Yesterday I was scrolling through Reddit when I came across this post in /r/financialindependence. The question posed was: What simple things do you do to save money? Here’s the second highest upvoted response:
As someone who sometimes writes about clothing and fashion, I found this to be an interesting observation. I stopped and asked myself, “Do fashion blogs ruin people’s budgets?” I’m actually inclined to agree with this, and I’ll tell you why.
For the past few months, I’ve been working retail (I know, oh so glamorous), and I was quite surprised to find how popular fashion blogs are with women. As a blogger, I tend to look at fashion blogs through those eyes. Many of my friends are bloggers or recovering bloggers or business owners, so I don’t often have conversations from the reader perspective. I will also be entirely honest in saying that I read almost no fashion or outfit blogs.
While it doesn’t happen every day, there have definitely been times at work where women have told me, “I saw this outfit on [popular fashion blog] and wanted to recreate it!” or “I read so-and-so’s tips for what to wear to Paris and I want to buy these things.” Part of me mourns for the lost creativity of getting dressed, but I suppose top fashion blogs are entering the cultural lexicon that magazines used to fill. I have a feeling that people who used to cut out pages from magazines are now pinning things they like instead.
I think this trend of spending money on a new wardrobe is especially visible in this idea of a minimalist “capsule” wardrobe and this Kon Mari trend of getting rid of things you don’t “need.” I’ll add in: Don’t need NOW. Because eventually, trust me, you will probably need whatever you think you won’t need now. I’m pretty sure Kon Mari would hate me because I’ve always been a proponent of not cleaning out your closet.
I think about my own closet as an example. I have beaded evening gowns and vintage dresses that I’ve worn once or twice, or some not at all, but eventually I know I will need them for something. Instead of running out to buy something new, it’s already there and paid for.
These trends epitomize the wrecking of the budget, because getting rid of things and replacing them with new things is going to wreck your budget. Not to mention most of the items linked on fashion blogs are not cheap.
Of course, there’s always the Old Navy and Forever 21 bloggers with budget friendly options. However, there’s also issues of money in that niche as well. These brand epitomize fast fashion that doesn’t hold up over time, both trend-wise and quality-wise. If you buy one basic white t-shirt from Old Navy, chances are you will need a new one 6 months from now.
So what’s there to do? I don’t think people need to quit reading fashion blogs, but rather take a step back. Realize that trends are just that, trends. If you realize something probably won’t be popular in three months (or heck, even a month), then there’s the real question whether buying it is a smart for your budget. As with thrifting, I really believe in anticipating your needs. When you shop in advance with a general idea of what you might need, it’s less likely that you’ll run out and drop a ton of money fast on things you probably don’t need.
In any case, try not to let those fashion blogs ruin your budget.