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13 Nov

exposing blogger politics & promoting togetherness.

i want to start off by saying right off the bat that i feel so lucky to be able to be living my dream of being a fashion blogger and i will never take that for granted. the blogger world is never something i would talk bad about considering it’s allowed me to live the life of my dreams. since i was a freshman in high school and started taking style seriously and learning more about fashion, it was my goal to somehow make a career in this industry. i remember when i started following my first blogger obsessions, cupcakes and cashmere and atlantic-pacific. over time, i found other style bloggers who i would follow and read up on consistently. what started as an interest became a lifestyle for me and now i’m fortunate enough to actually have a fashion blog of my own that people care to read and follow along. i’m truly blessed!

another point i want to make clear is that i have met so many amazing fellow fashion bloggers who i’ve personally seen are just as beautiful on the inside as everyone else sees they are on the outside. some of these blogger ladies have become close friends and confidants. a perfect example of this is when i moved to san francisco. i hardly knew anyone, but the blogger community instantly allowed me to meet talented and creative women who were kind and inviting. there are a handful of blogger girls i could name off right now {Tamryn from Wannabe Fashion Blogger & Veronica from Lombard & Fifth} who are every bit as kind as they are stylish and beautiful, and that really means a lot to me.

today i’m getting real about blogger politics. i want to talk openly about a lot of unsettling things i’ve noticed being a blogger who has been to countless events and met countless bloggers. this is something that has been on my mind for a very long time. considering i’ve been blogging for 3+ years, you could say it’s been on my mind for that long. note, i’m not trying to be mean to anyone in particular with this post, my only goal is to be open and honest about my experiences in hopes that a constructive and thought-provoking dialogue can take place. also, because i believe that pointing out a problem without offering a solution is just whiny, i have pointed out the biggest issues and offered what i think would help make it better. i’m not an expert in psychology or social interactions, but i think revealing these prevalent problems and talking about them constructively could help.

mean girls

if there is one overall theme that i’ve found in my interactions with a lot of bloggers, it’s that there is a very palpable high-school-mean-girls-can’t-sit-at-our-table type vibe. maybe it’s just personality differences and they aren’t meaning to come across like that, but considering i run into it time and time again in different settings at different events with different bloggers, i doubt it’s just my perception. i’ve talked about this with some of my other blogger friends and they said they’ve felt the exact same way. for some reason, the blogger community can sometimes feel like an extension of high school girl drama. i’ve gone to events where every eye in the room fixates on me when i walk in and vigorously scans my outfit, my shoes, my bag, and my body. no one introduces themselves, and when i break out of my comfort zone to strike up conversation with someone, i may as well be talking to a brick wall with fake eyelashes. rather than letting loose and enjoying an event with like-minded ladies, i’ve encountered many bloggers who stick tightly to the two or three girls they came with or already know, and act like they’d rather vomit than have a friendly chat.

the solution? be friendly! when you’re at an event, just accept that everyone feels a little uncomfortable in large social settings and help each other relax! as soon as that first person introduces themselves or you compliment someone’s shoes, it gets so much easier to bring others into the conversation circle or introduce your new acquaintance to someone you’ve already met, and then it’s like a chain reaction of interaction happening. it’s natural to be shy or reserved around people you don’t know, especially when it’s a room full of gorgeous ladies in just as gorgeous outfits. just ask robbie, i’m infamous for going beet red when i am meeting someone new for the first time and feel like i’m on the spot. but even flashing others a smile and saying a quick hi can remove the stuffiness in a room and make it a more pleasant experience for everyone.

your success lessens mine.

this is such a huge belief in the blogger world and it’s one that makes no sense to me. it’s the mentality that says if you succeed then i have failed, that there is not enough room for both of us, so better me than you. this attitude became the most apparent to me when i started preparing for my first trip to New York Fashion Week. i was so excited to be at the point in my blogging career where i could make this trip that i had been dreaming about since high school. as i wrote in my first NYFW guide post, i’ve had a bucket list for many years and ‘attend new york fashion week’ was one of the first things i put on it. it really was a dream come true that i was finally doing it for real. however, as i started the long and tedious process months in advance of preparing for the big trip to the big apple–events, shows, outfits, lodging, meetings, food, transportation, etc.– i noticed a very real coldness when i reached out to fellow bloggers who had been before.

the funny thing is that many of these were small to mid-size bloggers who had only been once themselves. yet, when i asked them for help or for more information or even to go with their group of ladies, i was essentially brushed off. very early when i was still only tentatively planning on going to NYFW, i messaged one blogger i interact with frequently if i could go with their group of girls. i received a dismissive response.

perhaps the most discouraging experience i had was messaging another blogger who i’ve always seen as equal considering we’ve always had around the same following and has been a good, healthy marker for me. we used to DM each other frequently about all sorts of things and had a good social media relationship. yet, when i asked her for some helpful tips to learn more about what i should know going to NYFW for the first time, i received replies that were dripping in condescension and honestly hurtful. i specifically remember her saying something like, “since you’re a smaller blogger you probably won’t get into big shows and will have to attend shows for companies that you’re not very familiar with.”  she made me feel discouraged and small, and i’ll be vulnerable in saying that it ruined the rest of my day after that conversation. i was so mad and sad. i was so excited to go to Fashion Week and my enthusiasm and earnest knowledge-seeking was temporarily knocked down by someone who had only been to fashion week once but wanted to make me feel like she was better because of it. rather than helping me out, i was made to feel like i was being a bother and that i wasn’t good enough.

the solution here is that we need to realize that another woman’s success doesn’t affect yours at all. there is more than enough room for all of us to succeed and get a piece of the pie. i just talked about my negative experience getting ready for NYFW, but i also had incredibly positive ones as well. i met some very genuine and real girl bosses who were very helpful and instantly swapped contacts with me. i ended up going to Fashion Week with a few of these driven ladies {love you, Two Peas in a Prada}, and it made all the difference. in preparing for the trip, i paid it forward by helping several other bloggers who reached out to me in sharing my contacts to get into shows and events. because i had seen the ugly side of bloggers who will keep information to themselves and decide who is worthy of a simple phone number or email address, rather than letting the brand decide who they invite, i was determined to be the exact opposite. if you are a blogger and you’re reading this, i will always be more than happy to swap contacts with you. i firmly believe that as women who are building brands, we should all support each other and have each other’s backs. save the cattiness for your high school homecoming drama. we are powerful women who need to stand together in order to be fully empowered.

fake it ’til you…fake it.

ask any blogger and they’ll say the biggest sin/taboo in this game is buying followers and likes. however, many secretly do it. i know several bloggers who buy likes on their photos, especially now that the Instagram algorithm has severely cut into engagement. the fact is everyone’s likes are down. i was at a restaurant event and met a fellow SF blogger for the first time. we were talking about Instagram engagement and i asked her if she noticed her likes were down with the new algorithm change. she replied positively, “oh totally. anyone who says their likes aren’t down is lying.” that was so refreshing for me to hear. neither of us were pretending like we were something we weren’t, we were just talking about the highs and lows of blogging.

i don’t know if bloggers think they’re being sneaky, but it’s very easy to see when a photo jumps from 50 to 500 likes in just a few minutes. or when you see a photo on your feed at night with 300 likes and the next morning it has suddenly leaped to over 1,000+ likes. what frustrates me about this is what i said earlier about those bloggers who are a good, healthy marker for me. when a girl starts out around the same time as me or has about the same amount of followers as me, i frequently look to them for inspiration and also to see if i’m progressing like i want to be. it’s healthy competition, nothing more. so when i notice these bloggers start to buy likes, i instantly lose respect for them because i can no longer support with them and hustle with them. they have sold out and caved to the easy pressure of taking a shortcut. i know one blogger who buys followers and then buys thousands of likes so her engagement rate appears as though it’s through the roof. many smaller brands and boutiques work with her because they probably don’t take the time to see if her likes are genuine, and it just feels a little dishonest to me. many smaller brands/boutiques are really sacrificing to send free product or pay for advertising, and they certainly wouldn’t be doing that if they knew the person posting was reaching significantly less people than it appears.

solution: there are no shortcuts to success. faking it usually only leads to more faking it to keep up with everyone else. buying followers and likes is selling yourself short big time. at the end of the day, there are countless tips and tricks out there to getting followers/likes and who’s to say what is okay and what’s not? i’m certainly not the Instagram police. but there’s something to be said for people who are genuine. remember that the cream will always rise to the top and there are no real shortcuts. i truly believe that.

be kind & grind hard.

as previously stated, this post isn’t meant to be negative, but instead offer a few positive solutions & suggestions to common blogger issues i’ve witnessed firsthand. i know i’m not alone in feeling the negativity and politics that come with being a fashion blogger. {i’m sure a lot of this applies to other industries, too.} all in all, i am absolutely amazed by the growth of the blogging world and the incredible community that has been built around it. i’ve met so many amazing women at events, shows, & on social media, and i am so glad to call quite a few of them my close friends. i think a lot of times people forget that behind the seemingly perfect photos and trendy clothes, we are real people with real feelings and real lives that aren’t always picture perfect.

i’m lucky to be in a community with so many fellow bloggers who grind as hard, if not harder, than i do for their success. they inspire me constantly. let’s focus on that rather than creating a superficial bubble of dog-eat-dog moves. there’s enough success to go around and i know so many bloggers who are worthy of it. let’s cut the politics and promote togetherness instead.

i wold love your feedback on this post in the comments below! enjoy this ‘sassy’ outfit! xx
tfox2476 tfox2518 tfox2482 tfox2500 tfox2488 tfox2523 tfox2477 tfox2497 tfox2491 tfox2524 tfox2512sassy sweater
white button-up
distressed denim
Rebecca Minkoff handbag
burgundy block heels {other colors here}
rose gold watch
Karen Walker sunglasses
Caramello liquid lipstick

photos by Torrey Fox

45 Comments
  • Shelbi

    I could not agree more with everything that you wrote. I’ve recently experienced first hand some of the mean girling and honestly a lot of it had to do with NYFW too! It’s crazy to me that all of these bloggers are promoting “community over competition” but then their actions say something totally different. Thank you for sharing!

    ~Shelbi | itsallchictome.com

    November 13, 2016 at 9:32 pm Reply
  • Brianne

    GREAT, honest post!! My goal is to attend NYFW in the Spring (so I need to start preparing asap!) but honestly I have been discouraged before I’ve even started! Will be emailing you soon ;)

    Xo, Brianne
    http://www.scrubsandsparkles.com

    November 13, 2016 at 9:32 pm Reply
  • Amanda Pamblanco

    Okay – my heart literally sunk into my stomach when I read you got that negative response from the blogger regarding NYFW! Why?! You explained it so well. There is a piece of pie for everyone! Blogging has connected me to like-minded women so have so much passion. It’s fun to hustle together and lift each other up! Everything you said was spot on and I’m glad made this post.

    This was a great read Sarah! If you’re ever back in Vegas I’d love to meet you!

    Xx,
    -Amanda
    http://Www.thegirlfromvegas.com

    November 13, 2016 at 9:36 pm Reply
  • Lauren

    I firmly stand behind what you’re saying Sarah. Eloquently written and I actually was just talking about these issues with another blogger gal this weekend. We all start somewhere and we’re all wonderfully different. Good for you for writing this, I applaud you and I hope you continue expressing your thoughts, because I’ll be reading :) – Lauren @shoes_and_sashimi

    November 13, 2016 at 9:45 pm Reply
  • kim

    I don’t think I could love this post any more, Sarah. You are such a great example of what I love about the blogging community. I have definitely seen the “mean girl” mentality both locally and when I’ve been to conferences and fashion week, as well as those that aren’t helpful or kind when I’ve reached out for help. I also know it can be frustrating when you work hard and do things the right way, and you see other bloggers buying followers (knowing that many companies use those numbers to decide who to use for campaigns). It will always work out in the end, and people will remember your positivity and kindness. I’m really glad we’ve connected in SF. :-)

    November 13, 2016 at 11:17 pm Reply
  • Brooke

    Sarah, you are a class act and the real deal. It takes courage to shine light on this behavior and you should be applauded for addressing it eloquently and offering solutions. Your genuine kindness touches all who cross your path and the blogging world is lucky to have you. I can’t wait to see how far your hustle takes you.

    November 14, 2016 at 12:49 am Reply
  • Ashley

    I love this Sarah!! Community over competition always!! Thank you for sharing your heart in an honest, constructive way. xx

    November 14, 2016 at 1:01 am Reply
  • Stephanie

    Such a great post, girl! So much truth here. Community over Competition. Always. @stephtaylorjackson

    November 14, 2016 at 4:43 am Reply
  • Sarah Jane Marchant

    I know so little about the fashion blogging world. But I have always admired your desire to empower girls and be inclusive. keep doing your thing! Love you!!!

    November 14, 2016 at 4:59 am Reply
  • Kailey

    I absolutely loved this post! I have definitely experience the mean girl effect but have been so blessed to meet genuine girls that I truly call some of my greatest friends! Thank you for bringing this issue to light! X, Kailey @doubleshotofsass

    November 14, 2016 at 6:21 am Reply
  • Victoria

    omgosh girl this was an amazing read! i always feel like such a small fish in the blogging sea and this truly made me feel better about it! being kind and grinding hard. love it!

    xoxo
    Victoria
    http://www.agallonofglitter.com

    November 14, 2016 at 7:34 am Reply
  • Ashley

    Yes!! I’ve been blogging for about a year and a half and have had some really slow growth – but I’m cool with it because I’m not faking anything! Also it’s so crazy but I see this whole mean girl thing in the chemistry field too! People don’t want to help another chemist out because that person could succeed before you do if you help them. It’s awful and in my department I always try to be that person who willingly helps out and gives all the tips I can about different things when I’m asked. Thanks for being so transparent about this! It’s why I always love coming back to your blog!

    xox,
    Ashley

    November 14, 2016 at 7:38 am Reply
  • Megan Yazdani

    Sarah, Spot on. We’ve talked about some of this offline but I’m so proud of you for putting it down on paper and inspiring others beyond fashion advice. You’re so genuine and sweet and I’m proud to call you a friend! Xo

    November 14, 2016 at 8:09 am Reply
  • Alex

    Amen to every single word of this post!! I don’t know you personally, but being in the comment pods together, I feel like I definitely have gotten to know you better! It’s so refreshing to see someone actually tackle this taboo topic. Unfortunately this was all similar in my former corporate America jobs, just not on the same level. I’ve been fortunate enough to find gals who I love and adore, and since I’ve been in the game for over 5 years, at this point I just would rather not waste the energy on people who are tactless and rude to me than to go out of my way. I have my good friends, and perhaps I’ll meet more but it’s something that’s unfortunately just the way of the blogging game. Need this on Monday! xx

    http://adoredbyalex.com

    November 14, 2016 at 8:39 am Reply
  • Cori Scherer

    LOVE this post! Thank you for putting this into words. I’m currently a small blogger myself, and I have ZERO issues with it and know that the grind takes time. I also have zero issue talking to anyone at an event: be it a small blogger like myself or a huge “celeb sized” blogger. We’re all human and we all essentially start at the same place.

    Couldn’t relate more to walking into a large room at an event and being scanned over, meanwhile nobody smiles or waves. I can’t stand this. First impressions are key, and I’ll never understand why women, who are at an event for similar, like-minded individuals, immediately shut others out when at a public function. If you want to be that way, stay home!

    Love that there is a community of beautiful, friendly women like yourself who strive to remove the intimidation and cattiness from the blogging community. Hope I get to meet you some day — If you ever come to Houston, let me know!

    + Thank you to DressUpButtercup for sharing this and exposing me to your page!

    xoxo

    November 14, 2016 at 9:18 am Reply
  • Melissa

    Thank you for this post, Sarah! I have always found you to be extremely inspiring and real, and this post was both of those things! As a just starting out blogger, it’s encouraging to see someone like you promoting the hustle, uplifting others and being authentic.

    November 14, 2016 at 10:38 am Reply
  • Marcie

    Love you. So proud of and happy for you that you’re living your dream. But mostly happy that you’re a nice girl and don’t judge my mom clothes. Now let’s go to the beach!

    November 14, 2016 at 10:47 am Reply
  • Kara

    Thank you for writing this!! Sums up all my feelings about blogging. But, overall, this city has such a great blogging community and that note, I’m uber pumped to finally meet you in a few weeks at Sugarfina. :)

    Kara (@TheWhimsySoul)

    November 14, 2016 at 4:30 pm Reply
  • Margret

    Girl!!! This post is totally on point and something I have and still deal with. I love everything you said and give you nothing but high fives!!!

    November 14, 2016 at 6:41 pm Reply
  • Jennifer

    Love this and you! Thank you
    For being so real and honest with your readers! Totally agree that the “cream rises to the top” and that there is plenty enough success to go around!! We would all be so much better off if we all uplifted each other!! Xox 💋

    November 14, 2016 at 9:07 pm Reply
  • Aimee Rancer

    Refreshing AF, girlfriend. Keep up the positive vibes – they’re definitely needed!! <3 Hope to see ya soon!!

    November 15, 2016 at 6:26 pm Reply
  • Ashley

    I’m not even a fashion blogger and I feel like this post is spot on! Like I say, not a blogger myself, but I have interacted with a few and one of them specifically gets pretty upset with you if you don’t somehow contribue to her success and pretty much wants nothing to do with you if you have nothing to offer her. I’m not even a freakin’ blogger and I get those vibes from her constantly! It does start to feel somewhat like high school girl drama/mean girl posts. I’ve said this twice but I’m not even a fetching blogger going to these events in-person and this post made me feel so much better! Just letting me know I’m not alone with some of the vibes I get from certain people’s posts. I just think it sometimes can make someone view not only you, but your entire blog, in such a different light. And sometimes I wonder if I’m the only one, but this post makes me feel like I’m not!

    November 16, 2016 at 11:07 pm Reply
  • Sara Anderson

    this post is exactly what I needed to hear right now! and definitely a motivation builder! thanks for always being so great.

    December 26, 2016 at 8:28 pm Reply
  • Laurient Toal

    Loved this post Sarah! Your honesty is refreshing because the blogosphere can feel like such a fake place at times. I’m a super small blogger that wanted to make a connection with like-minded women, but I find it really hard to make friends with women who blog. So many of them are cold and view other bloggers as competition to stay away from rather than a friend to chat about the industry with. Glad I’m not the only one who sees it.

    January 4, 2017 at 8:05 am Reply

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