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Sunday, June 7, 2009

Fashion Features

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I've never been a big fan of reading the newspaper, as I prefer to get my news online like most Gen Xers. The exception is each Sunday morning, when I can't wait to get my hands on the Image section of the L.A. Times as I sit down with a bowl of oatmeal. From Melissa Magsaysay's sensible style tips to Booth Moore's thorough runway rundowns, it's always an enjoyable read.

This morning was different, though. The content struck a more personal chord with me. As an independent fashion blogger for almost two and a half years now, it was exciting and gratifying to see two articles devoted to the emerging fashion blogs and bloggers who I follow weekly and who are taking the fashion world by storm. Congratulations to all of the bloggers who were mentioned! Many of you offer me infinite inspiration. Furthermore, Polyvore, whose addictive qualities are known by many a Photoshop-shunning fashion blogger, was featured on page 2.

In the feature article, when Emili Vesilind writes, "the sites are thin on commentary, but fat with fashion experimentation and unadulterated enthusiasm", I couldn't help but concur. Let's face it - some of the most popular fashion blogs do seem image-heavy and short on cohesive writing. Is this the case because the target audience, made up of Gen Yers, has a short attention span and is mainly looking for visual inspiration in the fashion blogs they visit? Can bloggers who are intelligent rather than stunningly beautiful or seemingly stylish be recognized, or is it that people only want to see a pretty picture?

The reason why I raise these questions is because sometimes it seems as though a blog's popularity is due to it being more about the person, the posing, or the attitude than the fashion or the writing. Perhaps it's because I'm older than most fashion bloggers, but what I like about a few of my favorite fashion blogs is the witty, erudite writing in addition to the intensely creative and unexpected use of clothing and accessories. Unfortunately, some of these more edgy bloggers often get criticized for developing such unique looks and for not following fashion blogger trends that make the rounds in the blogosphere. So while blogging can be rewarding, it can sometimes feel like high school all over again.

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Another thing that resonated with me is when Corinne Grassini, designer for Society for Rational Dress, states that "bloggers are a less 'spendy' way to get your name out there." I couldn't agree more. The most astute marketers, designers and PR reps know that reaching out to bloggers is cost-effective and can generate a viral kind of buzz. As fashion bloggers, we have a powerful voice on the internet, with thousands of young women idolizing the bloggers whose sites they religiously visit. But when a blog becomes one ongoing editorial for various things that a blogger has gotten for free, how does that blog maintain its authenticity? From a personal standpoint, I know how difficult it is to straddle the line between a personal style blog and a blog that accomodates different types of advertising. If the amount of PR pitches and reader questions that I receive each day in my inbox is any indication of who is reading my blog, then I consider myself lucky. This blog has opened more doors for me than I ever imagined, and for that, I'm grateful. It will be fascinating to see what happens in the future as bloggers are taken more seriously and gain more respect from traditional forms of media.