Standing On My Own
When I first started fashion blogging, I always wanted to blog about items that were easily accessible. I felt like it was better to share items that others could snag if they really loved what I was wearing. And, I wanted to fit in. I wanted to wear the dresses my fellow bloggers wore, to emulate the styles they created, to be one of the “cool” bloggers. At the time, I was all about trying to get my hands on anything retro-cute; Modcloth, Forever 21, Target, etc.
As I transitioned more and more into vintage style, it became about the reproduction styles everyone else had. The PUG skirts, the Bernie Dexter dresses, the BAIT shoes, the Modcloth sweaters. I wanted to emulate. It was all about fitting in, sharing accessible style, and creating a space where others could take what I had and make it their own.
Most of what I blogged about, though, I did not wear because I was 100% in love with that style, but because I was too afraid to branch out and commit to the look I really resonated with. It’s been a reoccurring theme in my life: wanting to please others, to fit in, and to be part of the “it” crowd. Not in an active, scrabbling way, but subconsciously.
Something has changed in the last few months and I am settling into my own.
Largely thanks to Lotty Dotty Vintage, whose affordable prices have allowed me to purchase the vintage dresses that I used to only dream about. I started to purchase vintage and purge the retro-cute, and as my closet transforms so does my attitude. I find myself being more assertive with sponsorship offers, less afraid to say no. Less afraid to purge things that I love even though they don’t fit my style aesthetic. Bolder to walk around during errands dressed to the toes like a 1950’s housewife.
Towards the latter half of this year, I have felt more confident in contacting companies that I admire, to work with them. I used to feel as though I wasn’t good enough; my blog wasn’t unique enough, or my photography wasn’t stellar enough; I didn’t post adventure-outfit posts, I didn’t wear the right brands, I didn’t have the right face or the right body. I wasn’t like everyone else, so I didn’t feel like I was worthy of what everyone else did.
But now? I’m not like everyone else, and it’s a thrilling feeling. There is no one in my town who dresses like me. If there is, I haven’t seen her yet. And for the first time, I’m not afraid to be unique. Ten years ago I was so afraid to stand out that I denied myself all of the pretty dresses I loved and wore baggy jeans and cheap tee shirts to try to fit in. I was afraid people would say I was being fake if I dressed up every day. I was afraid of being put in the spotlight, or being questioned about my choices, or being mistaken as stuck up for wearing a dress when everyone else was wearing jeans.
They often say that women blossom and grow strongest in their thirties. I’ve got a little over a year until I hit that age, and I think it’s really true. I don’t really care what people think of my aesthetic any more, but most people react positively. I wish I had been brave enough when I first started this blog to just go for what I really wanted, and not be afraid of being a little different.
I envy bloggers like Skye, who is right around the age that I was when I started blogging, and has already started to settle into her amazing vintage style. I wish I had been that brave at her age. I am so inspired by her. Even before she fell into her vintage aesthetic, she was unafraid to wear and share what she wanted to wear and only what she wanted to wear. As crazy as she may have looked, it was always 100% authentically herself.
I have been asked before what advice I would give to budding bloggers, and as cliche as it sounds, it’s the best advice anyone could ever have given me:
As someone who has traveled a style journey here on this blog for 7+ years, I know how tempting it is to emulate and recreate and try to fit in with the crowd you admire. It’s something we all do in life in one way or another, be it how we dress or how we talk or what we admit to watching or eating. Sometimes, it feels like you are following your own dreams but then you wake up and realize you’ve borrowed them from someone else. Often, I fall into loving something just because it’s a popular thing to love, or people expect it to be my thing. Admitting that it’s not for me is hard, especially when I know others really just want me to be happy and are making an effort towards that happiness.
And it’s okay to emulate those that you admire and to love popular things. But don’t forget to keep yourself in the mix. Instead of thinking “what would that blogger wear?” or “how would she put things together?” remember to ask yourself “what would I wear?” and “how do I want to put things together?” Because that’s something I forgot all too often.
Dress, Lotty Dotty Vintage (similar here, here, and here)| fur collar, vintage/gift | earrings, vintage/grandma’s | leaf brooch and headscarf, vintage/thrifted | corset beneath, c/o Orchard Corset | boots, Amazon | tights, Target | belt, belonged to another dress
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