Saturday, May 4, 2013

different takes and different times: on the outfit post

(in lieu of an actual outfit post...)

I have not posted an outfit in a long time, months even.  I mostly stopped out of pragmatic purposes – my camera broke, and that was that. But that’s not the whole story.

The ‘outfit post’ has always been a difficult thing for me to come to terms with.  On the one hand, outfit posts, when done well, guarantee a strong readership, or at the very least, earn you a few more regular visitors; after all people are inherently nosy, and seeing what someone else is wearing on a daily/weekly basis is somehow immensely interesting. Needless to mention, I love seeing what my favourite bloggers are wearing, and am especially delighted when a irregular ‘outfit-poster’ does just that, providing one of those ‘this is what I am wearing today’ posts. A lot of my style inspiration comes via the swift and sensational medium of the outfit post phenomenon. Outfit posts are great, except of course, when I am the one doing them.

Indeed, on the opposite side of the coin, I could not seem to reconcile my own misgivings about outfit posting and their undeniable popularity. Even on my own meagre blog, outfit posts were always popular, and for a while, I really enjoyed doing them.

Then what happened?

I am not quite sure when, but that festering doubt at the back of mind took over, and I felt silly, vacuous and vain – all the criticisms thrown at ‘fashion bloggers’ from outsiders – for partaking in such an asinine activity.  But even more so, I felt insecure.  I have never felt like a particularly fashionable person, never mind trendy, and even less so outrageous or original. I sort of felt that no one really needs to see what I am wearing, of all people. Furthermore, I was on edge. Paranoia struck in. I became obsessed that people might think that I thought I was this extremely stylish/fashionable person; a thought which made me cringe.

What is more, all this came tangled up in my natural style progression. I am no longer eighteen and enjoy wearing quite frankly ludicrous outfits. Fashion changed for me. When I was younger, fashion was about frivolity and being wacky, and throwing the kitchen sink at it, so to speak. Now, I kind of feel just OK and nice in a jumper and jeans. I still like to have little references going on in my head – mostly (young) Paul Weller, being a character in a Woody Allen film, and some style idea I picked up from a favourite blog – but it’s just more simple these days.  Back then, fashion was always about being original, and while, I still hold firmly onto that belief, I feel I can do that in a more subtle way now.

But. And there’s a big but.  This post would have finished just like that if it wasn't by sheer coincidence that my friend Michele and I went on my blog last night (simultaneously over Skype. Technology. Wha.) and looked back over all my old outfit posts. Then this initial post took an unexpected turn. Browsing through all those old pictures, I felt deeply saddened at what had been, suddenly seeing those outfit posts (as bad as some of them were...) not to be about vanity, but to be about creativity and even more so, personal enjoyment. I realised then that those outfit posts were not for any readers (as few of you as there might be), but entirely for myself as selfish as that may seem.

In short, outfit posting is about archiving* not really about ‘Oh look how trendy I am!’, or ‘Look at all my new shit!’, but it can act as a record of how you might change over time. In summation, I realised it is something I want to return to, quashing those doubts and insecurities, and return to enjoying and documenting outfits for the sake of memory, and for the sake of personal pleasure.

*If you haven't done so already check out this post from Tavi on archiving and memories. Sublime stuff. 


Michele said...

"look at all my new shit"!!!!!

Been waiting for this post all day x

Zoë said...

Really enjoyed this post. I don't post a lot of outfits mainly because I did feel like I was being vain, but a part of me did enjoy it because I was sharing it with blogger friends, and the nameless numbers on my stat counter not so much. Blogs are are own virtual journals for us to look back on. I don't align myself with fashion blogging, I'm into fashion from a distance, I love fashion criticism but not into inserting myself into staged but passed off as casual scenes to show off some new fast fashion outfit i'd got in Penneys. I like to align my outfit with a memory, it makes it more tangible to me, i remember the happiness of the day, the texture of the dress i wore, the weight of the shoes on my feet. I don't know if that makes much sense, but look at those 'our parents used to be cool' photos, and look at those scenarios, that archive of what happened, and not so much what they wore.

anyway this post got me onto reading tavi's blog, which made me well up, i'd stopped checking her blog a long time ago, but she is a constant source of inspiration.

Anonymous said...

I've checked your blog on an off over a few years and I do agree that this is a form of Archiving. Read Joan Didion's On Keeping a Diary.