as she used to because there aren't as many making it as there used to be, and the the ones who are still around are changing things up to adapt. The Glamourai is a good example of this, as her content has evolved from just her outfits to tutorials and editorials. The Manrepeller turned her focus to writing articles mixed with her outfits. Heck, even The Sartorialist is experimenting with his content to adapt (and he's not even a personal style blogger).
There are more personal style bloggers now than ever. What's more, is that even though the fashion blogging community has been aware of this issue for some time now, as with my January article about the Fashion Blogging bubble bursting, and yesterday's Buzzfeed article Why The Era of Personal Style Blogging Must End, bloggers don't want to hear it. Even if the writing is on the wall.
I don't know, if I were putting all my dream-eggs in one basket, I'd want to make sure that basket wasn't on a sinking ship.
Granted, many people do blog for fun, to reach like-minded people. But in my six years of fashion blogging, those bloggers rarely stick around long. Sure, there are a few that blog for a couple of years, but most give up the neediness of maintaining a blog unless they have a less altruistic motive: professionalization.
Sure, there are a few that blog for a couple of years, but most give up the neediness of maintaining a blog unless they have a less altruistic motive: professionalization.
Maybe It's Just Not That Bad Yet
Hey, bloggers are still getting deals with brands. Bloggers are still getting invited to lavish events and being sent free items. It's not a bad life even for a side-gig. Heck, even I miss some of the perks that personal style bloggers get (try attending a lavish event for a brand when your content isn't a good fit). Personal style bloggers are still getting hundreds of comments and making tens of thousands of dollars in affiliates, just for getting dressed in the morning. Interest in these blogs might be waning from the general non-blogging public, but more people are blogging right? That should count for something.
If personal style blogging isn't broken, why fix it?
No One Really Likes to Change, But The Internet is Fickle
Yes, the idea of posting photos of yourself online and attracting loads of wonderful compliments is a wonderful thing, and the idea of adhering to a formula (posting outfit pics, working with brands, get validation from readers) sounds easy enough, why mess with it?
Personal style blogging runs the risk obscurity because, let's face it, the internet is fickle.
Personal style blogging runs the risk obscurity because, let's face it, the internet is fickle. Maru jumping in and out of boxes isn't as cute anymore because we've moved on to Grumpy Cat, and even her days are numbered. The same goes for personal style blogs. One minute it's Fashion Toast, the next it's Blonde Salad, who's next? Maybe it's Gabi Gregg. But if you spent years building your blog, wouldn't you want more longevity than just a moment in the sun? Sure, but is change really necessary?
Remember when everyone said, “Print is dead.” Remember all those out of work journalists? This can happen to fashion bloggers, even the fashion bloggers who never made a dime to begin with. Because we chose a medium that's notoriously fickle, we have to be committed to adaptation if we want to survive as a community.
So what can we do? Here's a good article to start with… How to Survive the Nest Stage of Blogging. I promise, the next phase of fashion blogging is going to be great. (Hopefully!)
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