Style blogs have been central to my daily routine since I was in middle school, a time when MySpace was still relevant and bloggers were not granted front row seats at fashion week. Those humble beginnings, as we now know, would transform rapidly and turn the act of blogging into a viable career path. Mostly, this transition has been exciting to watch—a lot more work goes into these websites than often meets the eye, and many of these voices wholly deserve the recognition they now receive. As the elite fashion world began opening their arms to this fresh crew of critics and influencers, fashion itself began to feel more accessible. Today, most of the blogs that I started out reading have grown into full-blown media platforms, with entire teams running the backend. It makes sense from a business standpoint, but I can’t help but wonder if some of the original allure has been lost in the process of blog expansion.
While most style blogs began with highly personal, unedited snapshots of a persons life and generally low-budget wardrobe, they are now curated to a T—with the emphasis less on personal style and more on click-worthy, sponsored content. Pricey designer items have taken the place of more relatable selections, both because of the bloggers’ increased revenue and their myriad brand partnerships. It’s fair to say that blogs now have a prettier filter, a la Instagram, with less room for error or candid personal stories. The top influencers simply have too much to lose by being 100% authentic—they are no longer just hobbyists, but living, breathing brands.
A prime example of this is the trajectory of Leandra Medine's Man Repeller blog, where the original focus on her and her quirky outfits has become a minor piece within the now much broader platform for womens interests. Chiara Ferragni of The Blonde Salad has experienced perhaps the most striking transformation—so much so that a class at Harvard is now analyzing her path to success. While she too was once merely posting snapshots from her life, she now has her own company as well as a lucrative shoe line that's responsible for the bulk of her projected $7 million income. These are big adjustments, sure, but is it fair to say that things were better before? I immediately think of Kelly Framel’s transformation of The Glamourai, which resulted in a site whose stream of fashion editorials is more enticing, and more prolific, than many found in magazines today. Not to mention the success of bloggers like Elin Kling and Rumi Neely which has given us clothing lines that are not just well designed, but well made.
So where does that leave us, their oldest fans? Well, we’re in a tough spot. I would never knock the choices these bloggers have made—if you’re not growing with the times, you risk losing your relevance. But, with a few exceptions, I find myself revisiting original favorites less and less as they change. I can’t help but wax nostalgic about an online world where things were rough around the edges and more in tune with real life. Maybe the answer is not to go back, but to move forward with a bit of the past in mind—we can always get gloss from magazines, so it would be nice if the web maintained a little less sheen.
Scroll down to see how our favorite bloggers have changed over the years!
How do YOU feel about style blogs changing over time? Let us know in the comments!