Are Personal Style Bloggers Impacting Retail Trends?

Coco made me poor shirt and dress

Do you take your Prada with a side of Old Navy? How about that Jimmy Choo shoe with a Hanes white t-shirt?

Last week Women's Wear Daily reported that there's a new shopping trend emerging in the retail world that embraces this intense high-meets-low mix.

WWD partnered with MasterCard to look at the spending habits of a sample of “100,00o anonymous cardholders who made at least one purchase at one of the nine high-end retailers last year.” The patterns among those shoppers showed a tendency to shop more frequently at discount department stores (like Kohl's), but spend more money at high-end and luxury retailers. They're calling it “The Extreme Cross-Shopper.”

While we know that cross-shopping is nothing new when it comes to fashion, we can't help but wonder if this purchasing trend has anything to do with the rise and popularity of style bloggers. After all, we're master mixers of high and low! Any given post might find Aimee Song of Song of Style pairing an H & M top and a Chanel bag, or Blair of Atlantic-Pacific wearing Zara shoes with her Celine handbag.

We chatted with Saks Fifth Avenue Senior Fashion Director Colleen Sherin to find out her take on the extreme cross-shopper and how style bloggers can influence the retail landscape.

Do you find that this demographic of “the extreme cross-shopper” applies to customers at Saks?

“More and more we’re seeing that customers are very savvy. They may want to splurge on a designer shoe or handbag, then may buy other pieces at H & M and American Apparel. It's just the way people dress today. There are peices worth investing in and customers know they’ll have for many years, and pieces that are more of the moment that they may buy elsewhere. [At Saks] we've seen this trend within the store as well, in our advanced designer department and our contemporary area.”

Style bloggers are known for their savvy mixing of high and low brands. Do you think this trend among shoppers could have a correlation to the rise and popularity of personal style blogs?

“It gives the consumer more confidence and endorses the look as doable. An endorsement of that type of shopping and that type of dressing – it's a visual image of what it looks like to cross-shop, and how it can result in a very interesting and very individual look.”

From the standpoint of Saks Fifth Avenue, how much do you look to style bloggers for tip-offs about trends? Since bloggers are attending shows at the same time as buyers and then blogging about it almost instantaneously, do their opinions influence buyers at all?

“We look at everything that's coming our way at that time. We look at what's on blogs, Twitter, WWD –  [style blogs] are one more source of information. With everything, we have to look at it and evaluate and then decide if it’s right for Saks Fifth Avenue. We have our own specific direction, and blogs are just one outlet we look to; but they're something that didnt exist in the past, and they're real and authentic and very tuned in to whats happening at that moment.”

Do you identify with the “extreme cross-shopper” demographic? Do you think this is a trend that's been highly influenced by fashion's digital presence?


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17 Responses

  1. Whitney

    I definitely can relate to the extreme cross shopper but on a level of my own. I can only dream of affording high end fashion, so for me it’s mixing dirt cheap thrift finds with discount department store buys. Bloggers are very influential specifically to their faithful followers. I think that seeing a famous blogger wear a dollar tee and pairing them with Phillip Lim shoes gives their followers the confidence to say, “Hey, if she did it. I can do it.” Hence the rise in cross shopping.

  2. Gloria

    I am definitely a cross-shopper. I love the idea of mixing high and low pieces! The blogging world does have some sort of influence. I think it is something that we will see increase throughout the fashion world.

  3. Remy

    I think cross-shopping is key to elevating any outfit, at a minimum cost. It’s a very efficient shopping habit, and one that I, like many women, subscribe to.

    Hence its success, especially in this economy.

    Style bloggers today serve as the “voices” of the fashion masses, and they merely reflect the many fun results that come out of cross-shopping. It’s vital for retailers to pay attention, since it gives them insight into our shopping habits.

  4. Natasha Fatah

    Absolutely – style bloggers are having a huge impact on this on how people shop.
    Since I’ve been following style blogs, I’ve stopped buying fashion magazines.

    I’m definitely not the kind of person that would buy a $1000 bag or pair of shoes, but I take inspiration from these women and their mixing of high and low.

    They’ve made fashion more accessible and equitable. They’ve made thrifting a norm. I think style blogs (for the most part) have had a great influence on the fashion industry.


  5. Bug

    I aspire to be a cross-shopper but unfortunately I strongly suspect I’m just a cross-skint-shopper. I’ve only a few high-end pieces in my wardrobe (and that’s after years of shopping and hoarding) – even then, I’ve never spent more than a few hundred quid on a single item. If I had the cash though…

  6. Tammy Trujillo

    I think bloggers are influential to their followers, but their following might not be as large to make an impact as we think. I know for one I love love love style blogs, but out of 14 of my good close friends, I’m the only one who has even been to a fashion blog. So I think its all relative. Also, people have been mixing hi and lo end priced items for years, its just more visible now with the increase in social platforms.

  7. Rachel

    I’ve watched my mother pair really expensive designer things (especially Jimmy Choos) with items from the British high street, and now I can afford one or two designer pieces I do the same. My beautiful new Zara dress is totally worthy of my equally beautiful Chloe heels. As you said, it is savvy. Invest in the things that you want or need the quality from, like shoes or that you’ll have for ages like a classic handbag, and why pay designer prices for a basic tee shirt you can buy anywhere?

  8. LoudPen

    Loved this post! I’ve always been a high-low shopper because that’s how my mom taught me and my sister to be. My mother taught me to invest in quality bags & shoes whereas clothes would be good quality but we’d scope for great deals. My mom was a huge bargain hunter so we always had amazing pieces from major department stores but we bought everything on sale. So I think that this is why I can appreciate deals but also the timeless classics that I blog about. Either way, the best thing about fashion bliggers is that we are a new fresh voice that demicratizes fashion.

  9. Madeline F.

    I’d say I’m more of a Budget Fashionista as I mix mostly forever 21, thrift store, department store, consignment shop and other cheap but chic finds for a more personal look! I rarely get pieces over $50 unless they are something very special I cannot recreate for cheaper!

  10. FashionableTeacher

    I have always believed that it you mix your high end items with your cheap items, no one can tell the difference.

  11. Emily

    It’s no fun to only shop at high-end retailers. Who wouldn’t want to get more, for less? I’d rather spend $15 on a crazy, funky shirt I will wear once, then $100 on a shirt I will feel like I have to wear a million times, and get creative every time so I don’t always wear it the same way! It’s common sense, people. PS – I just bought my new favorite skirt for summer from TARGET!

  12. Karina

    First off I think people are realizing that some things are not going to be in style for more than a season. With that in mind, many bloggers and individuals turn to Zara and H&M for their clothing, yet to Barneys and Saks for shoes and bags. Bloggers are smart shoppers, therefore they invest in key pieces that can be work season after season.

  13. Karina

    Whitney, I think you are absolutely right! Not everyone can afford to splurge, therefore if bloggers only showed off their pricey items, majority of the readers wouldn’t be able to relate. I may not be able to afford the bag, but i can but the $1 t-shirt like you said and still feel pretty cool!

  14. Maycie After Five

    Yup, I think it’s pretty clear that bloggers do influence the way people shop. People see a cute outfit on blogs or in lookbooks and they want to recreate it or put their own spin on it.

    I would say that I’m a mid-price shopper. Some of the more expensive clothing that I see on other blogs or magazines, I make myself.

  15. Tessa B

    I agree with Whitney…I love dirt cheap thrifty items w/discounted dept store items…I must say, before creating my own blog..I went to several fashion blogs and drew a lot of inspiration from OOTD’s…but I do tend to make or search for “looks for less” as well when I see expensive items..

  16. Meli

    I’m definitely all about being an “extreme cross-shopper.” In my outfit posts, I have no problem sharing with people that I buy a lot of things from Forever 21 while pairing with a pair of Gucci studded heels.

    At the end of the day, you don’t have to spend a fortune to be stylish!

  17. Norma Jeane Monroe

    I am definitely a cross-shopper, but I’ve been this way for years. I thought everyone did this. I have always spurge on high-end “staple/classic” items (mostly shoes and handbags) things that I can wear year after year and season after season. Cross-shopping is just a smarter way to shop.