Maintaining Individuality as a Fashion & Style Blogger

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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!

 

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20 Responses

  1. Gemma Savage

    My advice would be not to think about it to much. Wear it how you feel like on that particular day and the chances are it will be different to the person you saw wearing it. I think sometimes you can over think it sometimes and wear something that isn’t really you.

    Reply
  2. Peach Black

    I never buy a trendy blogger piece because I get sick of it seeing it everywhere. I think it’s really easy being in trend with a trendy blogger piece, but try being trendy with something no one is wearing. That’s a challenge. Or try setting a trend. That’s an even greater challenge, which I believe bloggers are meant to do. It’s easy spotting trends, but it’s so much harder setting one.

    Reply
  3. Candida

    I have to say, as a blogger and an avid fashion blog reader, I do get a little annoyed when the same item continues to pop up on everyone’s blog. And I will usually totally bypass reading that post because I don’t want to see the same thing over and over again. I have also noticed recently, that some blogs as they begin to gain more popularity, have actually altered their original style – the style that made me love them in the first place, and begin to look like everyone else wearing those recycled “popular pieces” that are often times way pricier than what their normal wear was. It’s kind of a bummer….And can you continue to call that personal style?

    Candida
    Candida

    Reply
    • Ashley "Ashe" Robison

      “I have also noticed recently, that some blogs as they begin to gain more popularity, have actually altered their original style – the style that made me love them in the first place, and begin to look like everyone else ”

      Sadly, I’ve noticed that as well! To some degree, I think that blogging can impact our styles in the long run, and it’s only once someone has been around for several years that you really notice it. It makes you think, “Well, would this have happened without the blog?” For some, I think yes, and for others, I do believe it’s the peer pressure of blogging…

      Reply
    • Castle Fashion

      I’m going to second that. I came across one of my favorite fashion blogs in early 2010 and since then she’s completely changed her style to a more basic/refined look. Of course, it’s up to each blogger what they feel most comfortable in but, for the reader, that magic is gone when they become more commercial.

      Reply
  4. Maren

    Thank you so much for this post! I can’t tell you how tired I am to go to a blog and all the same things that other bloggers are wearing. Of course it’s easy to look fashionable and trendy when you are given expensive pieces to wear specifically for your blog! Celine bags, Valentino shoes, the latest J Crew catalogue–I would look pretty snazzy if I were given those items as well! I feel like many bloggers have just become advertisements for expensive clothes. What are you actually presenting, other than what sponsors and affiliates decide to send to you? What is your actual style that you CHOOSE to wear? I confess that I still look at those blogs, but more as an unattainable dream world. I’m not saying you have to be thrifty to have style, but I certainly appreciate the bloggers who have full-time jobs other than blogging because they focus on function as well as style. And that’s how I think you can make something your own–based on what makes sense for your life and who you are.

    Reply
    • Ashley "Ashe" Robison

      “What is your actual style that you CHOOSE to wear? … but I certainly appreciate the bloggers who have full-time jobs other than blogging because they focus on function as well as style. And that’s how I think you can make something your own–based on what makes sense for your life and who you are.”

      That’s a great point, Maren! I can safely admit that in both of my own personal blogger trend buys (the Valentino Rockstud & the Prada Baroque sunglasses), that I purchased them both myself. With the money I earned. For both purchases, I spent well over a YEAR thinking about whether to buy them before doing so, and they were both a “reward” for a recent goal or hard work. I definitely believe that that time, consideration, and placing my ACTUAL money into the purchase makes them more meaningful than those who many be receiving the items courtesy of.

      (That being said… even with big bloggers, I wonder how many of them ACTUALLY have Celine sending them products? I always assumed they made money via affiliate links and sponsored programs, and in turn bought more expensive products. Sadly, my site isn’t large enough to function that way!)

      Reply
  5. Zamri

    “Fashion is for exploring, experimenting, embracing, and evolving.” I like this quote. I shall use it in my next post for ‘What is Fashion?’. 🙂

    Reply
  6. Oh K

    I really agree with what you said about “blogger trends”. Fashion on the street can be very different from “street fashion on the blog”.

    I think that sometimes it’s good to not only fill one’s mind with pictures of bloggers, but also art, music, and photography. It adds to the blender of creativity one draws from!

    doitfortheirony.blogspot.com

    Reply
  7. Mallory

    I was in the audience of that panel, and I wish I’d had a chance to speak to the girl who asked the question afterwards. I would have suggested taking some time to just play in front of the mirror with pieces from her own closet / wardrobe.

    I’ve found that sometimes the best fashion inspiration comes from taking some time to just play dress up with what you have. Do it when you’re not rushed to get anywhere. Play dress up in front of the mirror in the evening after work, and put together outfits that you’ve never worn before, using pieces you already own. Don’t be afraid to look silly or try something that seems a little weird – if you’re just playing dress up alone, no one else will know what crazy stuff you tried out! But you’ll probably find some favorite new outfit combinations along the way.

    This is what I used to do as a teenager, and it really helped develop my love of fashion. And I still do it today – especially if I have to pack for a trip – it helps to double check everything in front of a full length mirror, with plenty of time to spare.

    Reply
  8. Barbara

    “Fashion is for exploring, experimenting, embracing, and evolving.”
    I have a small plan to dabble into a bit of fashion blogging and though I tell people I have no style, I KNOW WHAT I LIKE TO WEAR AND HOW I WANT TO WEAR IT. The quote just makes me realise how right I am that it should be about me and who I am and not what other people show me.

    Barbara
    http://www.barbara1923.com
    Lagos, Nigeria

    Reply
  9. Nasreen

    I agree with everything you’ve said and right now the origami skirt is everywhere! It’s sometimes hard to diverge from how everyone else seems to wear it (mostly with a crop top). I like how you took the time to think about the items you want to buy, like the little anecdote about the valentino rock stud heels, very interesting how you thought about it 🙂

    http://lazyobsession.blogspot.com

    Reply
  10. Kristian

    I think there are several key points you bring up that bear repeating- you might like something another (or several) bloggers have, but taking time to think about purchases for your wardrobe (something we should probably be doing anyway) saves you the trouble. If it is something that is truly you and something you will wear in your life and not just the blog…well, buy it! Life is too short to worry about whether you are being percieved as a copycat. Only you can know if you are copying or being yourself.

    I loved Mallory’s comment that playing dress up in front of a mirror is a good idea too. So many blogs nowadays promote “remixing” a piece. Put the onis on yourself to do that with pieces you saw on others’ blogs.

    And remember… well, no one likes a copycat, but at the same time, if you are clicking the affiliate links on others’ sites, they are getting money from that. I doubt people will hate that 😀

    Great article.

    Reply
  11. Ashley

    I loved this article. It’s SO important to have a unique style in the personal style blogosphere, otherwise you get lost in the crowd WAY too easily. I sometimes find myself getting lost in the see of indie & vintage style, and I have to snap back to reality. That isn’t me, even though I think all the girls who do it look adorable doing it! I’m so much more edgy and punk rock, than that, if I do say so myself. I just have to remember that even though my style isn’t as prevalent, it’s mine. Thanks for this article again!

    xo Ashley

    Reply
  12. Tsholo

    I mix and miss fashion, deliberately. i feed off it, so i never worry about having a similar blogger “look”. One way to beat this , is to do what i have coined the “60seconds outfit”. You make up an outfit in 60 seconds. That’s when the real you will surface. 🙂

    Reply
  13. Tsholo

    I mix and miss fashion, deliberately. i feed off it, so i never worry about having a similar blogger “look”. One way to beat this , is to do what i have coined the “60seconds outfit”. You make up an outfit in 60 seconds. That’s when the real you will surface. 🙂
    see you here : http://thekhoifro.wordpress.com. thank you 🙂

    Reply
  14. Sisi

    Wow, thanks for writing this post. I do agreed with the over crowded space in fashion blogging world where everyone just wears the same thing.
    But on the other hand, that is just fashion, most people are all like a tribe, and follow.

    Reply