You’re Doing It Wrong: Breaking all the Fashion Blogging Rules

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I kid, because there aren't any fashion blogging “rules,” not even secret ones*, but even if there were, some rules are made to be broken, especially in fashion!

The truth is, you can be different, you can break the rules, and still be a successful fashion blogger. Just create your own measurement of success, don't compare it to anyone else's. There's beauty in diversity. Embrace yours.

Do you break these rules? I do:

You write too much

I write a LOT on my main blog, and I always have. Even when I post an outfit picture, I start conversations, or bring up something random, but I always try to write about something interesting, or bring up an issue that I've been struggling with, fashion-related or not. There's constant discussion on blogs about professional blogging about how many words you should write and how to format your text, keeping your readers attention, etc., etc., and I've ignored all of it. If I do end up writing a thesis, I'll not keep all the text on the front page (I use the “more” link in the post), so the post doesn't take up my entire home page. But I've never shied away from writing everything I have to say about whatever I'm feeling at the moment.

Many of the top fashion bloggers post pictures and offer no discussion at all. And that's their prerogative (it obviously works for them), but that doesn't mean you have to do that too. If you have something to say, say it, just keep in mind your readers if you already have an established community. Do they have the patience for your rants? Do they often engage in your discussions?

You're too old

Are you over-25? Then you're too old to be a fashion blogger. As silly as it sounds, I know a lot of bloggers or want-to-be bloggers who have struggled with starting or continuing blogging because they feel like they're too old to be successful. Of course that's not true, and that's the beauty of fashion blogging – there's room for EVERYONE who loves fashion/shopping/personal style and who has a voice. There are so many wonderful fashion bloggers who are over-40 and as with life, fashion blogging only gets better with age! I didn't even start blogging until I was 31, and now at 41, I'm as successful and fulfilled as I've ever been.

You're average-sized

Maybe you don't fit into an already specified niche: plus-sized, petite, tall, thin, “curvy” or two out of three, but there's still room for you to be successful as a fashion blogger. I'm short, and have been on the cusp of plus-sized, but overall am pretty average when it comes to my height/weight/appearance. When I started 10 years ago, there weren't many “average” women (I was a size 10-12) posting outfit pictures online, and I identified that as a need in the “market” – what little there was at the time! Now, of course, every size, shape, ethnicity and style is represented among fashion bloggers, and there's always room for one more if you have something unique to add. EVEN if your body type or shape doesn't fit into a “mold.”

Your pictures aren't perfect

Taking perfect shots and beautiful pictures isn't the end-all and be-all of fashion blogging, although it does help to draw readers in, especially now that there are so many more fashion bloggers than there used to be. I've used a point-and-shoot camera for the last ten years and while I know my photos could be much better, I've not let the lack of better equipment stop me. I've been quite successful over the years working with large brands and turning fashion blogging into my career, so my little camera hasn't hindered me much either.

Do the best with the equipment you DO have until you can get something better; you can still be a successful fashion blogger.

You don't care about fashion week

You CAN be a fashion blogger without going to fashion week. If it's your thing, then by all means, go to the shows, take pictures, and post recaps, but not all fashion bloggers (or people who love fashion) are into runway shows; I never have been.

What fashion blogging rules have you broken?

*(there are legal and ethical ones, but I'm not referring to those)

[Image credit: Shutterstock.com]

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42 Responses

  1. Nicole Newton

    I agree, I don’t think there are any rules to blogging. It’s what makes you different and keeps your “voice” pure. I always try to inject my personality into my blog which is usually why it sounds like I would say it. (Kind of like having a conversation with my readers) So far, I’m having fun with it. I’m still super new to it but I can’t wait to see what other non-existent rules I can break! πŸ™‚

    Great posts by the way! Definitely pulled me in!

    Nicole of Blush Steel

    Reply
  2. Laura C.

    I love this article! When I started my blog I was older than 25, had a really old camera, a laptop that broke down every 10 minutes and I am certainly no model! With the help, tips and support from IFB however I am now looking back after a year of blogging I can honestly say starting my blog is the best decision I ever made.
    Laura. xx

    http://www.stylishvue.blogspot.com

    Reply
  3. Jodie Marie

    This article is one of the best you’ve published recently! I think there’s probably at least one point on here that every blogger can relate to. Even people at the top of their game (in every career) can feel like a ‘fraud’ at some time, or like they’re not good enough, so thank you for the reminder that there’s space for each and every one of us – just as we are.

    Jodie Marie
    http://www.alajode.com

    Reply
  4. Krystal Orr

    I absolutely agree with Grechen and Laura on this one! I started blogging at 29, luckily I was gifted a camera and laptop, and I am average sized! None of this is going to stand in the way of me celebrating the anniversary of Soar Thumb, my fashion and lifestyle blog. People (non-readers) told me to remain under 300 words, to post more personal style photos. But my readers love my long winded point of view, and they seem to be okay with the amount of personal style I share. We all have to do what works for us and our audiences. Screw the rules!

    Reply
  5. Roni

    Only rule I break is not doing what I wore posts. I don’t see the purpose. I believe fashion is about drawing inspiration and I do that from the pages of magazines not a million boring what I wore posts.

    Reply
  6. Tiffy Diamond

    I definitely break the rule by not really posting OOTD posts all that much. I find that so many bloggers offer that, I like to write about what I don’t see which is fashion films spotlights on fashion professionals.

    Reply
  7. Dilek

    I personally agree with everything you wrote here! I love writing and most of the time I want to write more! I have read online all about what you mentioned here: how fashion blogs should keep it short and simple: to me it was a bunch of nonsense. I actually am prone to reading longer articles and stay more on blogs that intellectually engage me. Take Parkandcube.com blogger Shini. She always writes longer articles, but I always read them and she doesn’t necessarily write about her outfit or photographs – she just states what she wants to state!

    Reply
  8. Vicky

    I agree that you do not need to have professional photographs of yourself to make your blog look good or get more readers but it certainly helps, just like you would like to have a perfect copy for the article, the same way the photograph should be high quality as well. This does not mean that you need to go and invest in expensive camera or equipment.. just make sure you have a decent camera, even a good phone camera with 13 mega pixel will do good and take those pictures outside in sunlight. This should be good enough πŸ™‚

    Vicky
    http://www.fashionflu.com

    Reply
  9. War Julian

    I think by being true to one’s self and not allowing to be dictated what to do (by influence of other bloggers) make’s one a ‘rebel’. Unfortunately, most people tend to go for the conventional route.

    http://www.warjulian.com

    Reply
  10. j.george

    I recently started my blog and I’m 25. The only camera I have right now is my iPhone. Im glad to see that you can be successful without “following the rules” (I’ll be honest I didn’t know there were any until now). I’m still trying to build up my following, but it’s still really nice to have a creative outlet for expressing myself and my love of style. This article inspired me to push more πŸ™‚

    J.George
    Fearlessvogue.com

    Reply
  11. Jeanine Marie

    I say that fashion blogging is for anyone who loves fashion. Sure, you will find blog after blog with the same clothes, same poses ect..if you like what they have to offer it is OK. I follow a lot of blogs and to me, each has something to offer me.

    Jeanine Marie
    avalonandkelly.com

    Reply
  12. CynthiaCM

    Echoing others…however, I feel that if you don’t at least fit one or two points of what a fashion (or lifestyle/mommy/whatever) blogger is supposed to be like, you’re just not going to get the sponsors (unless you’re really, really good at hustling or are working with a network). I consider myself “lifestyle,” but around here, “lifestyle” tend to fall into the relationship, home decor or mom/parenting. Because of that, many of my non-fashion cold calls/emails just don’t fit the scope of my site (I don’t care about relationship issues/how to catch a husband. I’m not Cosmo nor do I think it’s sophisticated). I also don’t often talk about celebrities or promote healthy living with diet supplements. I will talk about body image from a short, small-framed woman’s perspective (rarely done) and maybe beauty standards from a first generation Canadian of Chinese descent’s POV (different from mainstream Canadian/American (read: “Anglo”), black, South Asian or Latin “ideals.”).

    Cynthia
    http://www.delectablychic.com

    Reply
  13. Eliana

    I loved reading this article! I totally agree and find it refreshing when I come across a fashion blog or blog post that, for once, does not include Triangl swimwear or multiple images of bloggers/wannabe bloggers posing outside Fashion week while they comment about their favourite looks/shows of the day. I don’t have anything against the occasional posts regarding these topics but diversity is great and I believe lures more visitors to your site πŸ™‚

    Reply
  14. Hanna

    I feel like today there are so many types of Fashion Blogs that these rules become completely out dated, I mean some blog only about their outfits, some about fashion images they find online, some blogs are more about lifestyle of photography than fashion really, but they can all be interesting and awesome.

    Reply
  15. Jenna Michelle

    Loved this post! I’m all too familiar with most of these excuses, but the truth is, there really are no rules to the blog industry and I think it will only continue to evolve as time goes on. I’ll always regret not starting my blog earlier, but it’s never too late to pursue something you love and this post was a great reminder of that.

    Jenna
    http://www.adornedwithlove.com

    Reply
  16. Amber Chong

    Thank you for writing this post! I’m just starting out so I really needed some pointers, and nothing else makes my day other than knowing that I can just do it my way after reading your post! Some of my friends say that I’m long-winded on my blog, but I’m sure there will be some people who can appreciate my lengthy but humourous texts!!

    Cheers,
    Amber

    Reply
  17. Joelle

    I really enjoyed this article. All of the points are valid and are definitely “rules” that I break myself with every post!

    I do, however, think that having a good camera, and producing high quality photos is very important. It really does lend to a better experience for your readers and subsribers.

    Joelle
    http://www.lapetitenoob.com

    Reply
  18. Retro Chick

    Yep, I break all of those! I write masses, am 35 this year and wear a UK size 12-14 and use photos from my iPhone far too often!

    Reply
  19. abl

    I too, feel like there are no rules in blogging. I’m a beauty blogger, but not a professional makeup artist (as so many beauty bloggers are), so it can be intimidating posting makeup looks if it’s not “perfect”.

    But I figure most of the people reading my blog aren’t makeup artists either and just want to look good–not perfect!

    Reply
  20. Alexis Crawford

    I love this post!
    The beauty of blogging (for me at least) is there really are no rules, so I can write about whatever i want!

    Reply
  21. Bianca B

    I completely and wholeheartedly agree with this post! I think that these “rules” have become a custom to the blogging community and some bloggers are unfortunately too afraid to go on their own path. I love to ramble and tell little stories that often do not have anything to do with fashion also because that is my personal way of blogging. I think that it’s important for bloggers and readers to understand that it’s okay to be different, it gives you your own personal touch!

    Xoxo, Bianca
    http://sweetlamode.blogspot.com/

    Reply
  22. Jeanette

    Great to know that I am not dead for the fashion blogging niche, I am 29 years old:) When I was a teenager or just above 20 I didn’t care too much about fashion, so the fashion part have come later for me.
    I don’t care about beeing a successful fashion blogger, but it would be great to have a bigger crowd on the blog. I have manage to make a goal this year, that was to write for a online magazine. Now I am a monthly contributor for that magazine and it is fashion articles:)

    Reply
  23. Michelle Collins

    I love this! When I started a year ago, I didn’t think I could do it because I wanted to go into a different direction. So far, it’s working out for me.

    Do you “niche” you want to do and feel natural to you; forget what the others are doing.

    Reply
  24. Lorna Mai

    This is really encouraging as I’m 38 and only starting out in blogging. I still have a great deal to learn. I do feel very old though as many of us are under 25!

    Reply
  25. Demilade

    This was such a good and informative post. I admit that sometimes, I try to copy what the top blogs do but I’ve come to the realization that it’s just better to be me and no one else to be honest. xx

    Reply
  26. dianie collado

    I have broken all of them πŸ˜‰ I love this article because it reminds me that as you say, there is room for everyone, as long as you stay true to yourself and share your style, thoughts and likes. Thank you so much for such uplifting words of wisdomβ™₯

    Reply
  27. Emily G

    Love this. I just wrote a REALLY LONG product review post, and was concerned no one would read it. But I had written it so… why cut it down? I can write a short post some other time. Also, I HATE fashion week. It’s just a lot of really expensive clothes that almost no one can afford.

    As far as photos go, iPhone 5’s actually take really nice pictures. I bought a DSLR camera, and it was a good investment, but you can definitely take nice pictures without one.

    Good post!
    http://www.thatcheapbitch.com

    Reply
  28. Tatianna Barry

    This article just gave me the boost I needed. I just started my blog back up and I’m really trying to bring something new to the table. Trying to copycat all of these bigger blogs won’t get me anywhere now a days.. so hopefully very soon. I have a blogging style that works for me!
    Thanks so much for the post
    XO Tatianna Barry of indivisualityxo.com

    Reply
  29. Clothes But Not Quite

    Great post! I laughed because I break all of those rules all of the time! I know I shouldn’t have to look for outside affirmation that what I’m doing is right, however it was sure nice to read that others (including yourself) are breaking the rules just like me. It also feels great to be a rebel and an original. I also blog with my two dogs and I definitely haven’t seen that yet in a fashion/beauty blog.

    http://clothesbutnotquite.com

    Reply
  30. Liyana

    I’m so glad I clicked on this article. I’ve been blogging for about 3 years but only recently started to take it seriously, even though I have practically no readers! Attending to my blog is getting addictive lately…
    I turned 28 earlier this year and was starting to wonder if I’m getting too old for my blog, but reading your article has helped me shake off that thought. So thank you so much for debunking all these blogging myths!

    Reply
  31. Anastasia

    You CAN be a fashion blogger without going to fashion week. It’s totally about me. I used to go to FW every season to almost all the shows, when i was working in the glossy magazine. Now I quited and i don’t miss not for a second a fashion show. And to be honest i never got this hustle about fashion weeks and the desire of almost all the bloggers to get there. What is so magical about it? To feel the atmosphere? Probably. But if to talk in terms of observing clothes it’s waaaay much better to check pictures in details on style.com or e.t later. And yes, I don’t have any desire to visit fashion weeks again but I am a fashion blogger. After all, you should never do what you feel does not fall into harmony with who you are. The blog will just benefits from this.

    Anastasia

    http://www.fashionpeekaboo.com

    Reply
  32. karen

    Thank you for a wonderful article!! I found it when I needed a boost. I’m reworking my blog and I do get frustrated a bit because I’m not sure how to get more exposure and I do need to post more. Thank you for giving positive motivation to all of us still working on finding our place.

    I will definitely be reading your blog on a regular basis!!

    Cheers,
    Karen
    http://www.desperatelyseekingsomewhere.blogspot.com

    Reply
  33. Queenly Tan

    “Do the best with the equipment you DO have until you can get something better; you can still be a successful fashion blogger.”

    This is also one of my rule since I started blogging, and until now I use a point and shoot camera. Do what you can with what you have.

    Reply
  34. Squirrel Princess

    Thank you for your insightful comments. I especially think you are right in saying it doesn’t matter your age or your weight. So many people prevent themselves from being successful by assuming they cant do things! Its important for everyone to know you can do whatever you put your mind to!

    Reply