So you know how this goes… you open up your Bloglovin', Feedly, or emails, and suddenly 14 different bloggers are all wearing the same item. And you're kind of at a loss to tell them apart, because it's all styled so similarly.
During Elizabeth‘s Self-Photography 101 panel at Texas Style Council, an adorable young woman asked, “Say I buy something that you've posted on your site, because it's really cute and totally my style. Once I get it, how do I style it so that I don't feel like I'm copying you, or that others don't think I am?”
“Say I buy something that you've posted on your site, because it's really cute and totally my style. Once I get it, how do I style it and post about it so that I don't feel like I'm copying you, or that others don't think I am?”
There are certain trends that I always identify as “fashion blogger” trends, and if you've been blogging long enough you've undoubtedly spotted them too: the Jeffrey Campbell Lita boots, Zara's “napkin” origami skort, the Celine Luggage Tote, the Philip Lam Pashli satchel… And I'm guilty of it, too, owning the Prada Baroque Sunglasses and having just purchased a pair of Valentino Rock Stud heels (that I waver on whether to keep or not–but that's another post).
Somehow I rarely see the pieces on people who aren't bloggers, and yet they've become a trend. Sometimes the pieces are a lot less iconic and high end though, like bauble necklaces from J.Crew. Even within niches, such as petite or plus-size fashion, you'll find a lot of bloggers wearing the same (sometimes sold out) pieces.
How do you find balance between loving a piece, owning the piece, and maintaining your own sense of individuality with it? Especially when sharing it online?
Elizabeth confessed that occasionally she'll rock an item similarly to how she saw it featured but just won't share it online. I can respect that- I don't share 90% of my outfits, because while they're stylish, do I really think they're worthy of a post? Not really. (Plus, I'm not the most creative dresser: when I find a combination I like, I'll wear it more often. It makes working for a day-job a helluva lot easier, but makes my blog a lot more boring!)
What attracts you to the piece & how does that fit your style?
Before I buy a trendy “blogger piece,” I try to figure out what attracts me to it and whether that really fits my style. With the Prada Baroque sunglasses, I realized that the classic frame shape + theatrical flourish was exactly my style. Simple but with a twist. I thought about the Valentino Rock Studs for nearly a year before buying them. The studs appeal to my youthful, rock n'roll side, the girl who always wore worn out studded belts and Dr. Martens. The kitten heel and classic shape remind of the gal I'm growing into. In short, I feel like they were a bridge between who I am at my core and how I've matured.
Sometimes I see a piece and really want it… but know deep down that it ISN'T me. Maybe it's too bohemian, maybe it's just too edgy and trendy. I try to identify WHY I want it (and it's usually fashion-blogger FOMO). That's just not how I shop for my closet and spend my hard earned money, and sometimes I have to step back to remember that!
Are you attracted to those with a similar style as you? If so, focus on HOW your style is different.
While I love to find inspiration in bloggers who aren't like me, I'm sure most of us follow bloggers whose aesthetic mimics or own or that we can relate to. But if you read those blogs long enough, you'll start to copy their styling more and lose out what on what made your style your own.
No one likes a carbon copy, and many new bloggers think that's the way to success and building their sites. Yet…. readers and other bloggers can smell a copy cat. If you're inspired by an outfit, that's great! It's why we blog and share our outfits. If you're just constantly recreating the outfits of other bloggers though, you may lose sight of what made your style feel so great. What made it you.
So when you're buying a piece that's popular within the blogosphere, remember to style it in a way that is true to YOU. What do you bring to your style that no one else does? It is a certain swagger, a certain look, a certain je ne sais quoi? Whatever it is, make sure that each outfit you try out captures that. The YOU.
Fashion is for exploring, experimenting, embracing, and evolving.
Don't let your fear of “copying” another blogger's style discourage you from trying something new out! There are no new ideas on the internet, and your style and love of fashion should be ever evolving. This may mean trying out a piece you adore on another blogger, but may never have looked twice at in a store. This may mean trying to layer a dress like Blair of Atlantic-Pacific, adopting a 90s style hat you see on a blogger 10 years younger than you, or splurging on a high-priced item you've been coveting for ages.
If you can't find the safety in your blog to explore and experiment with style, where else can you? And at the end of the day… there are far more important things to worry about than whether you “copied” a blogger's style in one outfit post.
You've heard my feedback… now I want to hear yours! What other advice would you offer the young woman at Elizabeth's panel?
And all of you IFB'ers, I hope you find a great adventure in fashion and blogging, where you can experiment, step outside of your comfort zones, and find your own unique style–whether it includes the same trends as other bloggers or not!
[Image Source Shutterstock.com]