In case you didn't already know, there is a fiasco involving an Anthropologie clothing specific blogger who apparently ran a 'personal shopping scam'. It is a really sad story, both for the blogger in question and the victims, and while I don't really know all the details (and I want to steer clear of any speculation), the whole thing has made me reassess my priorities and abilities as a blogger, a style enthusiast, and at the very core of it, a gullible consumer with limited monetary resources.
The sobering thing about the alleged scam is that it makes one question the motive of the blogger. One of the theories is that she was scamming in order to feed her shopping habit and that she was running into tremendous debt. Anthropologie is hardly the cheapest store to shop at (even though it is a tremendously crappy store), and this blogger who apparently works as an office administrator, had different outfit posts almost weekly. I've come to realize that a lot of style bloggers (especially the popular ones) must feel really pressured to constantly be on display. Let's face it, the reason most people go on style blogs anyway is for living vicariously through someone else.
A few weeks ago, someone left a comment asking me how I could afford to purchase expensive items with a grad school salary. I want to first point out that I have a pretty small wardrobe - I have enough clothes just to rotate through two weeks without washing. You know the whole 30 pieces for 30 outfits thing that is supposedly a minimalist approach to dressing? I would kill that challenge. If you took away lingerie, undershirts, socks, pajamas and gym clothes, thirty clothing items are all I have, bags and jackets included. I'd like to think that my minimalist approach to dressing is all it takes to afford nice, expensive items. Unfortunately, that isn't really the case.
The truth is that I'm blessed to have a spouse who earns a decent amount and I've always had a pretty strong financial support system ala mom. I'm a perpetual spoilt brat whose vapid indulgences annoy the heck out of even myself sometimes. We're not by any means rich, but I'd like to think we're pretty comfortable and fortunate. I went to college and grad school on scholarship (hence no school loans) and don't carry any credit card debts. Basically, my only real expenses are groceries, household items and dog care; the rest of my income goes into savings and the occasional splurge. The husband is thankfully, very frugal - he has two pairs of shoes, wears free t-shirts and spends most of his leisure time at used bookstores or gaming. He has absolutely zero interest in sartorial indulgences and thinks my blog a wee bit silly. We have a small car and live in a small rented house, sans kids and sans any kind of grandiose home improvement bit. And thankfully, we're both antisocial creatures who enjoy each others' company enough that our favorite source of entertainment is either watching movies and drinking at home, or having a pint at the local taphouse and talking about politics (note that drinking is a common theme).
I try to save as much as I can on things that don't really matter to me, like skincare and hair care and makeup. I make my own oil cleanser at home and use the bare minimum of natural skin products (witch hazel, argan oil, moisturizer, eye cream and sun block). I get a haircut about once every three months in Chinatown for $17 including tips. I guess I'm pretty lucky to have mostly problem free skin (apart from a severe case of eczema in the winter) and my hair always looks the same no matter where I get it cut. I have one set of Laura Mercier eye shadow kit that has probably gone rancid and my mascara is just one big goopy thing that has sat on the bathroom counter for eons. I also pack my own lunch to work every day, make dinner most nights and hardly go for coffee runs, even though I need tri-hourly caffeine fixes. I know that doesn't sound like much, but when you put it all together, it remarkably adds up to a lot.
I think I've been spending more just this past 12 months because I have a blog. I've bought more shoes than I have over the last five years and I've indulged in really expensive things that would have given me a heart attack just a few years ago. I know I've beaten this into the ground, but this constant visual stimulation of pretty things causes indiscipline and downright stupidity sometimes. I wanted to share with you this very personal side of my lifestyle mostly because I want my readers to understand that while a lot of bloggers would have you believe that their lives are filled with expensive purchases and idyllic circumstances that spring out of thin air, it's most often not the case. Most bloggers probably have some sort of really good financial support system, be it in the form of a trust fund or a sugar daddy. Others probably work in high salaried jobs, so more power to them. And unfortunately, there are also a good handful that are probably living on debt. It would be wise to read style blogs with a more discerning attitude and a pinch of salt, because bloggers are really just people after all.