It’s pretty obvious that I haven’t posted any daily style posts for quite some time, and there’s a couple of reasons for that. Firstly, I got a haircut out of sheer practicality (ie, it got really hot really quickly and I cut all my hair off) and I was, er, less than enthused about the outcome. I am at heart a very practical lady (international orange underpants aside) but apparently I have my moments of vanity as well. On the upside, it’s grown out a bit and I’m feeling more positive about it.
Secondly, and more profoundly, is that I’m increasingly not sure what I bring to the (very stylish) table, metaphorically speaking. I’m not trying to fill a gap in public perception about what a type of lady is like. I generally dress in whatever’s clean and more or lessgoes together, not what will make me have a certain silhouette or emphasize a part of me. I’m not very adventurous or unusual style wise, and it’s not something I find creatively fulfilling in and of itself to any significant degree. I like making clothes, and have finally started doing that again, but I like that as much for the building process as much as the wearing process. I’ve always been at least a bit worried about the consumerism aspect of posting about my clothes, and incidentally any daily style postings I do from now on won’t list any details about where I got the garments.
When a few weeks ago, RK talked about her dilemma about fashion blogging, I found myself nodding along an awful lot (go read her whole post — it’s great). The crux of it, to me, is this:
It felt like I was doing this because…well, I wanted more compliments. Don’t get me wrong, I’m aware that blogging in itself is a bit of a selfish endeavour, no matter how I spin it. But this outfit blogging felt especially selfish, with little merit to the outside world and mostly for self-gratification.
And while some self-gratification is all fine and good, I’m not sure that my desire for it outweighs all the qualms I have about it; I’m not even sure I’ve been finding it gratifying. I take pictures of myself and I look awkward, stilted, plump in some places and stretched out in others, and I don’t recognize the person I see in the mirror in the picture I’ve just taken. I trundle back and forth with the self timer and wind up half an hour later with a bunch of pictures that look nothing like what I think I look like. I’m already very conscious of how my posting pictures of myself, a white, middle class, not thin but not fat either*, lady feeds into a narrative of what constitutes beauty here, and that disconnect between what my clunky old camera sees and what I see just kills any desire I have to talk about my clothes. I’ve done quite a few sets of pictures with the intention of blogging, and my ambition just fizzles when I open the files and my heart sinks.
So I’m not sure where to go from here. I feel like I’ve written this post time and time again over the course of this blog, and I just keep going in circles and never getting anywhere. I don’t want to leave, but I’m not really participating at the moment, and that’s something I want to change. I’ve got lots of things to say about clothes, but as RK observes, those don’t get read as much:
I also noticed that my pageviews went up almost instantly when I posted an outfit photo, more so than with my words.
Maybe I don’t have the style cred to get people to read what I have to say, or maybe people aren’t interested in the first place. I don’t know, but if the ultimate point of this is self-gratification (as cringe-inducing as that is), there’s little point if the gratification part is missing.
Maybe the solution to this is to go back to doing daily style posts, but make a very concerted effort to learn how to take better photographs (or get a better camera?). Maybe it’s to try to learn how to mimic how I think I look for the camera. Maybe it’s to just chuck the daily style part of this and stick to the words, even if no-one reads them. Maybe there’s some other way around this, but I’ve been thinking about this for months and I haven’t come up with anything else. So, if you made it this far (hurray!), do you have any insights? Or photography wizardry?
* Though I’m willing to bet there’s people who’d dispute that.