Yesterday marked the four-year anniversary of when I created Graceful Rags. Four years?! Wow, time flies! I started my blog during the summer between my sophomore and junior years of high school, and a few notable things changed as a result: I became a chronic procrastinator with schoolwork (before starting my blog, I was the type of student who studied every night and finished all my projects a week before the due date), my productivity plummeted thanks to starting my blog’s Instagram account, and I suddenly had no free time (hard to determine if this was due to the difficulty of junior year or the added work of my blog—I’m guessing a combination of both). I have poured so many sweat and tears into Graceful Rags—literally—as well as countless hours, so I’m excited to celebrate four years of content creation today.
But, anyone who knows me personally knows that I have a somewhat love-hate relationship with fashion blogging. I talk about quitting my blog probably once every 2-3 months, but it’s usually just an exasperated and overdramatic outcry of frustration resulting from a bad photoshoot. The last time I suffered a blogging-related meltdown was actually during my Midge Maisel-inspired photoshoot back in April, which resulted in my very serious consideration of ending Graceful Rags. Spoiler Alert!—I didn’t. But the point is, while my little fashion blog has been a constant source of frustration for my perfectionist self, there’s something about the challenge and blogging that keeps me coming back year after year. Without further ado, here is my list of favorite and least favorite parts of fashion blogging, to perfectly represent my love-hate relationship with Graceful Rags.
The Worst Parts of Fashion Blogging
- Editing photos. I know a lot of people love the photo aspect of blogging, which, duh—makes sense, but I much prefer the writing aspect over taking and editing photos. Not only does editing take a long time, but I always end up second guessing if my photos look “too” edited, which usually means I will edit and re-edit and edit again until it basically looks like the original photo. Efficient, I know.
- The comparison game. As much as I try to not compare myself and my blog to other fashion bloggers, it’s impossible to avoid the temptation all the time. Sometimes I look at other teen bloggers who started the same year I did yet are way more successful—and it absolutely bums me out! But lately, rather than feeling down on myself, I’ve actually felt really inspired by those more successful than me. It fuels my passion, and I’ve found that the voice in my head has shifted from, “You’re not good enough,” to “If she can do it, so can you!”
- Narcissism. I talked all about this in my post When Fashion Blogging Turns Dangerous, but I don’t like how narcissistic I’ve become since I started blogging. Suddenly no picture is ever good enough for me because one hair on my head is out of place, or because my legs look short and squatty! Ultimately, I now care way too much about insignificant things regarding my appearance.
- Nobody reading my work. I spend hours on every blog post I publish, so whenever a post has very few views, I feel like it was a waste of my time! Why create content if nobody sees it? Why create content if it isn’t helpful to anyone? It’s hard to say in retrospect, but I’m pretty sure the purpose of my blog was never just for myself and my own satisfaction. It was always about inspiring and helping others in their fashion journey. So when I fail at that mission, it’s a pretty discouraging feeling. Thankfully, I haven’t felt this in quite a while since all of YOU have been showing my blog so much love lately! Thank you thank you thank you.
- Social media. Like blogging, I have a love-hate relationship with social media, specifically Instagram. In fact, you can read several of the reasons I generally dislike Instagram in this blog post (also check out this rant about the difficulties of maintaining a cohesive Instagram feed). I know I was certainly happier before I got social media, but it has also been such a source of inspiration and a great place to connect with really interesting people. Like I said—it’s a love-hate thing.
- Failed visions. For me, this is the absolute worst part of blogging. So often, I have a really cool idea for an outfit or blog post and a clear vision in my head, but then I fail to bring it to life. This failure is most often a result of the photography, as I know nothing about photography and have always struggled and been frustrated with the quality of my photos. I wish I could just blink and have the perfect, well-lit, beautifully posed outfit photos that are always in my head!
And now onto the great, less negative part of today’s post…
The Best Parts of Fashion Blogging
- OOTD videos. I only started filming outfit-of-the-day videos on Instagram back in the fall of 2018, but I don’t know what I did before then! I lovvvve coming back to my dorm room after a long day of college classes and filming my little outfit videos. It makes me so excited to talk about clothes and clothing combinations! But more importantly, it makes me so happy…
- Hearing from followers. Nothing brightens my day more than hearing from one of you. Whenever I receive an email from WordPress, I open it immediately because I get so excited that it might be a comment on my most recent blog post. And whenever my phone buzzes with an Instagram notification, I check it right away to see what you had to say about my outfit or to answer any questions you may have! Recently, a girl with whom I attended high school messaged me on Instagram. She told me how much she loves my OOTD videos and how much they’ve helped her with her own outfits, even though we have very different styles. This was the greatest compliment and made all of the “worst parts of fashion blogging” above absolutely worth it!
- Collaborating and meeting other bloggers. I haven’t done a ton of collaborations with other bloggers, but I do participate in the Magnificent 8 collab once a quarter. Beyond that, I’ve really enjoyed becoming virtual friends with bloggers and sharing our love of fashion. I even got to have breakfast with Jodie from J’s Touch of Style once and it was an absolute blast!
- Helping women. At the core of my blog is my desire to help women feel confident and beautiful in their everyday outfits, without breaking the bank. I like to think of myself as a Stacy London imposter who doesn’t have $5000 to give away but who does have a big heart for fashion and a whole lotta free style advice to give. I may not help that many women, but receiving messages like the one from my high school peer makes me feel like I’m doing something right at least some of the time. And that feels amazing.
- Writing! As I mentioned earlier, one of my favorite parts of the creative process of blogging is doing the actual writing. I’ve always loved to write, and blogging gives me a unique opportunity to explore a more conversational and upbeat writing style than my usual work. The little click-click of my keyboard is giving me so much satisfaction right now!
- Having a nostalgic style diary over which to reminisce. I’m a very sentimental person, and while I don’t do it often, I’ve realized that scrolling through my old blog posts is like reliving four years of my life. Every outfit is a memory of a particular day at school or of a stormy afternoon or of a special event. Even though I’m not proud of all my content (there are some really bad photos and even uglier outfits if you really dig into the archives), it’s extremely special to have such a visual diary of the last four years. Not to mention, it’s a really proud feeling to see how much work I’ve put into this blog and to see just how much content I’ve created! (461 blog posts)
- The creativity of my fashion choices. I definitely repeat outfits in real-life, but I try never to photograph the same outfit twice on the blog. After all, I’m all about reworking old pieces and styling items multiple ways! While I would be fashionable and love fashion just as much without a blog, having my blog really pushes my style boundaries and forces me to come up with new outfit combinations all the time. Love that!
- Setting goals and working towards them. Admittedly, this is my newest favorite part of blogging. As I mentioned in my May Monthly Round-Up, I’m not the best at setting short-term, actionable goals, even though I have too many long-term goals to count. But since the beginning of June, I’ve been working really hard to focus on a few smaller goals—and it’s paid off tremendously. Last month was the best performing month I’ve ever had on the blog, and I gained a lot of blog and Instagram followers. To finally see such a clear connection between my hard work and results is such a rewarding feeling. It’s embarrassing that it’s taken me four years to figure this out, but it gives me so much hope for the future—a kind of hope I’ve never felt in all four years of Graceful Rags’ existence. It’s so exciting that it keeps me up at night!
I could go on and on with this list (both the good and the bad), but this post is already so long, in my typical verbose fashion. So, I will end with this:
Thank you so much for supporting my blog. Thank you for following, commenting, liking, sharing, pinning, and messaging me. Your love and support over the last four years means so much, and I am so grateful for all of you. As I write this at 1:30 in the morning, cheers to late nights of blogging and to many more years!
Miles of smiles,