Business of Blogging | Is Style Really Subjective?

A few weeks ago while in Starbucks, a guy that I’d seen the last few times I was there came in, ordered, and sat next to me. He’d noticed me as well, so he struck up conversation, asking me what kind of work I did. I told him (personal assistant and blogger), and he asked me what did I blog about. I told him I had a fashion blog and he stated, “You’re not fashionable.” Taken aback, I quickly retorted, “Eh, well, fashion is subjective.” He stated that he didn’t believe in that. Before I could say anything else, he changed the subject. To my surprise, we had an interesting conversation over the next hour and exchanged emails. His words stuck with me, though.
Initially I was offended (I mean who does that?!), but I had to admit, I didn’t look my best that day. Not making excuses but I’d just gotten over a cold so I’d thrown on a dress that I typically only wear at home, was barefaced, and my freshly washed hair was poufy (it takes a day to “settle”), so could I be that surprised he made that assessment? Then I wondered, did he say it based just on that day’s look or was it collective of all of the other times he’d seen me? Am *I* not fashionable?
I immediately went home to watch a Devil Wears Prada*.
Yes, I am judging you…
The staff ridiculed Andy for the first part of the movie because of the way she looked. While she was a pretty girl, she didn’t fit in aesthetically at Runway. During her interview, Miranda famously stated “You have no style or sense of fashion…” and Andy replied (or at least tried to) that it depended on your idea of what style is. But does it? Is style really subjective? Or, is that just a canned response people use when it’s called into question? In order to fit in, Andy, a simple assistant, got a makeover, with both her look and her attitude (the latter was more important but you get where I’m going with this).
Andy Pre-Runway

 

The Fairy Godfather works his magic

 

Andy 2.0
The movie is a dramatization but realistically, in order to succeed in this world (a billion dollar industry that thrives on how people look), how “fashionable” must you be? In this industry-especially when it’s behind the scenes as a blogger, booking agent, editor, etc.- in order for your position to be justified in the eyes of others, is there a certain uniform** you must adhere to? If there is, does it mean you’re not stylish if you don’t (even on a coffee run???) If someone is not a fan of your look, does that mean you’re not stylish or incapable of delivering credible content?

Can there really be multiple definitions of style?

The peanut gallery, watching your every move…

 

I’d love your thoughts.
*I also gave myself a clay mask and did my nails. What can I say, it got to me…
** From my personal observation, I’ve noticed two different looks at the forefront of “regular people” fashion right now: Glam (think the Kardashians) or Vintage/Hipster. The guy showed me a picture of his girlfriend and she fit the former. I love their style but it’s not my personal look but it spoke volumes about his statement.
Brands to Know | Boy Meets Girl®
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19 thoughts on “Business of Blogging | Is Style Really Subjective?

  1. 🙁 Well I’m sorry that happened. I would say assess his style before you take his comments to heart. If he’s just some random guy with no taste then his opinion probably shouldn’t mean much. Buut, I have to say I am guilty of looking at bloggers who post the T-shirt and Jeans outfit and sigh. I’ve always thought about fashion as a mix of prints, details and colors so that seems plain to me. (But then again…that IS an opinion) I guess the traditional sense of “stylish” can be seen The Devil Wears Prada but ultimately it comes down to who you’re trying to satisfy. If it’s yourself and you’re happy, then no worries. If you’re looking to get involved in the industry, I guess that’s when the trouble starts 🙁

    ^Sorry this was rambly!

    Yasmeen
    Castle Fashion

  2. you know, it caught me off guard (bc I looked at what HE had on and was like, um, ok lol) but I know how I look on days when I don’t feel like crap so I didn’t let it bother me that much. I guess bc I write more from an editorial standpoint (no personal style shots), I don’t go out of my way to always be “dressed” when I go out but on the flip side, like you, I get disappointed when I see the personal style shots and it’s a simple tee and jeans. I want to see you play with texture, colors, prints; not like you just rolled out of bed. It doesn’t have to be a certain style but I want to see that you made an effort-whether you did it when you first went shopping or when you put your look together for the post.

  3. Interesting encounter! I think HOW you choose to style what you wear depends on individual taste, and therefore, is subjective. Fashion, however (i.e., the pieces you choose or WHAT you wear), is pretty firmly established. And while that may change somewhat from season to season, the basic criteria of couture remain constant. In that sense, fashion is not subjective. After all, we talk about personal style, but there is no such thing as “personal fashion.” That would be my interpretation of what he meant – hope it made sense!

    http://threequarterchic.com

  4. Hi there! I’m new to your blog, but am glad that I came across it!

    Great post, lady. Congrats on your win in this week’s IFB Links a la Mode! The Devil Wears Prada was a great analogy for the Business of Bloggishng. I’m with you(r original sentiment), I DO think fashion is subjective – in fact, I started my blog on that foundation:

    “Fashion (and writing) is about bold customization and tailoring your wardrobe (or blog) to fit your personality.”

    Hope you will stop by sometime, too!

    -Hallie 🙂
    http://www.coralsandcognacs.com

  5. Interesting post! I have a pretty consistent sense of style that veers towards classic pieces; it’s certainly not the edgy/downtown cool look that you might see on someone like Rumi from Fashiontoast. Sometimes I do feel like it helps you get ahead if you have a certain look happens to be the trendy look of the moment. But I’ve stuck to my style guns for so long already and I don’t feel I’ve been held back. I’ve received compliments from people in the industry on my outfit or accessories.

  6. @3QC The way that you explained it, it makes sense. I hoped that that’s the place he was coming from. I felt like I was having a “judging a book by it’s cover” moment. On one hand, I knew I looked a little blah, but on the other, does that mean I can’t write about fashion because of it?

    @Hallie Thank you for coming by! I checked yours out (and I like it) so I’m following now. I like your foundation statement and think that I will use it.

    @Lisa My look is classic/conservative with a twist. I’ll play around with color and my accessories to keep it fresh. I love how Rumi and some of the other top bloggers dress and in some cases (like with Emily from cupcakes and cashmere and karla’s closet) I get inspired and will experiment with my look but the overly trendy looks? I just can’t do it. I’ve always received compliments on my looks, even on days when I’ve just thrown something on so I think I’m doing good!

  7. Style is maybe not “subjective” at first sight because we all share an overall notion of what is stylish, but I believe this notion is culturally conditioned and not set in stone – so on second thought, style is actually utterly subjective! Also, there are so many different ways in which one can be stylish, following either the guidelines of one particular subculture (office chic, rockabilly, Gothic lolita, what have you) or finding a fashion aesthetic of one’s own. Similar with beauty, there’s never just one way of being beautiful even though there exists a socially promoted (unattainable) ideal.

  8. Hi Kimmie,
    Tried leaving my comment last night but I guess it was a good thing that my wi-fi was down as my comment was pretty violent. I said I’d have punch that guy in the face. Oops. Ha!ha!
    My take is that everything in life is subjective. That’s why there are people who earn a living by critiquing films, books, food, etc.
    Most people blog to voice out what they like/dislike about a subject.

    He didn’t really explain what he meant but 3QC could be right 🙂

    Have a great Friday!

    Joy x

    PS. Love the Devil Wears Prada. Saw Anna Wintour and Anne Hathaway both (but not together) at Wimbledon’s ladies’ championships and got reminded of the film again 🙂

  9. @Joy hahaha no violence (though it did-FOR ONLY A SPLIT SECOND!!- cross my mind).

    I seriously felt like Andy when he said it. I know the circumstances were different but I know how she felt when someone questioned her ability to do the job. I love that movie and usually watch it every 3-4 months.

  10. I’d have to say that style is personal but fashion touts the line between subjective and objective. When he said “You’re not fashionable,” I wonder if he meant “You’re not wearing looks and clothes I see in advertisments and ‘trendy’ stores.” In that case fashion becomes subjective to the fashion gatekeepers (like Vogue) but objective to the masses because they all agree with these looks as fashion.

    Ultimately, though, people have different tastes and preferances which is where “personal style” and “anti-fashion” come in. And there can’t be “personal” or “anti” without an overall, mass/objective view of what “fashion” is.

    The funny thing is that true objectivity rarely exists in human society. Opinions and emotions turn issues into questions of personal preferences. Fashion is no different.

  11. I certainly wouldn’t be taking this guy’s comment seriously. I think that what’s “fashionable” is constantly changing and that being fashionable often just means chasing trends and trying to keep up. I think that being stylish, on the other hand is about having ownership over your look and making your sartorial decisions based on what you personally love. But I do think that fashion is subjective to a certain extent. Just because a certain style or look doesn’t appeal to everyone, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t embrace it if it’s something you love. Sorry for rambling!

  12. @Style Geek I agree.I really think it was more along the lines of “you’re not wearing clothes, so how can you write about fashion”. I’ve learned that a lot of people equate trend to fashion-if everyone isn’t clamoring to wear it, it must nto be in fashion.

    @Angela I did for a moment but ultimately I knew to let it go in one ear and out the other. It did make me pause and think though (and write this post, lol) so at least something good came out of it!

  13. Funny. I have always pondered on the same issue, more because I know there are those out there (me included) who care about their personal sense of style and put alot of work into it, as opposed to simply adopting trends as discussed above. And while deep down I always thinK – “I am stylish. Style is subjective.” I can’t help but wonder, in the back of mind, whether or not I am just delusional.

    Even if I am, I’ll take my personal expression and love for the trade over the opinions of others any day.

    Cheers,
    Lynsey Michelle
    ——————————————–
    LAW OF FASHION
    http://www.law-of-fashion.com
    twitter.com/lawoffashion

  14. “”I am stylish. Style is subjective.” I can’t help but wonder, in the back of mind, whether or not I am just delusional.

    Even if I am, I’ll take my personal expression and love for the trade over the opinions of others any day.”

    You know what, Lynsey? I like the way you think 🙂

  15. I loved the movie the Devil wears Prada. Thank you for your post, I never put a lot of thought into what the movie was making obvious about the development of style in the Anne Hathaway character. Who is it that decides what is correct and what is not?

  16. I think fashion is about following the trends and express yourself at the same time. Fashion in high-end magazine generally set the trend (like in Devil wears Prada), the subjective part is when you dress to be yourself and fit in that trend. You should ignore that guy’s comment, because even most fashionable people don’t look stylist all the time, but they can when they need to be. (please pardon my English)

Thank you for reading-your comments are appreciated!