I’ve gotten asked this question a lot, mostly by people who know me in real life. Honestly its a pretty valid question, seeing anyone who’s met me knows that I’m an extreme introvert.
I’d like to say that I had some grand plan for this blog, but honestly i didn’t. That’s not to say it just happened magically (blogging is work, don’t get me wrong), but it was a very slow process for me.
I’ve harbored an interest in fashion since i was a little kid, even though most of my life I was quite sure that i was awful at it. I remembered as a child i always gravitated towards outlandish or gothic clothes. I had a babysitter who wore black pants and crop tops all the time and i thought she was the coolest girl in the world. I often wore my mom’s old clothes to school. Sometimes I would mix prints together. Needless to say i got made fun of a lot. I was always torn between loving clothes and hating them; or more accurately: loving fashion as an actual art form versus hating the idea of mindlessly following a trend. Other kids at school would tell me I looked stupid. But I would look at girls in a clique who all wore virtually the same outfit and think ‘i may look bad, but at least i don’t look boring.’
I found High School completely un-inspiring fashion wise. I mean seriously, nothing makes you feel more pathetic than being placed in a sea of teenagers that judge everything you wear or say (not that i was any better than them, i was probably just as terrible.) I was positive that i wasn’t thin or pretty enough to wear the sort of clothes i liked. So i did what i never wanted to do: i tried to blend in.
It wasn’t until college that i really got inspired by fashion again. It was when i discovered a site called Lookbook NU. It struck me as this extremely simple idea that was also kind of revolutionary: A site where people shared their fashion and personal style.
It was full of the sort of girls I wanted to be. Their clothes were daring and over-the-top. It was the type of clothing I’d always loved, but assumed I’d never actually wear. After-all, there was something special about girls who wore clothing like that. They looked brave, and interesting. I spent hours searching blogs for fashion photos. I made collages of ones i liked.
It wasn’t a well known platform like Facebook or Instagram, so posting something on there felt somehow safe. I went on that site nearly every day for a year before i got up the courage to actually post something.
This was my first post. Pretty awful right? Also i had platinum blonde hair because ‘Game of Thrones’ was new at the time and i wanted to look like Daenerys.
Slowly, I began posting more and more and growing a very small following. I didn’t tell a soul about the site; I never planned on sharing these photos outside of Lookbook. I thought of it as a dairy or a journal; something private i did just for me. I’d buy clothes from thrift stores, put outfits together (often altering pieces), and take photos of them. Almost like a child playing dress up.
After college I took a short temp job. I sat behind a desk and answered phones. Sometimes i re-stocked the snack room. The majority of my day was spent sitting and waiting for it to be 6:00. I applied to jobs, but there’s really only so many hours a day that you can spend doing that. I hated the idea of wasting so much time. I needed a project. Something fun and productive.
That project would eventually become this blog. At this point, I had been reading fashion blogs religiously for years, so i had a vague idea of what i wanted mine to be. I tried to improve my photos. I bought a new phone with a better camera. I spent time learning how to take a better picture. I wrote posts on this blog daily. As my following increased, i began to wonder what the next step was-if there was one at all.
One day during lunch, a co-worked sat down next to me and informed me that she had found my Lookbook page.
‘fuck!’ my inner monologue went. I had never spoken to anyone about my lookbook.
“It’s cool!” she chirped, “Where do you get your clothes from?”
Her tone wasn’t mocking. She was actually curious. I muttered one of my favorite thrift stores and turned back to my sandwich, stunned. That had painless. I began to wonder why I had always been so quiet about it.
Finally, i showed my blog and Lookbook to a friend. Her response was just as positive as the girl at my office. She suggested that i start posting them on instagram.
I’d never used Instagram, but i hated the idea of it. At this point in time i had a certain disdain for social media. I felt like it was a platform specifically designed for everything about my generation that I could not relate to. Full of poorly framed smiling selfies, laughing girls crowding into a small photobooth, or a plate of pretty gluten free-whatever-the-fuck pancakes someone or another was talented enough to make for breakfast.
The whole thing didn’t feel social to me-it felt isolating. It made me wonder if everyone’s life was supposed to sparkle that way? Mine certainly didn’t.
She encouraged me to check it out before I judged it, so I did. I was surprised to find that there were millions of fashion accounts-many filled with photos better than anything i had ever taken.
I had a sort of realization: social media wasn’t necessarily fake. It was the tiny sliver of your life that you want the world to see. Perhaps it’s the things you cook, maybe it’s the watercolor you paint, maybe it’s photos of your dog. The thing about sharing your little streak of creativity or your passion for your hobby is that it can inspire others.
I began to challenge my introverted, nervous self. Really, what was i so afraid of? And would i really let fear control me? In the end, i bullied myself into posting my first instagram photo.
I posted a photo a day. I had a huge backlog of Lookbook photos to pick from, and on top of that i was making new content daily. The response i got from Instagram blew me away. It quickly surpassed my following on both my Lookbook and my blog.
The first time i got a shipment of clothing for free, i couldn’t really believe it. The fact that anyone would send me free clothing just to post photos of it on my instagram was totally unreal. Despite this, i made a decision pretty early on that blogging was only a hobby for me. Not a future career. I know that people make a living doing this, and i completely respect it. But the fact that i treat this as a hobby allows me to be much more selective about the collaborations i take from brands (since I’m not relying on income from blogging). Sometimes ill get a message saying I’ve ‘sold out’ because I’m promoting a product. For those of you that think that: believe me, for every product i promote, there are five others I’ve turned down. I’m pretty picky, and refuse to promote products or brands that i don’t actually like. Plus i respect you guys, my followers, too much to spam you all the time with useless junk i wouldn’t actually wear or use.
I got a few rude questions, and mean comments. but for the most part, my followers are wonderful and positive. I know I am very lucky.
None of this is meant to say I’m successful at blogging. In fact, I’d say I’m probably NOT successful seeing as I’m not make a living at it, and never plan to. Even so, I am proud of it. And I do think it’s been a positive thing in my life.
Your comfort zone is there for a reason, and frequently i listen to it. But through all of this I learned that stepping outside of it is what makes me evolve. I think the most important thing I’ve learned in this process is that: literally the only person who you need to please with your appearance is yourself. Dress the way that makes you feel best about yourself. Even if it’s skimpy, over the top, widely viewed as ugly (plenty of things I wear are), wear it if it’s what you like. That is the best and only real advice I can ever give anyone. I spent too much of my life worrying about what other people thought.
I’ve never been one to really overshare personal things on here, but this was something i felt compelled to write. After all, you never know when personal experiences resonate with someone else. Maybe you are thinking of putting yourself out there in a way you haven’t before. Maybe there’s something you’ve always wanted to do; someone you’ve always wanted to be, but there’s something holding you back. I’m not saying to always go with your impulses, but I think I’ve learned to listen to mine every once in a while, and I’m glad I did.