Home Economics for Bossy Femmes

Act Your Rage cross-stitch via Radical X-Stitch

One of the reasons I put off starting a blog for so long was because I wasn’t sure a) how much personal detail about my life I want to put out there so publicly, but also b) how to contend with the shopping-oriented environment that personal/style blogs seem to be all about. I want this space to feel comfortable for people who have to hustle to get bills paid, who learn from necessity how to alter thrifted clothes, who use things until they wear out.

I’ve heard Natalie say that she doesn’t do fatshion posts as often anymore because people are less interested in you if you aren’t constantly buying new things to showcase on your blog.

The first time I did an outfit post, a commenter reminded me that I really “should” talk about where all my clothes came from. I haven’t been doing this, mostly because my life is not a catalogue or a brand. I don’t post my outfits because I think you should go out and buy everything I have on. Mainly, I post because I hope that some of you will find the styling interesting or will discover a new knitting pattern or get some idea of how to wear something you own already.

Which is not to say that I haven’t been directing you guys towards things that I think deserve your props and attention. I love having a forum to do that, but I don’t think that every single outfit or every single post can or should be quite that commodified.

I also remember a post on Julia’s tumblr where she talked a bit about ways that bloggers are often thought of as “just regular people like you and me” but, in fact, there are huge class differences between bloggers. The fact that we can all decide what to show and what not to show about our lives can certainly skew perceptions about what’s “affordable” for what sort of person.

I definitely notice that there are bloggers who are sent items for review that they probably couldn’t otherwise afford. I think the reason that companies choose to advertise this way is to change perceptions just slightly about who is buying and using their products. If you see that a blogger whose life is similar to your own wearing whatever designer’s shoes with her thrifted outfit, you might feel like you can afford them too, even though they are out of your price range (and were provided at no cost to the person who posted them.) I also think there are probably people who are showing off all of their awesome new outfits on their blogs but hiding the credit card debt it can take to be able to post new outfits a couple of times a week. I don’t wanna be that for my readers.

Which is to say – I am as broke as all hell. Definitely it’s gonna be a no-purchase March. I think this will be a good challenge – to knit from my stash, to repair busted clothes, to do things other than consume fashion (& late-night burritos.)  I’m not sure that frugality alone is gonna fix what’s broken here, but that’s a post for another day.

PS: I was inspired to write this post today because of s.e. smith’s excellent (cat-photo-including) post on xojane.com, “Women Need To Start Talking About Money.”

PPS: Julia, if you find the link can you comment here with it? It was about that mankiller lady’s scarf collection.

3 responses to “Home Economics for Bossy Femmes”

  1. alagarconniere says :

    ah! i hear you on this iris, so much. i can’t find what you’re looking for because i’m not sure what it is. i’ve complained about this so often, and so sporadically, online that i can’t find it in one spot. here are my closest guesses:




    “what does it take to make it to the top of the “fashion blogging scene”? big brand endorsements? a budget that allows you to go to the front row of fashion shows? a body like a super model?”

    also majestic legay just posted about how to be an awesome thrifter and i love it.

  2. Leah says :

    Yes! This is just the kind of realism blogging needs. I’ve set aside an entire year for no clothing purchases to help motivate me to sew and knit what I need (except for shoes – haven’t figured out how to make those yet!). So far, it’s getting me to my sewing machine more often, but it’s saving me even more money.

  3. airplanesandtimezones says :

    yes, yes! the commodification of blogging is so pervasive! and i wonder how much those blogs that do reviews of free product samples make readers think, “wow, i want free things too! should i blog too…?” i know i’ve definitely had those thoughts many, many times. i wonder how much thiss change how people come to blogging (not that there is a right or wrong motivation to blog)…


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