I read a lot of fashion “news” as a result of my career as a Costume Designer and as the Clothes Editor here on xoJane.
I put the word "news" in quotes because if you’ve read any amount of fashion media recently, you pretty much know why. A lot of it seems aimed at someone I don’t identify with, and it’s hard to find anything new/useful/interesting/out of the ordinary that you can actually apply straight to your own life and wardrobe.
I’m all about plugging newfound knowledge straight into your everyday existence. Fashion in particular is supposed to make your life better! So I end up visiting way more personal fashion blogs than straight editorial fashion websites in order to get inspiration.
I would be the very worst fashion blogger of all time. Not only do I pretty exclusively only wear crappy T-shirts, I absolutely despise having my picture taken.
If I had a personal fashion blog and you had the misfortune to be a reader of it, you’d be treated to endless photos like this one:
Which I realize is truly terrifying, but I only like dumb-looking pictures of myself. Plus I’ve already written about how my in-house photographer is my boyfriend, who loves to take photos of me with my mouth open.
So now we know why I never became a fashion blogger myself.
Here are my fave style blogs right now in no particular order:
1) My Style Diaries -- Nikki Minton
Nikki's blog is really straightforward and full of flawless styling suggestions. I like that Nikki mixes photos of her own daily wardrobe in with pages that show styling options for how to wear current trendy items you may already own or be thinking of purchasing.
Seeing nothing but a blogger’s own self in an endless parade of similar outfits often tires me out. A lot of Nikki's posts are geared toward ideas of what to wear to specific events such as a bachelorette party, a wedding or a weekend at the county fair. I think a lot of people are stumped as to what's appropriate for various occasions, and Nikki does an immaculate job of giving clean, classic, interesting ideas. Her style reminds me of our own lovely Madeline's: colorful, snappy, spunky and polished!
2) Stylish Curves -- Alissa Wilson
I have no idea how I came across Alissa’s blog. Most likely thru some drunken 4am Internet surfing, but I am so glad I did. She and I are polar opposites visually, but I get an unbelievable amount of inspiration from looking at how she dresses herself.
Alissa is proof that all you were taught about dressing as a plus size woman should be thrown out the window. Prints? Color? Sleeveless? DON’T MIND IF I DO.
In addition to featuring her own outfits, Alissa highlights reader styles and looks she loves from curvy celebrity babes. Her site is also a really expert shopping resource for fresh plus-size fashions.
I thought about Alissa and Stylish Curves yesterday after reading Ty’s piece about Independent Fashion Blogger’s recently posted "hints" to bloggers who don't fit into mainstream beauty ideals. (They were pretty clearly referring to minorities and persons of size.) IFB posited that perhaps these bloggers would get more readers if they would just make “a serious commitment to higher-quality content.”
Why couldn’t IFB have instead held up Stylish Curves as a perfect example of someone putting in the hard work and providing useful content? In their diatribe on why bloggers who don’t fit the classic “thin, white, pretty” mold don’t get the attention they deserve, they overlooked a golden opportunity to spotlight those who are in fact breaking said mold.
3) Slow Burn, Fast Burn -- Lauren Williams
Lauren’s blog is a dreamy mix of her own outfit posts and beautiful inspiration photos. She really has a great eye and knows how to manipulate mood and feeling with photos. The girl is a born editor.
I love the ethereal stream of consciousness feeling that runs through her pages; it’s like being a fly on the wall of her mind. When she posts an outfit, she gives you the backstory of how she came to put it together plus a little glimpse of what’s going on in her life.
Lauren definitely has a tough but sweet edge to both her personal style and her editorial posts:
4) The Curvy Fashionista -- Marie Denee
Our very own Marianne Kirby turned me on to Marie’s blog. The Curvy Fashionista resembles a classic magazine format more than almost any blog I’ve seen. She turns out brilliant articles on fashion and style, health and beauty, fashion events, interviews with celebs, and smart shopping/sale alerts. Plus she has amazing hair.
Marie excels at giving readers the sort of useful information that I believe every consumer of fashion media is desperately looking for and can actually use. For example, her post on boots that fit those with wide calves is revelatory -- I already ordered 2 pairs that she suggested for a hard-to-fit actress on the show I’m doing.
This is another way I use fashion blogs -- I personally have a lot of innate knowledge of where to find almost any clothing, shoe or accessory, but when I’m clueless, there is always a clever blogger out there who specializes in exactly what I’m looking for. Bloggers like Marie give practical, first-hand knowledge and advice that readers can use to make their lives better.
Stop laughing!! As you may know from my Target post, I love to find cute clothes at the same place I shop for floor cleaner. Kmart has become another one of my haunts for affordable clothes that are on-trend but don’t SCREAM trendy. Plus you can ruin your clothes and not sweat it. I am a big clothes-ruiner.
I stumbled onto Kmart's fashion blog completely by accident. It sounds so ridiculous -- but they have surprisingly well edited ideas of how to work some Kmart fashions that aren’t totally cringe-worthy.
I’ve bought quite a few crazily inexpensive summer dresses at Kmart -- and gotten a ridiculous amount of compliments on them:
I totally own that blue flowered combo tube dress/skirt. And no, that's not a typo, it really is $11.19! I love it so much, I bought two. I almost always ditch the belt that comes with a cheaper dress like these and replace it with something of a higher quality. Madeline did this with great aplomb when she switched the buttons on her Forever 21 cardigan for something richer. One fancy detail makes a cheap item look stellar.
Honorable mention: Racked.com
I also always keep an eye on what’s crackin’ at Racked.com. The idea of a website about "shopping intelligence" seemed slightly inane to me at first, but I’ve found myself becoming a daily reader. They do a great job of alerting readers about new stores, sample sales, designer collaborations and insider snippets about your favorite fashion stars.
Obviously there are thousands of other bloggers doing great work that deserve individual notice. I couldn’t list them all here, even if Emily let me take over the entirety of xoJane for 2 full weeks with nothing but links to awesome fashion blogs! Let me know whom else I should check out, and I’ll keep featuring them periodically.
Happy web surfing, babes.
I'm on Twitter: @IveyAlison