The Top Style Bloggers Who Were WAY Ahead of Their Time

Who What Wear is turning 10 this year! To celebrate our #WWW10 milestone, we’re looking back at the past decade of style.

It's hard to believe that the profession of fashion blogging was in its infancy at this time 10 years ago. It was a very different business back then, and bloggers didn't have much besides their homepages at their disposal for making their mark. It was a simpler time, with a less crowded marketplace, minimal social media options, and a sense of the unknown.

As one of the fashion industry careers that's changed the most over the past decade, we're seizing the opportunity to take a look back at the brave souls who started it all, paving the way for hundreds of aspiring bloggers to come. Perhaps the most interesting thing about looking back at the first style blogs and where they started to where they are today is that they all began with nothing but a camera and a dream (and a killer sense of style, of course), and now oversee highly profitable full-fledged brands.

Read on to join us in our journey back to where the business of style blogging all began, focusing on 10 top bloggers who paved the way. 

Long before she was an actress, then–11-year-old Tavi Gevinson started her blog Style Rookie in 2008. Her witty commentary on the fashion industry and eclectic sense of style (let's call it grandma chic) led to the young blogger's placement on the front row of fashion shows, a rarity at the time. While Style Rookie is still active, it mostly serves as a source for updates on Gevinson's life and career. Gevinson took the success of the blog and from there founded the teenager-geared Rookie Magazine. Gevinson serves as editor in chief of the online magazine and book series, and spends much of her time acting in films and on Broadway. At just 20 years old, Gevinson has proven that blogging can open up doors beyond the fashion industry.

Shop our Tavi Gevinson–inspired pick:

Channel Gevinson's eclectic style with a quirky-cool accessory.

When it comes to the OGs, Bryanboy founder Bryan Yambao is credited as one of the first to have ever held the title of style blogger. Yambao started his blog at the age of 24, and to this day, he's still a constant front-row fixture at fashion week.  Blogging was a natural arena for Yambao to enter, as a fashion-obsessed former web developer. The Philippines native quickly rose to fame upon starting his blog in 2004 and now has over 600K Instagram followers, a Marc Jacobs bag named after him, a slew of fans, and one of the most influential blogs in the marketplace. His flashy, designer-fueled signature style makes him a favorite of street style photographers.

Yambao has been dripping in Gucci these days.

Since starting her blog The Blonde Salad in 2009, now–29-year-old Chiara Ferragni is widely known as the single most successful, influential fashion blogger ever, with over 6 million Instagram followers and a reported yearly income of $8 million. Ferragni, who hails from Milan and is now based in Los Angeles (although she frequently travels), employs an editorial team to run The Blonde Salad these days, and serves as creative director of her successful shoe and accessories line Chiara Ferragni Collection. Ferragni has graced the cover of countless fashion magazines, collaborated with countless brands, starred in countless campaigns, and is practically a household name at this point. She's the poster child for style blogger success stories.

Do as Ferragni does and wear this under cutoff denim shorts.

London-based Susie Lau launched her blog Style Bubble in 2006 as a place to document her wildly unique outfits, which still serve as some of the highlights of fashion week street style. Her colorful, artistic blog is still regularly updated, but has more of an editorial feel to it these days, in keeping with the style blogging industry norms. Lau is a risk taker who has earned the respect of the fashion industry. She's now one of the most recognized names and faces in the blogging industry and has gained much insight into the workings of the fashion world over the years.

These embroidered jeans are irresistible. Lau would wear them well.

Emily Schuman started her blog Cupcakes and Cashmere in 2008 after a stint at Condé Nast as "a way to document the things she loved," according to her site. The success of Schuman's specific, accessible aesthetic eventually developed into a full-fledged brand with books, a clothing line, and a slew carefully selected collaborations. Cupcakes and Cashmere now operates as a lifestyle blog with the always-relatable Schuman at its center. Unlike many of her fellow bloggers, Schuman avoids the fashion week scene and the ubiquitous blogger trips that are regularly splashed all over Instagram, instead focusing on her business and family at home in Los Angeles.

Shop our Emily Schuman–inspired pick:

Schuman would throw this wardrobe staple on over a feminine dress.

Garance Doré is the definition of a multihyphenate. The French illustrator, author, and photographer runs her namesake blog, which she refers to as a "visual diary." Doré was at the forefront of the blogging profession, having launched Garance Doré back in 2006. She's gone on to pen a New York Times bestselling book, Love Style Life, and has a successful ongoing stationary and gift collection with Rifle Paper Co. featuring her signature style of minimalistic illustrations. The New York Times referred to her as "one of blogdom's most compelling storytellers."

A touch of metallic kicks these classic sneakers up a notch.

Leandra Medine and her Man Repeller brand has become one of the most recognizable, influential voices in the blogging industry. Its refreshingly humorous tone and Medine's eclectic, distinctive approach to fashion turned it into a success story. It all began in 2009 when Medine first tried her hand at blogging with Boogers + Bagels, which she followed up with the launch of Man Repeller in 2010. In addition to being a trendsetting street style star, Medine now oversees an editorial team at Man Repeller, which remains in keeping with her signature tone while covering everything from style to feminism. 

Shop our Leandra Medine–inspired pick:

Medine never met a pair of quirky socks she didn't like.

Dallas-based blogger Jane Aldridge launched Sea of Shoes in 2008 as a high schooler. Since its inception, she's stuck to outfit posts shot in detail as opposed to the editorial feel that many bloggers have turned to in recent years, and she intentionally avoids attending fashion week. As a testament to her early success, Aldridge was the first-ever style blogger to make her debut at the Crillon Ball in Paris in 2009, an exclusive debutante ball for socialites and royalty.

Aldridge is a longtime endorser of the Victorian trend.

Quintessential California blogger Rumi Neely began her foray into the blogging world in 2008, with Fashion Toast, which she regularly updates to this day. Her blog now primarily serves as a promotional platform for her successful clothing and accessories line, Are You Am I (Kendall Jenner is a fan). Neely has frequently collaborated with high-profile brands over the years and is known for her signature sultry style (and pose).

Behold one of Neely's most popular designs.

Tina Craig launched Bag Snob along with fellow handbag-obsessed friend Kelly Cook in 2005, while still in business school. The blogs success led to a slew of lucrative partnerships (i.e. Cartier) and a handbag line with HSN. Bag Snob has solidified its place as a leader in the arena of blogs with a specific focus and now operates under the Snob Essentials umbrella, which also covers footwear, apparel, beauty, and lifestyle. Craig was one of the first to utilize affiliate links. 

Fittingly, Craig is known for always having a statement bag on her arm.

Who is your favorite OG style blogger? Tell us in the comments below!

Opening Image: Getty Images