Fashion is fast, we all know that. Brands live streaming their Fashion Week shows and letting you buy the showcased pieces there and then, the upgrade from thought-out posts on personal style blogs to the 24/7 nature of Instagram to the even-more-24/7 nature of Instagram stories, click and collet, next day delivery, even same day delivery, try-before-you-buy online shopping services.
You can buy something on your phone whilst in a shop faster than you can actually buy something in said shop (yes, ok, the delivery takes longer). Surely I’m not the only one who sees an item they like in store but realises they don’t have my size in, so then and there with the item still in my hand, I whip out my phone with the other, find it online in my size, whack a student discount code in and order it minutes after picking up the wrong size in the first place. Surely I’m not?
Of course this isn’t limited to fashion bloggers and others in the fashion industry, everyone and anyone can see and buy anything they want in a matter of seconds – anytime, anywhere. If you see a picture on Instagram and like the jumper the person is wearing in it, and they’ve been a babe and tagged the brand in the pic, you can be on the brand’s website searching for the item and typing your card number, expiry date and CVC before the ad break on TV (which was the reason you were scrolling Insta in the first place) is over. Or worse still, you just place your thumb on the home button and you’ve already paid and ordered. Back when I had a job I know I was guilty of doing this one too many times.
But, narrowing it down to fashion bloggers here, is there a pressure to always be buying new clothes? Perhaps even more so if you benefit from affiliate links? PS not at all a bash to them, I’d use them if I could qualify lol, I think they’re wonderful and a nice lil way of showing your appreciation to whoever made you discover that pretty skirt without having to spend any extra money or do anything you wouldn’t have. But you know what I mean, you don’t want to be showcasing an outfit on your blog or the ‘gram that consists of the trusty coat you’ve had since secondary school, a top you got in the Zara January sales of 2016 and American Apparel disco pants when the company has gotten rid of all of its stores (anyone else miss those? I need to find mine…) when you know your followers won’t be able to actually buy any of it, just the similar bits you find in desperate attempt to be as helpful as possible. You want to keep up with what the shops have in store at the moment so that people can go buy the actual item, maybe through your affiliate link, or even because of the slight chance that the brand will repost your outfit pic to their followers to get it to sell while it’s still actually in stock.
Nobody is more guilty of the using-years-old-clothes-in-outfit-posts sin more than ya girl. I started this blog aged sixteen in the summer between Secondary and A Levels before I even had a job and even when I had some dolla to splash I didn’t really go out of my way to pick new and in store pieces to wear during outfit pic shoots. Most of the time I’d just go out with pals and we’d end up in a cool street taking some pics for Insta, with me actually using them for my blog account and not my personal one. It’s not a bad thing, but there just seems to be more in it for you by doing the opposite.
You want to keep up, stay relevant. If everyone and their mum has a pic (or twenty) on Instagram of them wearing a baker boy hat then you’re kinda going to want to buy one so that your pictures in a trapper hat from four Winters ago don’t get lost in the sea of ~trendy~ baker boy hat pics. Especially with that damn algorithm. You sort of want to keep on trend, not in a follow-the-crowd way but because, at least in my personal opinion and experience, something being ~on trend~ almost makes you like it not because it’s on trend but because, now that it’s been exposed to you and you’ve seen it in action, you realise you love it and it’s so you.
With the rise of social media influencers alongside traditional fashion bloggers, there are more and more people entering this industry every day and, in turn, more and more people following and liking and helping to grow your audience than ever before. The increase of creatives and people making something from a hobby or passion is a great thing, but it ups the pressure. As a fashion blogger, you are there to bring your audience your take on current trends, showcase your personal style, suggest and recommend pieces to buy. There’s just something about being able to link your entire outfit, or all of it bar one older item, to websites and stores that are still selling each item right now rather than linking some as-close-as-possible versions for five items that aren’t made anymore. I can’t even put my finger on what it is or articulate what it is, there’s just something, ya know? In an ideal world you’d rather be showcasing a new outfit or new item of clothing every single blog post. You don’t want to ~repeat outfits~ like London Tipton of the Suite Life drilled into my eleven-year-old head. At least not on social media – not when they’re shot on two different days.
With that something about posting photos of yourself in old clothes not feeling right, there comes a pressure to constantly buy new clothes so you can produce more new content. And it’s not just bloggers and Instagrammers, it’s YouTube too. A haul can’t really consist of the one pair of jeans you bought over the weekend, hauls are named hauls for a reason. And you often see haul videos prefixed with the ‘I bought all this over a month not all in one go’ line when someone feels guilty for showing you that they’ve bought so much, worried they’ll look like they’re throwing their money away on clothes when a percentage of their demographic can barely afford to buy themselves a coffee during their lunch break after forking out for rent, bills, a food shop. It seems like a lose-lose battle. You need to keep buying to keep up but you don’t want to be condemned for buying so much. Because for some reason people on the internet have nothing better to do than whine that a twenty-something year old woman has bought ten things from ASOS because she’s worked her arse off to be able to have that sort of disposable income to do so.
Photos of you, a person, always tend to do better than flatlays, photos of a product etc. If you have a post that doesn’t need to be showcasing a product then your best bet is to attach some outfit photos. Want to talk about your recent discovery of the importance of self love? Whack some pics of you in a new outfit in there to break up the paragraphs. As these photos do better on Instagram and make a blog post look more appealing and like they’re coming from a real person, buying more new clothes almost seems essential for survival in this industry. If your goal is growth how can you grow when your content is stuck in your 2014 wardrobe? If you know that photos of you do better than a flatlay, you don’t want to be wearing the same thing for five posts in a row in said photos of you.
For those who blog full-time and are able to earn an income from their blog, it’s a given they will re-invest into their blog by buying new clothes to showcase. It’s kinda the point. Nobody will stop doing it, and despite this pressure I still don’t think they should, but if nobody is going to stop showcasing new clothes then falling behind from that just feels a bit shitty and doesn’t help you contend with other fashion bloggers and keep your audience engaged.
My personal take – yes there’s a pressure always be buying new clothes as a fashion blogger because the amount of content you can create deriving around said new clothes is big, but then once you’ve created it you kinda can’t again, you need to move onto the next outfit or the next colour of beret to place on your head in that mirror selfie. Should there be this pressure? No. Wear whatever the hell you want, shoot the same outfit three weeks in a row, save your dolla. But there inevitably is this pressure. You want to keep people interested, engaged, coming back for more. If a big chunk of the blogosphere is showing you a different brand-new-in-stock New Look jumper every week then that’s what you’re going to engage with more as a reader, and in order to keep up and compete in this industry you’ve just gotta go along with it. You don’t want to exhaust the same shirt to death by wearing it 500 different ways in 1000 different blog posts.
It’s hard. I don’t know how to spin this in a way that’s like ‘yes everyone let’s keep wearing clothes we bought in year 10 !!! x’ because unless every single blogger does it, which they won’t, you’re almost going to be at a competitive disadvantage. Even if you write your blog and create content out of passion with no business or growth intentions (ya girl over here after finally realising my priorities) you still want to be able to show that you can keep up.
For me, I don’t set out to buy new stuff just to showcase it on my blog but when I do happen to buy something new that I know is ~trendy~ and in store now I definitely see it as an added bonus, almost like it makes the item of clothing more worth the money because not only am I getting a new jumper that I like out of it, I’m getting the chance to create content around it. That’s kinda what happened with this New Look jumper, and I bloody love it.
Thing is, you’ve seen my posts of old clothes – three out of five pieces in this post were old, the roll necks in both this post and this post were old, the two only visible pieces of clothing in this post were old. Most of my early outfit posts didn’t even have links because I knew I’d had the stuff for years – exhibits A and B. You know I’ve done it a million times before and will do it a million times again.
I can’t lie, I frickin love when I have something new and still available to buy that I can share, if I can put myself in a position where that’s what I’m showing you on my blog and Instagram then I damn well will. But, alas, I have no job so purchases are few and far between for me right now – so yes, you’re going to end up seeing some outfit pics I shot in Summer wearing items I’d bought the previous Summer and no, I don’t care. But it’s just nice to be able to do the opposite and showcase something new – and maybe that’s where that pressure comes from for me.
Do you feel like you need to buy new clothes in order to keep up? Or do you just wear all your old stuff as a big fuck you to the fast-paced fashion industry?