One of my fave bloggers, Xin at Invicible Summer, who shares my interest in both clothes and personal finance (an Odd Couple pairing if there ever was one), recently wrote a thought-provoking post about clothing budgets, and specifically the balancing of shopping desires and fiscal responsibilities. Go and read her post (and the recommended reading), and then come back, and let’s chat.

I’ll wait.

OK, I obviously have many thoughts about this topic. I kinda touched on them before (like here), but reading Xin’s post made me wonder if they might be worth revisiting — not because the substance of my opinions has changed (it hasn’t), but because the readership of the blog has increased dramatically in the last year or so, and some of you may not have come across my old posts. At any rate, I think it’s a discussion worth having again.

As a blogger and as a blog reader, I am very much alive to the proposition that blogging sends messages, both explicit and implicit. Although I do not believe the focus of my blog is consumption per se, it is fundamentally a showcase for consumable goods so the distinction may be one without meaning. As far as that goes, I’ve said it before, and I will say it again: I do buy a lot of clothes. Obviously. Which is not to say that I think you should also buy as many clothes as I do; different strokes and all that. I do my best to side-step the connection between blog reading and shopping – it’s one of the reasons why I don’t use product links in my posts – but I realize that it’s probably impossible to avoid it altogether. Many of you have commented about buying an item because you saw it on my blog and liked it. The more clothes I feature on the blog, the more opportunities for you to find things you are inspired to buy – and, perhaps, to find tacit approval for buying them (should such thing matter to you). I get it, and it’s why I am about to talk about some things that are either outside the usual scope of the blog, or too “meta” for a typical post.

Shopping Responsibly

I don’t talk about my personal finances on the blog, but I want to make this clear: I shop within my means. My family does not have any debt (apart from a modest mortgage), and we have healthy emergency, retirement and education savings. We live in a country with (largely) free healthcare, and have coverage for things like dentist trips and pharmacy prescriptions through our jobs.  We are comparatively thrifty in some life categories, but we don’t scrimp on categories that are important to us (whether things or experiences). I’m fortunate to have enough discretionary income to indulge my passion for (collecting) clothes — responsibly, which means without negatively impacting my family’s financial situation. Most importantly, I have never spent money I did not have in order to buy clothes, and I would never encourage anyone to do that (with clothes or any other non-essential items). That means that there are things I lust over, but cannot and will not buy — unless I get lucky at the thrift store. It also means that, as I have come to put more and more value on having a large and varied wardrobe, I have made other adjustments to my shopping behaviour (i.e. buying a greater proportion of my clothes secondhand).

I realize that my discretionary income, while certainly not limitless, is higher than that of many people, and that some of those people will find it distasteful to see my spending “documented” on the blog. There isn’t much I can do about that, and I accept that it’s a legitimate reason for some to avoid my blog. But I do hope that the blog also shows that it’s possible to enjoy fashion no matter what your budget, and do so in a responsible fashion. (Psst, I’ve written before about ways to make the most of what you’ve got to work with, budget-wise.)

Shopping as Therapy

I know, I’ve joked about this many times, but listen: shopping is NOT actual therapy, OK? It’s not therapy in the same way that buying clothes is not an investment. Shopping — and more specifically, thrifting — is something I do to relax and take an occasional mental break … while I work on actively addressing whatever real problems or stressors I’m facing. [Which is the part I don’t talk about here, because it has nothing to do with this blog.] Shopping doesn’t fix my problems, nor do I expect it to do so. Some people watch TV to relax. Some people knit. Some people work out. I go thrifting. It clears my mind, by allowing me to focus on something very specific: finding a treasure in a haystack of other people’s trash. It’s the process I enjoy; the end result (if I find the proverbial needle) is just a nice bonus. Let me put it this way: I find it equally relaxing to thrift whether or not I buy something at the end.

In that sense, I find thrift shopping to be completely different than retail shopping. At a mall, it’s almost impossible NOT to find some thing (or many things) that appeal, without much effort — the retail business is predicated on it — so the experience for me is often less about the process and more about the end result. With that said, not much turns on this, ultimately. No matter what you get out of shopping, in any of its incarnations, the bottom line is the same: it won’t fix your or my problems (unless said problems are of the what-am-I-wearing-to-the-office-Christmas-party variety, and don’t get me started on that). That doesn’t mean that using shopping to get a “quick fix” (or relaxation, distraction, mood boost, whatever you want to call it) is a terrible thing. It’s not, as long as it’s recognized for what it is, and as long as it doesn’t amount to irresponsible behaviour (see above) — much like, say, having a glass of wine after work.

(Sidenote: we can certainly talk about the ethics of clothes consumption as it impacts the value of shopping as a form of relaxation, but that is a whole other topic which deserves its own post. I will just say that I do believe that it is important for everyone, as consumers, to be aware of the impact of our actions on the environment and others; it’s another one of the reasons I have embraced thrifting.)

Shopping and Blogs

I read only a handful of style blogs these days, and I read them mostly because I love their respective writers’ voices. Which is another way of saying that most of them are focused equally (if not more so) on writing as pretty photos. Even so, I occasionally find myself clicking a link to a retailer’s website … which, these days, is pretty much the only time I check those out. Inevitably, I end up with 2 or 3 items in my cart, and it takes a very conscious effort on my part to close my browser without going any further.

So, I get it. If you’re constantly looking at pictures of pretty things, it’s hard not to want to possess at least some of them. I avoid certain types of style blogs for that very reason, and I would encourage anyone struggling with blog-inspired FOMO to do the same with whatever is the source of their angst. If that means all style blogs are a no-go zone, then so be it.

One issue I do struggle with, however, is the amount of responsibility that bloggers owe to their readers, particularly with regard to implicit messaging. For example, I would probably feel bad if I knew that someone went into debt to buy something they saw on my blog; but is there, in fact, a degree of culpability on my part for that person’s actions? And further, if I am aware that my posts may be perceived as conveying an unintentional message, is it incumbent upon me to change them? Should blogs come with content warnings?

As you can imagine, this is a topic on which I would love to hear your thoughts. Do you have a clothes budget? And if so, how does blog reading (or media consumption generally) affect your budget or your shopping? If you read style blogs regularly, why do you do it and what do you wish you could change about them (or your engagement with or reaction to them)?


32 Comments on Blogging, Budgets, and Perceptions

  1. Years ago when I first found blogs I read all the “big” ones but now I only have Atlantic-Pacific in my Bloglovin and even then it’s just to admire the pictures, I’d never buy anything Blair wears as I couldn’t afford it.

    Now I read blogs that feature primarily workwear clothes like you, Lisa at Respect the Shoes and Lilly Style (although lately that one is all jeans so I’m not clicking through as much). I just can’t with these girls who get all dressed up for no reason and the outfits run into thousands of dollars (yes dollars, I don’t know any British blogs like that) and every other post is an affiliate link “wants” fest. i.e. they want their readers to click all the links. Nope.

    I unsubscribed from someone I’ve been following for six years a few weeks ago as every single post was sponsored by Nordstrom. I still appreciate her aesthethic but it irritated me so I voted with my feet so to speak. Mind you I still follow her on IG so not really missing out.

    I join in with the Budgeting Bloggers each month but I don’t have a defined amount. I’m always happy when it’s well under £100 though and it’s rarely over £100 a month these days. In fact I’ve prepped a 2016 budget recap and only one month was over £100 and many were under £50. I think that’s indicative of my wardrobe having reached saturation point, the things I have being good enough that they don’t need replacing and being old enough to appreciate that I don’t need all of the things.

    Posting my budget definitely keeps me honest and makes me back away from items online (I rarely shop in store as I’d rather go for a run than takes the kids shopping!) so in that sense blogging is good for me although I’m kind of coming to the end I think. I’ll still read here though!

    • I think you have a really good handle on your style (which, as you know, I adore) and lots of willpower when it comes to not buying random things. Huge props!
      (And if you’re ever looking to make room in your closet, or change things up, and need to get rid of some old Anthro stuff … you know where to send it ;))

  2. Thank you for this thought provoking post, Adina! I love clothes and budgets too. When I was in 8th grade my mom gave me a budget to buy all my new school clothes and I spent almost all of it on a pair of guess jeans. Yes, I’m old. It was the first time I identified myself with a status item and it was definitely fueled by a desire to be like the girls I considered to be chic. Nowadays we look to bloggers for inspiration and approval instead of the cool girls at school. And a lot of bloggers get free clothes or work with bugdets much higher than average. That makes it difficult to keep up with for a regular person. But thrifting is so achievable for anyone. I like that the things you show are not available for anyone to buy. The thrill is the hunt and you never know what you will find or how you will put it all together.
    But back to the point, yes, I have a budget. $200 a month. My husband and I embraced the Dave Ramsey method years ago and it’s worked well for us. I am sometimes tempted for something out of reach but not as the result of looking at a blog. I had a harder time sticking with the budget when I lived in the United States. I think in general consumerism and retail therapy are more common there. I’m glad you brought up this topic, it’s great to think about and I’m interested to see what others have to say. 🙂

    • I remember Guess, too! You are not that old … or else, we’re both old, haha.

      I totally felt that desire for status items when I was growing up (and was very poor), but it’s decreased a lot with age. These days, I still get excited about finding luxury labels when I think but mostly because it’s a game to me. Most people in my life would have no idea what Balmain is, for example, or what the difference between Rag & Bone and Guess jeans might be. So I’m not impressing anyone, LOL!

  3. I’ve actually purchased fewer clothes since I started visiting your blog. I started looking at fashion blogs because my weight changed and I needed new clothes. As a mom, I was veering towards comfort clothing aka if the t-shirt variety, sans any kind of style. I appreciated that you are a mother of similar aged children but you manage to look absolutely put together. I find your pictures to be inspiring, by pushing me every morning to put a bit more thought into how I present myself to the world. Along the way, your tasteful choices have steered me to buy less and think more on how to remix the things I have and to choose nice fitting pieces over slouchy loose things. I was purchasing fast fashion to fill the gap in my wardrobe and I totally stopped doing that because of you. Though I lack access to reasonable priced thrifting, I now can see the real impact and value of having one classic yet unique good workhorse piece, and as a result have put more thought into waiting for the right thing. So though some might find a fashion blog frivolous in some ways, just know that you, as a person and in some ways a role model as a working mom, are making a real impact in some people’s lives. Not just through your pictures, but through your choices and writing. It means something. And this coming from someone who avoids social media because I find it to be too much a cesspool of brewing vitriol. You put out positivity, thoughtfulness, and yes, fashion and shopping inspiration. Keep up the good work! (Blogging is work. Sponsored or not!) I admit I have lusted repeatedly over the color and shine of your ocean blue Arcadia bag.

    • I’m happy to hear that this blog has inspired changes that you are happy with, rather than concerned about. That’s the best I could hope for, even though it’s not the goal of my blogging to be some kind of inspiration or role model or whatever — that’s way too much pressure!! Thank you so much for your kind words, but honestly — I don’t have it any more “together” than any other working mom out there. We all have our struggles, and it might be easy to forget that here because my blog is so narrowly-focused, you know? I never want to come across as “having it all”, even by omission, so I feel like it’s important to say it from time to time. This blog (like social media) is just a highlight reel … of a very small part of my life.

      P.S. I am a big Arcadia fan, as you know, and this blue colour is def my favourite. Would def recommend, if you can find it for a good price.

  4. I do have clothing budget, or really, a personal spending budget that includes makeup and such, that’s $150 a month. Sometimes more, if we get some unexpected cash.

    I follow 10-15 blogs, and sometimes I think it makes me wish for things I can’t afford. I do think I’d spend more money on going out or books if I didn’t love clothes so much.

    I wish more of the fashion blogs focused on affordable work wear. I feel like a lot of fashion blogs are either weekend focused (ripped jeans, OTK boots, etc…), or if they are work focused, they are way out of my price range (like, Memorandum, which I adore) or focus on a lot of brands that are easily accessible/sell out quickly.

    • I hear what you’re saying about affordable work wear being a vanishing niche in blog-world. There are still a few smaller blogs that feature some (mostly business casual) work outfits that are more affordable — check out Franish’ blog roll, for example. I’m not sure if there is a solution to the problem that accessible brands tend to sell out more quickly; thrifting/buying secondhand is always an option, if you have good access in your area, but it comes with its own issues (you just never know what you’re going to find, which is fun for someone like me with a huge closet, but probably frustrating for someone looking for specific items).

  5. I really enjoyed your blog post and I agree whole-heartedly with your comments. I have been criticized on my blog for thrifting too much, yet I like you, live within my means and budget my thrifting trips. I also thrift for other people as I work with several ladies who are on very limited budgets and I want to help them out without being obvious. So I buy things I think they will like and then pass them on with the excuse that they don’t suit me, or don’t fit as well as I would like. I do regular closet purges and pass on the results too. The recipients get some great clothes without feeling like it is charity and i get the joy of looking for pieces I think they will like. I rotate my closet very regularly so even though it may seem like I have a huge closet, I really don’t. Thank you for your thought provoking blog post.. Have a wonderful day and happy thrifting. Michele

    • Yeah, the whole you’re-thrifting-too-much thing … I don’t get it. I mean, it’s good for the environment, it often benefits charities, and I’m not going into debt over it. If and when people stop donating/chucking so many barely used clothes, then I might have to revisit my shopping strategies. In the meantime, I’ll just keep thrifting, thanks.

      I also thrift a lot of things for friends — like you, I get so much joy from finding a piece I know will be perfect for someone I know. As I said in my post, the fun of thrifting does not come from the acquisition of stuff — it’s a treasure hunt. I’m happy not hoarding all the treasure at the end. What you are doing for your friends sounds so lovely!

  6. Thank you for the kind mention, and yes, money, consumption, and fashion and the various ways they relate to each other are all topics I love to talk about. The topic of one’s responsibility as a blogger is something I confess I haven’t thought much about at all, so it is good that you brought it up, as I agree it’s important.

    First, on the influence of media and/or bloggers on my shopping:

    One thing that I didn’t touch on then (and that could well provide food for thought for another post, in which case I’ll totally be linking back here) is that, for me, none of my unhealthy “buy more!” influences were blogs or bloggers. A lot of my favorite bloggers back in the day (the defunct Fops and Dandies, moohoop who still has her old blogs up on Tumblr and Livejournal and had a similar approach/style though in a more zany and colorful way) were very dedicated and creative thrifters, so if anything, the only influence was a hope to thrift more and be more resourceful. I was most into fashion blogging a while before the real heyday of product collaborations and affiliate links, then took a long pause from reading anyone except maybe Extra Petite until maybe about two year ago, when I began the current blog, and then my main role models were the “minimalist bloggers,” so I wasn’t too inclined to be particularly influenced by more “shopping blogger” types.

    I think I can count on one hand the time where a “big name” fashion blogger actually directly influenced a purchase, and it’s usually been Extra Petite. I bought the Bobeau fleece wrap cardigan and rag and bone jeans off of remembering her recommendations from a while before I purchased. At other times, I do tend to google “x item blog” to try and see a real person somewhere out there wearing the items, usually to get a sense of sizing and fit, and how it looks on whomever has photographed it may make me more or less inclined to buy. Because bloggers play a relatively small role in recommending actual items to me, I get pretty grouchy about the thought that, before I wised up and blocked all Rewardstyle cookies, someone out there was seeding my computer with long-lasting Rewardstyle cookies that gave them commissions on many of my independently made purchases at say, Ann Taylor, Nordstrom, or Sephora because I chose all my things myself, darnit!

    So I think my main “bad influences” to spend more were just people around me. Other people cannot be blamed for all of it, as I think some of my teenage tastes were… significantly kookier than anything I actually saw on people in real life, so that was all me. I think I’ve often looked at fashion (and not even high fashion, usually the more mundane but still expensive stuff) as a proxy for having access to a different, “better” way of life. I really wanted easier access to, say, the prestigious internships and really prestigious institutions of higher education I couldn’t quite get to, to which some of my much wealthier peers seemed to be helped along by their upbringing or their parents’ connections. I couldn’t have familial wealth or well-connected parents, but at least I could buy some of the same items and “look” like them while eventually working my way into my profession and getting some of those prestigious things after all. (Ooph, that feels like a kind of dark and serious thing to voice!)

    Second, I also follow and read blogs based mainly on a person’s voice and writing, though I do also litter my feed with a few bloggers I follow mainly for photos. I get really sad and feel a sense of loss when someone whose voice and perspective I used to find really helpful evolves into a blogger dedicated entirely to selling stuff I’m pretty sure the “real person” behind the blog would never deign to wear or buy. One can probably read between the lines and guess the general type of blog that disappoints me the most when it evolves that way (former white-collar professional women who used to be fairly discerning… but maybe aren’t anymore). I really shouldn’t be too judge-y about it and should just vote with my feet and stop reading, but I still get a little sad.

    • I love your writing, especially on stuff like this, so count me as a vote for a follow-up post! Thank you for starting (and continuing) the discussion!

  7. As a blogger who writes about fashion and style a few times a month, I do try to make sure I am showing affordable options. For example, if there is no way I’d ever buy a pair of $500 boots, I’m certainly not going to suggest that someone else do it so I can make money off the sale. Also, a pet peeve of mine is when bloggers will do a post about the best stuff to buy (ex holiday gift posts), but they are literally just posting items that they have been paid to promote. If I’m recommending something, it’s because I actually used it and love it!

    • I’ve come to realize that I’m a bit of a dinosaur in the blogging world; I have different goals than most other bloggers, so I just can’t compare myself with them or, for that matter, judge them. I think readers are becoming more and more sophisticated, and they are making deliberate choices about their reading material. Some readers like blogs that are, essentially, marketing copy — and probably read them as such. Others want entertainment or pretty pictures to look at (and magazines, after all, are also just marketing copy at the end of the day). Others want not to be sold something in every post. I used to be very judgmental about all of this, then realized: it’s really none of my business. As long as bloggers are shady about disclosure, readers can make their own value judgments about what sort of blogs they like. And then, of course, as a blogger, you have the choice to decide what kind of blogger you want to be. It sounds like you and I have made similar choices in that regard — I also feel a lot of responsibility about the items I actually recommend (from time to time) on my blog.

  8. I love talking about finances. I don’t have a clothing budget. I have a more general budget, where I take out saving, retirement, and other fixed expenses first. Anything left over I let myself spend on books, clothing, or socializing. The real problem is convincing myself that books count or should be subject to budget constraints.

    There have been one or two things I’ve tracked down from your blog but I’ve found your blog helps limit my spending, honestly, because you thrift so much. I used to spend a lot more time hanging out in the sale sections of Bloomingdale’s and anthro. I don’t so much any longer. I’ve also lost my taste for shopping in person, mostly. So basically I stalk things on poshmark or eBay.

    I also go in waves about when I want to shop. The urge is usually stronger at the start of the academic year for me. Right now I’m in a lull. I’m mostly interested in reading and something about that inward withdrawal makes the question of self-presentation less interesting. (Reading for pleasure, I mean. I don’t always have the stamina for novels after a day of reading for work, sadly).

  9. I too have gotten to the point where I only follow a few true style blogs. So many blogs I used to admire and follow have turned into pure shopping blogs – they affiliate link everything, and if they are wearing something that is no longer in stores, they still include a link to “something similar.” The “Gift Guides” that are rampant this time of year also do nothing to encourage true style, and seem little more than affiliate link posts. I understand the argument that bloggers should be allowed to earn money too, and I understand that, but there is little to no recognition that over-consumption and shopping addictions are very real problems for many in our society. It seems that many shopping bloggers talk about the importance of responsibility, but then silently preach the opposite by encouraging people to shop/click their links.

    Whew – I didn’t realize this topic hit such a nerve ;). I think many of the women who run shopping blogs are probably lovely, good-hearted women who I would love if I ever met them! I do think that the over-consumption and accepting too many sponsored posts is a blind spot for many, though. I think the allure of working from home while raising kids/going to school/etc. and making money fom clicks is too great of an allure for some, and they lose sight of the ethics of the whole situation.

    That being said, I really appreciate blogs like this one. Adina, I visit your blog and leave inspired to try new pairings in the closet I already have, and not to buy something I don’t need.

  10. I’m relatively new to reading style/fashion blogs. I have realized that the majority of blogs for my “region” are 1) basically just pushing me to buy from Nordstrom, (which I do not need ANY help with, tyvm!) and 2) consumerist in nature and not dedicated to a sense of style or consciousness about such. So I’ve stopped reading most of them. I have FOMO, and I have very little luck buying something without trying it on, so I have wasted a bit of money on impulse purchases before I learned my lesson. All this to say I appreciate your post on this topic, and I love that your blog is very much “You do you, and I can do me.” in nature.
    My mom and I used to joke that thrifting was our therapy, and I wholeheartedly agree with your analysis: it’s not therapy in the way that talking to a counselor is, nor is it a compulsion in which I MUST buy something – for me it’s a way to connect with my mom and clear my head. The purchase is just a bonus. Good post!

  11. I agree with a couple of previous posters on two counts: your blog hasn’t influenced me to buy more in terms of quantity or purchase price. Instead it’s influenced me to “up my game” when I see another mom of young kids looking put together–but for me, this takes the form of rethinking/remixing what I already have to look more polished. Also you helped reignite my interest in thrifting (online and in person) for me and my kids. I do think if I read style blogs with affiliate links all the time, I’d struggle more with wanting to buy more specific items–but I’d in no way impute my transgressions to the blogger in question!

  12. Ohh..this is a great discussion topic. Personally, I love to thrift for many of the same reasons you listed above. I like the thrill of the hunt, it’s environmentally friendly, and I abhor paying more than 30% of the original price of any item. The Sears Outlet store was as fancy as it got when I was growing up. Financially, I don’t have a shopping budget. I cover all the basics every month (bills, retirement, emergency and long-term savings, etc.) and use the left overs at my discretion.

    I don’t make decisions about clothing based on the blogs I read. I may learn about a clothing brand I’ve never heard of, and think a bit more critically about the pieces I add to my closet, but I wouldn’t blame my consumer choices on any of the blogs I follow.

    That said, I don’t follow shopping/sponsored blogs as I find the intent a bit obvious, however retailers and advertisers are smart. They have taken advantage of this medium to capture those with FOMO and encourage certain spending behaviours (amongst bloggers AND their audience).

    • I definitely would not *blame* my shopping behaviours on any blogs or other external influences — I think it’s important to take personal responsibility. But blogs/social media/advertising have a strong influence on consumer behaviour, so I think there has to be recognition of the part they play in the cycle. Some bloggers might not have an issue with the role they play; others might, if they stop to think about it. It’s a personal choice, in the end.

  13. I am pretty new to your blog. I usually frequent personal finance blogs but I found that your blog combines shopping wisely along with really practical tips on how to look polished and corporate on a smaller budget. I think I my spending has gone down since visiting your site as I am inspired by your thrift finds and also how you are willing to leave items behind because they are not right for you even though they are a good buy. I never really had a clothing budget but live by a couple of simple questions such as 1) is this item worth giving up a little piece of financial security 2) will it still make me happy in one month. Most of the other fashion blogs tend to be paid for ads for companies so I stopped following them.

    • I used to read personal finance blogs religiously, although I’ve fallen off the wagon lately. Their focus typically doesn’t align with my current life situation, which is OK; I think they can be a fantastic resource for people looking for inspiration in that department. With that said, one thing that used to bug me about most PF blogs, is how much they tend to look down on anyone interested in personal style/fashion (or other similarly “frivolous” hobbies). I know that (clothes) shopping can be a source of consumer debt for some, but it IS possible to be both interested in fashion AND thrifty. On the flip side, I do enjoy fashion blogs that do take into account the personal finance aspect.

  14. I never comment, but I liked reason this post — and so many other of your posts on your thoughts about clothes & consumption — that I thought I’d write to tell you. Also because I love your tastes in Brit Lit.

  15. I follow your blog because I like the way you play with colors. (That sounds so goofy when I type it out!) I follow another blogger because I adore her shoe collection and the silhouettes she creates. Both of you also stay on my radar for reasons not related to outfit posts: she often does reviews of a brand I like and you generally talk about why you bought something when you show your new items. Even if I think your reasoning is silly (Louboutins just don’t do it for me) it helps to remind me to question why I’m thinking any purchase I’m considering.

    There are also a few bloggers that I follow in more of a lifestyle way. That is to say, I’ve been reading long enough to enjoy following them even when their style shifts away from my own. Franish would be a good example of one such blogger.

    I live in a distinctly fashion un-conscious area (unless LLBean is your idea of high fashion) so as someone who enjoys playing with clothes, I get very little inspiration in real life. When you see a stylish person on the street, you have no idea what the size of their closet is (unless I suppose this was someone you saw daily) and as someone who is generally uncomfortable with overconsumption, blogging shows a bit of the sausage-being-made side of stylish folks because you get a sense of how much someone owns or consumes.

    As for something I wish I could change…well, this is more like something that annoys me about bloggers of all stripes who claim to be “responsible” with shopping…they pick the definition of responsible that fits their habits. To wit, thrifters talk about the nominal monetary investment and the fact that someone else has already discarded what they’re purchasing and “green” shoppers talk about how much care and concern for the environment and workers was put into manufacturing a product but tend to gloss over the final cost. I think part of this is my dis-ease with my own habits and having trouble balancing my own interest in clothing with figuring out a way to do so “responsibly”.

    • Well, to be fair, responsible is not necessarily the same for everyone. I think financial responsibility is key, but beyond that, different people value different things. Things like paying for the necessaries of life, and saving both for retirement and for rainy days before blowing money on discretionary “wants” are objectively responsible goals. Beyond that, “responsibility” starts to look different depending on individual circumstances and values. Personally, I have no problem with anyone making whatever choices bets suit their circumstances and values, as long as they don’t proselytize those choices as the only valid ones out there. As enthusiastic as I am about thrifting, for example, I do try to not go too far into “preaching” mode because I recognize that it may not work for everyone for practical or personal reasons. (I prefer “cheerleader”, LOL!)

  16. This post made me realize I am absolutely not into fashion at all, so in a sense I’m the “safest” reader of lifestyle blogs because no jealousy whatsoever re clothes (now, some bloggers’ HOUSES, that’s another story).

    I’ve always looked because I find it interesting how so many people ARE into it, and, of course, they usually look great! I’ve tried to tell myself – you should care more about your appearance.

    Your blog is the first one that actually made me consider and want to change fast fashion shopping; I have even made multiple purchases from a local consignment store for the first time ever – though, it does not offer steep discounts, like your VV.

    I would estimate I probably spend about $1,000/year on clothing items, if that. I realize reading this I don’t keep track of what I spend because I’ve never HAD to; it’s naturally not a drain on my finances due to lack of desire. But now I’m wondering what I do spend! Time to keep track in 2017.

    Thanks for the great post!

    • Thanks for reading! Even though I don’t have a budget, I do track my spending and find it very helpful for reasons unrelated to finances. For example, I like being able to calculate the cost-per-wear of the clothes I buy. I also like to keep track of trends in my spending — but, then again, I’m just a statistics nerd at heart, haha.

  17. Thank you for this honest post. I follow a few fashion blogs and suddenly my eyes have been opened a little about how I may be influenced to buy more. I plan on consuming fashion blogs more mindfully now.

    • I had a similar realization years ago, and I think it’s a common reaction. Blogs are becoming more and more like fashion magazines, rather than personal style “diaries” (as they used to be, back in the early and mid 2000s), so I think that’s a natural result of that evolution.

  18. To be honest I mainly keep coming here for the writing, we don’t really have the same style. There are a couple of big style blogs I visit for the pretty pictures, but I have a very clear picture of how much I’m prepared to spend on what, and since I strictly buy second-hand and I’m vaccinated against high-street fashion (it’s not snobbery, more like too many years of wearing worn-out H&M sweaters and floral dresses), I’m pretty much immune to affiliate links. Like, I might take a look, but there’s no way I’m spending 70-150€ on a blouse I could probably pick up for 20€ second-hand.

    On the other hand, I’m a sucker for anyone writing evocatively about crew-neck jumpers or well-cut trousers or whatever. That can send me on a quest for something I didn’t know I needed until five minutes ago. But thrifting largely protects me from making actual purchases because I’m not necessarily going to find that elusive item on a second-hand website. A lot of items are pretty imperfectly photographed anyway, so it could be staring me in the face and I wouldn’t necessarily get it. I’ve also noticed that, even with wishlists, besides a couple of items I’ve actually been disappointed to miss out on, once it’s gone I mostly forget it even existed.

    The one thing that’s tempting is jewellery made by small little-known designers. But, most of the time, I’m not going to wear some bold piece that was featured by some nationally-renowned blogger who’s a friend of the designer, as that would make me look and feel like a total sucker. Plus, I’m not going to blow my entire month’s clothing budget on a piece of metal to wrap around my forearm, and on jewellery, spending less than that looks a bit shit a lot of the time.

    In any case, I’ve been on a wardrobe-rebuilding project the last couple of years as part of operation “dress like an adult” (and not in worn-out H&M floral dresses). Which is why I got into reading style blogs and buying clothes. I have coming up to 60 items, and my closet is small, so the aim is really to be able to just put shit on and get on with life, rather than build up a large wardrobe as a hobby.

    • Oh man, jewelry made by small independent designers is my Achilles heel like now, thanks to IG. Not bloggers, just the designers’ own pages. I swear I have a folder of images saved just for that. But, alas, I don’t have thousands to spend on fine jewelry, so it’s all just wishful thinking.

      As for clothes, what I will often tell myself is that if I truly love something I see online, I just have to wait … there is a good chance I will eventually find it in a thrift store, a year or two or more down the line. If I still love the piece at that point, I can buy it completely guilt-free. It may or may not be trendy by that point, but if it’s something I love, that doesn’t matter.