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Fashion advice, with a modern twist

By Alice Lee
Published: May 2009

Web logs, better known as “blogs, are one of the many new phenomena hitting our generation.

A type of website, blogs consist of regular entries by the blogger, either addressing a particular subject or simply acting as a diary.

To be wholly diplomatic, most, if not all, blogs are interesting in their own ways; but my personal favorite by far is the fashion blog.

Now, when I say “fashion blog, I don’t mean the corporate-maintained blogs that promote designer products with glossy picture after glossy picture of the hottest new trends, and nary a price in sight.
The blogs I mean are the semi-diaries maintained by young people around the world, centered on the fashion they wear and observe.

A sample of this kind of blog is “Childhood Flames, maintained by a 16-year-old from Oregon.

Almost daily, the teen, who refers to herself as Camille, posts photos of her outfit that day’€usually something minimal, hip, and mind-bogglingly stylish’€along with descriptions of each piece of clothing and a few details of her day.

One of her typical posts reads: “selfmade cape/poncho, Paige Premium Denim Jeans, altered vera wang for kohl’s boots, cynthia rowley bag¦ I’m off to meet up with friends! Hope you all are having a lovely weekend! :)
Every now and then, Camille comments on runway and designer fashion with the eye of an expert. Her critique is, for me, more relatable than Vogue’s, because it is written from the perspective of someone who, though knowledgeable about fashion, fully realizes that it isn’t something she’ll go out and buy to wear to school.

In Camille’s blog, I get to see the insider’s opinion on top designers without the sickening sense of envy I would have for someone who could actually buy 1,169 dollar leather boots.

Camille’s style of personal-fashion blogging gives a more realistic perspective to fashion in terms of price, size, and all-around wear-ability (because some of those runway fashions simply cannot be worn off the catwalk).
The amateur fashionistas who maintain this kind of blog are usually young, ranging from teens to early 20s, and, for the most part, have the same budget limitations as I do.

Furthermore, their style is usually more street-friendly (i.e. no feathery black 5-inch heels, like the ones we saw in Toni Maticevski’s Spring 2009 collection), and can be worn by non-models with realistically-sized hips. Another type of fashion blog is the professionally-maintained but non-corporate blog, a term more confusing than it should be.

In essence, I mean “The Sartorialist, a blog maintained by Scott Schuman, who once worked as director of men’s fashion for Bergdorf Goodman and has since moved on to fashion media.

The photoblog captures the style of real people on the street whose fashion Schuman finds striking or noteworthy. For instance, a recent posting, labeled, “On the Streets¦Legs, Paris, consists of photographs of Parisians wearing leg-baring skirts and tunics to welcome the spring season.

While I can still appreciate “The Sartorialist’s prêt-a-porter (ready-to-wear), “real people quality, it lacks the relatability of amateur blogs. The fashion that Schuman photographs and comments on is real enough, but is mostly worn by mid-twenties to middle-aged young urban professionals on the streets of large cities’€not something a high schooler in Newton can really connect with.

Then, there are the blogs that I so cruelly satirized in the second paragraph, the ones with the glossy photographs of designer products. But in all fairness, corporate-maintained fashion blogs are perfectly legitimate and are, in fact, becoming a lucrative part of mainstream fashion media.

My previous and perhaps rather exaggerated characterization of such blogs, however, accurately reflects my opinion of them.

While they are certainly a way for the public to follow the newest collections and designs, they represent a lifestyle completely out of reach for me, the average teenager, as they focus mainly on what’s new on the runway and what the celebrities are sporting.

Furthermore, this kind of blogging is simply another medium for mass advertisement; it is basically the publication of online magazines without printed counterparts.

An example is “Coutorture, a fashion blog network purchased in 2007 by Sugar Publishing.

The main page currently reads: “Fall 2009 Trend Report: Over-The-Knee, Please, over a photo of a runway model clad in the thigh-high leather boots that were “all over the Fall 2009 catwalks, in styles that ranged from stocking-like to trouser-like in their appearance.

The site also boasts several photo galleries (currently, Japanese Fashion Week for Fall 2009 collections), articles about fashion and couture news, photo editorials, and lifestyle articles (“Events: Dinner In Honor of Gucci’s Frida Giannini’€clearly part of my lifestyle).

In sum, there are hundreds, possibly thousands, of different fashion blogs in the blogosphere.
From the categories I named above to accessory-focused blogs to celebrity fashion blogs to blogs exclusively on runway fashion, there are infinite choices for the computer-savvy fashionista to browse through.
My personal preference, though, will always be the amateur, anti-elitist, less label-conscious sites maintained by people in my own age group. Upbeat, aesthetic, and frankly addicting, these blogs are a way to find fresh ideas about fashion, style, elegance, and sartorial creativity.

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