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!

{ 93 comments }

ihavenoexpensiveclothes April 27, 2010 at 5:02 pm

exactly my point! (AND my blog’s point!)
doesn’t the amount you spend on clothing etc. depend on how much you are willing to pay for each item?
but I also agree with susie, personal finances are personal.
nevertheless, I’m puzzled when people willingly pay 1300$ for a bag. as the season’s must have require. but that is a question about trend, not style. two totally different subjects.
.-= ihavenoexpensiveclothes´s last blog ..TBA: =-.

Sheena April 27, 2010 at 5:58 pm

This is truly a wonderful topic. I can definitely relate as I am on a pretty tight budget and the main reason I don’t a lot of outfit posts is because you might see many of the same items all of the time. I do try to be creative in the way that I wear my outfits and i try not to wear the same thing in the exact same way, but um…I can be a bit lazy. That’s why I do try to switch up my topics as much as I can, I do tend to read more blogs that have that same viewpoint and those bloggers who do find creative ways to style their wardrobe and isn’t based solely based on a new high-priced item each post. I admire that, but it’s not realistic easy for me to relate. I’ve had problems with my credit cards and being in debt in the past and it’s difficult when it’s easy for you to spend, spend,spend. I think it feels much better to be debt-free (especially these days).
.-= Sheena´s last blog ..I’m in the mood for… =-.

The Clothes Horse April 27, 2010 at 11:22 pm

Wow, that was so interesting and eye-opening to read. I really don’t think much about how others “afford” their lifestyle and I come from an extremely…cheap/economical family. I’ve actually never had a credit card, I only spend the money I actually have in the bank. But I do worry because I find myself buying more and I wonder if I can simply stop buying when I have less cash coming in…
I agree with you that bloggers feel the pressure to provide new and that in turn creates a rise in consumption…but it makes me sad! I mean the thing that first appealed to be in reading blogs was “real people” who weren’t socialites living stylishly on their personal budget. Bloggers dressed amazingly, but they weren’t doing it on the budget of Vogue. I’d definitely like to see more bloggers doing remix posts…
.-= The Clothes Horse´s last blog ..If All The World Were Windswept =-.

Alicia April 28, 2010 at 3:08 am

I’m so glad that you wrote this. I went though something very similar a little before I started blogging until about a year and a half later when I realized that I had become a mindless consumer following trends that I didn’t even really like. Since then, I’ve paid off the cards and shop with what I have in the bank. I don’t do “fast fashion” (hell, I’m usually in Goodwill) and almost never pay retail for anything. I’m not where I’d like to be, but I’m a lot better off than I used to be. My wallet is a lot better off because of it.

As it relates to blogging, I think there is a lot of pressure to keep up financially and sartorially, but that leads to homogenizing of the blogoshpere. Personally, I get tired of seeing the same thing on every person with a URL. There’s a dumbing down of personal style when we all (think we need to) have a particular thing because other bloggers have it. The whole point was for us to put our different views and styles on the map. Those things go beyond how much money (or Visa’s money) you have to spend on the latest thing. I’m one of those people who believe that a person with panache can pull off a paper bag or Prada.

As a generation, we absolutely suck with money. Hopefully, the lot of us realize it early enough to take care of it before it causes major problems down the road. Debt is not sexy. It’s a burden and it isn’t worth a closet full of the latest shit.

Stella Polaris April 28, 2010 at 4:35 am

Very interesting post. I don’t identify myself as a fashion blogger, even if I do show outfits from time to time, but as a reader of fashion blogs I’ve definitely felt the need to consume more and to buy things that weren’t “me” just because of pictures in which a blogger was wearing them in a beautiful way. I’ve never gotten into any serious debt thankfully, but still. Mindless consumerism is not pretty. After a while I decided to alter my shopping pattern: not necessarily to spend less, but to spend more meaningfully, only on things that are well-made and/or that I adore and will wear to death. I don’t let myself get caught in ebay auctions anymore (I decide on a budget for each item I follow and never go over it). And I prefer to spend on events (restaurant, parties, exhibitions…) than on things nowadays.

Grace April 28, 2010 at 5:51 am

This was a great article and it hit at home for me.
In college I was spending maniac and its landed in me in tons of debt. My blog is primarily about how I try and balance fashion and my finances. I am wrapping up a month of no spending right now. And even though I am so proud of myself for going that long I am worried about “spiraling” myself come May 1st.

I sometimes also question how interesting my outfit posts really are because I tend to wear the same items muliple times. I even find myself jealous of bloggers who seem to have a never ending suply of new clothes.

Anyway, come check me out if this is a topic that interests you! I even started a weekly peice about spending diary’s if you are interested in participating let me know!
.-= Grace ´s last blog ..April Challenge: Day 26 =-.

Platform Princess April 28, 2010 at 10:59 am

Personal finances are personal. I suppose it’s the way your express personal finances that matters. Although I buy designer items, I’m a ‘this was £600 knocked down to £200, how lucky am I’ kinda girl. I feel that people want to be able to relate to bloggers that they follow, not find out how many ponies they have or that they just wiped their a*** with their last fifty (sorry!). I’ve actually noticed that recently SOME of well known bloggers buy the latest ‘it’ item, and then sell said item the next month in their ‘blog shop’ or whatever. I suppose it’s to keep the cycle going, they need the latest ‘it’ thing to be credible, but they also need the money to buy said item. Fashion isn’t cheap, fashion runs in seasons and unless you are in the money, or in the industry how do you attain such items? They get it, people fawn and then they sell it off their own credibility to the impressionistic, foolish (or sycophantic blogger) who wants it, because by that time it’s probably sold out (or even to get a piece of them in a ‘I got this from xxx, you know of xxx blog). Their actually pretty smart, they are perfectly within their own right and more and more these days, blogs are becoming a business.

I know I must sound cynical, but this is just an example of things not always what they seem in the rich blogger debate. People need to wise up, it’s a shame that people are ready to bankrupt themselves for the latest miu miu clogs to chase a dream of a blogger who is probably hustling (or getting things sent to them for free) themselves.

Jackie

P.S I do fully appreciate that for some money is not an issue.

Retro Chick April 28, 2010 at 12:08 pm

Wow! 62 comments! I don’t have time to read them all right now :o(

I know that I have been in debt in the past. But my blogging has, if anything helped me stay out of it. I buy a lot from Charity Shops, and having written about being thrifty and saving money on my blog I’d feel like an idiot if I went out and bought my entire wardrobe on the High Street for a fortune and got in debt. I take more pride on sustaining my lifestyle on a budget now I’m blogging than I did before!
.-= Retro Chick´s last blog ..Mary Queen of Charity Shops: Revisited =-.

Leia April 29, 2010 at 12:07 pm

Really excellent post. I’ve always had a problem with excessive consumerism, as well as fashion’s constant need to renew/update/change.

I don’t think fashion blogging *necessarily* lends itself to readers constantly wanting new things. There are tons of blogs that are all about DIYs, charity shopping, reworking ones own wardrobe, etc. And I always just assume that “high profile” bloggers get sent lots of freebies or get paid via advertising. But of course I think you have a point – some people feel they need to ‘keep up’ with other bloggers or with trends, and this lends itself to a whole myriad of problems!

But all that aside… I think we really need to urge bloggers to come clean about their spending habits. We should be able to ask each other, “Can you afford that?” and give honest answers. If anyone thinks they’re getting into debt because of their spending habits, we should be able to support them as a fashion blogging community!

Claire April 29, 2010 at 12:17 pm

It’s a real shame, I think, if people feel unable to do outfit shots because the lack the funds to add new stuff to the mix. That’s not the creative part! The part that people can’t get anywhere else is how the specific blogger mixes what they have. We can see “just some clothes” on the websites that they’re unaffordable on..

Rachel April 29, 2010 at 3:00 pm

This is such an incredible article, and its given me a lot to think about! Thanks so much for posting, and for the advice (I’m still in my teens!)
.-= Rachel´s last blog ..Lime Crime Lipstick Launches, Space NK (London) =-.

mightay mightay April 29, 2010 at 4:25 pm

Oh, wow. This is one of those really great, honest blog posts. And it is so appreciated, since I would estimate that MOST of us are in the same boat you’re in: Day-to-day obligations require us to put most of our finances into keeping up a household and paying off debts. Am I crazy for thinking this situation can make a person an even better fashion blogger?

Right now, I spend very little money on clothing. I do not come back from the mall with big shopping bags, I do not have sprees, I do not have whole new wardrobes for every season. I catch sales, I thrift, I do eBay, I do Etsy. But I still don’t buy a lot of clothes. I buy what I need, but I wait until I can get just the right thing. The weird thing is that I’ve never dressed more like my real self. I feel very creative and innovative. (Whether or not that’s a reality is in the eye of the beholder…lol.) But I take the time to mix and match everyday stuff and vintage pieces with punky things, and it all just works out.

Of course, there are things I covet. But I take that energy and use it to show people how they can get the same look. For example I loved a certain designer’s -let’s call them- Cyanide boots last year. They were dark and strappy and wedged and everything everyone was wanting at that time- all in one shoe. They were bananas. But I actually found a very similar pair for much less money online and it wasn’t one of those “look! I got these on sale for $150!” They were only double-digits and I still had to save up a bit to feel right about getting them. But I think it gives me something MORE to offer people. Everyone already knows what the hot $#*% is, but not everyone knows how to get what they need and make it work with what they have. It’s much more interesting! But if you would have told me that 10 years ago, I might not have believed it.

Anyway, sorry so long. Rock on! :)
.-= mightay mightay´s last blog ..15% Off All OldNavy.com Purchases =-.

DailyDivaDish April 29, 2010 at 7:04 pm

This is a killer post Ashe! It’s something I’ve been thinking a lot about recently. I’ve made a conscious effort to embrace more vintage and DIY – but it’s a constant battle for me. I love shiny new things. I really recognize the “spiraling” behavior in some of my actions, although I’d never come up with a good name for it before now. Thanks for sharing your story.
XO Piper
.-= DailyDivaDish´s last blog ..Blind Determination in Blogging =-.

SwanDiamondRose April 30, 2010 at 11:25 am

this is why i turned to thrifting with even more gusto recently than when i started as teenager. which then let me see again the MOUNTAINS of thrown away clothing at the big thrifting stores which made me want to buy even less new things.

i used to be really out of control with wanting things, new things. it made me crazy. i racked up my credit cards, didn’t pay my bills, had shoes on lay-away. this was how i was my whole life pretty much, i thrifted too but it was part of the mix. once i saw something i wanted i just HAD to have it. i would start creating outfits in my mind. i wouldn’t feel good until i bought it. and usually it did make me happy, for a while.

but something happened about 7 years ago, i knew i had to disengage from that, get rid of that feeling if i was going to start my company. it would have tanked me before i got started. i even stockpiled expensive jeans in preparation for the time i knew i wouldn’t be able to buy them anymore! i kid you not. that was me taking measures.

and somehow by starting my company, watching my cashflow and overhead every week, making the numbers work, taking pride in making the numbers work, the feeling went away! that crazy, out of control, want feeling. sometimes it’s still hard to say no to myself but i try to remember the financial stress it will cause me and i also shop in my HUGE closet. it has endless unused treasures.

i guess my problem now is i sometimes buy new shoes to shoot with the accessories i sell. i mix them with vintage. but getting those few new pairs bugs me!
.-= SwanDiamondRose´s last blog ..Ready to play some more? =-.

Jennifer May 1, 2010 at 2:31 am

Wow….I went through this Confessions of a Shopaholic phase during the past three years. And even though I just recently paid off all my debt, I’m still struggling a little bit with quitting shopping cold turkey.

This post really spoke to me b/c it is SO true. There are so many of us fashionistas out there who simply can’t afford the fashion we write about, but we try anyway. There were months when I couldn’t pay my rent, but I looked fabulous, so I didn’t care. It wasn’t until I realized that I spent $12,000 in three years on designers clothes and shoes and bags (and eating out, makeup, etc.) that I really woke up.

It’s nice to know that I’m not alone. This is a brilliant post.

x Corrine/Frock & Roll x May 1, 2010 at 10:15 am

This was a GREAT read. I have to admit, I’ve definitely sometimes thought ”sheesh! How does __ manage to afford all of that all of the time?!” if I’m visiting blogs which boast a high rotation of designer labels (but to be honest, I can’t really say that I do anymore, or have for a long time – it just doesn’t interest me!), but I can’t say that I’ve ever really felt the pressure to keep up with it at all. I used to be a massive spender when I was 18 and first started working full-time, but somewhere along the line realised that if I ever wanted to be able to travel or buy an apartment or anything else like that, then I would have to choose between one or the other. So, I did. These days, I buy very little, and if I do, it’s usually thrifted, or under $50 – and I’m so much happier living that way!
.-= x Corrine/Frock & Roll x´s last blog ..The Daily Frock – 01/05/10 ♥ =-.

Natalie May 1, 2010 at 8:46 pm

This is such an excellent post if only because it echoes my recent thoughts on the matter. I am an artist and my income is sporadic, and recently I’ve felt a kind of… resentment, I guess, that I can’t just wear the same old outfits on my blog. I only go shopping for clothes a few times a year, and after the initial spurt of options in my wardrobe has been exhausted I feel like I have no content!

In Australia, clothes (and the general cost of living) are EXPENSIVE. I feel like many of my American readers don’t understand this. They will exclaim that certain garments I post are too expensive, when for me they’re actually cheaper than buying them from Australian stores.

I also do not have a credit card, and I’m thankful that I don’t because the temptation to use it to buy, in effect, more content… well it’s palpable.
.-= Natalie´s last blog ..You can’t bully me out of my skinny jeans =-.

Gleenn May 2, 2010 at 10:52 pm

I learned my lesson six years back even before fashion blogging became a trend. I used to be a shopaholic but the behavior was a means to satisfy the needs that I had not achieved from childhood. Until one day, when I found myself on an operating table for an emergency surgery – with no money, no friends, no family, in a foreign land. It hit me, where did all my money go? Shopping? My clothes and shoes could not save me between life and death, in an emergency. It was a very painful way of realizing the impracticability of my lifestyle, but it was worth it. I’m a shopaholic no more.

I still love clothes and especially shoes, but there is a line. I have to wait for like 5 months before I can get another designers items. there has to be significant time interval. That is the reason why I blog editorial way. I have no means of keeping up with all the “what I wore” blogs. I may have great items in my closet but they would surely be seen several times in different mix if I keep doing outfit posts, which is not really what readers would love to see. I find more satisfaction with my editorail writing, I earn money through it, and I don’t exhaust the bank :)
.-= Gleenn´s last blog ..Fashion Don’t! Celebrity Outfit Misteps =-.

Catherine May 3, 2010 at 4:45 pm

I thought this article was a great read! I wouldn’t say my blog is a huge part of my life – but it does motivate me to dress nicely, which is something I enjoy doing but might shrug off for mundane activities. I feel that it’s a little different for me since I’m so young and not even within reach of a credit card. But after my parents’ debt, I saw the effects of spending “money” that’s not really there. I’m hardly a shopaholic – sure, I enjoy the sporadic outing to browse stores and I’m obsessed with browsing online shops. Sometimes I almost feel shame or guilt because what I do feels excessive – do I really need to have twenty or more pairs of shoes? But it’s my equivalent, of say, sports equipment. I don’t buy “stuff” to make me feel good. Hell, the shirt I’m wearing is from H&M – $6, nearly three years ago.

For a couple months, I was able to indulge a little more than normal since I had a job… and by indulge, I hardly mean anything extravagant. I’m super stingy with my money. But then, I was (unfairly) terminated and there went my income. And while I’m young, my parents don’t pay for everything. They never have. There’s been numerous occasions on which I’ve had to take a break from work (clearly not anymore) to stop at the supermarket to buy bread and toothpaste.

So, the shoes I’m buying to reward myself tomorrow once I finish eight hours of exams? Might put me back $60+, but it’s my cash. And those shoes? I’ll wear them until they break.
.-= Catherine´s last blog ..And the simplicity that accompanies it =-.

skinny buddha May 5, 2010 at 3:55 am

such a great post, you sure gave us a lot to think about. I got my first credit card a couple of months ago and it sits quietly unused in my wallet. I promissed myself I would only use it in case of emergency, and that does not mean spending it on clothes. I guess I’ve always been very strict with my finances, sicen they’ve always been quite scarce. I can never bring myself to splurge on expensive items because I feel it would somehow destroy who I am as a person. that doesn’t mean I don’t drool over designer clothes, shoes and bags but I’ve made peace with the fact that they are so out of my range I shouldn’t even dream about buying them. to me, it’s a major treat when I can buy something at zara when they don’t have sales. I mostly shop at thrift stores and always look for sales in chain sores.
.-= skinny buddha´s last blog ..we’re moving empty boxes, what a waste =-.

peacocks_hat May 5, 2010 at 8:14 am

This has been something that’s been bothering me recently as well. Not so much because I spend far too much money on clothes, because I’m a student with a fairly non existent budget, but because I feel guilty as a Western consumer for contributing to this never ending cycle of want, want want. When there are so many people in the world who don’t have clean water let alone clothes, I can’t help but feel guilty when I go and spend £50 on a pair of shoes. Especially when the clothes that we buy are so often produced by people in the developing world who live in such appalling conditions themselves. The environmental impact bothers me as well. I gave up clothes shopping for Lent, and am currently considering attempting to limit my purchases to charity shops or second hand- firstly because I’d be recyling clothes that already exist, but also because my money goes towards a good cause. However, I don’t know how successful I’ll be- but I’m beginning to think I’d feel a lot happier with my spending if I knew it was going to help people rather than funding huge profits for massive corporations.

Ev`Yan | apricot tea. May 6, 2010 at 10:13 pm

I am late to this discussion, but I just had to tell you how much respect I have for you now that you’ve mentioned this topic. The comments on this post prove that this is something that people really think about… & you allowed them to have a platform to talk about it finally!

I have a lot to say about this myself… but I’ll save it for a later day when I can actually form a decent opinion on it.

But seriously… bravo, Ashe.
.-= Ev`Yan | apricot tea.´s last blog ..a conversation with my younger self, in which she doesn’t listen. =-.

Fajr | Stylish Thought May 7, 2010 at 8:49 am

Amen! So glad someone finally bought attention to this. For the longest time I felt a bit inadequate by looking at other blogs and wondering how certain bloggers afford the constant barrage of clothes, shoes and accessories. As a grown woman who has bills and can’t spend willy nilly like I would like to, I swiftly brush those feelings of inadequacy aside. However, I still find myself wondering about the financial state and status of many of my favorite bloggers.

heartcity May 9, 2010 at 9:34 pm

this is such an important topic! i like reading blogs that are less about the pricey designer pieces and more about how to mix together a rad outfit from thrift and cheap shops, as thats what i do. if its all just new expensive stuff you buy and show off, its basically just a magazine ad, ya know? i have been purchasing more with my blog in mind, but its easy at thrift stores to spend 20 bucks and get ten things… anyway, i totally agree that bloggers should be honest and talk about how their finances affect their blogs and their lives, or vice versa!
.-= heartcity´s last blog ..outfit post =-.

Yumi May 11, 2010 at 6:45 pm

It’s incredibly refreshing that you’ve cracked the shell open on this topic. I’m a self profession fashion blog junkie and subscribe to tons of them. I’ve always wondered how my favorite bloggers can afford to have a constant rotation of new clothing – designer & very expensive. are they independently wealthy? do they have fabulous jobs? it gives fashion blogging a fantastical, intimidating element to it where readers are left wondering whether “street style” is even really attainable. This topic feels like a long ignored elephant in the room and while it’s nobody’s business what the source of our favorite bloggers income is, I’m sure each of us has silently wondered about it.

Yumi May 11, 2010 at 6:46 pm

professed*

Cherri Fountain - Photography / Art / Style May 20, 2010 at 12:03 am

I found this topic on IFB and wrote the following reply:
This is an extremely interesting thread to read and seeing the responses of other fashion bloggers out there, it is an issue not usually bought to surface but is comforting in knowing that we don’t all have disposable incomes for purely fashion purposes.
I can empathise with those who believe that their spending habits aren’t necessarily healthy and as we’re all in competition with one another I know there is some level of envy towards the bloggers that can afford to update their wardrobes with designer pieces weekly or have label endorsements.
Personally I don’t think that our financial background needs to hinder our blogging material. There may only be a small part of your readership that can afford to constantly buy designer wares but it’s your personal angle and coverage that draws a reader to your blog.
I for one would love to be able to go out and purchase the latest designer looks and threads but as an art student it simply isn’t feasible for me or my finances, or should I say lack of? But I have found ways to move around it without affecting my blog. Some of the strategies I’ve employed have actually strengthened my style muscle in that its forced me to be more creative.

Remixing your wardrobe – To me this is extremely beneficial not so much for my blog at the moment, but for my own personal style. If you have a spare Sunday afternoon and a digital camera take out everything in your wardrobe/chest of drawers/floordrobe and photograph every single possible combination of outfits. This opened my eyes to the myriad of possible outfits I already own and that I can rework into what is hot right now. Readers appreciate your ability to remix clothes because unless you’re extremely wealthy, you can’t possibly have a new outfit for every day of the year. But a new look for every day of the year? That’s up to you and your imagination.

Op shopping/Thrifting aka Vintage – I believe that op shopping should be a part of everyone’s shopping habit. I’ll agree that the word “vintage” has become a bit of a buzz word in the fashion world and usually when people think of op shopping they think of floral 1950’s tea frocks. Some of the best and most amazing pieces in my wardrobe I found at my local op shop and usually for less then $10. Heck my prized possession Chanel backpack came from an op shop! Unfortunately for us and fortunately for some there are boutiques and Ebay stores that have taken advantage of vintage fashion. Yes, they’ve done the hard yards in searching for these items but they also come at a very increased price – majority of the time the profit margin is something like 1000% plus! We all dream of an enviable wardrobe and op shopping can really increase the value of it because you can own a unique piece like noone else! Op shopping is a trend here to stay, it’s economical and eco-friendly too.

The Internet – We’re all fashion bloggers because one, we love fashion and two, the internet is a great platform to showcase your thoughts, reviews and fashionable efforts. Another thing that may have inspired you to start blogging is that it’s free (for most of us anyway) and it can continue to be so. Personal outfit posts, they’re free. Reviewing a lookbook, that’s free. Posting up your current obsessions, that’s also free. Designer outfit posts can also be free. So you can’t afford to buy designer labels and feature them on your website but you can still show your personal designer style through websites such as Polyvore and Looklet.

Otherwise it just comes down to a great blogging strategy. Think of your blog as a business and conduct a business plan on it. Upping the ante and having a great strategy might even bring in those label endorsements and who doesn’t want designer pieces without spending a cent? I think your financial situation doesn’t have to affect your blog and there are plenty of resources to inspire readership right here on IFB.

After all it’s not like we can buy our readers, is it?

Elsie June 24, 2010 at 12:23 am

Wow! I googled “how do fashion bloggers afford their outfits” and your series came up. And I absolutely love them. Very informative and very well written. Definitely makes me think long and hard. I recently started blogging but I am finding out that there is a lot of competition and I think one can be easily discouraged. I know this is awful because it defeats the purpose of my original thought to express myself, but I’m starting to reconsider it…especially because I don’t have the funds that all the “great bloggers” tend to have. Thanks for these thought provoking posts. I read some of your recent entries and am really enjoying your blog. I’ll be back :)

Dianne July 5, 2010 at 1:14 pm

Hi Ashe, great article, hope you don’t mind that i linked back to it on my blog. Like I say over there, each and everyone of the blogs I enjoy reading on a regular basis have something that money can’t buy, and that thing is skill. If I want to look at pretty pictures of the product (which I do) I also expect them to be backed up by a review, a story, an experience. I expect the photos to be well-taken, and not only that but for the said item to be incorporated well into an outfit. So I think it perhaps unfair that some good quality bloggers are being slated because they have a lucky upbringing, or have worked extremely hard at what they do to get where they have. The fact is that they are successful because they are good at what they do.

Putting the shoe on the other foot (so to speak), I believe, no matter how naively, that if a blogger is good at what they do and work hard, and have something to contribute in the way of wit and something unique to say, they can be successful without any products at all.

Cate January 2, 2011 at 1:46 pm

i just found this article again through beautifully invisible’s blog event, and i remember that when i first started really taking my blog seriously, this was one of the first articles i read. luckily (or unluckily) im still in college and i’m not employed so i dnt have the money to get into debt just yet. also i’m afraid of credit cards…

Mauishopgirl February 3, 2011 at 3:49 pm

Great post, I wish I found your blog earlier, you’re a great writer.

I not only wonder about bloggers but about girls in their 20′s I see around town. I’m in my 40′s and lived in Honolulu where the fashion scene was growing quickly. A number of great boutiques opened up, local designers getting mentioned nationally and every week there were fashion shows and shopping events. I was often one of the oldest in attendance (but thankfully can pass for 10 years younger than my real age) and couldn’t understand how these young girls were able to afford to buy all these new clothes (at contemporary prices), not to mention all the luxury handbags. When I was their age, there was no way I could’ve kept up and I did have a well paying job. So, I asked one of my staff, a very stylish 25 year old and she said everyone she knows is in massive credit card debt even the girls who live at home with their parents (which is pretty common in Hawaii, real estate is way too expensive).

JJ January 9, 2012 at 11:56 am

I read this post awhile ago and I felt the need to revisit it today. I have a small ‘style’ blog mainly to keep track of my own style and see what works and what doesn’t work for me. Since i don’t have a body or face that photographs well (average size pear with short legs) I don’t expect to have many readers. The clothes i have are nice and I like them, the thing is I don’t have a lot. I read my favourite fashion blogs for ideas (none of which are ever mention by ibf, they seem to do their own thing) but the thing that gets to me and actually makes me feel bad is that they have sooo much.

I just don’t get it. I really don’t. Logically I know it’s probably credit card debt (I have 0 credit card debt and as much as I’d love to go nuts and by a closetful of great clothes I won’t) part of me doesn’t believe that. I often just assume they make more than me. My mind can’t comprehend all this spending on credit. Even blogs that don’t wear designer, new Jeffrey Campbell shoes every week, H&M/zara clothes add up to a lot each month. Even ppl who have middle class careers I still dont understand how they afford it. Often I feel like they’re wealthy and I’m poor, that’s Why they have such beautiful things…

Ashe January 9, 2012 at 12:33 pm

Thank you for coming back to reply, JJ!
I definitely think that a lot can be done with not a lot (I know I always feel more creative when my closet is smaller). I always have to try and tell myself, “I don’t know what their lifestyle is.” Some people can thrift crazy things for not a lot. Some people give themselves insane (or I think insane) monthly budgets for clothes (like several hundred dollars). Some people limit themselves elsewhere, like eating out, or memberships, etc. And some of us use our credit cards (which I’m personally trying to work on). Some gals may have super awesome paying jobs, or get a lot of items gifted from companies. So don’t beat yourself up over it, don’t think you’re poor, and don’t let what others have get to you! I think there’s tons of creativity to be had in making with what you have, and I bet you do that wonderfully!

xoxo

Pamela August 11, 2012 at 10:54 pm

This is amazing! So many fashion bloggers don’t talk about the financial aspect of it. Trust me the readers wonder

Ashe August 13, 2012 at 10:20 am

You’re right– they do! I always try to be upfront about how I get things, and my own battles with credit cards and shopping.

Thanks for commenting, Pamela :)

Cecilia September 6, 2012 at 9:08 am

Thanks for sharing and being honest about this. It is a bigger problem than most people think and a lot of people do it. I find that I love to read these kinds of blogs and check out the different fashions that are shown and wondering how people afford these kinds of things. Great post!

StyleDestino October 2, 2012 at 1:21 pm

I think if bloggers spend more than they can afford, its a classic example of doing things UTI (under the influence). Its a normal human behaviour. People want appreciation from others and follow the herd.

Blogging should be about sharing your passion for fashion or things you like. It should not be self-destructive. Yes when you see thousands of great bloggers strutting the streets in designer labels flaunting a new outfit every next day,, it can be tempting. Temptation of going out shopping and outdo them or get inspired them may also be high.

But step back and think, what will you achieve? Isnt that rat race?

Why did you start blogging, to break your bank balance? Be a trendsetter. There’s nothing wrong in repeating your stuff. In fact wearing your own wardrobe differently would actually show your creativity and styling skills.

I blog, I also got tempted (never went out of my budget though, but did some purchases I shouldnt have). But soon realised and stopped it. After all, the blog is about sharing your passion, not proving anyone that you can afford the designer labels or a big wardrobe.

Stella Kashmoney February 16, 2013 at 11:04 am

I just found this article and I enjoyed reading it and the comments. I just started my fashion blog in October 2012 and I am loving it so far. I enjoying taking pictures and playing around with various outfits. I am an accountant so I have my budgeting skills already so I will never splurge on what I cannot afford.

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