Style: Online Edition (Self-Representation through Fashion Blogs)


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Google “famous style bloggers” and there are over 700 million results. While, in the past, one could only look at fashion magazines for representations of style in the media, today there are countless amounts of personal style blogs; all one needs is the world wide web and they’re set. People all over the world document their daily outfits, discuss trends, and influence readers through these blogs. Fashion bloggers are creating a digital representation of themselves. Representation, when examined through personal style, depicts how a person shows themselves to the world. Such blogs as The Man Repeller and Style Bubble allow their readers to see how fashion is both personalized, inspired, and globalized. I would argue that the explosion of fashion bloggers have allowed people all over the world to be explicitly connected through their use of fashion in self-representation. 

In “Adorned in Dreams,” Wilson writes that “a heightened sense of individual personality and ego developed when men and women moved in wide social circles…” (138) She of course was talking about twentieth century cities, but today the Internet is the modern “wide social circles.” Anyone can sign up for a blog and choose how to represent themselves. It was not until the early 2000’s that fashion blogs became popping up and throughout the decade this platform became more established. One of the first popular bloggers, BryanBoy, only started his blog in 2003. By 2009, the Independent Fashion Bloggers Conference was created and today, there are countless fashion bloggers. What do these masses have in common? The players of the “blog power list” each use personal style as a means of representation. As Roach and Eicher write in “The Language of Personal Adornment”, “Adorning oneself supports the individual in his endeavors to speak as a unique individual and provides him a way of expressing, reinforcing, initiating, and camouflaging…” (120) Instead of speaking, fashion bloggers use pictures as a means of representation. Let’s focus on Leandra Medine and Susie Lau.  

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The Man Repeller was created in 2010, proclaiming herself as one “who outfits herself in a sartorially offensive mode that may result in repelling members of the opposite sex.” Leandra Medine, the creator of the blog, is based out of New York City. Susie Lau, the creator of Style Bubble, created her blog in 2006. She is based out of London and says that her blog “consists of her widely read thoughts, personal experiences and observations on fashion with a focus on spotlighting young and unknown talent.” Both of these fashion bloggers blog as a full time job, making money off of sponsorships and advertising. Go to their sites and they are similar, with personal style, trend, and fashion week posts. 

Fashion bloggers are responsible for this content on their individual sites. This means of self-representation both allows readers to see how individuals dress and more specifically, to see the similarities in attire throughout the world. Fashion bloggers only make up a microcosm of what is fashion, but readers can see how trends play out on a personal level. As Simmel states in “Fashion”, “Fashion is a form of imitation and so of social equalization…” (541) Here, the similarities of self-representation leads to connection. We can see how Leandra and Susie play with the idea of the classic suit here:

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On a surface level, these outfits are quite different. One is gray, the other floral. One is baggy and  the other form fitting. But what is similar is the eccentricity of both of these outfits. Both are not typical suits or even typical clothing that anyone would wear. When one person wears abnormal fashion, it inspires others to do the same, whether it be another fashion blogger or a reader. One’s self-representation on public forums influences and even allows others to play with fashion. As Simmel states, “it [fashion] leads the individual upon the road which all travel.” (543) Riskiness in fashion inspires others’ own riskiness. What is now “hip” is to make abnormal fashion choices, which is apparent through various fashion bloggers’ websites.

Location ties into this greatly because of its seemingly non-importance. Leandra and Susie are from two different countries, two different continents even, and assumably have a similar fan base because of their similar self-representations. Outside of their blogs, these fashion bloggers appear at the same events and the same parties, as seen here front row at a Rag and Bone show (along with other global fashion bloggers):

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Each’s individual representation on her fashion blog allows for similar lifestyles as well. There are fashion weeks to attend, collaborations to be made, and other fashion bloggers to see. Fashion is universal and the Internet has only made this more clear. One’s location does not matter because the Internet allows all fashion bloggers and their readers to be connected.

The influence of readers by fashion bloggers’ self-representation is also interesting to look at. As Marwick states in “Conspicuous and Authentic,” “Celebrities are valuable commodities for brands as their endorsement can create trends and spur sales.” (4) In this case, fashion bloggers are celebrities. When Leandra Medine wears a baggy gray suit on her blog, she influences her readers, wherever they may be, to do the same. Fashion bloggers create the need of consumption for self-representation. Everyone can personalize and put their own spin on these trends, but initial influence is key. How a fashion blogger may represent him or herself influences how his or her readers represent themselves. What Leandra wears in New York City can be worn anywhere else in the world.

Personal fashion blogging may be a recent phenomenon, only a decade old, but its importance to the fashion world is obvious. It not only connects people due to blogging’s universality, as fashion blogs can be read by anyone all over the world and can be created by anyone also, but it influences trends that can be worn by different types of people. Fashion bloggers like Leandra Medine and Susie Lau curate their own self-representation, inspiring readers to do the same. 

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Works Cited

Barnard, Malcolm. Fashion Theory: A Reader. London: Routledge, 2007. Print.

Marwick, Alice. “Conspicuous and Authentic: Fashion Blogs, Style, and Consumption.” 2011. Print.

Simmel, Georg. “Fashion.” American Journal of Sociology 62.6 (1957): 541. Print.

Wilson, Elizabeth. Adorned in Dreams: Fashion and Modernity. Berkeley: U of California, 1987. Print.

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