Why Read Fashion & Beauty Blogs Anymore?

zoe_london1
Last week, Ashley Robison, forwarded a post from Zoe London, a beauty blogger who was approached by a beauty brand for fashion week only to be rejected by the very  same brand that approached moments after she confirmed she'd love to participate in their campaign. Personally, I think she has a unique look about her, which still qualifies as “beautiful.” But she did raise a good point about blogging success in the fashion and beauty verticals.

Brands like to work with bloggers who fall within the confines of traditional beauty. Magazines like to feature bloggers who seamlessly fit editorially on their pages. Readers like to imagine that beautiful bloggers are “just like them.” Even if the said bloggers aren't so different from models.

I do not want to “beauty shame” anyone. I love looking at photos of beautiful people as much as anyone. A lot of the “beautiful” bloggers are really wonderful people, who also work really hard. Posts with  conventionally “beautiful” people get shared more, Pinned more, commented on more. We all respond to beauty more, and we're all guilty of perpetuating beauty standards.

into_the_gloss

(Into the Gloss founder, Emily Weiss in a feature on the New York Times. Into The Gloss is currently ranked the #1 fashion and beauty blog on Style99.)

Which brings me to the elephant in the room….

Fashion and beauty blogging used to be about “real people” who related to the “average” person. A person could find a blogger who looked like them, and had a similar lifestyle that was not being communicated in the fashion magazines. But now that fashion and beauty bloggers look more and more like models, and wear luxury clothing like you would see in magazines, why read blogs at all?

Fashion and beauty blogging used to be about “real people” who related to the “average” person.

Niche blogs do exist. People have a way of finding their audiences outside the mainstream. Generally, as a medium, fashion blogs are looking less and less different from fashion magazines. While that can be a very good thing for some bloggers, do we as a community risk losing that special “thing” that made us so successful in the first place?

I don't have any answers here. I just want to open the conversation. Maybe it's too late… But before bloggers make the jump into the mainstream, just take a second to think about what makes us unique.

What makes your blog unique?

[Image source: Zoe London]

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39 Responses

  1. Tolly Dolly Posh

    Lovely article 🙂
    Zoe has such a great blog, and her article was fab too.

    I made the point in her comments about age, and I think that is what makes my blog unique. I’m 14 and I post around 3 posts a week. I have my first collection coming all because of my blog, and I’m proud of that. That’s what makes mine different.
    I certainly won’t stop reading fashion blogs because they are always personal (well, the ones I read) and have such great opinions. It’s refreshing, even when there are so many new ones popping up!

    Tolly x

    Reply
  2. MIS PAPELICOS

    I couldn´t agree more with you and I keep well away from blogs that look like magazines; if I want to read a magazine I shall look for one.
    I keep to people who move my core, who inspire me with clothes we can all afford and create magic with them.
    Great post, thank you for writing it I thought I was alone here.
    XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

    Reply
  3. b.

    i still ‘blog’ and in no way do i think the mainstream is going to come knocking on my door.

    i think therein lies the difference.

    i continue to write, because i continue to adore fashion, design, makeup, etc., but in a way that is less commercial, and more personal.

    i think those who believe that blogging will lead them to fame and/or fortune in endorsements are the ones whose passions may lay elsewhere, more in what’s *inside* the pocket, or handbag, as opposed to how it was made, created, designed, or inspired…

    Reply
  4. Krisztina @ krisztinawilliams.com

    The whole point of blogging is that it is unique because it’s from a personal point of view, which sometimes comes from someone who looks like a model. I think it depends on the person…if they’re being themselves and being real with the audience. Some of the most successful blogs have the edge of having something inspirational and almost unattainable, while other successful blogs make it because they’re more raw and real. Different strokes for different folks I guess. Though I do get annoyed with fashion bloggers who are all promoting the same thing at the same time – typically something that is way out of the average person’s budget. That’s what I go to VOGUE to drool over. When it comes to a fashion blog, I prefer something that is more within reach. Though I can still find inspiration and find the look for less on my own. If the blogger is absolutely gorgeous and the photography is impeccable, like on Kayture or Annabelle Fleur’s blog, well I don’t care what they post about, I could look at their posts all day long!

    Reply
  5. Venus Smileygal

    As for me I only follow and read fashion and beauty blogs with personal touch and not the one’s too commercial or more like the magazines already. I take models and celebrities as my outfit inspiration and take their style to my own version/interpretation and share on my blog. So that’s what im looking also for blogs that I follow and read. because reading their blogs would also challenge me to make a post and at times helps me to discover something new.

    Reply
  6. TlvBirdie

    I love this topic!
    I think, most of the bloggers who start their blogs with the aim to get big/popular/whatever in the fashion world (which is already a death end, not a good start) tend to loose “it” very quickly into the mainstream of blogging mess.
    Those who start from another point, expressing something other people would intuitively find interest in, some genuine fields of interest, without pretending to be like someone they are not, – those blogs deserve attention.
    If blog is about fashion – awkward posing in clothes is not enough anymore.
    If blog is about diy – blogosphere is filled with the same tutorials, recreated by different bloggers over and over again.
    Etc.

    Finding that unique “thing” is definitely a tough task, that requires brainstorming and thinking outside of the mainstream blogging box.
    I keep doing my thing …

    Oly
    http://www.tlvbirdie.com

    Reply
  7. Karla Campos

    I think more women should blog about their own individual beauty instead of looking up to one ideal. Sure fashion blogs with models are nice but so are blogs about women of all different shapes and sizes showing off their unique individual beauty and fashion.

    Reply
  8. Faith Bowman

    Are beauty blogs irrelevant? Of course not- well, not YET. It’s free advertising for companies and pr people. I have interviewed a mess of fashion bloggers for my NY Fashion Blogger Project (http://www.examiner.com/article/ny-fashion-bloggers-project-apneet-kaur-who-is-apneet)- and I think that they put way too much emphasis on ‘modeling’. I just have to put that out there. Not judging, but that’s what I’ve seen.

    When I take a selfie, I want a good photo- but I don’t want to model. I just want to share what I’m wearing (and as a photographer get the lighting and framing right). I try to look decent- but whatevs. If people give me things to wear or review- it’s with the understanding that I’m me, not Naomi Campbell.

    Bloggers are also looking more and more like models- because there are a lot of models who want to have careers, and blogging is a way for them to be in the game and make it on their own terms. But that still doesn’t leave less room for real people. If what you’re doing strikes a chird with people and makes them read your blog- then you and your content are relevant.

    Also, rejection isn’t always about you. In the time that it takes you to respond- someone else might have emailed or called and filled your spot. So, just keep that in mind. It happens.

    Best,

    Faith, http://sassyethnicbohemian.wordpress.com

    Reply
  9. XO Style Stalker

    I think I will always read fashion blogs, even after I bring mine to an end. I mean, they’re what got me into blogging in the first place.
    And it’s really great to read back on your first posts when you couldn’t figure out how to make large pictures, or get a picture of that shoe with the scroll to zoom thing (we’ve all been there). And though that may not really count, it’s a fashion blog, and I definitely go back and read that.
    I’m 12 blogging a couple times a week, so fashion blogs are how I hear about the big news, get inspiration, and of course find pieces I can drool over (figuratively of course). So I really do think fashion blogs will always be a part of my life.

    Reply
  10. XO Style Stalker

    I think I will always read fashion blogs, even after I bring mine to an end. I mean, they’re what got me into blogging in the first place.
    And it’s really great to read back on your first posts when you couldn’t figure out how to make large pictures, or get a picture of that shoe with the scroll to zoom thing (we’ve all been there). And though that may not really count, it’s a fashion blog, and I definitely go back and read that.
    I’m 12 blogging a couple times a week, so fashion blogs are how I hear about the big news, get inspiration, and of course find pieces I can drool over (figuratively of course). So I really do think fashion blogs will always be a part of my life. Well, maybe sometimes I’ll stop, when I find all the success discouraging.

    Reply
  11. Leah Huang

    I think there is a cycle that keeps feeding into itself with this “model-like” and “editoral-esque” trend of blogs. It’s inevitable in this competitive environment where conventionally beautiful bloggers dominate the mainstream fashion blogging scene. Other bloggers witness these successes and feel like the only for them to be noticed is also to present themselves in similar ways.

    However, in a way I think it is OK to bring magazine-like editorial elements to your blog photos. Because a fashion blogger’s personal editorial vision is very different from a magazine editor or photographer’s vision. Devoting time to properly prepare and conduct a shoot followed by careful editing does not make a bloggers’ photos unauthentic.

    The real problem seems to lie in finding the delicate balance between seeking inspiration from the fashion world and fellow bloggers without losing sight of what makes your voice unique. It’s important for us as bloggers to remind ourselves of our own creative visions and integrity, and actively support diversity of ideas and beauty in our community 🙂

    Leah,

    theinspirationspell.blogspot.com

    Reply
  12. Ana Gonzalez

    You are totally right. For me, blogging was communication with persons who shared the same passions and interests. I know, it is a guilty pleasure to look at those mega bloggers but my greatest concern is that they are not always authentic. They post whatever the sponsors give to them, no matter if is their real style.

    We lost something in fashion blogging. I love to find fresh girls who maybe are not super bloggers but are a true inspiration about every day style.

    http://lazycatstyle.com

    Reply
  13. Sagan

    Oh I’m so glad you brought this up! It’s taken me a really long time to actually let people know about my fashion blog – it was a bit more of a pet project, and I guess I also felt that because I don’t look like a fashion blogger *should,* I wasn’t sure that I could really CALL myself a fashion blogger.

    I like this perspective on it – I think it’s a really good reminder for all of us about why we do what we do! For me, I started a fashion / beauty blog because I love fashion and beauty. Not because I look like a model, or am an expert, or am always put together – just for the love of it.

    Reply
  14. Rossana Vanoni

    Jeninne, great way to open up the discussion towards real women in fashion. It is real women that buy the majority of what brands sell. We all like to see models wearing the latest outfits, and we also love to see women in the real world with their own sense of style. We all have them, your friends, your sister or mother, and others. That’s what makes fashion blogging so excilarating.

    Will fashion bloggers go away. Heck no. There is a space in the cloud for all of us, tall or short, size 2 or bigger. It is up to us women to support each other and lend a helping hand to the blogging sites that we like.
    How can you help? It’s easy, here’s how you can help.
    1. Visit the sites of real women that you like
    2. Make one or two comments on posts that you like
    3. Share on your social media.

    xo Rossana
    Go take on the day, inspire yourself. Be you!
    http://rossanavanoni.com

    Reply
  15. Rose

    I think in general blogging isn’t special anymore. THERE ARE SO MANY BLOGS! While that means diversity and a better chance at finding someone that appeals to you, it’s also hard to get noticed. Before, you could start a blog, gain a following, and get noticed by important people. The same goes for youtube vloggers. What makes you special from the next person? it’s so hard to differentiate yourself from other women in the fashion or beauty industry. I thought about writing a blog, i still do sometimes. but i feel like it’s such an over saturated market that there really is no point. i would definitely keep it for recreational uses only

    Reply
  16. ahhhsoneo

    I think part of the problem is the PR by the fashion and beauty houses. Every blogger is sent the same promotional materials, it makes it so generic and boring. I’ve noticed with magazines, they may have the same advertisers, but the pics may be different, the outfit you will see in an advert in vogue is different in bazaar although its the same brand. While bloggers just have the same sponsored outfits or the same beauty products.

    Reply
  17. Zuma

    Jennine, you are so right. Understandingly, every blogger wants to be successful and wants to earn money for all the hard work. Do bloggers try to look pretty in the pictures? Sure. But that’s not a bad thing – in order to look good, we have to eat healthy and exercise. This may inspire the blog readers to do the same. But then… I find it hard to believe that a Fashion Blogger would truly pair Prada with Forever 21, unless it is for a photo shoot, of course…
    http://www.livingzbeautifulmix.com

    Reply
  18. Ann Krembs

    Great article Jenine! I’ll take a little bit of time to answer why my blog is unique.

    First, I feel old. I am 42! I know, GASP! But I don’t care. I love writing my blog. The creativity that it has brought out in me had been missing for sometime. Sure, I have youth envy and wish I was in my 30s, but I’m not letting my age stop me!

    Second, I live in Hong Kong. It’s such a vibrant city. It’s edgy and urban and super chic while also being gritty and cultural. It has so much to offer my family from beaches to hiking to shopping to dining. I love HK! I love it so much I want to share it, and hence have incorporated the city into my tag line: Getting the Best Out of Life in Hong Kong!

    Third, well, I go for it. I’m passionate and creative. I take risks my whole adult life (this is my 18th year living overseas and my 7th country). I am diverse: I love cooking, traveling, hiking, beaching reading, shopping etc. I don’t sit still. I’m always on the move, always busy. Always have been and always will be. Writing Kremb de la Kremb seems to support this vitality about me.

    So, there you have it! I feel unique. Thank you for asking!

    Ann of Kremb de la Kremb

    Reply
  19. Roxanne

    Love this post. This has been a debate with a few other blogger friends for a while now.

    I think it’s necessary for an individual to have their own style and voice. Brand associations always tend to happen when a blogger is well known, because everyone loves the popular kid, but I think it’s the sole decision of the blogger to go ahead with that association or not. Every brand collaboration has to be true to your style and what you usually blog about. When it’s too different then you might sound like a phony, and no one would like that.
    It’s really sad to sometimes see a blog that gained fans with it’s thrifting and bargain buys suddenly decked in designer wear just because it’s sponsored. Even if that happens, the blogger needs to find how to mix the two and say something like – mixing designer with thrifted pieces.

    xox
    http://www.head2heels.co

    Reply
  20. Tia

    Had the same conversation with a friend days ago. News blogs (as far as they do not copy fashionista.com all the time) are vanishing more and more. It’s about the Chiaras etc. nowadays. I really miss the online dialogue about fashion and not about “I’m wearing this totally amazing Chanel bag and earning 6 Mill a year”. No offense, but it’s the truth.

    Reply
  21. Mercedes

    This is so spot on. Last night I thought about this. I read somewhere about “Pinterest star …. says ….” Blogs are more and more about portfolio. The idea of editing what you like now it moved to Pinterest and Instagram.

    People like me, that started now a while back remember that time with a bit of nostalgia when blogging was sort of anarchic, everyone would post their style, with maybe a crappy camera and awful light in terribly designed blogspot pages. Yes at that time I complained about that. But it was fun, because you were part of something new where everyone (regardless of long or short legs, Prada bags or top pictures) could have an audience.

    I don’t care if fashion blogging is about showing designers clothes with (sometimes) modelesque bloggers, is a new way for brands to show their styles like they did with magazines. If everyone knows that, I don’t see the problem. Boring for us from the old school? Maybe. But is a lost cause! I also think that this new generation of bloggers do a terrific work of editing and design. Amazing style too.

    For me it raises the question: So if everything you see online is sponsored, how much can you believe in the content you see? A trendforcasting company talked recently about a designer of NFW as very influential because all the mentions in social media…Weren’t LOTS of that mentions sponsored? Is that a reliable indicator if that is the case?

    I hope brands take the time to do the necessary research to create their collections! I’m sure they do, but we all know that if you have to create a collection in one week (Any fast fashion company here) I’m sure you don’t have time (or budget) to go trenspotting to Tokyo, you go directly to internet.

    Ok, this was a lot of words… 🙂

    Reply
  22. Lesia

    I really think that it’s for the best if a brand doesn’t want to work with you because of your appearance because that means you really shouldn’t work together. There are things more important than appearance in fashion blogging – a dedicated base of readers, engagement and good quality content. It’s better to work with those brands that value it.

    Reply
  23. Onianwah

    Hmmm, pretty much everyone so far has written a snippet of what I would have said but still I would like to say that I still prefer the raw, down-to-earth blogs. I hate the unattainable and as much as I like to flip through glossy magazines, I still like to know that the persons behind the blogs are real people who are like me (one of the reasons I prefer Chriselle Lim over some of the top fashion bloggers. I can relate to her and her life).

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

    Reply
  24. Cara

    Fashion blogs are still worth reading because you can always find some bloggers that have an unique style, even if they are not that well known. I just refresh my blog list from time to time, adding some new people, deleting some that are not interesting enough.

    Reply
  25. Anastasia

    Fashion blogs ( at least top ones) are no longer about real people. Just have a look at the list of most popular blogs at Bloglovin -Rumi Neely, Chiara Ferragni, Peaceloveshea and e.t The look like models, they never write something critical, they wear only lux clothes and I am agree with comments above that it’s irritating to see that 10 most popular bloggers promote the same thing in the same moment! And write something boring about the perfume/bag/shoes/event – just like in the magazines! It’s obvious because they got paid just like the magazines for the commercial spread. What does it have in common with real life? I personally loved all these blogs before, when they used to appear in the same boots frequently, mixed Topshop with J.Brand…Because it’s a normal situation, about me and most readers out there! If I want to see the editorial with Prada total look I’d better buy Vogue.

    xx
    http://fashionpeekaboo.com

    Reply
  26. Fashion U Feel

    Its a very well made point. The reason blogs came into existence are bcos they showcased a real person in affordable fashion. It’s supposed to be reflection of style rather than brands. And thats how you inspire people to be stylish within your means. However some blogs have started resembling hi fashion mags and that kind of puts pressure on rest of the community. Since these blogs also have extremely high readership / fan following it looks like that’s the way to grow so you tend to look for success in that direction and maybe sometimes digress from your purpose. I would not lie by saying it doesn’t bother me but at the same time I continue to work hard & do what I know is best for me & my blog and let my audience decide. The point is that if i wanted to see unaffordable fashion I could have just stuck to reading Vogue but I do enjoy seeing these girls wear those outfits with such aplomb.

    Reply
  27. Coocoo4coco

    I blog because I love fashion, this is my life…. Everyone do not look the same or like the same things. That’s what make blogging so great. Coocoo4coco.blogspot.com

    Reply
  28. Mariana

    There are so many blogs, yes, all the more reason to do something unique and not be a poor copy of Mainstream publications.

    I understand that my age and not looking like a typical model will mean that I won’t have the same opportunities as some blogs, but the voice I write from does not work that way anyway, and I am not willing to change that.

    Blogs that cover areas that mainstream does not (plus sized, modest/religious fashion, budget, vintage, alternative cultures, etc.) often have the most engaged and loyal followers, even if they are not starring in the latest TJ Maxx campaign.

    Reply
  29. Akaleistar

    This is such an important topic! I started reading blogs because they were different from magazines. I think it is wonderful that blogging can create opportunities to work with different brands and publications, but what keeps me following bloggers is their unique perspective not their campaigns.

    Reply
  30. Charmaine Lee

    I couldn’t agree more. Fashion blogs especially are starting to look more and more like editorials, and while I can certainly appreciate the time and effort taken to produce these beautiful pictures it’s become so much about selling whatever labels they’re wearing instead of opinion. What I love about The Man Repeller and Into The Gloss is that every piece still tells a story and isn’t focused solely on earning through the affiliate links peppered throughout the copy. That’s the style I’m hoping to emulate, and would love to see more of. Ultimately, I started my blog for readers to make well informed decisions be it for beauty, fashion, or food, and I hope to be a trusted source people can come to when they’re looking for a REAL review.

    http://charmystique.blogspot.com/

    Reply
  31. Brittany Ann

    The hugely successful bloggers who dress all in designer and have a different destination shoot every week/month remind me a bit of Hollywood blockbusters. People will flock to see them, they look sleek and professional, but in the end, how many form a real emotional attachment? I’ll pause for a moment if they have an interesting look on my Pinterest feed, but those bloggers aren’t the ones I look to follow or be followed by.

    I want an intimate experience with people who use clothing as their form of creative expression. Gorgeous photography is always appreciated, no doubt, but it needs to be accompanied by a real sense of self in the writing. Share anecdotes of family, personal style philosophy, random imaginative musings. If those huge bloggers are blockbusters, I prefer the less polished (but greater of heart) indie films. Feeling like you know a blogger well enough to be friends in person – that’s a far better experience than admiring the popular kids from afar.

    I’m a new blogger and may always be niche, but I love thrifty, artsy, creative fashion. When I talk about clothing it’s not simply to list labels, but to celebrate the joy of playing dress-up as an adult. Talk to me about fabric, color, movement, passion. I want outfits that sing to me, and to engage with others who too hear that song.

    Reply
  32. Yana B.

    I blog because I love fashion and I love making it my own individual style. I also blog because I work a 9-5 that has no creativity aspects so I use this as my outlet. I would love for people to come to my blog and see something they like about originality and I aim to make it different yet relevant to the every day person. I love featuring other people’s style on my blog as well, and covering fashion shows and events. I think all three of these aspects makes my blog different, I don’t just focus solely on what I have in my closet or what celebs are wearing, I like to make my blog relevant to all who are interested in fashion and art. Or all who are interested in being Style Stamped! 🙂

    Reply
  33. Sephie Rojas

    Top bloggers are getting more and more mainstream. What’s more unfortunate is that they used to be authentic and real, but now they all seem forced, contrived, and pretty much sporting the same cookie-cutter kind of beauty. Everyone posts the same things, says the same things about the brand who sponsored them, and a lot of people still fawn over the things they say when we aren’t so sure anymore if they are genuine or simply generated by sponsors. Gone are the days when bloggers just share stuff on their blogs because they naturally just want to share something on their blogs, and not because they’re being paid to do so. I gave up reading and following so many top bloggers because of this 🙁

    http://justsephierojas.blogspot.com

    Reply
  34. Melody Sours

    Thank you SOOO much for this. As a fashion blogger I ask the same question as was raised here. Why read blogs when they’re beginning to look more an more like editorial shoots than anything unique?
    This article reminded me of why I started blogging in the first place. I wanted to show that you can have womanly curves and still be a fashionable, chic force!

    http://blingaholic88.com

    Reply
  35. Letitia Elizabeth

    Wonderful article, completely agree with all the points made. For me in this jungle of standardized beauty that drives me insane with envy all while leaving me feeling completely isolated, I now just keep it simple by connecting on a lifestyle choice level. My blog and life is about minimalist living and being kind to the earth and ethical to fellow humans. No matter what you look like, if you are a kindred spirit I most likely read your blog. Though I really wish sometimes I could dye my hair platinum blonde and be just as accepted!

    Reply
  36. Carrie Paul

    I started blogging because now that I can actually take the time to think about clothes, It is my outlet. I wear scrubs everyday so I am sure you can see why. Mine isn’t great, my husband takes my pics and probably my only reader, but it is such a great outlet for me…

    Reply