So. The Birkin(s).
I can sum up what it feels like carrying one of these with one experience I had at a West Hollywood Trader Joe's:
I'm standing outside of the check out line waiting for my friend to finish up paying for her lunch, when a woman decked out in Louis Vuitton steps up at the next register to pay. She's got the purse, the scarf - pulls out the wallet when the guy tells her the total - decked. So she glances over in my direction and sees the bag and the elevator eyes and look of disgust that crossed her face actually, legitimately, hurt my feelings. I was being judged in line at Trader Joe's for the piece of leather that was hooked in the crook of my arm. I wasn't dressed badly; jeans, a tee and some studded flats, but for some reason, I just felt like this woman didn't think I was worthy of carrying something so highly regarded in the fashion world.
Maybe carrying a Birkin or any other expensive handbag is a different experience for every person. Maybe, had I been ten years older in a pant suit and Louboutins, she would've smiled at me as if we were in on the same joke. All I know is that when I came back from lunch and I put the Birkin on my desk, I turned it so you couldn't see the label when walking past. I just don't want people to think of me in that way; like I'm some entitled girl who doesn't work for what I have when that is most certainly not the case.
This whole experience got me thinking about blogging in general. Everyday I'll look at blogs of girls around my age toting around bags (and shoes and coats, etc.) that cost thousands of dollars. Are we reading fashion blogs anymore? Or are the majority of the blogs that we're reading on a regular basis solely SHOPPING blogs (and yes, I'm aware this post is right above another post about all the coats I've been lusting after this season). I'll see a blogger with a Celine tote and within a few months, six more bloggers will have the same tote. I'll visit a blog and be bombarded with sponsored posts and ads for things I'm not even interested in. Where is the fashion? Where is the style? It just all seems so branded now. There will be a certain vibe, an expectation, that will come attached to carrying these expensive pieces, which can be impossible (for both my emotional health and my wallet) to keep up with.
A friend of mine from work and I had the following conversation on GChat the other day in response to this message board thread that I found while roaming the internet:
M: im just huge on subjectivity. i honestly dont care what people do as long as it makes them happy. as long as its not hurting anyone. as long as it makes them feel something every day that they crave
me: yeah - i'm all for that too. but in this case, some of these are interesting from a blogging perspective to find out what people DON'T want to see more of. the majority of blogs have gone from fashion blogs to "shopping blogs" - which are like youtube haul videos on steroids which is so accurate and it's less about the fashion and style than it is about the "look what i have and you know how much it cost me"
M: totally. i like to explain fashion as art though. you'd spend hundreds on a beautiful painting to decorate a wall, why wouldnt you spend hundreds on a piece of art to decorate yourself? its literally the same thing. thats how i had to explain it to [boy]...he works with art but still doesnt grasp fashion too much. and to me, theyre one in the same. they have serial numbers to identify them. theyre crafted and designed. its just changing where you show these pieces
me: i totally agree with that, too. fashion is art. and i'm all for people spending the $ if they genuinely love it and can express interest in it. if they know designers and do the research and know the background behind it, go for it. but, like art, if you buy a picture and hang it up just cause it looks pretty - you're not going to get such good feedback. it's like, hanging up a monet without knowing who monet is. and that's what's happening on blogs these days. stay at home housewives with disposable income who are buying a celine bag cause they saw some girl on another blog with a celine bag. and then they go out and spend the $2000 on it just because they can and it will impress readers. and SO MANY blogs are like this
In no way am I saying that every blog I read these days is this way. There are a TON of bloggers out there who I admire due to their style and their ability to showcase looks that I've never seen before. It's just that carrying a Birkin has shown me how much people put value on stuff. It has opened my eyes to the number of "fashion" blogs out there that exist solely to show random strangers all of the stuff that they can afford to buy. People freak out over bloggers or women on Instagram if they post pictures of their latest purchase from Valentino, but is it really personal style if everyone has it? Are we any better than that woman at Trader Joe's decked out in Louis Vuitton from head-to-toe, judging and "branding" someone because of the purse she's carrying? I want to read blogs with real women talking about real pieces that we can REALLY afford. Because even if I could literally afford to purchase a Birkin, I don't know if I could afford to sacrifice my sense of self and moral code just to attract more readers to my blog.
With all that said, I'm a huge advocate for self-expression in any form. I just think it's important to set a responsible example for your readers, especially if you're a person who has major influence in the blogging community. Just because Person A is able to afford a Birkin, doesn't mean that you have to go out and buy one, too. Go and shop at thrift stores. Search eBay. Use the consignment sites that are popping up on every corner of the internet (Threadflip, Tradesy, etc) - where you can purchase big-name items for a fraction of the price. BE RESPONSIBLE. Bloggers should be very aware of how and who they are capable of influencing. And if you can justify purchasing something pricey like a Birkin bag, do so for reasons other than gaining viewership on your blog. Because if that's the only reason you're buying things then we're basically living in a big-fat-real life version of Mean Girls, where we are all doing something because someone more influential did it first (cough cough Regina George cough cough).
What are your thoughts on this subject? Are you sick of seeing fashion/style/shopping blogs who are doing things like this? I would love to hear your feedback and/or begin a discussion on the matter!