Friend Friday: Conspicuous Consumption

Is fashion blogging nothing more than conspicuous consumption? Well, if you’re shooting outfits and giving details about who designed each item you’re wearing, and perhaps even listing where you purchased items, I think that’s kind of a no-brainer. Inconspicuous people don’t post details about what they buy and wear on the Internet.

While the expression “conspicuous consumption” seems to carry a negative connotation, I don’t necessarily see it that way. Being conspicuous isn’t always a bad thing; attention-getting style or personalities are what make some bloggers so compelling (hello, Gala Darling).  I believe it’s the blogger’s intent and voice that determine how readers interpret conspicuous displays of acquisitions and style. Some are conspicuous and well-received, some are loathed.

But can all fashion blogs be labeled as conspicuous consumption?  That’s this week’s Friend Friday* topic. We were asked:

  1. Do you think fashion blogs are often just conspicuous consumption? Are some?
  2. As bloggers do we have the obligation to explain our personal financial status, how we pay for the things we showcase, if we have debt, etc…
  3. Critics often say that fashion bloggers should use their money to support more worthwhile causes than clothing themselves in a different outfit daily. What’s your reaction to this?
  4. Since you started blogging, do you spend more money on fashion and beauty products?
  5. Life is about more than what money can buy. What are the things that top your list of what life is all about?

PS: I hope y’all ALWAYS come back to my blog, though!

*The Friend Friday project by Modly Chic is a way for bloggers to share more about themselves and create a friendly connection with other bloggers. Katy of Modly Chic sends us questions weekly, and we answer on our blogs.

69 comments

  1. Agree with everything you said (as usual!)

    I think that one thing I love about fashion bloggers is that they can be really creative with their items, and as you said there have been loads of remix challenges encouraging people to use one item in different ways. 🙂

    1. I agree, Leia. There are some well-known bloggers who are vocal advocates or remixing/reusing…I wish people would just focus on the positives instead of being jealous and negative. What’s the point? Do naysayers really think they’re going to change what a blogger does by judging and attacking her?

  2. I agree with everything you said. I think every blog has it’s not voice and purpose. No one has any business judging. If you don’t like what you see just ‘unfollow’ instead of crying about it! :o)

    Also, I filled your survey. I was JUST thinking of doing something similar yesterday! You beat me to it! 🙂

    1. Thank you Tanvi, for your comment and for completing the survey. I plan to share the findings very soon…very revealing, but then again, not. The responses confirm many truths.

  3. I love your blog. Even though I’m not currently able to own some clothes you have, I still find inspiration in your blog.
    I adore your style and your approach to everything. You’re one of those bloggers that has wonderful style, but you don’t shove Prada shoes down my throat like some other do (that I no longer read).
    I totally agree that every blog has it’s place and it’s followers. And, like you said, if you don’t want to read it, unfollow it! Just because I don’t want to read about some girl who has 7,000 pairs of Prada shoes doesn’t mean someone else won’t love it!

    I also agree that it’s no ones business what your financial situation is- but, like I said on mine, I’m pretty open about it because of what I want to talk about… every blog has it’s place! 🙂

    1. Hi Suze, thank you, doll!

      I really appreciate your feedback. I know which blogger you’re talking about with the in-your-face-Prada, and I’m glad to know I don’t come off that way, though I still like seeing what she’s doing. That’s her existence. Mine is a different reality. As you said, there is a blog for everyone. I love your blog because of your honesty and humor, and because your style is different from mine. And I love seeing ingenious DIYs, even if I never do it myself!

  4. We are totally on the same wave length! My first reaction was also “Its no one’s business how I or any blogger spends their money!”

    I think money is such a touch subject these days with the recession and all, and people can get extremely judgemental when it comes to someone having more than what they have. You can’t just assume that because a blogger always has nice things that they’re throwing their money out the window. And as a blogger, you don’t have to tell anyone what your paycheck is! I love your blog and like Suze said, I may not be able to afford the things you do but I can be inspired all the same!

    1. Thank you MJ!

      I think so many of us bring different things to the table. Some blogs are about practicality, some are about fantasy, some are a mix, some are terrifically funny, others helpful or serious. We all have our reasons for visiting the blogs we do, which is why I don’t understand the haters. Just don’t go back if you don’t like it, you know? Why spend moments of your life spreading hatred and vitriol?

  5. Well done and well said! I agree with everything you said particularly the piece that it’s not anyone’s business what bloggers spend their money on (though people may say if you put it online then you make it people’s business). I just feel like the people that criticize fashion bloggers and fashion in general are envious.

    1. Fajr, you hit the nail on the head. In the end, the negativity is always perpetuated by those with envy. If you’re happy with yourself, you don’t’ care what other people are doing with their time and money!

      Thanks for stopping by!

  6. So lovely to have you at home every Friday, such a pleasure…
    I do agree entirely with what you say. And so do 100% of the rest of the bloggers.
    Love your blouse and your belt. I am even considering a golden watch, he, he.
    You are a goddess!!!

    1. Hello my lovely Sacramento! You are such a doll…thank you for your sweet words and unwavering support!

      I have to say I love my golden watch, especially with black. It’s my first one, and now I’m hooked!

    1. Thank you Anika!

      Like you said, I think most fashion bloggers were already doing their thing…shopping, curating, reworking, studying it all…then they just put it on the Web. We are who we are!

      Big hug to you too, lovely!

  7. Yes, we are in agreement. I’m a big believer if you don’t like wants on tv, turn the channel. Also it seems, the “critics” blowing smoke where there is no fire. As to the privacy issue, we all agree it is a privacy issue. I believe, and this is where my age comes into play, that there are things that are no ones business. Unfortunately, we are in an age of reality this and reality that. Information is available in seconds on the internet and we have younger generations that have created online personas in high school. Privacy isn’t what it used to be. I’m sure there are bloggers who will gladly open their bank account for you to view if you ask. I’m not one of them. A simple “no” would be my reply. Does anyone remember what discretion is?

    1. B, thanks for ringing in, especially since you have limited time online.

      The BEST point about your comment: “Does anyone remember what discretion is?” Unfortunately, no. While I like the honesty and access in some ways, there are some who go overboard in what they ask and what is shared. We all have to make our own decisions about information-sharing…but it is worrisome knowing that so many youngsters feel like they HAVE to share everything, when they don’t.

      This is one reason why I left Facebook. It’s just TMI. Even I fell prey to it for a small space of time. But eventually, I got sick of the mundane status updates; the sports play-by-plays; the innuendos and digs; the miscommunication and misinterpretation; the idea that I was EXPECTED to read and respond sympathetically to posts from people facing an issue; that people I no longer wanted contact with would “friend” people they only knew through me, then converse to as a matter of spectacle rather than genuine interest; and the fact that eventually, “friends” felt they had the right to know (and ask) where I am, what I’m doing, the state of my relationships, and that I should answer publicly, so to speak. So I said goodbye and good riddance.

      Anyway, sorry for the verbose answer. But you raised some great points.

  8. Love your candor. I agree with so much of what you say, and cherish how you say it.
    The fact that you seem pretty grounded and have a great and honest sense of yourself perhaps is key to why so many of us relate to you, Vahni. No self-righteousness, no holier than thou tones from G&G. Just honest open appreciation of the finer things in life, which happen to include family and personal life as well as fashion. xo.

    1. Hello Bella!

      Thank you very much for your kind response. I have been misinterpreted so much in my life that is is extremely refreshing to know that I don’t come off holier-than-thou, because I have been accused of that more than once. But i think the difference is that some people mistake forthrightness and assertion for conceit, and it is not always the case.

      You really nailed my aim here on G&G when you wrote that it’s just my “open appreciation of the finer things in life, which happen to include family and personal life as well as fashion.” Thank you for saying that. You are such a perceptive woman, and appreciate it.

  9. Loved, loved LOVED your responses to this – and your general attitude about the subject.

    It’s funny though – I would never (and do not) consider your blog as one that promotes conspicuous consumption precisely because it is so cerebral. The negativity behind “conspicuous consumption” has to do with the fact that it is all about overspending in order to achieve/create status. You don’t do that at all. Do you promote consumerism? Yes, of course. So do I. Nothing wrong with that. We all need to wear clothing, so why not give people ideas on what to buy? It’s up to them how much they will ultimately consume.

    I think you really hit the nail on the head when you wrote that it is “the blogger’s intent and voice that determine how readers interpret conspicuous displays of acquisitions and style.” Each person has different definitions of what is and isn’t excessive, and each person will decide for themselves what they think a blogger is trying to achieve through their posts.

    You, my dear, aren’t a conspicuous consumer by my definition because I don’t sense any “status” related yearnings in your posts – just a consumer who loves fine things 🙂

    1. Beautiful, thank you for sharing your thoughts on this. I’m glad that my intent here is coming across clearly. You are correct…I am a consumer who loves fine things…but not to the point that I exclude other things because of the label inside or the price point.

      It is such a relief that my readers know I am a genuine, real woman. So thank you again for your readership, and for letting me know that I do not come off as an obnoxious, vacant, and materialistic.

  10. Yet another great Vlog…I always look forward to these 🙂
    I love your honest answers.
    I was going to write a big long ramble…but I won’t, maybe i’ll do a post sometime instead.

    I’ll always come back to your blog!
    Hope you have a great weekend xo

    1. Thank you Kristin! The belt is a fave of mine…I have it in black too. I have worn them half to dang death over the last several years. They’re from Fossil, can you believe it?

  11. Hi V,
    I agree that it’s not anyone’s business regarding personal finances of a blogger. I forgot to say in my post that I also give bags of clothes away when I went down some sizes and i often give items away to co-workers or friends if something is to big for me or something I haven’t worn in a long time and ready for a change.
    JT wisdom’s blog:www. bubblingwitheleganceandgrace.blogspot.com

    1. Hi JT, thanks for your comment.

      I think there are many of us who donate clothing and accessories…and that’s a big deal, you know? In a way, that is contributing to the reuse/recycle movement. We donate and others scoop up our things and give them second lives.

  12. I can’t believe that someone would criticize a fashion blogger for buying clothes rather than donating money to charity.
    Where are these critics? I’d like to have some words with them. I’d like to know if they also go into restaurants and tell everyone who is dining there that they should be donating money to charity instead of treating themselves to a nice dinner and having a drink or two.

    The clothes I buy are for me to wear, not to photograph and post on the internet. That’s just something that came along much later in the game. The blog is a hobby, and last I checked, it was perfectly normal to have, and spend money on hobbies without being immoral.

    1. It is hard to believe, but people will always tear you down, whether you’re doing the “right” thing or not. You make excellent points, though. Like you, I acquired many of the things shown on my blog years before my blog came to fruition.

      Thanks for your comment and for stopping by!

    1. Thanks Jamie-Lee! I think if you like nice things, people (who are jealous, mostly) tend to label us snobs, and in my case and yours, it’s not true. I don’t come from some high-falutin’ family. I had a very normal, middle-class upbringing—being a snob just is not in my DNA.

  13. Interesting post V! I agreed with most of the things u say! Although I can’t afford most of the things you show here, I find great inspiration from them, especially the styling and jewelries. Thanks and have a lovely weekend! xoxo…

    1. Hi Maggie, thank your for sharing your thoughts. I think we all have blogs we visit just for inspiration, knowing we can’t have everything they have. I know I do. That’s the beauty of it…there is something for everyone!

      You have a lovely weekend too.

  14. Seems like being criticised comes with writing a fashion blog, when it shouldn’t be. I don’t worry about other people’s finances so I assume they aren’t worrying about mine. In the end we’re all grown up enough to realise how much we can spend and how much to save. Isn’t that part of being an adult? Great vlog, V.

  15. Thanks for another fantastic “Friend Friday,” Vahni! As usual, I agree with your points and am glad that you are so passionate about your views! Keep up the great work here at Grit and Glamour! By the way, I took your survey. It’s always good to see the stats and demographics!

    1. Thank you Lee…that means a lot to me! The top, an oldie but a goodie…a personal fave too. Stay well in Oz, and thanks again for your readership!

  16. I do think that some blogs have extreme flaunting of what they have or their purchases, however, I also believe that since they are capable of running their blog, therefore they’re capable of financing it, thus that’s their business. Some what i wore blog display more of signature clothing while others show cases how they use creativity in turning lookalikes or high street into very stylish look. Therefore I do believe, that everyone must just respect each blog, after all, every blogger is trying to carve their own identity. 🙂

    I like you blog, consider yourself bookmarked. 🙂

    Join our giveaway to win a fabulous dress. 🙂

    1. Thank you Gleen, and welcome! I agree…we ARE all trying to carve our own identities, and we have to do that in the way that works best for us.

      Thanks for bookmarking me, doll!

  17. 1. Yes by default.
    2. NO! Totally agree with you here!!!!
    3. Who’s to say that they don’t? A blog is just one aspect of what a person does or who a person is.
    4. Technically I do, but that has to do with lifestyle changes over the years. I DO NOT shop for my blog.
    5. Family, laughter, honesty, helping people

    1. Hi doll, thanks for ringing in with your thoughts as well. I think most of us do not shop for our blogs. We just blog about shopping, beautiful clothing and accessories, and other things that we love.

  18. everything i wrote about ya on my tagged post is100% true because of how eloquently you present yourself and what you believe in. this post is another example of your wonderfulness.
    i think i do tend to buy frivolously on occasion and hadn’t considered this as a negative or positive characteristic of me as a person. lol, i’m an excellent consumer too! i agree with you completely on your answers. the ‘if you don’t like it…then don’t come to my blog. It’s that easy.” brilliant! if all i have are Chanel or no Chanel, tis no one’s business as to why/how this is possible. if i had a sugar daddy (I WISH!) who showered me with Chanel, would it be any different than if the Chanel was thrifted or saved up for? psshhhh
    i’m curious to read the other conversations on the blogosphere that had triggered this round of questions. really good topic, yeah. jealousy and unsupported pompousness is where most of this negativity stems. material things does not make one person better than another.
    even if i didn’t agree with ya, i’d still return as often as i do now! luv ya!

    1. Daisy, thank you for sharing your perspective, here and on your blog. And thanks for saying you will always return, because I value your readership and personality!

  19. As usual, great post! I love that you challenge the idea of conspicuous consumption as a negative. You’re absolutely right, it doesn’t have to be… you make a lot of great points.

    XOXO,
    Eboni Ife’

    1. Thank you Eboni…I think people just make a lot of assumptions. Plus, so what if we like buying things for ourselves? We’re not hurting anyone, and we’re contributing to the economy.

      Thanks for ringing in!

  20. Pingback: Grit and Glamour
  21. Pingback: Katy Rose
  22. Pingback: Anika Campbell

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *