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Finance & the Fashion Blogger: Ignore-ance

by Ashley on April 27, 2010

shopping, shopping quotes, shopping cheaper than psychiatrist

Please be sure to check out my follow up posts to this one: Finance & the Fashion Blogger: Blogging & Buying (for my reactions on this post) & Finance & the Fashion Blogger: Haul Videos to check out more thoughts and reactions to this post and its lovely, thought provoking comments!

I write this from a personal place, one that has been a big part of my life for nearly a decade and more thoughtfully impacts my daily life now.  I’d been a stupid teenager and a stupid 20-something, racking up thousands of dollars in debt– on eating out, shoes, books, movies– some of these were my own stupidity, some of these were compensation and the results of rebuilding my life after Hurricane Katrina.  At the end of the month, all I get is that bill saying that I owe this much.

We write about fashion– but we don’t often write or talk about the financial choices behind our sartorial choices.

Lately I’ve found myself recognizing how eliminating that temptation from my life has also had an impact on my ability to write as a fashion blogger.  It’s crossing my mind more and more how we, as fashion bloggers, need to demystify finances and realize that spending and shopping  go hand in hand– how do we do it, afford it, save for it?  Or do we?

Since moving back to New Orleans, my sartorial life has taken a backseat, as I’ve tried to focus on paying down my credit card debts and student loans.  As a result, my shopping has hopped in the backseat too– along with it, window shopping and temptation.

Moving back to New Orleans has taught me a bit about myself, including my habit of spiraling.  Spiraling–the act of doing something once, only to feel the need to keep doing it. It happened this past month– what started as using my credit card to buy Lady Gaga tickets and added up to 2 Tarina Tarantino necklaces, a new purse from Alice & Isa, 2 new tops from B&Lu, and a couple dinners out with friends.  Suddenly a month’s worth of progress on eliminating debt had been eliminated.

The only justification I have is that I bought things I really loved and have loved and wanted a long time.

In many ways, I think the rise of the fashion blogger has led to the rise of other things–increased need for consumption, a competitiveness to buy more and keep up with other bloggers. I remember reading about shopping addictions in magazines when I was younger, but I question if that’s on the rise too, with instant access to dozens of sale emails and posts popping up before our eyes every second.

Sometimes I can’t help but wonder, what’s the real cost of being a fashion blogger?

credit cards, stack of credit card, pile credit cardsIt’s something we keep quiet about publicly, but whisper about in g-chats and emails.   Is that blogger always buying new things? How does she afford it all?  And in an effort to keep up, we have two options: buy it ourselves or seek it out from companies in the form of payments/sponsorships/review products.

Birdiee said to me, “The act of buying is so integral to writing that sometimes I wonder how bloggers keep it up – there are a lot of bloggers who do editorials because they haven’t got the funds to keep up.”

Recently I went shopping with a girl friend in the French Quarter.  We were deliberating jewelry at Ragin’ Daisy, when I realized that I wanted this particular necklace and pair of earrings (totaling $57 before tax).  I also knew that I couldn’t afford them at the moment, so I’d have to pay by credit card.  So I didn’t buy them.

I’ve seen whispers from bloggers who’ve hidden from their debts and bad shopping habits, but never opened up that side with their readers.  The fact is, the need to buy, to remain stylish, to support our style, allow it to grow, change, evolve, has a price. Just how high do we let it get?

Jennine of the Coveted says of her own habits with shopping,

“When I first started blogging, I was well into a very destructive bad shopping habit, and when I started my blog, at first it fueled my already destructive spending. I remember reading somewhere on Style Bytes that she ran out of money, until the next credit card came in the mail, and at the time it seemed like..’oh, that’s how she does it!’ So, like an idiot, I did the same thing. I can’t give numbers, but I was in a lot of debt…but now, I have paid almost 2/3 of it off (after next month, I’ll have one more credit card to go, and I’m out of consumer debt). And I’ve learned my lesson. Bad spending habits aren’t worth it, not even for my blog.”

Michelle at Wicked Whimsy told me how real financial responsibility often holds her back as a blogger– she says,

One of the things that holds me back from doing more outfit posts, embarrassing as it may be, is that I just don’t have the cash to keep up with the constant influx of new clothes, shoes, and accessories that other fashion bloggers seem to have, even if I shopped on a serious budget. I feel like, because of this, most people don’t want to see outfits that are continual reworkings of my closet favorites (although I guess the Uniform Project could be an example to the contrary).

When bloggers are racking up thousands of dollars of debt or waiting for the next credit card bill to arrive, where do we draw a line? Form blogger support groups to keep each other from spending– and dressing– outside of our means?  Or do we destroy an illusion–of carefree living, style as art– by bringing finance in to the fashion mix?

Reader Responses!

I love them, so keep them coming!

Thank you all for the kind reposts, links, discussions, and more!


Steff Metal April 27, 2010 at 5:47 pm

Jennifer Nicole – you and I could be secret spending twins.

My father runs his own business, and he only carries cash. He doesn’t spend money on himself unless it’s something he really wants, and you know he really wants it because he researches it for months, and everytime he talks about buying it there’s a huge smile on his face. And when he finally gets it, he enjoys it.

I am the same. Right now, I am looking at a couple of pieces from, but I am putting a little money aside for them, and getting excited, and deciding which colors I want, and planning occasions to wear them.

I think fashion is fun, but I don’t think the fun bit is acquiring new things – I love creating mad outfits and wearing them out – on adventures with my husband and our friends, to gigs, to the store. I only buy clothing that makes me smile when I think of it :) (so I own hardly any “basic essentials” and I don’t “go shopping” unless I’m at a music festival, so I don’t buy from chain stores anymore).

I think this attitude should be true of blogging too – the best blogs are written by people whose fashion is a manifestation of their passions: Gala D with her bubbles and sequins and love of positivity, Queen Michelle and her love of metal (\m/), Zoetica Ebb and her love of alternative culture … These are the blogs I like to read, where you can sense a person’s passion in every word they write.

Credit card debt chains you, and I don’t mean with those gorgeous A(r)mor harnesses.

In saying that, writing my blog has made me more aware of some of the amazing alternative (I blog about heavy metal fashion, lifestyle and culture) clothing designers, and sometimes treating yourself is a good thing. Sometimes I am a little too “no, I will spend NOTHING”. When we went on holiday to Europe, I was going to buy nothing. NOTHING. But my husband kept seeing me looking at things and secretly going back and buying them, or he’d stand in the doorway of the shop and say “We’re NOT leaving until you buy something”.
.-= Steff Metal´s last blog ..The Steff Metal Guide to Writing To-Do Lists =-.

cagey (Kelli Oliver George) April 27, 2010 at 5:29 pm


When I comes to debt, I have the same attitude that as an ex-smoker, I have towards those still sucking on cigarettes (a little bit compassionate. a lotta bit judgemental. I’ll admit it) I spent my early 20s spending, spending, spending, then spent my late 20s paying it all off. I toiled away many years in jobs that were worse than dementors on my soul, but that paid good money. But hot damn, I learned my lesson.

I have often wondered how many of these bloggers are doing it – thanks for “blowing the lid” off of this topic
.-= cagey (Kelli Oliver George)´s last blog ..Raging Arizona. =-.

Carrie / WishWishWish April 27, 2010 at 4:25 pm

i’m in total agreement with Susie – if somebody is wearing an expensive outfit, i’ll take from it what I will and not be particularly bothered with how much it cost. But with that in mind, I do think that naturally over time the blogs I read most on an unconscious level are probably the ones with a tighter budget like myself as it is more relatable.
I do feel however that my spending has increased since I started blogging – it’s purely the amount of time I spend reading other blogs and being inspired by particular looks etc, I wouldn’t buy something just to post on the blog.

The other day, an anonymous commenter had the cheek to say that they were fed up with me showing what i’d been buying with “Mummy and Daddy’s money”. It’s just ridiculous, they don’t know me at all – I don’t receive a penny from my parents! Student loan does help though..haha..! I’m another one that doesn’t own any credit cards.
.-= Carrie / WishWishWish´s last blog ..On the Subject of Berets. =-.

Shopgirl April 27, 2010 at 4:24 pm

This is such a good post. I admit that sometimes I wonder about posting outfit posts that are re-workings of the same items. I started my blog last summer with a self-imposed six month shopping ban. It made me a lot more conscious of how much I spend on clothes and how much I buy. I also try to make the most of sales and to buy cheaper accessories in order to re-vitalise an outfit. I think – like a lot of the commentators here – that style is a lot more than just shopping.
.-= Shopgirl´s last blog ..Tuesday’s Tricky Trend: Clogs =-.

susie_bubble April 27, 2010 at 4:13 pm

Great post though a couple of points….
I find it very odd that people are so OPEN about their finances and are advocating that bloggers (and their commentors) SHOULD talk about their finances. My approach to blogging is how I approach talking to people in real life. I don’t go up to strangers and tell them about my personal relationship problems and my finances so therefore why should I be talking about it on the blog.
i’m not afraid of confronting the subject and I’ve already addressed this ‘money’ situation before on the blog because some people were curious. That said, I don’t see it as a point that needs to be continually raised. What I earn IS my business and what goes into my bank account IS for my own eyes only. Fair enough when readers question whether things are ‘gifts’ or not because that impacts on how they perceive certain things.
I guess I’m just not one of those people that always wonder “How did she get that?” and to be honest, it’s not something that I’m personally concerned with because I frankly just don’t want to know.
I don’t really feel pressured in the same way because my wardrobe has always been built up quite impulsively and isn’t really strategically related to the blog… if I didn’t have the blog, I’d probably have the same spending habits because I’ve been shopping with the same methodology (mostly on whimsy…) for about ten years, albeit the amounts spent on each item have increased over the years in relation to my job changing…
I do think it is great to discuss all of this in this instance though but I’m not quite sure what would be achieved if every fashion blogger started discussing their finances? Is this something I actually want to know? Hmmm…. maybe this is just me….
As for bloggers feeling inadequate, I think that is just pure tosh! I read a good deal of blogs that are purely outfit based but aren’t necessarily about “Look at the new things I bought!” and I think they’re just as inspiring…. surely having a lack of things forces people to be more creative and more resourceful and that in itself is great insight that more well-off bloggers don’t have…?
.-= susie_bubble´s last blog ..Pick Up a Prada Print =-.

ripley April 27, 2010 at 10:23 pm

I’ve never understood what’s so personal about money. It isn’t a reflection of your self-worth, your value to society, or anything else. It does explain a lot about what life or fashion choices are available to you at any given moment, but that’s not a value judgment on you, so why not talk about it?

On reason that it is good to talk about it is that I think many people can feel ashamed of not having enough money, oftentimes freedom AND fashion are cast as the ability to choose between this or that purchase. If you can’t choose, then what are you left with? So I really appreciate bloggers who are upfront about what is available to them in the first place, if they are talking about what they personally have.

I actually think keeping silent about money encourages people to feel shame about not having money – if you don’t have much money, or have less than others around you, you can feel so left out of all the ‘fun.’ And you can feel really uncool for bringing it up, or you can feel weird because of the amount of time you spend worrying about money, or the way things seem so remote because of their costs. because it sounds like everything is such a breeze for everyone else, you know?

it’s different with blogs that are clearly fantasy – “ooh look at these pretty things” But as soon as it’s a post about what so-and-so brought home from the shop, it can be really demoralizing. So I appreciate bloggers who talk about where their money comes from actually!

missdtm April 27, 2010 at 3:34 pm

thank you for this article.

Fia April 27, 2010 at 2:24 pm

Great post and great discussion!
I’m lucky to have been budgeting long before blogging. It has become so much of how I live that I don’t spend what I don’t have. That being said, I think there is an element in fashion blogging of seeing someone else wear something and wanting it RIGHT NOW without saving for it. It does take self-control to stay within budget.

I like how others have mentioned fashion doesn’t have to be about the NEW but about creativity and remixing the old whether its what we already own or something thrifted.
.-= Fia´s last blog ..220 =-.

Andrea Desde el Trópico... April 27, 2010 at 2:16 pm

Great post! Definitely there is a reality that we have to consider. Also we have to keep in mind that we are writting for people who has diferrent lifes styles and most of the times their posibilities also are limited. As bloggers we can influence other people!

Regards from Costa Rica!
.-= Andrea Desde el Trópico…´s last blog ..Me voy por los estampados!: Vestido largo. =-.

Katrin April 27, 2010 at 3:05 pm

I think that fashion isn’t just about the lastest things and keeping up with others. Is someone dresses in her/her own style just with a closet full of thrifted clothes, in my opinion is as much more interesting than just buying everything thats new.
Of cause we all have this lusting after special things and sometimes they are cheap and others very expensive, and if we want them cause we really wanting them , its just normal and we have do make it up with ourselfs, but if we are thinking what next to buy just because we want to make some new outfitposts

Its a great post and something we shouldn’t hide!!

Crosby April 27, 2010 at 2:40 pm

I love the Carrie Bradshaw “Sometimes I can’t help but wonder, what’s the real cost of being a fashion blogger?” and thank you for hitting me on the head with a big glitter stick! As someone who doesn’t write a traditional fashion blog (and who doesn’t have any credit card debt – natch!) the connection between finance and fashion in terms of the fashion blogger, the outfit post, and the need for new content …I find it really interesting and the whole thing makes me want to go back to college and write a paper. On the one hand, what impresses me (and what I try to do with my own closet) is to move stuff around and wear it in new ways, which I respect in fashion bloggers – and tend to read those more than the “hey look at my new Miu Miu heels – what planet do you live on!” though as a shopper I also know the allure (and ease!) of throwing on the fancy new thing I snagged over the weekend on a sleepy Monday morning. I think you have outlined a really interesting component here, one that I think has been emerging a bit (ie the Uniform Project) – I suppose it all comes down to there being enough room for everybody – and working hard to provide your own style point of view – and operating outside pressures you may feel to purchase new stuff – I think there is a very strong audience there for those who are able to promote creative re-use and re-wear of current wardrobes and speak up and out against the pressures of always having the latest trend or designer piece.
.-= Crosby´s last blog ..Fashion PR News: MKC Acquires WorkHouse Publicity =-.

Madeleine Gallay April 27, 2010 at 2:34 pm

Very thoughtfully written and of course … fashion lust and bills and money management absolutely not talked about.

You did this beautifully.

K-Line April 27, 2010 at 2:10 pm

What a fantastic post. I have credit cards, but I try to use them wisely and pay them off. Now, saving’s not something I excel at so far, but debt conservation I’m working well on. I did find, when I first started blogging, that the urge to buy was about the urge to post. Now I just talk about things differently.

lalu April 27, 2010 at 1:39 pm

interesting article, but does not really apply to me.

I agree with Angeline & am in the same boat . I’ve never gotten in trouble with credit cards. I see how easily it can happen so I just avoid it. I live by Angeline’s words “If I can’t afford it, I won’t buy it. “

verhext April 27, 2010 at 12:37 pm

my anti spam word is KITTENS. yes.

well, you know i love this post – I’ve been thinking a lot about this! I think the internet has opened us all up to worlds we wouldnt have been exposed to, and we’re seeing the effects of that. growing up, i just wouldnt know someone who would spend 50K a year on shoes, ie sea of shoes. that reality didnt occur to me. now that i can click into other lives, it definitely rattles my head! in some ways i do now gravitate to blogs where i know people are from similar financial backgrounds, because it’s very difficult for me to look into a super rich life where you know they have never worked. maddening.

i go from being frugal and thrifty to suddenly being swept into the “sea of shoes” myself – not necessarily that blog, but the idea of it.

i bought a bag (1/2 off, outlet) that i could still NOT afford this year, and while i love it, i have hidden my credit cards and had to be like “WHAT AM I THINKING!”(and a panic attack!!) i’m a smart and frugal lady, and even i get swept up and need a reality check!

i love clothes and i love collecting, but now i’m smart about it, always check my budget spreadsheets, and leave the credit cards AT HOME!!!
.-= verhext´s last blog ..calico & wingtips =-.

Jennifer Nicole April 27, 2010 at 1:34 pm

I don’t own credit cards.

Well, I have a few “store cards,” that only work at the specific shops I’m in, but there isn’t any card I can use at a gas station, or a boutique, other than my debit card. It makes this whole “debt” thing a lot easier.

I also don’t use the cards I do have – for Banana Republic, the Gap, and Victoria’s Secret (which has the only bras that fit me) – unless I know that I could pay for the items in cash, on the spot. That way I still get points or coupons or a percentage off or whatever extras the company is teasing me with, then go home and pay the bill online immediately. Debt? What debt?

That mindset has been a saving grace for me, and has kept me from buying new, trendy items. In fact, becoming a fashion blogger has made me MORE choosy about what I buy: in the back of my head I can see some expensive, gorgeous frock I am saving for, and forgo the cute shoes at Nordies or the necklace on Gilt. Because **there’s that dress and it’s gorgeous and these shoes aren’t worth it**…

…and yet, I almost never buy that expensive frock I’m thinking of, because it’s just so expensive, and I’d rather go on a three-day weekend.

I definitely still buy things, but I’m just as conscious about spending money as I was before fashion blogging – maybe more.* Am I the minority? Probably. But after watching my parents fall into credit card debt, I don’t think I could live any other way.

*The only exception to this is when I’m on vacation with my boyfriend. He has this obsession with dragging me into local boutiques and spending too much money – on himself and me – because it’s “an occasion.” I’m a lucky woman.
.-= Jennifer Nicole´s last blog ..Zoya Nail Polish Exchange =-.

Erica from Unfunded April 27, 2010 at 12:31 pm

Awesome post! This is so true…and is also the reason why I have directed my blog to be a bit more commercial and thought of it more as a business, rather than a personal style blog. I’ve definitely sacrificed the “personal blog” feel because I don’t want to go in debt showcasing all the fancy new items I’ve purchased. I’d much rather write about what I love (fashion, consumerism, products) via product reviews/giveaways/sales and take my personal style and purchases out of the picture.
.-= Erica from Unfunded´s last blog ..No boobs? No prob! Voda Swim Giveaway!!! Ends May 10, 2010 =-.

WendyB April 27, 2010 at 1:29 pm

Hmmm….I have no problem with writing about stuff that I have no intention of buying. I’m not getting either the Moncler or H&M jackets I wrote about the other day. I was just pondering them. I find writing about something often eliminates my desire to have it. Of course, I don’t do that many outfit posts, so I don’t feel a need for new things to model.
.-= WendyB´s last blog ..Minx Manicure #6: Silver Houndstooth =-.

holierthannow April 27, 2010 at 12:26 pm

One more thing: I had some debt coming out of college and seriously the one thing that I credit for pay it down is the WIRR (women in red racers) … long before I contributed to the Fashion Spot and IFB forums, I was a BIG contributor here of my little debt spreadsheet!

If any of you are looking for inspiration or focus in paying down consumer debt, I really really cannot recommend this enough.

.-= holierthannow´s last blog ..The One =-.

Arlyn April 27, 2010 at 12:21 pm

This is great. I recently started a blog focusing in on accessories, because I always thought accessories were a good way to update a wardrobe without dropping tons of money on new clothes. And then, I started reading other fashion blogs. Lusting over items, wishing my closet were bigger, that I had more unique choices. I started buying things up left and right, and just like you, after months and months and months of paying off debt, I racked it right back up (not just with clothes though.) My mission on my blog was always to keep most items under the $50 mark, and to shoe people where they can find a good deal. But a good deal is still spending money, so unless I can buy it cash, I’ve committed myself to not buying. We need to get creative. That’s why I like reading blogs. To find ways to use something I may already have in a completely new way.

Mademoiselle Robot April 27, 2010 at 1:02 pm

I read your post and then Betsey’s so I left my comment on her site.
I was basically saying I agreed with both of you.
Read the comment there
.-= Mademoiselle Robot´s last blog ..Wish List – All the shoes from AW10 =-.

Angeline April 27, 2010 at 12:57 pm

Wow, what a great article on an extremely interesting topic.

I don’t think that fashion blogging directly leads to more shopping or even more of a desire for shopping. A lot of what I see on others blogs I draw inspiration from, but I also realize that a lot of it is not my style and wouldn’t fit into my life, so there’s really no desire to pick up something similar. I’ve always been relatively frugal in my shopping habits (I don’t think I have a single shirt or skirt over $20 or pant over $30).

I guess my position is slightly different–I started a one-year clothes shopping diet the same weekend I started my blog, and I’ve cheated once, but I don’t really feel deprived that I’m not buying new clothes. I haven’t given up shoes, but I’ve still only bought 1 pair since I started the diet (about 2 months ago).

Regardless, I’ve always been extremely debt-averse. I didn’t get my first credit card until I was 22 and I’ve always paid off the entire balance every month. I began paying off my student loans while I was still in school and 3 years after finishing my M.A. am completely debt free. If I can’t afford it, I won’t buy it.

I’m not sure why, but I don’t feel the pressure to keep adding things to my wardrobe. I don’t feel bad for posting outfits of me in the same clothes week after week. It’s how I dress for real, and I’m hoping that’s why my readers read my blog.

(my anti-spam word was “omgshoes.” so appropos since I can actually buy shoes :) )
.-= Angeline´s last blog ..Sunny Monday =-.

Lady Julianne April 27, 2010 at 12:56 pm

I have never gotten into debt for fashion. I hate spending money, really hate it, because I have very little coming in, so I worry. I started blogging as a student, and right now I’m unemployed. I really have to convince myself to buy things! I don’t go into high street shops. I rarely go on shopping websites. I don’t read fashion magazines. Each season, I’m barely aware of what’s in and out. I just stay away. I don’t want to want things I can’t have.

I actually don’t find blogs that interesting when they’re all about the blogger’s latest purchases or things they want to buy, if I see that a blog is just about new things and wishlists I won’t follow it. I like seeing reviews and tutorials and thoughtful posts. Outfit posts are cool but I like seeing the same items over and over in them, seeing how the blogger wears them in different ways, rather than new stuff each time. I used to post more ‘things I will buy in future/wish I could afford’ posts but I quickly realised that’s not what I’m into so I stopped doing it. I’m still working out what I want to write about instead, which is why my blog’s been slow for a long time (that and that time-consuming MA I did).

I think it’s more of a challenge to write about style when you don’t have a constant influx of new things you can take photos of and show off, when you’re not relying on somebody else for your ideas, but you get more interesting results.
.-= Lady Julianne´s last blog ..Layering for Spring =-.

Beth April 27, 2010 at 12:52 pm

I find this post extremely comforting. Ever since I began fashion blogging, I’ve felt intimidated by other bloggers. All of these girls have amazing designer clothes and accessories, and it seems that several times a week, they buy more items. While there are thrifty gals out there, there exists this wondrous breed of blogger who can buy without remorse or consequence. Of course, this doesn’t mean some of these bloggers are not in debt, maybe some just hide it very well.

AlysonIsNeat April 27, 2010 at 12:47 pm

Ya know what, the reason I got into fashion blogging was because I’m not shopping for clothing for a year. I do realize that maybe my form of fashion blogging is completely ironic. It also meas that I am not a great target for sponsorships because I’m not telling my readers to go out and buy something. Which in turn means I don’t get free stuff.

My bad shopping habits started when I worked for the Gap in college. Now, I am paying off almost six years (and almost $6000) of credit card debt that I have been carrying around with me like a sack full of garbage. I read these blogs and these girls jokingly say, “oh my credit card took a beating…” and it just makes me sad and also incredibly angry. This is not the message we should be sending! Or at least, this isn’t the message I want to be sending… at all. When did style turn into a purchasing contest instead of what it really is, confidence and self-assurance?

Check out my blog to read more about why I am not shopping for a year, and my honest struggles with it.
.-= AlysonIsNeat´s last blog ..I hate my clothes =-.

Adelle (The Fashionista Lab) April 27, 2010 at 12:42 pm

This is SUCH an important topic to talk about, I’m so glad you brought it up! I racked up $4000 in credit card debt that I eliminated last fall – although a couple of months before I knocked that out I stupidly bought a $1,350 necklace on layaway which I’m still paying off. I no longer use a credit card though, and – with the except of that necklace – if I don’t have the cash I don’t buy it. I also try to stick to a budget to avoid making purchases that will financially cripple me until the next paycheck.

As fashion blogging grows, so does demand for clothing. I mean, one of the reasons fashion bloggers are gaining more support in media and retail is that readership leads to buying. People recognize that readers want to buy what the see on blogs.

I’ve only begun to do outfit posts on my blog, and they certainly won’t be a daily thing (maybe weekly, or bi-weekly), but I’m ok with the fact that my creativity in outfits comes not from a constant influx of new pieces, but in constantly restyling what I already have (with some fresh pieces here and there). To me, that speaks more to an ability to style, than to constantly wear brand-new clothes.

Thank you Ashe, for being so real and honest and bringing this up!
.-= Adelle (The Fashionista Lab)´s last blog ..Electric Colors =-.

Ashley April 27, 2010 at 11:39 am

I’m so glad you wrote about this! It seems that fashion bloggers avoid this topic like the plague, and when asked, refuse to respond. I feel that rather than buying new things constantly, its more interesting to see how someone reworks their wardrobe, maybe adding new elements here and there, and using thrifting as a way to freshen up an outfit. Personally, I feel that blatant consumerism is terrible. Often, people who blindly consume do not think about the repercussions of where that clothing came from. They don’t seem to really appreciate anything they get, because they are always on the lookout for something new and better. I spend too much on makeup and I know it, but its a far cheaper vice than spending on clothes all the time. When I do splurge on clothes, I go to my local Winners/HM/thrift shop and find really, really cute stuff for a fraction of the price. Remember when Nubby did that post on ‘Making the Most of Your Wardrobe: Cost Per Wear?’ I think more fashion bloggers should embrace that concept, and learn to really appreciate an article of clothing.

The Curvy Fashionista April 27, 2010 at 11:38 am

Hello Ashe!

Great post! When I started blogging, especially in the plus size fashion scene, my blog was and is about pulling resources for the discerning plus size woman, sharing where to go, and HOW to do it. Lately, the wave of OOTD (out fits of the day) posts have intrigued me and oftentimes I am like, wow, she bought something again! Now I have played with my outfit posts, showing what my fashion sense is, and how I rock them, but I started to do it moreso as it was requested…

I love my luxe knits, leathers, and designer duds, however, I am and have always been an advocate for investing in those staples pieces, and the life it gives your wardrobe, even now as my funds are tight- the pieces I show are items I have had for a while! :)

Great thought provoking post and as always, you are an inspiration!!!
.-= The Curvy Fashionista´s last blog ..The Economics of Art Fashion Tweetup in SF =-.

Meredith April 27, 2010 at 12:34 pm

Excellent post! I was fortunate to grow-up with a father who’s an account and taught me the importance of being fiscally responsible at a young age. Therefore, I have always been smart with my spending and saving. I will purchase a few key pieces each season and rarely splurge. When I do, it’s on basic or classic pieces that I know will last me for years to come.

I started my fashion blog as a way to share and express how I’m creative with my own wardrobe, but without spending a lot. I don’t mind wearing pieces over and over, because I think it demonstrates how I can maximize what I own. I love to see other bloggers doing this as well. So those of you who are timid to post because you don’t constantly have new items to share, please don’t be! There are definitely readers who want to see how other women are maximizing their wardrobes.

I’m a believer that anyone, no matter their income level, can be fashionable. It just takes a little creativity. You’ve inspired me to address this more in my own blog, so thank you! And stay tuned…

Greta Eagan April 27, 2010 at 12:33 pm

Thank you for pulling back the curtain! Until I shifted to more of a sustainable fashion focus, I really felt the pressure to never wear the same thing twice- which is a ridiculous expectation! Now, I use my blog to showcase how I am becoming more responsible in my consumerism by using pre-existing pieces from my wardrobe, secondhand or vintage pieces and eco-friendly fashion pieces that I invest in.

Laura Connell April 27, 2010 at 12:23 pm

This is such a great post. I’ve been lucky in that I’ve always been OK with window shopping and coveting rather than having to own all those beautiful things by designers I love. The name of Jennine’s blog is perfect because it speaks to those of us who can’t necessarily splurge on items we enjoy admiring.
You must put yourself first and respecting yourself means staying out of debt. There are many inexpensive ways to look stylish and beautiful. In fact, that is what fashion is about. Even Chanel championed jersey because it was versatile and inexpensive. She was so democratic in her approach to design
Comparing yourself to others in any way is so unhealthy anyway. People who are dieting say nothing tastes better than thin feels. Well, for a shopaholic we could say: nothing looks better than being debt-free feels. It is worth the sacrifice to take care of your financial health.
.-= Laura Connell´s last blog ..Heroes in Heels =-.

Joy D. April 27, 2010 at 12:20 pm

It is very important for the dialogue that you are talking about to occur. Hell, I scrimp and save for a cheap pair of shoes. It is very obvious that I live within my means. And while that is not attractive to some people I am staying true to myself by not blowing my cash on clothes. However I am not saying bloggers that spend big bucks should necessarily be condemned.

holierthannow April 27, 2010 at 12:17 pm

This is a fascinating topic. I find that my blog actually saves me a ton of money – its purpose was to give me (and whomever comes to read it ) inspiration to apply to whatever we already have, or ways to buy into trends/looks without spending a lot of money. I know some of my columns encourage spending, but I try to focus them on vintage or used pieces.

When I started my 5 under $50 thing, I used Forever 21 a lot as a source of items, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that brands like that really contribute to the idea that we need constant newness. We say, what’s $15 here and $7 there (the story of debt usually starts that way), then when we’re over the items we basically throw them away. With vintage and unique pieces, at least there’s a chance we’ll hang on to them since they aren’t “that shirt from last season at F21.” No offense to F21… I still love them don’t get me wrong.

Anyway, my point is, the great thing about being a blogger is that your life experience is often shared by, and can influence, others. If we’re struggling with spending, we can always switch the blog’s direction and focus on shopping in our closet or buying only vintage/thrift … even if only for a month or two … it would be so inspiring!

XO holier

Holier than Now

Marie April 27, 2010 at 12:00 pm

Such an excellent post Ashe!!!! I def have thought about this subject. “How does that betch afford all that? Does anybody notice I’m wearing the same shoes in five of my outfit posts? How can I call myself a ‘fashion blogger’ if I haven’t shopped in months?!” I have my own issues with finances (born from a frivolous life pre-blogging) but I’ve never felt I had to keep up with any of those ‘right off the runway’ bloggers. It could be because I think I am more of a lifestyle (or 80’s enthusiast lol) blogger and don’t really give a shit about high fashion, blog only what I like and so it doesn’t affect me that much. I also don’t believe a healthy bank account can give someone badass personal STYLE anyway and that’s what I pay attention to.

Franca April 27, 2010 at 11:57 am

Great post!

Personally, I don’t read the kinds of fashion blogs that are based on constant shopping and always having something new. I don’t find it appealing, not even in an eye candy/fantasy way. I don’t think that to be a fashion blogger you need to spend a lot of money. There are lots and lost of bloggers out there who make a virtue out of being thrifty and crafty and NOT spending any money but still looking great.

I guess my own blog isn’t strictly a fashion blog, but I do do a lot of outfit posts and for me, there is almost greater pleasure to be had in mixing existing things up in new ways that wearing something new. I do have a lot of clothes, but have never been in any kind of debt and probably spend just £50 a month on clothes on average mainly because almost everything I get from charity shops. so far this month I have spent £25 on a vintage dress and £10 on fabric for a handsewn skirt. I do occassionally buy big ticket items like handbags or formal dresses, but that’s always a one off treat, and I make sure I keep that to a minimum. I don’t feel any pressure to shop to keep my readers happy, because I think my readers know that I am a normal person with a normal income and not Sea of Shoes, so there’s no expectation.
.-= Franca´s last blog ..Blue flickr faves =-.

Betsey J April 27, 2010 at 11:05 am

As mentioned before great post and here is my response!

Julie April 27, 2010 at 10:52 am

This is a really important issue and one that I’ve thought about as a reader. Two cents:

1¢ — I have to admit, as a reader of many fashion blogs and makeup blogs, there is an enormous difference between posts about a thing that the writer owns and things that the writer wants or just has seen. I really dislike posts that are “here are some cool things but psst I don’t own them, so I don’t know if it’s actually as nice as it seems on the website, not that I’ll admit it ever.” Especially when it comes to makeup, people need to not be ashamed of saying “this is a press release, so I don’t actually know if it does what it says it does.” If I’m really being honest, the quality of a blog does come down to owning. Owning doesn’t have to mean buying; in fact as I think about it I wonder if frequent buying isn’t something of a crutch for both readers and writers.

2¢ — I have a problem with the word “remix” on outfit blogs, and not just because the word is super lame. The fact is that I do not care how long you’ve owned something. I might care where you got it, but that’s mostly because I want to know if you have some secret source I haven’t heard of. Particularly when 95-100% of every single outfit is “remixed” — why does that person still need to label that? It suggests that the normative situation is having something new (which includes new-to-you) very frequently, which either isn’t true or shouldn’t be true for those on a minute budget.

Angeline April 27, 2010 at 1:03 pm

I’m so with you on the “remix.” Don’t you sort of “remix” something everytime you wear it in a different combo? I think I just call that “wearing” something.
.-= Angeline´s last blog ..Sunny Monday =-.

trashtastika April 27, 2010 at 10:46 am

We all have a definite opinion, and history related to this one! I got into credit card debt around 10 years ago (when I moved to the UK to be with my then-boyfriend), and got out of it a few years later. Anything I buy now is from money I already have. What I don’t buy, is due to a voice in my head saying something costs too much. As Andrea said, I equate it to travel/airfare. I was in ‘Romance Was Born’ 2 nights ago and held up a jacket and a dress and said, “If I buy both of these, that’s a flight to Japan”.

(For me it’s lack of photography skills, not money, that holds me back – I have far too many cool clothes and shoes than I could post!)

I have to admit though, sometimes I think “that fashion blogger nearly only ever wears vintage, yet she’s sitting at XYZ Fashion Week?” Be true to your niche, whatever that is. Like some writers above, I think style is very much mixing and matching what you own with what’s new and exciting…including embracing new silhouettes, designers and trends. The question then is, do we buy knockoffs? But that’s another issue…
.-= trashtastika´s last blog ..Chains, harnesses, straps and zips – ooh, la la! =-.

Mara Gravelle April 27, 2010 at 10:40 am

Wow! You definitely hit the nail on the head for me. I have a fashion blog which I haven’t been able to keep up with mainly because of the exact same point that Michelle from Wicked Whimsy has brought up. When you are part of the blogging world and see all the amazing outfits and vintage pieces being displayed on other blogs it can be intimidating to say the least. Great post, if you don’t mind I think I’m going to touch on the subject too, come clean on my blog as to why I haven’t been posting and have a link to your blog for those who are interested to read your piece.

Thanks for sharing


Ginger April 27, 2010 at 10:32 am

Ahh, great post, Ashe!

As I read through all the blogs out there I always find myself wondering how they afford all their stuff! Whether it’s fashion, makeup or food, it all adds up!

I started writing as a personal finance blogger, but have morphed into more lifestyle stuff. But the money issue never leaves because our world runs on money. No matter what you blog about, money will almost always make an appearance somewhere!

I think it’s great that you bring this topic up, and hopefully some fashionistas will take a long hard look at their budgets and find a way to get creative without getting into debt.
.-= Ginger´s last blog ..Things I’m Digging =-.

dendoo April 27, 2010 at 10:31 am

I’m glad you’re tackling this subject. I don’t have money. There…I can admit it.
I look and lust at the latest shoes, cutest purses, everything and wonder how certain chicas can afford it? Is blogging that financially rewarding? I know you have to keep up and its not just as a fashionista but it’s about EVERYTHING. Humans are designed to want to keep up but I think it’s wonderful when a person can take a break from trying to run that race and look at what they have and say “This is good”.

There is nothing wrong with knowing your fashion shizz, but there is nothing more wrong-ER than knowing your financial shiz and stepping out of line. I know all the lines, collections, names and I’m still a F21 shopper, I still make my own stuff. I gotta face the reality. There should be more blogs that embrace what you have wardrobe and financials wise. I tackled outfit choices with price ranges in my latest blog post:

Ashley Readings April 27, 2010 at 9:21 am

I think it’s so… peculiar… that people hide behind a style blog as justification for going in debt. To me, if someone is constantly buying new things to stay on trend, the last thing you are is stylish. I think of style as being this continuing ability to dress, regardless of what is fashionable. Being able to mix old and new.
I commend you for writing this post because a lot of people don’t speak about this side of fashion. Of course, fashion exists because of consumption but we need to be realistic about how that effects us. I love reading because she talks about not always being trendy, not being able to spend but she always looks great.
I’m climbing out of $7000 of credit card debt (that was not the result of needless shopping but unfortunate emergencies) and I’m a firm believer that if you don’t have the money in your pocket, then you shouldn’t buy it. And I don’t think this has effected my ability to be stylish. In fact I think my personal style has evolved more since being broke and I look better than ever. Now when I buy clothes I buy quality and style. Not trendy pieces that I won’t want to look at in three months.
Good luck with bringing down your debt. It gets easier and easier as you go. And you’ll discover a lot of amazing options to stay clothed and stylish.
With all that being said… I do find it rather ironic that an ad on your sidebar is advertising pay day loans.
.-= Ashley Readings´s last blog ..New Favourites =-.

Someone April 27, 2010 at 10:09 am

I definitely think about the intersection of fashion blogging, consumption, and the current rise of interest in frugality and sustainability. And I think it depends on how you approach fashion and style, because even though the industry IS about trying to get us to buy new stuff, not all of us are interested in their siren song.

Thrifting/garage sale finds are a huge way to avoid spending a lot, and if you’re more into creatively interpreting trends and being individualistic instead of parroting styles just because some celebrity wears them, you really don’t have to spend a lot. Fashion blogging can be about the fun and the discipline of remixing what you have with only occasional thrift trips to spice things up once in a while. Plus, as you get older, you can often reach into a deeper collection as trends resurface, if you even care about such a thing.

Now, I wouldn’t get down on Jane from Sea of Shoes (that a commenter mentioned above). It is true that she probably spends $50K on shoes alone every year, but she actually DOES live a life connected with the high-fashion world and has access to the resources it requires. It’s ok. So that high-fashion lifestyle really does exist, hers isn’t some poser made-up fantasy world, it’s a rare thing, and we get to see into it a little. Kind of fun and I don’t see anything wrong with it, I think she does it well.

Finally, the words “competition” and “keeping up” and “envy” come up in criticism of blogs all the time but it doesn’t have to be like that. I don’t feel any of those things myself, I just enjoy seeing what people come up with day after day. For me it wouldn’t be a contest of any kind. It may be that I just don’t have the consumerist gene, I never was interested in competing on possessions, so I’m always a little surprised when I read about how some people feel they have to keep up with other fashion bloggers. I don’t even know how you would measure success…but it seems to me that attitude takes a most of the fun out of the whole thing.

Fia April 27, 2010 at 2:16 pm

I really appreciate what you say here and I wholeheartedly agree.
.-= Fia ´s last blog ..220 =-.

Poochie April 27, 2010 at 10:05 am

I’m a horrible saver and a horrible spendthrift. I even wrote about my issues and trying to come to terms with last year ( Sadly, I think I’m still working on it. I’ve had good stretches and then bad ones and I often feel very much like an addict who does well going cold turkey but then falls off the wagon hard.

I am trying to avoid the temptation because when I don’t “see” things I don’t want them. I have stopped most of the catalogs, delete the emails and stopped going into the stores like I mentioned in my post last year and that has totally helped. But online is still very very accessible and that isn’t good for me. I’ve seriously considered not blogging anymore because of it. I love talking and connecting with everyone online but I also know that it is problematic for me. I feel like I’m at a crossroads too and even struggling. I’m not afraid to admit I don’t always know what to do next. I haven’t written more or extensively about this on my site since that post mostly because I don’t feel I’ve come to a good solution or decision.
.-= Poochie´s last blog ..Signs of Spring =-.

Poochie April 27, 2010 at 11:45 am

On the flip side, I’m way older than most bloggers, pretty established in my career and married with two incomes and no kids. I don’t spend on expensive things outside of shoes. I want to be better at saving and we want to shift to spending our money on more house related things and more travel. Less about goods, more about experiences. My struggle is keeping thse longer term things in mind when I see a cute dress.
.-= Poochie´s last blog ..Signs of Spring =-.

Andrea April 27, 2010 at 10:00 am

Thanks for writing about this. I don’t blog about fashion myself but as a reader, I am truly perplexed by what I see others showing off. It really was a mystery to me. I’m aware that some fashion bloggers are getting free products but samples don’t pay the rent! I got through undergrad and grad school and single girl apartment life downtown with zero debt and as much as I love fashion, my fear of owing money keeps my shopping taste to the Joe Fresh Style/H&M end of the market. Besides, in my mind, I can’t help but compare expensive items to how far the same amount would get me in airfare. A few pairs of amazing shoes or a flight to Asia? No contest there.

Andrea April 27, 2010 at 10:03 am

Adding to what I wrote above: since I’m in Canada, most awesome online shopping is either unavailable or the shipping/custom costs are prohibitive. If I lived in the States, I would probably find it much harder to resist online impulse purchasing.

Tamia April 27, 2010 at 9:58 am

LOVE this post. I’ve noticed that (for me) it becomes more difficult to do outfit posts and shopping haul posts when I’m on a restricted shopping budget–which SHOULD happen more often than it does.
There are plenty of bloggers who seem to buy new things weekly, and since many of them are fairly young, I’ve always figured they 1. Come from a well off family (ie Sea of Shoes’ father is a plastic surgeon) or 2. They’re students/living at home and don’t have any other expenses, ie. those pesky monthly rent/electricity/insurance bills.

It never occurred to me that people would go into debt to keep up appearances for their blog, though now that I think about it, there have been times when I feel like I’m disappointing my readers if I don’t have anything new to show off. Hmm…

Great topic.
.-= Tamia´s last blog ..Cincinnati Fashion Week wrap-up =-.

Curvatude April 27, 2010 at 9:31 am

i love the title of this.

i am pretty new to the blogging scene but not new to the debt scene by any means.

i think its great that you have put this out there and i am sure there will be a lot of sighs of solidarity as people read this.

thankfully i don’t feel a need to as they say “keep up with the jones'” and i also live in a relatively cash only coupon fueled world.

i think people don’t talk about the money behind their shopping habits because it’s not carries no cool points….
.-= Curvatude´s last blog ..Chicago Crave Guide Giveaway =-.

Danielle April 27, 2010 at 9:30 am

Interesting post! I remember that Style Bytes post that Jennine referenced very clearly, its still a shocker. I’m not an outfit blogger – I certainly have bought things to blog them, especially old magazines – but always at a thrift store, I’m too boho to cross the $10 mark just for a blog post. I’m not into shopping really, but I can totally see how the temptation could be there – and well, because I’m fascinated with money and how people use it, its something I find myself thinking about as I sift through my RSS reader. I remember when Agathe dropped out – thinking it was a good thing for her.

On reflection, focusing my blog more on drawing/making stuff/fashion history/entrepreneurship and abstract stuff like that has been a really good thing, and I believe I’ve been in the black blogwise ever since I started my sponsorship program. Fashion content doesn’t have to equal outfits & shopping.

Sarah April 27, 2010 at 9:30 am

Great post, I totally understand how you feel about the need to keep up with everyone. I’ve had my blog for a couple months now and get worried people are going to get sick of seeing me in the same thing. I think it’s interesting to see how you can wear the same article of clothing differently though. I do probably buy more then I should, but I don’t do designer clothing and a good percentage of mine is vintage or thrifted. I think it’s great that you opened up about a subject like this. So many blogs seem so overly shiny. It’s all “look at my perfect, happy whimsical life” and it’s pretty to look at, but I find I can connect with a blog a lot more if the blogger opens up and reveals the real them.
.-= Sarah´s last blog ..Grocery Shopping with the Princess =-.

M April 27, 2010 at 9:24 am

Nice to see this topic finally brought up. Most of the time I find fashion blogging to just be people showing off what they bought under the guise of “blogging”. Usually I just assume rich parents not necessarily credit card debt. The ridiculous amount of consumption on gala darling, sea of shoes, etc etc grosses me out most of the time and just feeds into the narcissism and shallowness that our society thrives on. I can’t help but feel like these girls need to compensate for something.

Sequin Cat April 27, 2010 at 9:18 am

Excellent post Ashe!

Adventures of a Sequin Cat

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