When I wrote about maintaining your individuality as a fashion and style blogger, several people commented on how much they appreciated me sharing my buying experiences. It happened that I shared the decision making process before buying both my Prada Baroque sunglasses and my Valentino Rock Stud heels. I thought on both of these purchases for nearly a year before making the plunge.
By this point, many bloggers would have moved on– after all, a year after they came out? They're hardly a hot trend anymore! They're not new and noteworthy, and billions of designers have knocked them off. Yet it was only at that point that I felt confident knowing my purchased wasn't motivated by blogger peer pressure.
Why Do I Want THIS?
Whenever I make a purchase, I always try to figure out WHY I want it: Is it really my style, or am I just drawn to how the blogger has styled it? Am I having a bad day and in need of an emotional outlet? Does it fill a whole or need in my closet? Do I want it because everyone else has it, looks great, and I think that by owning it, I'll look and feel great?
Figuring out WHY I want a lot of pieces really has helped me from engaging in blogger peer pressure. 95% of the time, I move on. Within a week, I've forgotten the item in question. Turns out, I usually don't actually want the dress, shoes, or sunglasses, but am wanting something else in my life. When I figure out what that something else is, I'm much more fulfilled.
This doesn't just apply to material items either: why do you want 100,000 pageviews a month? Why do you want brand partnerships? What is MOTIVATING your desires? Sometimes we find that it's less about our own personal long-term goals, and it's more about the expectation that's what we SHOULD be reaching for. It's okay to set your own goals that are realistic for what you want from blogging, even if they don't match what others think you should want.
Let Go of the Fear of Missing Out.
When you see dozens of bloggers in the same item, raving about how it fits, how yummy it feels, or how good it smells, it's hard not feel like (or fear that!) we're missing out on something. Or maybe they're all at the same event (New York Fashion Week, anyone?)– and we feel like we're missing some essential blogging experience. Maybe we are. In life we have to take the good with the bad, which means when we're experiencing FOMO, we're just as likely missing out on the bad as well as the good and exciting.
The reality is– if you don't have that Philip Lim bag, you're not missing out. It may be beautiful, it may be quality, and it may be practical, but at the end of the day… what value does it provide your life? It won't keep you warm on a cold day or keep you fed. We may think that an invitation to NYFW means that we've made it… until we find out how miserable we are clomping through the snow in impractical shoes, have a horrible view of the runway, and just want something to eat.
I believe that surrounding our lives with beautiful items and experiences that inspire us is worthwhile. We also have to recognize that there's a point when that “beauty” may have a limited shelf life, or it may just not be as great as we think it will be. Sometimes it takes the experience of it to understand that, though.
Align Your Personal Values with Your Blog.
Fact: I've grown up with my blog. I've been blogging or journaling since 2001. I began when I was 18, and I'm 30 now. I've spent the last 12 years of my life writing online, so it's safe to say that I've grown and changed, my values have shifted, and it's important to match those with your blog's values. While I may post shopping roundups on my site, it's hard for me to encourage conspicuous consumption when a big part of my life has been learning to live within my means and debt free.
This may not be the same case for you, but I'm sure you have values and beliefs that may conflict with any blogging peer pressure you may feel, whether it's earning money through sponsored posts and advertisements, shutting off comments, taking products for review that may not be ethically produced, or what you share of your personal life. One way to easily combat blogging peer pressure is to say, “does doing this fit with the core values of how I live my life?” If you answer “no,” then move on.
Think About Your Future…
Not to get all Mama Bear on you… but the American mentality of “Keeping up with the Joneses” is pretty directly linked to our country's credit card debt. In my years of blogging, I've pulled myself out of $15,000 in credit card debt. It's HARD to be a fashion blogger, to be so surrounded by new purchases and free items, and not reach for the card to keep up with your peers. Now that I'm debt free? I can't imagine giving back that control to credit card companies so that I can have some shiny item that I won't remember or own in 3 years.
This also applies to what you share on your site. It may seem worthwhile and a great boost for your traffic to be vulnerable and share the dirty details of your personal life online, but how will you feel in 15 years when you're applying for a badass job, and suddenly you miss getting it… because your boss found old blog photos of you online?
In other words… blogging may make up a brief span of your life. Even if you do it for 10 years, if you live to be 90, that's only 1/9 of your life. Think about the other 80 years of your life, and the impact your choices NOW can make on the rest of your life. If you rack up $15,000 in debt buying things because you're falling for peer pressure, you're going to be paying for that pressure for a long time. If you post photographs in your underwear online, what repercussions will that have?
Don't just jump into these boats because it seems like, “all the other bloggers are doing it.” Bloggers are secretive creatures in a way, and so it's really hard to know what any other blogger is ACTUALLY doing. And beyond your peers, the beauty of blogging is that there will always be people who respect the choices you've made, the decisions you come up against, and the voice you share.
What other ways do you combat feeling peer pressured by blogging? I'd love to hear your experiences!
Image via Valentino.com