We do leave ourselves open to criticism however. I haven't received very many negative comments on my own blog, more will come I am sure, though I have heard that there has been some fairly harsh criticisms from women in my own circle of real-life friends.
I don't really care about that. I write my blog for my like-minded friends, both real-life and those I've met through my blog, and truly it is good fun. We are just trying to figure it out, this personal style thing, one darling outfit at a time!
So how is clothing important, and why would anyone wish to read style advice from an ordinary person who has no experience at all in fashion?
Answers to these questions can be found in the first chapter of Stuff by Daniel Miller. Miller is a Professor of Anthropology at University College London. His most recent book is The Comfort of Things which was recommended by my brilliant friend Carolyn. In buying that book I thought I'd pick up his earlier work for a little perspective. Let me share a couple of things he has to say about Why Clothing is not Superficial:
"In both philosophy and everyday life we imagine that there is a real or true self which lies deep within us. On the surface is found the clothing which may represent us and may reveal a truth about ourselves, but it may also lie. It is as though if we peeled off the outer layers we would finally get to the real self within ... as Ibsen's Peer Gynt observed, we are all onions. If you keep peeling off our layers you find - absolutely nothing left .... The clothes were not superficial, they actually were what made us what we think we are."
Of course this last line resonated with me completely as the motto for my blog is, as you know, "we are what we believe we are" ( CS Lewis).
We get to decide, we make it all up. That is where the power of personal style lies. Don't give it up, and don't let anyone criticize you for it. Clothing is not superficial. It is how you convey to the world who your true self is.
Why would the advice of a personal style blogger be of any value? Miller touches on this issue, though he doesn't mention style bloggers. He does discuss personal style as it might relate to the fashion industry:
"Advice from the fashion industry is much harder to use. Once there was some consistency and one was confident in how long skirts should be worn that year ... despite reading multiple magazines, most people are not too sure what fashion actually is at any point of time ... Perhaps more importantly much of this disengagement from fashion comes from the overwhelming pressure to express the individual and not merely follow fashion whatever it may be."
When we post our outfits on a personal style blog we are sharing how we make our own attempts at fashion. It is authentic. This is what makes it interesting, for what we most value as human beings is that genuine, personal story, the threads that connect us all.
I highly recommend Daniel Miller's books. He is a very engaging writer who makes academic material extremely accessible.
Enjoy your Monday!