Tuesday, 7 August 2012

no logo?

So, a few months ago I stopped labelling where things are from in my outfit posts. I'm still not 100% sure about it, but I thought it might make for an interesting discussion. (and maybe I'll flip-flop)


The main reasons were 1) a discomfort with consumerism, 2) a dislike of the way brands and/or the lack of brands are a form of one up-manship in blogland, and 3) a strong ambivalence about being identified as a fashion blogger.

1. With regards to consumerism, well, we all know it's bad. Also, I was brought up in a very politicized household, and taught that big brands are evil. I believe they are. I still end up wearing them a fair bit for a variety of reasons, but see no reason why I should be giving them free advertising.
2. About the one-upmanship... man blogland can be so clique-y. Some people will look down on you for wearing things from H&M, because it makes you mainstream and uncreative. Some people will look down on you for wearing designer, because it means you're rich and probably using Daddy's credit card. Some people only want to know you if you wear vintage, and even there it's a hierarchy because you're only really into the scene if it's thrifted vintage.... anyway, buffffff.
3. And then there's the ambivalence. I like blogging outfits... I've been taking pictures of what I wear since before I knew blogs existed, but I feel weirdly ashamed of it. I still don't post a link to this blog on my personal facebook. I haven't even told my mother about it (I think she might know though). I would be mortified if certain friends found out (Albert is always trying to tell people and I'm always giving him death glares over it). Removing the outfit tags doesn't stop this from being a blog full of pictures of me, but maybe it's a step towards making it something I can publicly acknowledge.

I think the whole labelling of outfits thing started back in the dawn of personal style blogging to show that you could dress well without wearing head to toe designer, with a bit of creativity. Now style blogs are so ubiquitous that I feel it's almost meaningless to say where you got something. But I'm not sure I'm right about all of this? In certain circumstances I'd be sure to mention the details: if something is from a local/independent designer/if it was a particularly good or bad deal/if someone asks in the comments....

I know that I'm not the only one out there who wonders about these things and ponders the politics of blogging... so over to you ladies. Yae or nae on the outfit labels?

P.S. I know this isn't of earth-shattering importance, but it does affect how we spend our money right? I probably buy things from more interesting sources since discovering blogs; then again, I probably buy more in general, so I'm not sure if that's a good or bad thing...


steffy said...

I'm for it. I think it's interesting to see where things come from. What I wear comes from... everywhere. I mean, I wear nothing designer, but I'll spring for modcloth and then wear target sandals. Why not? I'd love to know where you get your clothes, too.

Emmett Katherine said...

Another blogger I read regularly stopped using labels on her outfit posts a long time ago. I agree with your reasons and can see how labeling went from one extreme (to demonstrate) creativity to a clique/way to pigeon hole a blogger.

Personally I have mixed feelings. I feel the same about the whole outfit blogging thing, I'm quite shy about telling friends about my blog yet I enjoy reading style blogs and recording my own outfits.

Overall I tend to appreciate when bloggers say where their clothes are from - I've discovered some great stores abf brands that way. I find if an outfit post isn't labeled and you leave a comment asking about an item most time your question remains unanswered which is off putting.

Sometimes I lean towards removing labels but it's much easier to put them in a post than to answer emails and comments about where something is from.


Emmett Katherine said...

*to demonstrate creativity.

Emily, Ruby Slipper Journeys said...

@steffy: like you, I get things all over the place, from mainstream stores to ebay to stealing them from my mom/sister to independent designers on Etsy, etc. Another reason I wonder about recording is because half the things I wear couldn't be bought any more anyway... either I've had them for years or they were vintage or whatever.

@Emett Katherine: it's true I've discovered some great designers/brands that I wouldn't have otherwise known about through reading style blogs.

Closet Fashionista said...

Yea, I've just gotten into the habit of posting where I've gotten things and how much I paid because a lot of my blog is about finding things for less....but it doesn't bother me when bloggers don't do it. It's more of personal preference I suppose.

And I don't like people knowing about my blog either, though some family have found out a lot of them don't know about it. And none of my friends look at it, but my best friends know of it and are kind enough to not read it (not that I say anything about them)

Rachel, Cold Knees said...

Interesting points. Like you, there's no way I'd post a blog link on my Facebook, I'd feel embarrassed and then there's also the fact that in the early days of my blog I used it a bit like a diary so there may be personal things lurking back there.. I still label things, but I don't really want to be giving extra publicity to Topshop/H&M etc.. I guess people do sometimes ask where something is from so it's easier if it's written there already.

Emily, Ruby Slipper Journeys said...

@Meg: Haha, I'd be worried if my friends knew and didn't read it, that perhaps it was because they found it boring! Easier overall not to tell them. ;)

Miss Marie said...

Interesting perspective! I hadn't ever even begun to think about labelling my outfits in posts on this deep a level! I honestly just think of it in the manner of how conversations about outfits go in real life - often when someone comments on something I'm wearing, they follow it up with "where did you get it?" out of what generally seems to me to be genuine interest because they might like to check out the store. That's all I'm ever thinking about when I ask someone where they got something... But perhaps I'm blissfully naive and every time someone asks me and I respond, they're silently judging me...

And I absolutely appreciate your views re: consumerism. Some blogs I've come across (and not ended up following!) do make me uncomfortable because of the apparent vastness of their wardrobe because I was raised in a similar household to you. On the other hand, wearing and therefore obtaining clothes is inevitable (though doesn't need to as excessive as it sometimes is). So I don't necessarily think indicating where you bought something is consumerist. It can actually be a positive thing if, for instance, you show that you can have style through shopping at independent designers, charity shops or, indeed, making your own clothes - it may entice people away from sweatshop companies and "disposable" fashion and such!

Thanks for the food for thought! I'm going to keep labelling my outfit posts but I totally respect your decision to not label yours...

Katie Simeon said...

I like seeing where bloggers shop at, and knowing what their wearing, especially if its a mix of a top designer and a thrifty find. To me is shows that you don't have to be wearing expensive designer clothes from head to toe to look good or be considered fashionable.
Being a college student with a dad who doesn't want me working so I can focus on school, just shopping at Urban Outfitters is a stretch. So I really love seeing how bloggers mix their thrift finds with more expensive brands.

helen at thelovecatsINC said...

i love finding out where items come from, especially if i like it so i can find something similar for myself. i'm not necessarily bothered if someone's wearing head to toe designer, if they can afford it, good for them. i'd rather use it as inspiration and create something similar within my budget.

that's just my opinion :)

from helen at www.thelovecatsinc.com // @thelovecatsinc

Rebecca said...

A good point well made, as usual. I personally don't mind if people post where they got something from or not, it's only when I see something really interesting that I am curious - I suppose to see if it's a new label I am unfamiliar with or vintage or where I could find something similar. I agree there can be some clique-y vibes but I don't know how much is down to the clothing itself.

Also so glad to know I am not the only one who's friends/family don't know about my blog. I always stop my boyfriend from saying anything too.

FashionableLena said...

I don't mind the outfit identification. But, my blog lives and breathes on it because I do celebrity red carpet critics. Most on my blog, I assume, would want to know who designed a certain ball gown.
As far as personal style blogs go, I'm with a previous poster that there are labels I would have never known about had it not been for the id.
For what it's worth, I could care less if someone wears head-to-toe thrift or head-to-toe designer. I'm looking at a person's style. And there is a HUGE difference between style and very expensive laundry.

Kezzie said...

Oh my Emily, I am SO glad you posted this! I share your feelings in pretty much the same way. I am still unsure about whether to or not. Sometimes I don't at all, sometimes I do. My boyfriend reads my blog (he found it) and he doesn't really like the outfit things, and yes, I'd feel really really embarassed if any of my friends knew about it nowadays (in the past when it was just waffle, I didn't mind so much!). Definitely don't want to be identified as a fashion-blogger, but I really like doing outfits and getting feedback on them! Then again, I have found some really nice shops through seeing where people buy things from and found items I really like, so it's a difficult one! Hmmm, being an indecisive person, I still haven't reached a conclusion!

dr.antony said...

I don't know if men are allowed to comment on this,still.

You have an exceptional sense of color and its combinations.You know how to choose dress that suits you.It is not that simple.Many women do not have an idea what to buy and how and what suits them.
I would say it is good to let others know from where you get your choices,it makes life easy for others.And there is nothing wrong in endorsing a brand either,if it comes to that.

kristin @ high socks said...

I had been thinking about this too since almost everything I have is thrifted and anything else is fast fashion pieces from the past few years... I feel weird listing a t-shirt from Old Navy when I bought it 3 years ago. I suppose it makes a lot of sense for bloggers who make money from referrals through their blog (they can link to the same item or something similar, get a cut of the sale) but that is a whole other discussion, probably...

and can I say I WISH my mom didn't know I had a blog omg. So tired of her bringing it up to people -__-

TheHeadlessMannequin said...

Great post! You've given a voice to all the half-formed thoughts playing on my mind the last while. I haven't blogged in nearly a month now partly owing to a blogging identity crisis. While I love following style blogs, I feel slightly ashamed of my own at times - like I should really be blogging about issues with more gravitas or something! Manies a friend have been eyeballed to within an inch of their lives when they've almost let the cat (or the blog rather) out of the bag to others. I do like seeing where clothes come from though whether the blog is pure or only part style focused. And whether it's vintage, an exclusive brand name or Primark's best is irrelevant - I just like to know the origin story :)

Shybiker said...

Smart and interesting post, Emily. You raise good issues which deserve debate.

I was unaware of many of the things you cite. Although I blog, I haven't seen the cattiness you mention. I'm sure it exists but lots of girl-world are hidden to me.

I've never mentioned labels in my posts 'cause I object to the idea that they matter. It is how the outfit looks that counts. I view fashion as art, not commerce.

Frannie Pantz said...

Emily this is just the post I wanted to read tonight. I've been thinking the same thing and for the same reasons. But ultimately, I, like you bring up in your posts, do like to show the whole "you can look great on a budget" or "you can find quality items at the thrift store" or "I got these and it was a great deal, check it out!" However, I do understand the stigma of labels and agree with you for sure on the consumerism. Especially in the style blogging world, it can make everything seem so "I NEED THAT!" when really . . . you don't.

Great post. My fave one from a style blogger ever in a while.

Jenny said...

I always enjoy reading your posts Emily! I too was raised in a household that discouraged shopping from large corporations due to the political implications associated with how clothes/items are made. This influences how I dress and where I purchase my clothes as well (i.e. 99% of my closet is vintage/thrift now).

I don't necessarily have any reservations with posting where my outfit comes from. I really enjoy seeing where other personal style bloggers purchase their clothes, although I have a particular affinity for vintage and thrift bloggers due to my political leanings.

In regards to having friends/coworkers know about my blog, I do not shy away from letting them know. I actually find this argument to be interesting. If you (as in the perforative you) are going to post something on the Internet, then why be embarrassed/ feel ambivalent about it? I would never post anything on my blog that I am not 100% proud of/is an extension of my creative side. If I would feel at all unsure about something, I would never post it. For me, my blog is as much a journey of my style as well as portfolio for future creative endeavors. Since I've never treated my blog like a personal diary, I suppose it is a lot easier to separate a feeling of ambivalence from blogging itself.

I was actually having this discussion the other day about feeling ashamed about fashion/personal style blogging. I think a lot of it has to do with the shaming of femininity, or the fact that being "feminine" and being "into fashion" is culturally/socially viewed in the west as vapid or narcissistic. These connotations can paint blogging as extensions of these ideas, perhaps perpetuating ambivalence/shame.

Jenny said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Emily, Ruby Slipper Journeys said...

@Kristin: OMG. That is a really good reason never to tell my mom... I know she would start telling everyone from my cousins to her boss!

@Dr. Anthony: you're very sweet, as always.

@The Headless Mannequin: I think your blog is more than a style blog anyway. I love seeing the beautiful landscapes you take you pictures in.

Emily, Ruby Slipper Journeys said...

@Jenny: I think you're absolutely spot on about the source of my blog embarrassment. I recognize that I'm supposed to feel ashamed of liking fashion because it is predominantly female (in a way that I never feel ashamed of posting travel photos, although they could also say all sorts of things about me), whereas if I were a man, I expect I'd feel no shame about having a car blog, or beer blog, or whatever the equivalent would be.

That said, I don't really view my blog as an extension of my creative side. I tend to think my creativity lies in writing, and my projects of writing books. The blog really is a hobby, and a chance to get myself used to projecting in front of an audience.

Carrie said...

Well, I'm all over the consumerism thing, but at the same time, if you hadn't shared a link to that sailor dress (that I'm coveting) I wouldn't have been able to go look it up. Now, I didn't buy it, because it was out of my price range that I choose to spend on clothes, but I still liked knowing that it was available (if that makes sense). I say - your blog, do what YOU want and what YOU are comfortable with. :-)

The Fashion Milkshake said...

Great post !

3 words LOVE YOUR STYLE :)

I'm an instant follower of you now :)

Please feel free to check out my blog if you have the time

p.s Check out my first Rire Boutique Giveaway !! :)


celia said...

I think this is an interesting topic, I agree specially on the matter of blog cliques. Personally I like it better when the brand and/or origin of the outfit is listed so I can check out if something interests me, however there's always comments for that.

Like many others I was really embarrassed about my blog at the beginning and the whole style blogger thing, now not so much but in a way it just sounds like you're vain or an egomaniac. It made for really interesting discussions in my fashion comunication and journalism lessons this year!

Emily said...

@Celia: One place I do admit to my blog, strangely, is on my CV. It always gets discussed in interviews and the feedback is always very positive, so I don't know why I think my friends would hate it. :)

Theadorabletwo said...

Great Blog :)

Love Storm

Stef / Diversions said...

I've been meaning to post about this for a while. I've been labeling for ages, but I keep playing with the thought of stopping, because like you, I don't like that I am providing free advertising to brands/corporations.

What has kept me from stopping so faris how often I find clothes I am smitten with on other blogs, and I am always glad when these bloggers let me know which shop I can find what I am looking for in. That said, I guess readers could just ask when it comes to it.

When it comes to vintage sellers who are making a living through etsy and independent designers who are just starting up, I really do want to give them credit and a little bit of free advertising. Especially when they've taken the time to make a piece to my measurements and haven't charged the world for it. In that case acknowledging the source and providing a link feels like the perfect thank you. :)

So I guess from now on I might just label the above and mark the rest as "high street", "supermarket", "discount store" or "online store" or something like that?
That way readers still see the range of sources without reinforcing brands. Yeah, I think personally I'll go with that ;)

Thanks - I think your post just made my mind up :)

Anyway, as for style blogger secrecy: I've been blogging since 2009 and while my parents were my first readers (they were part of the reason I started - they're so far away so seeing pictures of me every other day helps feel closer), I've kept it secret from IRL friends until recently.
Eventhough I am now open about being a "personal style blogger" (I prefer that label to "fashion blogger") I still don't give the URL out unless I am asked specifically. In short: I totally get where you're coming from :)

I've also got "I am a serious photographer" guilt. I've got a degree in it and what do I do? Take fashion shots of myself. But in the end it's fun, it keeps me active and in practice while I am not working on "serious" projects" and I am darn well pleased to be adding to the wide variety of style blogs out there. Maybe not individually, but as a group us style bloggers are pretty influential :D Variety rules. And I hope you know your blog is amongst my favourites :)

Emily said...

Stef: that's a really interesting idea, to label the small name things and the rest of it "high street" or whatever. Hmmmmm, that almost sounds like a happy medium!

Also, epic comment!
I actually think my mom would love my blog, for the reasons you mention (she could actually see what I'm up to, and pictures of me actually looking decent instead of manky on Skype). I'm working up the nerve to tell her this summer, but not looking forward to her comments of "Oh, so you bought another dress!

Also, I wouldn't have photographer guilt. Your photos are great and diverse and definitely add something different to the style blogging universe!

Emily, Resplendent Tranquility said...

I was so happy to see this post today, Emily. I've been thinking about nixing the logos on my outfit posts as well and for practically the same reasons you mentioned (well, that is if I ever get back into the swing of personal style blogging). It's great to see other people talking about this.

Farrah said...

My mom found out about my blog a week ago, and she also found my flickr and printed out photos from it. I was mortified...but I don't think any of my friends know about my blog, and i'm going to keep it that way. I would like to keep my blog as my own little treat.

When it comes to outfit posts, I'm not very photogenic so i don't usually do them, but I get my clothes from anywhere and everywhere if I like them, and if they're cheap I'll buy it. Label/vintage/thrifted doesn't matter to me. I think we all should pay attention to the style, and not where the pieces comes from because it makes us pay attention to price.

Is It Secret, Is It Safe said...

this post reflects so much of what i feel about my own blog. i do post tags for my outfits, and i do it out of solidarity for my fellow plus-size women. it's HARD to find cute plus-size clothing, and if we can help each other out with shopping sources, i'm all for it. however, i totally understand your wish to reject a consumption-based blog - it should be about fashion, not cost.

Valerie EnrĂ­quez said...

I'm definitely a supporter of your points, Emily. I think more bloggers should consider relaxing on the label-explanation. I started blogging in the livejournal days when outfit posts didn't exist, so I sometimes feel old-fashioned about not even mentioning that kind of thing (ie. what every item on your body is from). I'm not a huge fan of the strictly outfit-blogs that are out there, where you learn nothing of the person's life or what they even like to do. It frightens me many times that as women, our identities are so loosely connected to possessions.

Don't get me wrong, I like indulging in some of those things from time to time - but I always wish people would be just as interested in reading, watching films, going outdoors, or just doing something other than dressing up. I still support the excitement over wearing something that makes you feel good, because it's an extension of yourself in some way. I think the label-obsessed blogs accomplish very little in the grand scheme of things, since much of it is incredibly fleeting and disposable. I suppose it's in the eye of the beholder and for some people it's the equivalent to reading tabloids ha!

jesse.anne.o said...

A while ago I decided not to list brands UNLESS they were brands I was happy to support. So anything that I purchased from a sweatshop store is labeled sweatshop (also a good reminder to be more discerning about my shopping habits and how much suffering befall others because of them) and anything that I want so support is specifically labeled.

I used to do everything and I think that began with Wardrobe Remix back in the day...but I realized it was so unnecessary and that it was actually more positive to label thinks by their ethical attributes.

Monique said...


thanks for such a great post. i'm impressed that you took action and did something to make your blog feel more of a reflection of who you are and your beliefs.

i've had a desire for quite some time to bridge the gap between my beliefs and my online creative outlet. now it's just figuring out how this will manifest.

i really appreciate you writing this post.

Julia Topaz said...

Huge ditto on all three accounts, especially your last point. When someone I know mentions they found out about my blog, I feel this sweeping sense of shame. It just feels so silly/superficial/absolutely ridiculous. Yet, I don't feel that other bloggers who post outfits are silly/superficial/ridiculous, so I don't know.

Rebeccak said...

Love this post - and am enjoying the comments too. I don't have any firm ideas or answers - but I like that you are putting these ideas out there.

I have hit a similar place in blogging (and boy do I relate to what you wrote there in pint 3!). I have been acknowledging bits of my outfit now and then that I really want to talk about: A mate's easy store; or a particularly exciting new item. Is it the best way of dealing with these three ideas you raise? Probably not really, but it seems to suit me at the moment.

Ashley said...

hehehe. I love your debates. They are my favorite!

I don't have a say on this either way, because, um...fashion blogging is not really my thing so I have never thought to label clothes. I mean, I write posts about chihuahuas for god's sake! Not the most chic of blogs over here ;)

friedenlinde said...

Well, I never really noticed you took labels off until I read this! So go for it. I am into the blogosphere from not many time, and always feel ashamed to write brands at the end of the post. And I hate it when a post is all about "hey, look at me! I got me some Lita's!" No. I don't like those blogs. I know people wants to know most of the times "where did you get this or that", and if it's worth it and I am curious about it, I admit I peep at the brand myself too - and most of the times I discover a new shop. Mmmm. Good or bad, I don't know. I like clothes, I like to have many choice, but I stopped feeling guilty for it. I love all of my dresses. And they come from many different places including thrifting, family, and brands I like. But I don't really mind where it comes from whereas I love it. Categories and people judgment about brands are nothing to me. I actually avoid things that are too trendy or too recognizable as I am building my *own* wardrobe, and I pair things as I please, not like a dummy in a shop (I think of Zara's..)
I like what you say about consummerism, and I am with you. I never been a real shopping gal, but I love to dress well. Now I have less money which means less shopping possiblities, but I don't think it's all that bad. I really have to think of what I buy now, and limit myself to bargains, marketplace, sales at 70% off. I kinda did this my whole life actually, and I am now doing it more than ever.
No brands if you feel like it, free yourself! :)