Friend Friday is run by ModlyChic. To participate email firstname.lastname@example.org. This week we are talking about blogging standards, success and measuring up.
1. Have you ever looked at someone's blog and thought yours will never measure up?
Continuously. I will avoid the masochism of listing them all and just say that the highest standard for me has to have been set by this one.
Best street style blogger and best fashion blogger across all fashion blog genres in my humble opinion. And he's handsome to boot. Lucky Garance!
2. Do you (did you) feel pressure to meet some kind of undefined standard for fashion bloggers?
See question one. Brilliant content, brilliant photography, very simple blog (no flashy Wordpress required) and a concept behind the blog that questions the way we see fashion and what is fashionable.
On a more cynical note I do still feel that the standard in order to be a really big, successful fashion blogger (street style bloggers like The Satorialist and Tommy Ton aside) is unfortunately still dictated by the standards set by the fashion industry itself. Anyone coming to the fashion blogosphere for the first time would get the message that in order to have a successful blog you have to be young, thin, look like a fashion model, look great in transparent garments or really short skirts and shorts, have a photographer boyfriend, the luxury of access and time to shoot in amazing locations and buckets of disposable income to splash on cutting edge, designer or trendy clothes. The numbers of followers, amount of donated merchandise and advertising contracts signed speak for themselves.
If I hadn't come to terms pretty quickly with the fact that meeting such standards would never be possible for me I would have never started blogging. It feels very similar to that pressure that bears down on your self esteem when you open up an issue of something as removed from reality as Vogue (see my tirade here) and see all that air brushed perfection that you can never live up to.
I'm old (at least in fashion blogging terms), short, certainly don't look like a fashion model and I have to take my own photos almost all of the time. But in any area of one's life there is always going to be someone else who is smarter, richer, better looking, younger, more successful or more accomplished. You can't let that stop you from doing things or trying something new! I buy and wear a lot of clothes and spend considerable time and energy in thinking about how to wear them everyday. My opinion, even if it is a drop in the ocean, surely counts.
Thankfully I made the discovery that there is a whole other world of bloggers of every description and variety who blog for their own pleasure, don't give a hoot about such standards and who I can actually relate to. That finally convinced me that it was possible to find a little niche of my own in the fashion blogosphere where I could blog to my heart's content.
3. Many established fashion bloggers are also extraordinary DIYers, bakers, and crafty people. Do you think you need to combine all of these things to be successful at blogging?
No I don't. I haven't seen The Sartorialist feature a single cupcake to date. Not that this kind of variety isn't interesting when done well (see Cloud of Secrets feature on Spiced Pecans and the amazing DIY talents of Vintage Vixen!) but there are many bloggers who enjoy success precisely because they stick to blogging about a certain area of interest to them or have a blog with a specific focus.
If a blog post is about something the blogger is good at or knowledgeable about it really shows in the content. The blogger can communicate ideas with confidence and authority, which always stimulates readers like me and gets them hooked.
I happen to be a mean cook, a dab hand at sewing, DIY and crafts and could show MacGyver a thing or two he didn't know about how to use a paperclip (showing my age there) but... I don't blog about those things and I don't think I could muster up the energy or enthusiasm to be frank. There are only so many hours in day that I can devote to my blog and it makes no sense whatsoever for me to compare what I do within my limitations to what others are able to do within theirs. I'd rather just focus on fashion and clothes (with the odd aside about my passion for flamenco thrown in). Besides if you saw the state of my kitchen you would be afraid, VERY afraid!
4. The most successful blogs are the ones that have their own personal voice - how are you developing your voice or how did you find yours?
Let me clarify that if I were to define the pinnacle of success for a fashion blogger it would involve something along the lines of thousands of followers, advertising revenue, being able to give up a day job for a lucrative book deal/advertising contract/modelling career/design consultancy/launch of own fashion line.
I'm not sure I agree that the most successful blogs got to where they are because of the personal voice of the blogger because in many cases the success has been gained on the back of what would sell in the already established norms dictated by the fashion industry (see cynical response to question two). Some of them can barely string a credible sentence together but I guess you could say their self expression is mainly through the styling and vision behind the imagery they produce.
How does one find their personal voice? This question baffles me because I've never found this to be an issue. Maybe I'm just fortunate in that respect as writing just seems very natural to me. I just write and edit until it is a satisfactory reflection of what I want to say. Practice as they say, makes perfect.
5. Toot your own horn... what's one thing you do that is unique to you and your blog? What gives your blog an edge?
I think everything that can be done in fashion blogs has probably already been done so I don't think I'm doing anything particularly unique in writing about my self inflicted challenge to catalogue a burgeoning wardrobe (in a roundabout sort of way). I will say that I pay a lot of attention to ensure that the writing is good, varied and entertaining.
The lovely Vahni of Grit and Glamour recently gave my blog an honourable mention for being diverse so if I was to pinpoint something that gave my blog an edge it would be my ability to write about a variety of subjects with confidence. I can be serious, critical, irreverent and apparently, according to my readers comments, very funny too.
Oh and I have hundreds of pieces of apparel in my closet still to get through. That's my content for 2011 and beyond sorted!