For the past couple of days wearing clothes has felt very organic to me, just natural. I haven't thought twice about what to wear in the mornings; I've just grabbed a pair of jeans and a shirt and gone with it. The interesting thing is that I have felt really good about the clothes I have worn, but that I haven't thought of taking outfit pictures, because the clothes have not felt blogging-worthy, and this worries me a little. Actually, it is not even the blogging-worthiness. It is more about the problem I am starting to have with style blogging in general. I feel like the style blog narrative is starting to escape from my grasp, or perhaps that my own issues with personal style are escaping from the world of style blogging altogether.
I have often wondered what long-term style blogging does to our style. I started blogging a little over three years ago because I had become a clothes hoarder and a bit of a shopping addict. I felt like I needed to get my head around what I really thought about fashion, personal style, shopping and body image. Through my own writings and the writings of others, I feel like I have learned a lot from blogging. Most importantly, I have become a more of an ethical consumer, and I have learned to trust my instincts when it comes to what I should wear. But I do feel like in some ways, blogging has made me completely over-think the meaning of the clothes I wear. On the days when I don't post an outfit picture, I see my personal style differently. I settle for less, and it all comes together without any effort. Aside from complicating my personal style, I also feel that style blogging has, at least to some extent, encouraged the shopping habits I wanted to get rid of on Day One.
Overall, I feel that style blogging in general (my own blogging and that of others) encourages me to want to consume more. Us style bloggers write about the clothes or the styles we want, the clothes we can't afford, and the clothes we thrifted and stuffed our closets with. When another blogger has scored big time in a thrift shop, my instincts tell me to go visit our local Salvation Army: perhaps I will find a treasure myself. Since I got off the Great American Apparel Diet, my long-term objective has been to really love the clothes I wear. I want to buy less. But there is a bit of a conflict between wearing the same things over and over again, and style blogging. In many ways, style blogging is all about re-inventing and over-narrating our personal styles, and it often means buying (or thrifting, or swapping for) new things. In many ways, style blogging clutters our lives. It is not just the stuff we buy, but also the time we spend making sense of it all.
Due to the countless links between style blogging, buying and wearing clothes, I have become suspicious of the idea that we should actively use fashion and clothes to express ourselves and our personalities in the first place. I read somewhere (for the death of me I can't think of the connection) about Derrida's theory of personal narratives; essentially, that we define ourselves on the basis of the stories we tell about ourselves and the stories that others tell about us. This is sort of what style blogging is, right? We take photos of the clothes we wear and portray ourselves in a particular way to define and re-define how we feel about ourselves. There is nothing wrong with that, but a part of me feels uncomfortable anyway. Do we really need to establish particular narratives about our clothes to know who we are? When it comes to clothes that essentially are image enhancers, how can we tell the difference between "real" narrative and a wanna-be narrative? We know that fashion magazines are full of the latter. But there are a lot of style blogs out there that have nothing to do with what those people really wear in their day-to-day lives. (Really, they went for a walk in the woods wearing the latest Miu Miu heels?) These types of personal style narratives that we encounter can be completely false, and yet we often let them influence us to create our own narratives. So could our intense search and portrayal of personal style be leading us astray from who we really are? In our increasingly layered lives filled with different types of social networks, various forms of consumerism and our multiple identities, what do our clothes say of us, if anything at all? Could our need to define our personal style be just a front, an avatar of sorts, to help us navigate the seas of endless confusion?
I have written countless posts about how personal style is an outlet to have fun, and that clothes are a great tool for expressing myself... but do I really mean that? Am I just saying that because perhaps it allows me to buy more clothes and not focus on the person behind the clothes? Or am I just trying to figure out who I am with the help of clothes, because other markers are too difficult to manage? Or am I just doing what everyone else is doing? For some reason, these questions seem important to me at the moment. I guess what I am really after is the following: who wants to see me wear the same pair of jeans every day? The only answer I can come up with is, well, that I do. I suppose that's the only answer that really matters. I don't really know what all of this means. This blog is not going away, that I do know. But a part of me feels frustrated. The endless personal style jargon isn't doing it for me anymore.