Go to any fashion blogger conference or panel discussion, and the word “authentic” will be spoken so many times that you might have to leave the building for a good scream if you hear it ONE MORE TIME (just me?). We all know that authenticity is important for any brand, especially a personal style blog. “Selling out” can turn off readers and take the joy out of blogging.
But authenticity in blog form has its limits.
Firstly, many fashion bloggers are young and still figuring out their style, learning what they believe in, and establishing their own unique voice. Repeating the phrase “Be authentic” is not necessarily helpful because you might not know what that means yet. In one of my first posts featuring a gifted item, I wore a pair of jeans that I didn't love on me, to be honest (hence the weird laying down photos) but I thought they were good jeans overall and I loved the sustainability aspect. Today, three years of blogging later, I would decline to do the post and offer to send the jeans back instead of forcing the issue. But that doesn't mean I wasn't being authentic, it means I had some things to learn.
Maybe you've said (or thought) something like this at some point in time: “She would never wear that IRL, it's only for the freebie…”
Maybe you've said (or thought) something like this at some point in time: “She would never wear that IRL, it's only for the freebie,” or: “She totally did not wear that to work,” or: “You did not eat that.” OK I admit I enjoy that last one. But let's remember what outfit posts are for: inspiration. Does it really matter if you were out of your pajamas specifically long enough for your boyfriend to shoot your outfit photos? Not if you actually dig that outfit. Your readers will, hopefully, still get ideas for that upcoming cocktail party or work event.
I understand the sentiment behind You Did Not Eat That: let's not front like we can eat donuts and ice cream for every meal and miraculously stay rail-thin. But let's also admit that as fashion bloggers we're dealing in a bit of fantasy and aspiration. Even on my own blog, where I sometimes practice radical honesty, there's room for the dream of spending any amount of time caring for a 2-year-old while wearing five-inch booties.
Your blog doesn't have to be a documentary. The trick is to find that sweet spot…
Your blog doesn't have to be a documentary. The trick is to find that sweet spot where you're keeping it real, but still challenging yourself and inspiring your readers—and perhaps figuring out what it actually means to be authentic.
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