Back when I maintained what I tentatively referred to as a fashion blog--was I always lifestyle or something? I don't know--I prided myself on the fact that, most of the time, I wore the same items over and over. To me, that's true of anyone who is fashionable or stylish in a real day-to-day setting. My outfits often featured the same belts, scarves, dresses, and shoes worn in interchangeable ways, which was easy for me and my budget.
As I scroll through my feedly or Bloglovin these days (why do I have two readers?), I notice more and more that all fashion bloggers seem to have one thing in common: they almost never wear something twice. And often, a series of blogs will feature the exact same dress on the exact same day--and of course, they received it for free.
And even if the same bloggers have received the same item at the same time (and inexplicably all posted about it on the same day), none of them style it any differently. A dress paired with nude heels and a white clutch... over and over and over as I scroll through blogs. It's not even aspirational. A cheap dress from ModCloth or Nordstrom is still just a cheap dress if you don't show me how to, I don't know, dress it up for work or dress it down for a BBQ or how to transition it to cooler months. What's the point?
The element of personal style seems to have been removed from fashion blogging as it becomes more monetized. I'm not one of those people to say that "blogging is dying," but the monetization of more personality-based niche blogs seems to be harming the creativity and ingenuity of those blogs. As well, more and more people seem to be getting into blogging as an "easy fix"--a ready-made career where you can get free clothes with minimal effort.
The more I thought about this, the more I realized it really bothered me how homogenous and boring the "big" blogs had become. At the same time, the blogs I'd loved (and that had stayed unique through the years) were floundering: they received less and less good deals and all seemed to be embarking on a personal crisis (which, Lord knows, I'd been there too). Then, one day, Danny said something that made me realize what was going on. He said, "It's not really fashion blogging though, is it? It's just a shopping blog for all the stuff they buy." And... he's not wrong, really.
Sadly, fashion blogging has become more about acquisition.
I've written about this in regards to scrapbooking. The community seems to more about constantly buying, buying, buying new (admittedly cute) stuff, and less about tutorials or demonstrations to use said stuff. This is seen in haul videos and posts, in empties videos and posts, and outfit posts.
If your blog is mostly just about shopping (no matter what you're shopping for), isn't it just a shopping blog, a blog to write about all the things you constantly acquire? If you don't write or demonstrate how to use them, how to remix them, how to implement anything in a way beyond simply having it... really, what's the point of labeling a fashion blog or a scrapbooking blog or a beauty blog anything other than a shopping blog?
I think this is a frustration that lots of blog readers are having. You see this mostly in communities like Get Off My Internets. Whether you agree with the premise of an anonymous community where people can complain about bloggers or not, GOMI represents some of the common critiques and attitudes about blogs: who cares about one woman buying a bunch of crap she simply doesn't really need and never doing anything with it? The number of fashion, beauty, and lifestyle bloggers that ultimately get labeled with "shopping addict" is astounding. Truth be told, it's most of them... and I don't think that label is necessarily wrong in a vast majority of cases.
Blogging isn't an art that is dying. There are lots of interesting blogs not related to fashion, beauty, or lifestyle that don't get pulled into the consumerist obsession with constant shopping. And obviously, those types of blogs are still very profitable: the number of women earning a decent living (or at least enough to supplement another income) off a fashion, beauty, or lifestyle blog is still very high. And really, that's one of the coolest parts of niche blogging, the fact that so many women have made careers for themselves out of it.
I do wonder, however, what the answer is. Will niche lifestyle blogs ever snap back into what they once were? As long as interest from big brands exists (and there is an outlet for them to promote using sponsored blog posts and courtesy-of clothing), many blogs will remain in the rut of "shopping exclusively." But I hope that someday the blogs of the past will emerge: great outfit posts, great make up tutorials, and great DIY posts that are only about sharing great content and advice, not appeasing a sponsor.