The other day I had a long email conversation with my friend Frances of the blog Materfamilias Writes about, among other things, excess. Shopping excess. And how the big “shopping haul” seems odd to us now. In poor taste, somehow. Behind the times. That slow fashion is in style. Or should be in style. But somehow isn’t… quite yet. Somehow there’s a very big slice of the population of the western world for whom the message consume, consume, consume is the same as it’s always been. Namely, consume, consume, consume. I find this a bit discouraging.
So, this post is not really a fashion post, my friends. It’s about ethics and influencers. I wanted to rant a little about “influencers” who unfortunately use their influence to promote the same old message about consumption. And I wanted to share a little love for those “influencers” who don’t. Because they’re out there. Influencers, bloggers, Instagrammers, and vloggers who have the courage of their convictions. Who preach slow fashion, buying less, and shopping mindfully… and then walk the talk.
Let’s start with those influencers, okay? The ethical ones. Who use their influence to help us to consume less.
Like Alyssa Beltempo. I wanted to mention Alyssa first because she’s Canadian, and a local girl. I was directed to Alyssa’s YouTube channel a while ago by a reader of this blog, whose name I can’t remember. So whoever you are… thanks for that. Alyssa creates Slow Fashion videos which you can find here. She also runs on-line workshops, and individual styling sessions where she helps others to do what she has long been doing for herself … make the clothes they already have in their closets into outfits that are current, chic, and fun to wear. You can follow Alyssa on Instagram here, and check out her styling workshops here.
You’ll know, if you’ve been reading this blog for a while, that I love clothes. That I am a big “clothes keeper” as Orsola de Castro says in her book Loved Clothes Last. But I’m also a clothes shopper. I shop all the time. I peruse on-line offerings from my favourite stores, follow IG accounts and vloggers whose style inspires me. And I’m a big fan of Pinterest. Most of the time all this “shopping” does not result in buying… but in exploring my closet to see what I can do with what is already in there. And thanks in part to Alyssa Beltempo, and the three “content creators” below, I never run out of ideas.
Danish vlogger and Instagrammer Signe Hansen of Use Less is inspiring in her minimalist approach to fashion and to life in general. She is a big proponent of the slow fashion movement and of building chic capsule wardrobes through shopping second hand or thrifting. Her YouTube channel and her Instagram feed reflect this.
I’ve mentioned stylist and vlogger Allison Bornstein a ton of times in my blog. I love her YouTube channel, especially the videos where she demonstrates her closet editing system. How to organize and edit our closets by identifying those pieces we never wear, the ones we wear the most, and the pieces we seldom wear (called the “maybes”) because we can’t figure out how to style them. Her idea is to give away or consign what we never wear. Then try to style the “maybes” with our favourite pieces to see if we can breath new life into clothes that have temporarily fallen off our radar. I’ve used her method in editing my own closet.
Early on, Allison was featured on the YouTube channel of Violette_fr. But her own channel is finally coming into its own. I’ve only recently started following Allison on Instagram. I can’t think why I didn’t do this before. And I’m finding I like how she reposts outfits which inspire her to shop her own closet.
Of course I can’t fail to mention my favourite “influencer” Emma Hill. I follow her on YouTube and on Instagram. I love her style, her use of jackets and coats in particular. And how she promotes buying second-hand with her hashtag #secondhandbutgrand.
So there are “influencers” out there who have the courage of their convictions, who walk the talk. They may or may not be monetized and make their living from the content they create on social media. But they choose to create responsible content. I follow lots of other people on social media who support sustainable fashion with their content. Whether that’s thrift store finds, recycling old clothes into new, or simply promoting careful, mindful shopping, and creative restyling of what’s already in our closets.
My friend Frances from Materfamilias Writes, who I know many of you already follow, is another example. She espouses slow fashion. And practices what she preaches. Not that she’s preachy… far from it. You can check out Frances’ latest blog post here. About some of the pieces from the carry-on, capsule travel wardrobe she recently packed for a three-week trip. And how the choices she made served her well. And also reinforced that, as she writes, “we can have slower fashion and enjoyment of style’s aesthetic as well.”
But not everyone who blogs, vlogs, or creates content for Instagram is mindful of the changing climate in fashion these days. Pun intended. And that was what precipitated the conversation about excess which Frances and I had via email the other day. About how we wished that “influencers” would take the time to educate themselves on the ideas around slow fashion, ethical shopping, and the perils of fast fashion and over-consumption. And the fact that by promoting unbridled shopping, whether consciously or unconsciously, they are, in Frances’ words, “not serving our planet well.”
And this leads me to the Instagram post below, which in part precipitated this blog post. Let me explain.
The photo above was posted on Instagram by a woman whom I have followed for a while. Mostly because I’ve read her articles in Vogue over the years. And other than the odd post about the necessity of wearing gloves to a cotillion ball… or something similar… which elucidated just how very much her privileged background contrasted with my own, I’ve enjoyed reading her posts. Until this one.
Let’s talk about excess, shall we? Nine bags of clothing sent to the designer consignment store The Real Real. Nine. You will note that she miscounted the bags. The delivery man is holding one as well. As one person commented on IG, “that’s a lot of clothes!!” The fact of consigning this many clothes would in and of itself not be a bad thing. I mean, if one had perhaps not cleaned out one’s very large closet for years. And years. The clothes must have been in good condition or The Real Real would not have taken them for resale. So it doesn’t seem likely that they have been sitting around moldering for years. And the fact that these are not all of her clothes attests to the fact that this woman has a s**t-load of clothes.
But I’m digressing slightly and not getting to my point. My point is this. That she believes this act leaves “room in [her] closet” to go shopping. That she believes this photo is an example of “reuse, reduce, and recycle” since she has tagged the post with that hashtag. And that her followers have applauded her, and praised her for being an example of “sustainability in action.”
I’ve copied and pasted some of the comments that followed the post below. I’ve also obscured the names of the original Instagrammer and the commenters, as you’ll have noticed.
Since I’ve been reading about slow fashion and the Fashion Revolution, I’ve been hearing a lot about sustainability and about greenwashing. And it seems to me that this woman’s post is an example of the latter, and NOT the former. And it seems unforgiveable, to me, that she has chosen her platform to broadcast this irresponsible message to her twenty-five thousand plus followers. Because sending bags and bags of clothes to be resold, or even donated, so that one can pat themselves on the back, and then shop to fill the empty closet space… is not what is meant by sustainable fashion.
And this is all the more disappointing to me, as a follower of this “influencer,” because I have read them for years in one form or another. Although I’ve recently “unfollowed” them on IG. When it would have been so easy for her to make some sort of statement about the need for slow fashion. How seeing this many bags of clothes that she no longer wanted, and no longer wore, made her realize the excess of clothes she had in her closet. How she should try to do better. And possibly even ways she planned to do better. Imagine the creative posts that could follow, new ways to wear all the really quality stuff that is no doubt still hanging in her closet. If she’d done that I’d be applauding her now, instead of “throwing shade,” as they say.
You might have noticed that I’ve been using the term “influencers” in quotation marks in this post. That’s because I hate that term. Except when it’s used ironically. But all irony aside, people who have a following on social media are “influencers.” And not only in the way the term is usually meant, to denote those who sell their platform and their voice to brands for a price. I don’t mean that to sound quite as snarky as it does. I do not mean to imply that everyone who gets sponsorship from a brand or who creates content for brands is untrustworthy, and simply selling their voice to the highest bidder. There are, most definitely, ethical ways to get paid for one’s work, if one’s work is creating content on a blog, vlog, or social media platform.
No, I mean that everyone who has a social media presence is an influencer, even if they are not selling a product. If they connect with their readers, viewers, and followers, they end up having some sort of influence on that reader, viewer, or follower. And if enough influencers are saying, or even just implying, the same message, then they can affect public opinion, and alter the way people think. For good or for ill.
As a teacher of many years, I know how connecting with your audience helps to get your message across.
That’s why I think that ethical “influencers” need to be mindful not only of their overt message (buy this sweater), but also of their implied message. Which might be: Shopping is still fun. Don’t worry about all those naysayers who think we’re destroying the earth.
But could be instead: Think carefully about what you buy and keep it for a long time because it’s the right thing to do. That could be the message. And how much better to be espousing that message than the other.
You know, Black Friday is coming up. The biggest shopping day of the year. And then Christmas. What an opportunity this could be for those of us who post about fashion and shopping to espouse restraint, mindful shopping, and slow fashion. To not promote the same old, same old consume, consume, consume.
But instead to show that we all have the courage of our convictions. That would be cool, wouldn’t it?
P.S. I want to qualify what I said about that Instagrammer’s nine bags of clothing that went to the consignment store with this: There are any number of valid reasons why someone might decide to drastically edit their closet and get rid of unwanted clothes. As I said above, maybe they have not cleaned their closet in years and years and have decided to turn over a new leaf and get organized. Maybe they have had weight loss or gain and their clothes no longer fit them. Maybe we should have a whole post discussing the reasons why this might happen and be perfectly legitimate. But clearing out one’s closet so one can shop to restock is not one of them in my opinion. That combined with the tone of the post … the “wink, wink, knowing look” tone… and the gleeful comments are what offended me.
82 thoughts on “Courage of Their Convictions. Or Not.”
Very , very true Sue . These ‘ influencers ‘ have never appealed to me . I used to catch up with some of the older ones as they seemed to have a good eye for fashion but the continuous parade of purchases became cloying , like eating too many chocolates . Even their holidays appear to be an excuse for major shopping excursions . I remember one having her colours done & jettisoning many wonderful pieces of clothing without a qualm . It especially puzzled me as I preferred the before to the after ! The sad part for me is that these people often have many thousands of followers praising this way of living . I sometimes feel that you & Frances are ‘ beacons in the darkness ‘ . You are women who take pleasure in your clothes without having to endlessly replace them . But then clothes are just a part of your life ( & blog ) & not your whole reason for being .
Thanks, Wendy. I think that anyone who has a platform, however small, needs to be responsible about what they say on it. That sounds Pollyanna-ish, I know. 🙂
This perplexes me – so much does, these days. The western concepts of both productivity and consumerism (which go hand in grasping hand) are pernicious and we are all paying the price. I had rather hoped that a global pandemic might re-set the mind, perhaps forcing us to realise what is truly necessary in order to live a good life. Shopping: not really. Stuff: even less. But, instead, I think many people desperately crave “normality” in whatever form that takes for them and which was halted or warped by the pandemic. A trip to Leeds at the weekend proves that old habits die hard. It reminds me of the days of early parenthood when our house seemed to fill up with huge amounts of stuff that appeared to be vital. Fortunately, we borrowed most of it and passed it on but I was constantly sorting through things and packing them away or staring at them in bemusement. We are not what we accumulate.
We heard so much during the various lock-downs about how this was going to change people. Not sure that happened.
I’ve just lost my original comment!!!
Anyway-completely agree with you ,Frances ,Wendy and Annie! So much shopping,producing,consuming…..
I sometimes feel suffocated in “stuff” that I see…I even don’t like to get gifts any more from real people,in real life (except maybe books,chocolate or wine :)).
I can understand that it is difficult for “influencers” to choose wisely what to accept and what not to accept (and there is a lot on the table) but the ladies you’ve mentioned are a good example
I think for “influencers” who make their living doing what they do it’s harder than it looks to stay on the right side of the sustainability issue. They will be under constant pressure to sell, sell, sell. Even I get quite a few requests for ads, sponsored posts etc etc. Most are for products and companies I’ve never heard of, let alone use. I’m holding firm for Vince.. then I’d be happy to write a sponsored post 🙂
I’d add add art supplies to your triad, especially beautiful drawing and watercolour paper (that’s what I buy or receive as gifts in Paris). At least one bottle of memorable wine…
High Heels, do you still live in Ottawa? I’m in Petite-Italie, Montréal, where our ancient closets are very small, and the Norway maple outside my balcony, very large. Near Marché Jean-Talon.
I do still live in Ottawa… or outside of Ottawa to be precise. But also with a tiny closet and some big trees. I have not been to Montreal for a few years. I miss my shopping, eating, laughing weekends there with girlfriends.
I’ve been an anti-consumer blogger for almost 14 years. Yes, that woman’s “time to go shopping again” sounds tone deaf. But she did not say she would replace the bags 1:1, so let’s hope she doesn’t! (I have seen women overbuy at consignment shops/sites and thrifts us much as at shops). In early ’90s I was given use of an image consultant for a weekend; she went though everything with me. We donated 12 bags. I had long overbought; then changed completely, for good— so there is hope for anyone.
Yes, I know you are fighting the good fight, Duchesse. 🙂
I have stopped following several influencrs on instagram because I felt like I was watching a commercial constantly. Rarely if ever were existing clothing used in posts demonstrating how to tweak a staple into a new look. Frankly I was feeling overwhelmed. The joy that comes with dressing was lost. I look for inspiration, fresh ideas, and connection with other women. Glad you offer all three. Best
Thanks so much, Kat. I try. 🙂
This may be the “Post of the Year” or perhaps “Post of the Decade.” Thanks so much for your thoughtful words!!
Thanks for the vote of confidence, Jan! 🙂
Here’s why I don’t get rid of a lot of stuff–because I don’t buy much at all. I go through swings–one summer I’ll wear cropped pants all the time, the next summer it’s dresses. I don’t toss the dresses the year of the cropped pants, or vice versa.
Also, not that many of the donated duds are sold. A lot go to landfills anyway. In the best case, there’s a triage–resell, give to needy (refugees, shelters), make into rags, grind into insulation. Planet Money did a good episode on this. But sometimes the clothes just get tossed in the trash–not the designer stuff but that old T-shirt. Instead, put it directly in a collector where it will at least get turned into insulation.
I’m with you. I go through stages, I wear one piece all the time and then not again for months, or even a season. I have pieces I still love that never made it out in public last summer. Then again, I don’t go out much myself since the pandemic. 🙂
This is a wonderfully inspiring post to read on a sunny Sunday morning! The sun and the ideas seem to go together. To me, the creativity of making new outfits from your older clothes is so much more fun than plunking down a credit card for something new — and as we know, the “power” of that new piece of clothing evaporates fast. Thanks for writing this.
It is SO much fun to restyle old things. I agree.
Brava to you Sue. You are able to put into words the thoughts that I have had floating around in my head for a while. I have whittled down my followings to a few wonderful women that are not always saying ” buy this, you must have this” and so on. You always suggest that if we are interested in what you are showing we can fine it ‘here’ and that is much more subltle. I realize that there is a need to make money from the blog, but I don’t need to be bashed on the head with it. When I pull out a sweater that I have hand washed and shaved for the past 15 years, I don’t feel deprived that it is not new, but that I still love it (them) and hope to keep wearing for more years to come. I actually like to spend time polishing boots that are a good quality leather and have been useful for years and of such a basic style that they will carry on in my closet until they are no more. I often wonder if these “influencers” ever get tired of the constant pressure to be out there all the time, but then I think, no. So sad.
Enough of my rambling, thanks for your insightful writing as usual. I still love fashion, just not that way.
Thanks, Diane. Polishing and waterproofing my boots is something I love to do as well. That and shaving my sweaters, and washing them by hand. When an older sweater looks all refreshed that makes me feel good.
The real issue I believe for so, so, many is that shopping fills a hole. Whether what is lacking is self-esteem, purpose, love, etc., shopping can be a quick fix. All the logic in the world, including the evident destruction of our world, unfortunately won’t fix that. I’m certainly not going to prescribe any specific fix, but I do think it’s a root cause.
You are right, Kristin. But I do think that restyling and repurposing favourite old things can be one way to fill the hole as well.
Thank you for your thoughtful and timely post. I completely agree with you.
Thanks, Mary Lou.
Sue, I’m scratching my head here – on the one hand you praise Emma Hill for buying secondhand, when someone has obviously donated/sold excess clothes for her to buy. On the other hand you’re upset because someone is donating/selling her excess wardrobe items. I know you’re really upset that she states she plans on purchasing more to replace what she’s decided no longer needs to be in her wardrobe.
But both women are doing the same thing – purchasing clothes. The second person is donating/selling and it may have been a flippant throwaway remark that she was making room for more so perhaps we should ignore that and turn it on it’s head and at least acknowledge that she was consigning and hadn’t yet purchased as Emma Hill has been!
I hear you. I guess that since Emma Hill also sells her used designer bags on consignment sites, on the surface it seems that they are doing the same thing. It’s just that Emma does talk about the issues around fast fashion a lot, and in my opinion has helped get the word out about buying less and buying quality. You can see in her videos and on her IG account that she wears the same pieces over and over. Whereas the other Instagrammer who I haven’t named, and who is quite wealthy and a well known figure in the US fashion world, has simply sold her clothes and not bothered to use her platform for educating her followers. Her IG account, her choice, but I think her post makes her look totally out of step with current issues around fashion and the environment.
Thanks for the mention, Sue; I’m pleased to have played any small part in the making of this thought-provoking post. We all have so much work to do trying to unravel the unconscious assumptions we’ve absorbed since childhood around clothes and style and fashion fast or slow. Globalization made this process important several decades ago, raising issues of labour rights and social justice and serious inequities between developing and developed nations. And now the environmental costs are making themselves egregiously evident. . . Rather than throw up our hands entirely, we can only hope that the changes we’re able to make individually can have a positive influence on a broader scale — and it helps if those changes still allow us some of the pleasure and self-expression that clothing proffers. Thanks for pointing out some helpful directions!
You are most welcome, my friend. I hope that the small changes we all can make does have some effect… but of course that will only happen if enough of us are changing. A thought which scares me sometimes. We’ve only to look at the climate events where you are to see what is beginning to happen. Hopefully many of us will make the connection. Hopefully.
I totally agree, Sue. I feel lately almost everyone I follow is selling or promoting something. I know these people get a kick back from what they promote. In recent months, I too have unfollowed a few people because of just that. Every time they posted, their post was “sponsored” by some brand. It just felt fake – after a while I began to mistrust her. I have been reading a lot of the books you mentioned, and I am slowly starting to get rid of clothes in my closet and slowly trying to build a capsule wardrobe.
Thank you for always being honest and up front.
Thanks, Susan. I am trying to walk the talk. I do know that some of these influencers need to pay their mortgage, so the temptation for them to sell out must be way more difficult that it is for me.
When I buy clothing it is with the thought that will own it for a while. I will take the very best care of it that I can. That even includes tailoring and repairs. It can mean altering when I tire of it so I will enjoy it for many more years. This is how I was raised. This is includes expensive items and not so expensive items that are valuable to me!! I don’t understand women getting rid of lots of items to just keep shopping because their style changed. This is just plain wasteful!! Find a home for your things when you release them!! I don’t mean just donate but find people who need them. The single mom at church struggling etc. Be responsible!!
We have to be so mindful of what happens to clothes we donate That is something I am still learning about. Much better to buy quality that lasts, and wear for years.
I did mention Allyssa in a previous post. I’m happy to hear you are following her.
I’ve been unfollowing many blogs & instagrams recently. The constant try on hauls is just a way to line their pockets. I’m sure they only keep a small portion of those try ones while their followers drink the kook aid. I followed one blogger because I loved her three or five ways to wear one piece and loved her mixing of colours and pattern. She was fresh and enjoyable to read. But, her format has changed to constant Amazon hauls plus other sponsors. I will be unsubscribing.
I do follow Emma. She is a breathe of fresh air. She buys quality garments and keeps them. She does buy many pieces secondhand. It’s good to give an already purchased piece new life instead of buying new yourself. I shop consignment and thrift stores first and only resort to purchasing new if I just can’t find what I’m looking for to fill that gap in my wardrobe.
Another excellent post, Sue
Was it you who told me about Alysssa? I’ve been following her for a couple of years now. She seems lovely. Thanks for the recommendation.
Strangely, I didn’t know any of the “influencers” you highlighted, but I did go and look at their pages. To me, still a lot of “new”, even if it’s preowned “stuff”. How many black bags does one woman need to own? It still promotes consumerism, in my mind. I know this is how they earn their living – so it’s not something I want to criticize necessarily, but we ALL need to learn to live lighter on the planet. Thank you for your always thoughtful and informative posts – your book posts are my favorite and you’ve given both my husband me, so many great mystery authors we’d never have heard of without you.
I like that phrase, “live lighter” Kathy. I agree.
Glad you know about Signe in Denmark. A really admirable young woman.
Your journey to sustainability in clothing has been influencing this clothes horse for a while now. I love your posts, as they are so honest and authentic. The system I have developed, and which works for me, is to change what is hanging in the closet every four or five months. This is more frequently than I used to do the swap. I will say that I am very lucky to have room to store many of the items that are not in my current rotation. My closet stays relatively small and easy to access, and changing clothes out seasonably, allows me to reach for clothing choices that feel fresh and new, even when they aren’t. I too have unfollowed many influencers, and have deleted store email accounts so as not to fall prey to the temptation of frequent sales. Keep on inspiring me.
Thanks, Cosette. I like the idea of changing out what’s in your closet every once in a while. A huge closet with all the clothes I own no matter the season would just be too much for me. I like having pared down options.
I follow a bunch of home Instagrammers/bloggers, and they’ve all been doing their “Gift Guides” for the holidays – many with multiple days! – and this year, more than ever, it’s rubbed me so very wrong. To the extent that I don’t even open those blog posts or click on the links. I know part of it is that I’m in Portugal now and it’s pretty hard to purchase a lot of this stuff, but more than that is the “stuff” aspect of it all. None of us need more stuff, I imagine we’re all pretty well stuffed up, and having done a major purge of “stuff” I’ve collected over the years, I’m enjoying a somewhat slimmed down lifestyle.
I got a kick of Alyssa Beltempo’s outfit in the picture above, though. Because I looked at it and thought, “I have the pieces to recreate this in my wardrobe.” Not the over-the-knee boots, but all the rest, and I’m thinking it might be my Thanksgiving outfit this year, or perhaps a Christmas brunch look.
Bottom line though is that I’m feeling exactly what you’re feeling right now – all the emphasis on “buy buy buy” is a huge turn-off in the current zeitgeist, and feels positively tone deaf. Probably time to clean my Instagram feed a bit, just like a good closet clearing.
Same about the gift guides – rubbing me so wrong.
Add me to the list. . . . gift guides emphasize the anxiety, to my mind, that accompanies the obligation to give and to get the giving right. And too often they are too obviously just a thinly veiled piece of advertising.
Ha. I like that analogy, Carol. My IG feed needs a good closet cleaning as well. Ditto on the gift guides. Enough already. Next up… all the many, many “My Black Friday picks.”
Thanks for this post, I too have unfollowed a few of the “influencers” I was following. They just kept posting their latest “hauls” , one was only posting about jeans and tops. I live a casual life but, sometimes I need/want something a tad more upscale. I needed to up my game, buy great fitting and looking slacks, blouses, and sweaters. Unfortunately I wasn’t find the inspiration I was looking for with several of these bloggers. But, I finally found SusanAfter60, and just like that I was inspired to buy more classic styles which is my comfort zone anyway. Susan preaches buying less and buying lasting classic styles which you will wear for years. Trending styles are addressed with the advice to buy a belt, scarf, or maybe some jewelry, or a top you know will not be an investment for your closet. Buying clothes that can be mixed and matched is also a theme. Buy what you need to fill a hole in your wardrobe.
It’s good when we find someone whose style and approach matches our own, isn’t it?
Your excellent post has clearly resonated with many women. Girls absorb messages from a variety of sources that they are not enough, not good enough, not pretty enough, not thin enough and on it goes. Often women overbuy to make themselves feel better, in an effort to become enough. Overbuying can also be a search for identity. When you, Frances and others write about women’s identity and struggles related to self-acceptance, with honesty and openness, you are helping to change the overbuying mindset, perhaps even more so than when you write directly about acquiring and managing our clothes.
Thanks for that, Maria. 🙂
I started reading various “women of a certain age” blogs a year or so before I retired. Having lived in scrubs and/or a lab coat for many years I felt distant from current ‘looks’ so I subscribed to several that ‘spoke’ to me. Big mistake! Most were not speakin’ my language at all. I tallied up a recent ‘influencer’s’ European shopping spree purchases only to be horrified that it was into the thousands of USD’s (a hella lot more clams in CDND’s!!) Its so exasperating…every blog post is ‘dernier cri’ and a list of links that take one to expensive emporiums to purchase the 400.00 sneakers etc. Recently I read a blog(nothing to do with fashion) where the writer commented she was under the weather and apologized that her current blog would be more of a ‘link dump’ …..got me thinking! I started adding the links in some influencer blogs and WOW more LINK DUMP then content!! Working hard or hardly working??
Anyway, I have plenty of clothes (more than I need) so I am looking at restyling some items, taking my husband’s advice “ever heard of a tailor?” Checking out You Tube videos on dyeing cashmere sweaters (it’s not that difficult’) I just shake my head at the privilege that I see in some of these blogs, the unrelenting message of buy,buy,buy…BUT lately I am noticing a bit of a push back from readers, some are getting tired of over the top consumerism or maybe its the ‘my Attends are twisted’ gotta pee posing thats getting them to react. Readers are COMMENTING on the $$$purchases and asking about fave clothing items that appeared last season! Are people waking up and smelling the coffee (insert link to Starbucks:)
It all makes me feel like that sad pilgrim cake on SNL last night…I won’t ‘link dump’ here because it might offend a reader but check it out on Twitter or YouTube (Thanksgiving Baking Championship SNL Saturday Nov 20)
Anyway there is hope when my twenty something thrift savvy DIL tells us to put Christmas gift money into education accounts. Toys & clothing come from thrift, FB marketplace or used from friends. Stuff gets rotated regularly so no buildup, no boredom and she’s found some amazing treasures too. I had a doctor friend who did the same with her family, her motto..spend money & time on experiences not stuff.
Thank you for something interesting to ‘chew’ on this overcast Sunday…
I don’t mind paying a premium price for something I love. I have enough Stuart Weitzman boots and Max Mara jackets to make that fact undeniable. But it’s the overconsumption that gets me. That’s why I haven’t bought a tweed jacket in years and years. I have several. And don’t “need” any more.
AINSIVALAVIE — I am totally with you and with Sue on this post and these comments. Yes! Thanks for this important discussion.
I believe that I also followed the “Influencer” you mentioned who recently returned from Europe with a huge haul and I was so dismayed in the excessive consumption.
Thanks for chiming in, Lisa. Btw … I think that was Anisivalavie who mentioned an influencer and their European shopping… not me.
So, interesting follow up… that ‘influencer’ I referred to posted on Monday that they will be trying to
listen to readers about restyling past items of clothing, being more mindful of novelty vs sustainability…implying they had reached their ‘fill line’. I am not sure I buy the sudden pivot but…maybe they also have awakened to a strong espresso because losing subscribers = loss of advertisers and r.style income…no one is denying them a living just walk the talk. The times they are a changin’…
This sure has given me some food for thought. And timely too…I, like some of your other readers, have been culling some influencer blogs from my email feed because I feel sold to all of the time. And some because they have, in my opinion, lost all sense of their original style in favor of daily posts of different clothes. I’m a little slow in coming to this table as I would categorize myself as an over consumer right now….however, the spark of change is ignited. And a new excitement and challenge is afoot!
Good for you, Cynthia. So glad you are excited and challenged! Let us know how you get on.
Preach it, sister! You’ve put so many of my own thoughts into words today. In fact, I’ve been working on a similar blog post for the past while. I despise the word “haul” as it applies to shopping and fashion! Like several others here, I’m in the process of weeding out some of the fashion bloggers or “influencers” that I’ve been following. Some of them seem to have become nothing more than advertising arms for the retailers that they represent and I can no longer handle the excess that they promote. Just today, one blogger included a photo of one section of her closet containing 28 long sleeved button down shirts! 28! Why would any woman need 28 shirts? Another brags about how many clothes she orders online, does photo shoots in, and then returns. Has she no idea that much of what she returns ends up in the landfill? Or doesn’t she care? I much prefer bloggers like you and Frances who love fashion, but who also share other aspects of your lives with us.
Putting my convictions into action, I’m presently just over two weeks into a self-imposed “six items or less” clothing fast. For an entire month, I’m wearing only six items from my closet. Socks, underwear, pyjamas, workout wear, footwear, and outerwear are not included in the six and unlimited accessories are permitted. My six pieces include three tops, two pairs of pants, and one cardigan. Boring? Yes, but also enlightening. There are pieces in my closet that I miss; that I find myself yearning to put on in the morning, but there are others that don’t call out to me at all. I’ll probably do another closet purge when this is over and move some of those ones out.
Ooh. What a great idea, Elaine. A clothing fast. Bet it will make you hungry for the other pieces in your closet. Like packing light for a long trip and longing for the other bits in your closet when you are away. But without the travelling. 🙂
Bravo on a truly wonderful post.I have stopped reading blogs where there is the message that you need to buy,buy,buy, especially when there are sales,etc. Also these bloggers and IG “influencers” “buy”so much that I find it so excessive.I know they get gifted items and get a kickback, but I have had enough of them.The ones who have had their “colours” were the first I unfollowed and stopped reading.
Sue you are real ,and like me, you appreciate what you have and think about your purchases.Thanks again for a well written and thoughtful read.Cheers from Melbourne.
Ooops….meant to write “colours” done.
Thanks, Julie. Hope all is well in Melbourne. I saw a couple of days ago that all Covid restrictions have been lifted in Victoria. Fingers are crosed. 🙂
Yes all restrictions have been eased and we have a very high vaccination rate.It’s great to do “normal” things again.
While at the beach this weekend, we stopped at an outlet center as DH needed a pair of trousers to replace ones that are fraying–not in a good way. He found a pair and then told me to have a look around as I’d been trying to find a heavier cardigan for winter. What absolutely floored me was the number of people in stores like JCrew Factory and Banana Republic Outlet who were lined up 30 people deep at the checkouts–each with armloads of clothing. It was shocking to me. Clearly, folks haven’t learned restraint in the time of Covid. If anything, gross consumption is the name of the game. I couldn’t get out of the stores (and center) fast enough. It actually made me feel a bit sick.
I’d be the same, Mary. I’d be knocking people over in my need to escape. Figuratively speaking, of course. I can’t stand to shop in a crowd. I can’t make good decisions and end up leaving with nothing. I recently read an article of a woman who found herself feeling, like you, almost physically sick when shopping for the first time after a Covid lockdown.
I am also in agreement with your post and the feedback it’s generating. I prefer to to follow posts about “life” with some fashion included. Or the “dressing room diaries” type which can display the clothing without showing the “look what I can buy” posts. I also can’t fathom dropping thousands on someone else’s ideas of my colours/personality.
I’ve been a bit remiss on the “life” posts this fall, I think. 🙂
The topic of consumerism and influencers is one that I’ve wanted to tackle for a while and I don’t think that I could have said it any better. I’ve tended to pass by the “haul” posts of the IG accounts I follow and I simply cannot understand the appeal of clothes shopping on Amazon. But the struggle is finding blogs and SM accounts that are truly invested in the idea of providing inspiration rather than lining their own pockets. Yours is one of the few and for that, I am thankful.
I love Signe Hansen. Recently I’ve reduced my YouTube and Instagram viewing to people who outfit repeat. Especially ones who give tips on how to curate the wardrobe that I already have, The biggest eye opener is when I started journaling my outfits and broke it down into what I actually wear, my style needs and personality. A YouTuber named Val Kovalchuk has given me the best tips on decluttering, finding your style, and building a wardrobe to suit your needs rather than your fantasy self. It’s a quiet channel, but that’s what I like. Her suggestions aren’t overwhelming, but take a slow gradual process to finding a wardrobe that works for you. Unfortunately finding inspiration from women our age, except for you is near to impossible. It’s buy, buy, buy,… and I really dislike gift guides. My family gives less and less gifts each year.
I will look for Val Kovalchuk on YouTube. Thanks for the recommendation, Robyn. My friend Krista, who I did a post on last year, keeps a wardrobe journal. She finds it really helps her.
Thank you for writing this. I agree with so many of your commenters. My extra peeve is the message that we’re all empowered now blah blah – women have thrown away the rule book – wear blue with green, jeans at any age etc but underneath this the message is – woe betide you if you wear ballet flats not loafers or the wrong shape trousers or handbag or whatever the current fashion is. Not that I don’t want to stay current and I love some blogs and Instagram but there’s so much insidious pressure- and temptation.
And… pretty soon the loafers will look wrong and the ballet flats just right. 🙂
Everything has been said here already but just to let you know Sue I am so with you on this.
Exactly! How many pairs of jeans, shoes etc can one “influencer” need? The ones who recombine the items they already have are far more appealing.
A story about really slow fashion – my MIL had a lovely wool suit she didn’t wear much so she cut it up and made a beautiful winter coat for my daughter, her granddaughter. I am about to pass it on to my granddaughter. One suit lasting four generations.
Love that four generation coat. Such a great story, Kenzie.
This is why I’m still reading your blog. I’ve dropped almost every other blogger of a certain age for the very reason they’re no longer writing about their own closets, but brands with which they have relationships.
I despise the term “influencer” as it pertains to the social media vernacular. I keep imagining my sixteen year old self being told I could grow up to “influence” people to shop (which, let’s face it, is just another way of teaching people to be dissatisfied with themselves and their lives). She’d have been equally mystified and horrified.
I also gag at the word “drop”. As in, “Such-and-such brand’s next big drop happens next Thursday”. The endless cycle of replenishment on the carousel of excess. As if the fashion industry isn’t one of the greatest sources of waste on the planet. More specifically, women’s and children’s fashions. This is on us, and we’re the ones who need to decide if we’re just going to carry on as usual, preaching about climate change and the catastrophe we’re leaving for our grandchildren to clean up while enthusiastically, maniacally, compulsively supporting one of the dirtiest industries in the world.
I applaud you for writing this post and for the values you espouse. Keep this up and I’ll be with you for a long, long time.
Thanks, Lianne. You have said it much better than I did. It IS on us… on all of us… to do our bit.
I so agree! I have been turned off for quite a while by the bloggers that advocate excessive buying of clothing, household items and new furniture. The gift guides are a prime example. Of course I want to dress well and look up to date in my 60s but I can do that without constantly buying. I do some shopping at consignment stores. I think most of us find ourselves wearing the same few pieces most of the time. The holiday season puts more pressure on us to buy, buy, buy! With the pandemic, we couldn’t socialize but we could still shops on line. Shopping on line makes it so easy. I plan to enjoy some simple things this holiday season, writing cards, entertaining on a small scale, enjoying family and spending time outdoors. Wishing you and your readers a peaceful and simple holiday season!
Thanks, Catherine. Same to you. 🙂
All I can say is “ditto” to the previous remarks. I particularly agree with the person who commented on a blogger who got rid of many pieces of clothing that no longer suited her “new colors.” Agree that the old look was preferable to the new colors on her.
I’m very pleased to read this post.
Actually , it’s the first time I’ve seen someone address this bizarre topic !!
I’ve followed a few posts that were interesting bloggers. Then, they would decide to monetize their post. Always claiming it wouldn’t digress into a strictly “ selling “ platform. It mostly did ….
I’d always eventually have to unfollow due to the change in the nature of the writing. It just wasn’t interesting topics anymore.
Thanks for writing this piece. And , wring fun posts. With beautiful photos.
I love cool outfits post you write too !!
And , by the way everyone, I’m also fine with posts that do have an aspect of getting products out there that they love and a fee for doing so. !
I’m only disappointed with posts digressing into consumer machines.
Thanks for informing of other great posters Sue.
Thanks for the vote of confidence, Margaret Anne. Much appreciated.
Comments are closed.