Are Fashion Bloggers Really Fashion Ruiners?

I saw a piece today on i-D about how fashion bloggers may be ruining fashion for us as consumers on Instagram. As a quasi-fashion blogger who follows some of those big fashion bloggers, I get that. What do Rumi Neely of Fashion Toast, Wendy of Wendy’s Lookbook, and Aimee of Song of Style all share? Killer Instagram feeds (um, and millions of followers.) But that comes at a price, to the tune of several thousands of dollars worth of merch if I want to recreate that look myself. For me, and probably most of you, that’s just not accessible.

Are Fashion Bloggers Really Fashion Ruiners? / hellorigby!

Sorry, you won’t find fresh flowers in my handbag, but you can have a dog. :)

Sure, I won’t lie. I drool over their many-paycheck’s-worth handbags, their gorgeous shoes, and their jet-setting ways. But as this article points out, a lot of that is just a facade. Many fashion bloggers were gifted these items. That purse with the flowers in it? Yeah, probably gifted. That trip to Dubai? I bet it was sponsored.

But does the average consumer realize this? In a world of blog disclosures, I find that rarely are things marked “c/o” let alone “sponsored by” anymore. And Instagram is a whole new world for a lot of these rules and regulations. Sure, there are #ad or #spon hashtags, but how many people even bother using them?

I hope to not contribute to the problem. The brands I’ve featured have been small. StyleGather just launched a national campaign, but they’re a growing small business. J Leer is also a brand new, small business. And I will never turn down an Etsy artisan like Skinny Pig Designs. Her jewelry is beautiful and I love that she makes everything by hand.

I confess that I would totally take a designer handbag if I was offered one, because um, hi, I am only human. But I sure hope to never become “unreachable.” My main goal with my fashion posts is to share looks on a budget, and that’s why I link up at the end of every month to Fran’s Budgeting Bloggers. What I love most about blogging is being able to share my passions (fashion, beauty, my city, my dog) with others.

And I think there are a lot of bloggers, especially big ones, that get caught up and lose touch with why they even started blogging. Aside from the few who only started it to make money (I’m looking at you, Chriselle), most of them started a blog before blogs were a thing. They wanted to meet like-minded people and share their passion for fashion with the world.

But do they ruin fashion? I don’t think so. I think as consumers and blog readers, we should be aware what we’re seeing is not realistic. Most of those big bloggers no longer have a day job. They devote their life to their blog, and I would argue many blog to live instead of living to blog. And while I may not be able to buy that $5,000 outfit, I sure can use it as inspiration for my $100 outfit.
Linking up with Kathy and Liz

Do you think fashion bloggers are ruining fashion for the rest of us?


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55 thoughts on “Are Fashion Bloggers Really Fashion Ruiners?

  1. Ashley

    I agree – I don’t think they ruin fashion. If anything they inspire me – I have learned so much about how to mix and match, how to style that skirt with that top, etc. In all honesty, do I really care if they got the bag for free? Nope – all I care about is finding something like that or getting something out if it – like how to style it or something.

    This is a really excellent post and very well written!
    Ashley recently posted…20 Things We Unexpectedtly Become Obsessed With Because Of BloggingMy Profile

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    1. Jenn Post author

      Totally agree with your sentiments, Ash! I think of them as the fashion mags I used to read when I was younger… the pieces aren’t attainable, but about creating a look that works for me!

      Reply
  2. Kristen

    I agree, I don’t think they ruin fashion. To be honest, I don’t follow anyone that I can’t afford what they wear. Even if its gifted, if I can’t afford it, it’s like walking into Coach with $10. What’s the point? I am honestly not sure what I would do if someone offered me a designer handbag. Give it to you? Haha. I’m not a big handbag gal.
    Kristen recently posted…ConfessionsMy Profile

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    1. Jenn Post author

      Haha, you can totally give it to me! ;) But yeah, I know what you mean. A lot of blogs are like editorials for me, I like looking, but I never splurge on anything crazy.

      Reply
  3. Abby

    Lovely post, Jenn! I don’t think it ruins fashion too – if it does, in your perspective, then you are blogging for the wrong reasons. Sure, I won’t be a hypocrite and say I would turn down an offer for gifted items, but it’s all just part of the package, so to speak. I blog because I feel the need to share and inspire other budding fashion bloggers like the bloggers that have come before me. It is such a fun community. A lot of fashion bloggers have opted to quit but I never felt the pressure to become these big fashion bloggers because we all have different types of audience to reach out to.
    Abby recently posted…Shop for a Cause: BANDED HeadbandsMy Profile

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  4. kathy @ vodka and soda

    i think we as adults have the ability to view things with discretion, believe what we want to believe and read what we want to read. sure, there are bloggers out there who post such fancy things that many can’t afford but does that mean they haven’t worked hard for it? does that mean what they’re posting is wrong? NO.

    that said, no one ruins it for anyone unless YOU let it ruin it for you. there’s a lot of stuff out there that you can take with a grain of salt or let it “ruin” your day/outlook etc. i just choose to look at things i see lightly, take what i need and forget the rest.
    kathy @ vodka and soda recently posted…humpday confessions [7-23]My Profile

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    1. Jenn Post author

      Absolutely agreed. I think those “big” bloggers started somewhere and worked hard to get where they are today. Blogging takes a lot of time and energy, and that can’t be discredited at all. The problem I have with some of the “big” bloggers is those who are owned by conglomerates, like Conde Nast. It’s not very obvious unless you go looking for it, so they get around a lot of the disclosure laws (I assume) because of that. I do wonder how many “average joes” who follow these bloggers realize that.

      Reply
  5. Sarah Christine

    I agree with you that you just have to be aware of who you are reading and what their reality is. I often use some of those big fashion bloggers as inspiration, but obviously I’m not going to go drop the price of a small car on a new shirt.

    There are so many bloggers and youtubers that talk about how simple and easy certain looks are to achieve in their everyday lives, but forget that their wake up when they want and take as much time as they need to get ready is not relatable for most of their viewers/readers.

    I don’t know where blogging will take me in the future, but as of right now I don’t plan on getting rid of my “day job” so I love being able to share fashion, beauty, health around a “typical” 9 to 5 schedule. Although even as I right that I realize that typical or normal is different for everyone, we all live in our own realities.
    Sarah Christine recently posted…Stealing Outfits from BloggersMy Profile

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    1. Jenn Post author

      Haha so true. And there’s also a huge monetary barrier between famous Youtubers and their fans, especially when their fans are pre teens who save their allowance money, or people who just can’t afford it. Doesn’t make it so simple after all!

      Reply
    1. Jenn Post author

      It definitely can be a bit much! And I think a lot of people get caught up with becoming just like the “elite” few who have hit it big. I love that you focus on sustainable fashion, very cool and unique!

      Reply
  6. lisa

    I prefer to follow fashion bloggers that are on some sort of budget over the ones that wear thousands of dollars worth of clothes and accessories. I don’t think that they ruin fashion, but a lot of what they wear just isn’t practical or affordable for me so I don’t really even glance at their blogs.
    lisa recently posted…Regular Ole ConfessionsMy Profile

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    1. Jenn Post author

      Understandable! I feel this way a lot of the time as well, so I tend to just ignore the brands and items they’re actually wearing and instead pay attention to how its styled.

      Reply
  7. Ashliegh

    I definitely use these bigger bloggers as inspiration for my small blog posts. I always try to remember to use disclosure whoever possible and I’m with you on wanting to remain accessible. Sure, I may treat myself to a nice gift every once in a while but being relatable is definitely something I want to keep on my blog, too :]
    Ashliegh recently posted…1 Shirt Styled 3 WaysMy Profile

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    1. Jenn Post author

      And treating yourself to gifts is totally relatable – I do the same thing and I think its important to do that when you can afford to! :)

      Reply
  8. Em

    Totally agree! Sure it would be kind of cool for awhile to blog for a living, but it would get old for me I feel. There’s something to be said about going through an experience and not having to take a million pictures because you have to blog EVERYTHING. Those fashion bloggers out there can go ahead and spend a crazy amount of money on one sweater…I’d never really want to do that. Lol.
    Em recently posted…Survival Kit ConfessionsMy Profile

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    1. Jenn Post author

      Haha, so true! And some of them have a close to celebrity type following (Michelle Phan comes to mind!) Pretty insane!

      Reply
  9. Kate

    I have to admit to skipping a lot of fashion posts unless something catches my eye right away. I’m just not fashionable! I do like those eye catching ones even more when it is something attainable.
    Kate recently posted…Confessions of the weekMy Profile

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    1. Jenn Post author

      Totally agree with you Annessa! I sometimes daydream about the same thing, but realize how silly it is at the same time.

      Reply
  10. Jamie G

    Probably one of the hardest things to keep in mind is that all of those items are free. And that retailers are paying the largest bloggers thousands and hundreds of thousands of dollars to seek their clothes for them. The same way an advertiser would pay Kim Kardashian! They have great taste and I agree with you Jenn, we should use their posts for style inspiration. I will make notes to myself when pinning on what pieces I actually own, so I cab wear them in new and interesting ways!
    Jamie G recently posted…Pick-me-up Playlist 7-23-14My Profile

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    1. Jenn Post author

      That’s a great idea, Jamie! And yes, it is so hard to remember that. And yeah, some fashion bloggers can command $50,000 for an event appearance. So crazy!

      Reply
  11. Moana-Marie

    Somebody tweeted about your post, so I clicked over with no idea that you mentioned my brand! Thank you for that!

    I used to think that I was one of the only few people who couldn’t be fashionable because I couldn’t afford it, but it makes a HUGE difference knowing that a lot of the items are offered to top bloggers for free. I guess I don’t have to wonder anymore how other people can pay for so many things when I can’t. Thank you for the awesome article!
    Moana-Marie recently posted…Finding balance…My Profile

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    1. Jenn Post author

      You’re very welcome, Moana! :) I imagine there are many people that have absolutely no idea that many bloggers are being gifted items in order to create a post or even just for a photo on Instagram. On top of that, they get paid for their photos, which allows them to afford other expensive things! If only we were all so lucky, I guess! :)

      Reply
  12. Marifer

    This is so true!! How many times I have seen beautiful bags that I now I won’t buy but as you said if it is gifted probably I will use it. I have my fav “old blogs” but I love the ones that mainly use brands/styles I will buy

    Reply
  13. Rebecca B. Bird

    “I may not be able to buy that $5,000 outfit, I sure can use it as inspiration for my $100 outfit.” My feelings exactly. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with fashion bloggers featuring expensive items, gifted or otherwise – I do wish more people were open with disclosures. You raise an interesting point about hashtags … I’ve always reserved things like #ad and #spon for paid content, but there probably should be some sort of universally understood #Igotthiscrapforfree tag.
    Rebecca B. Bird recently posted…Weekly Poll: In a classroom far, far awayMy Profile

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    1. Jenn Post author

      Yeah, I think #ad is what we’re supposed to be using on Twitter before the URL (which, by the way, you do very well!) but SO many people either 1. don’t bother, 2. don’t know about it, or 3. use an obscure hashtag that isn’t universally understood like “#sp”. I would venture a guess that the average consumer doesn’t realize (before a click) that they’re being advertised to or taken through a referral URL.

      Reply
  14. Christina

    I don’t think they are ruining fashion for us. I like to see what different looks they are able to put together. Even if I could afford to spend that kind of money I don’t think that I would. Maybe a splurge here and there but I like to live pretty cheap. Your analysis is on point girl! Plus, that dog is freakin’ adorable! Can I have him/her?
    Christina recently posted…You’re my best friendMy Profile

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    1. Jenn Post author

      Haha, that’s my little dude, Rigby (and also the namesake of this blog!) I feel the same way, sure I love designer items, but I definitely don’t need a closet full of it. A few splurges here and there are great though!

      Reply
  15. Jenny

    Great post on a good topic but I don’t think they are ruining fashion. Before the days of social media women devoured every page of every fashion magazine and all those items were unattainable to the average person. We just found ways to create the look for less.

    Reply
    1. Jenn Post author

      Very good point, Jenny! I think a lot of the “big” bloggers really are just basically editorials. Some are even owned by Conde Nast (Sea of Shoes comes to mind!)

      Reply
  16. Kenzie Smith

    I don’t think that they are necessarily ruining it.. I mean sure, I’ll find an outfit that I absolutely adore then just about faint from the price tag, but that doesn’t ruin it for me. Yeah, it sucks that I can’t afford that exact piece, but it doesn’t mean I can’t find something else (possibly cuter) for a much better price.
    Kenzie Smith recently posted…It’s Like Riding a BicycleMy Profile

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    1. Jenn Post author

      So, sorry for not responding to this sooner (um, hi a few months later) but wanted to say absolutely yes – this is what I do personally and is why I still follow some of the “big” bloggers :)

      Reply
  17. ADA

    What a great post. I definitely love and enjoy fashion bloggers, not just because I am one myself. I think before fashion bloggers and pinterest, our everyday styles were more basic and a lot of times un-inspiring! I think fashion blogs are inspiring fashion passed 2010 much more so than fashion magazines, because they feature real people with real styles and real budgets instead of celebrities. I also know of many successful bloggers whose outfits cost over $1000.00 (actually their hand-bag alone might cost more than that) and they have photographers capturing their every day style shoots but I cannot relate to them neither do I read those kinds of blogs. I am a real woman with real problems and a real+modest budget. I enjoy blogs like yours because I can relate to those.

    And it’s funny that you mentioned fresh flowers from a handbag. As pretty as they might look and are, I feel like most of those times those photos are just for the sake of the blog. I mentioned that too a while back when I wrote a similar post about fashion blogging and being real. =)
    ADA recently posted…No Longer Neglected Maxi Dress: Perfect Black Cotton.My Profile

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    1. Jenn Post author

      So sorry for the delayed reply Ada, somehow I missed a few of these comments! But you’re so right – it’s so hard to relate to those big fashion bloggers who spend thousands on one or two items! Makes the ‘budgeting’ blogger so much more relevant, in my opinion!

      Reply
  18. Kelly

    I find some fashion bloggers to be out of touch with my everyday style but I do enjoy reading them and get ridiculously excited when they talk about a piece I have. I do subscribe to clothing and accessory subscription boxes and I usually take everything my inevtiably chic stylist says to heart, even though I’ve never met her nor do I have a clue as to her fashion sense.i guess things sound better coming from someone else.

    Reply
    1. Jenn Post author

      I’ve never heard of Inevitably Chic… looks like a great service! :) Agreed about fashion bloggers, sometimes it does feel out of touch, but also it is nice to see something different.

      Reply
  19. V

    Wow, this is a great post Jenn! Glad you included it in your list on the 1 Yr Anniversary post.

    I don’t think fashion bloggers are ruining fashion, but I do think there needs to be more transparency in how they are ‘selling’ things to you. It can be very misleading for a blog reader when we see these fashion bloggers pushing a new handbag or other product when they don’t really own it or they don’t actually purchase it themselves.

    They are essentially making money off of readers who purchase an item that they themselves didn’t even purchase. That seems a bit wrong to me unless they are transparent about the fact that that is exactly what they are doing.

    I think any time you are making money from other people’s actions you have a moral responsibility to be clear about the fact you are doing so and how you are doing so.

    My two cents. They certainly aren’t ‘ruining’ fashion though. If anything, they make it more accessible to the ‘average’ person by showing fashion on a normal person, not a 90 lb. model who has been airbrushed to within an inch of her life….literally….have you seen the missing arms and legs in Victoria’s Secret catalog?! Lol.

    V
    V recently posted…Galatic Spa-tasticMy Profile

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    1. Jenn Post author

      Totally agree. The first point is my biggest issue with them now that I know the “rules”… it’s so disappointing to see the bloggers with the biggest influence NOT following them and potentially misleading thousands of followers!

      Haha, so true! Photoshop fails are so entertaining, but also so sad to see in this day and age. Seems like we should be past that by now!

      Reply
  20. Pingback: Recent Reads & Treat Yo' Self Thursday {link-up #49} - Treasure Tromp

    1. Jenn Post author

      I defintely agree with that. I look to them for inspiration for new ideas for styling, but definitely can’t reproduce some of their spendy products!

      Reply
  21. Julia

    I love this, you are so right. Not only does the issue you’ve raised make looks impossible to create – it also makes the bloggers themselves seem super human. As a blogger it can make me feel inadequate, like if I can’t afford Chanel then I can’t ‘compete’ with other bloggers (it’s not a competition I know). Anyway, thanks for your post.
    Julia
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    1. Jenn Post author

      You’re so right – it does, and it does almost turn into a competition! Even if it is unintentional, it sure can come off that way. That’s why I try to blog for me and do what I like, though I’ll admit I do get jealous sometimes, I’m only human! ;)

      Reply

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