Joie dress (on sale at Shopbop + an extra 15% off with code EXTRA15)
Calvin Klein shoes – (link goes to Piperlime, but I got mine via Hautelook)
Jas M.B. bag (link goes to black version)
Moss Mills necklace via Catbird (sold out)
I saw this dress on sale at Shopbop this morning (and an extra 15% off with the code EXTRA15), so I was inspired to wear and photograph it today in case anyone wanted to buy it. But by the time I got around to getting this post up, it appeared to be sold out, but then I tried again, and if you go directly through this link, it appears NOT to be sold out…arrgh! Anyway, I wear this dress every weekend, almost all weekend. It’s my favorite right now because it’s so ridiculously soft and comfortable (and I don’t have to wear a bra – but I do – OR Spanx with it), I hardly know it’s on.
The shoes I got via Hautelook last week when I saw them pop-up and I had enough credits. I’d been looking at them on Piperlime for a while, and was trying to find something to replace those Prada Sport sandals I wore yesterday because THEY’RE TOO SMALL. They were too small (a whole size) when I bought them, but I was in love, and tried to make them work. I even got the leather stretched and another hole punched in the strap, but now that it’s Summer, my feet SCREAM at me whenever I wear them. These Calvin Klein sandals are really comfortable, and I like the neutral colors. Free isn’t so bad either.
Speaking of free, in a comment Tina left last night on my “Inching towards 40” post, she said this:
It’s not easy to find a blogger who reviews products that she bought out of her hard-earned real income, out of sheer interest and not because she got it all for free, or used her trust fund
which I wanted to talk about a little more and see what you guys think about the issue she raises.
First, I am indeed a shopaholic (another fact Tina mentions in her comment ;)) – I have a RIDICULOUS passion for shopping online and wanting to tell EVERYONE where to get the best stuff – and I do not have a trust fund.
When I first started Grechen’s Closet and it was becoming successful, I did receive a few things to review (mostly bags) from designers who were also just starting out and valued the exposure I brought to them. I was always up front about getting things for free, but I also ALWAYS gave my 1,000% honest opinion about the product from the beginning. Mostly though, I reviewed and wore things I purchased myself and continue to do that now.
I don’t want to say most fashion bloggers’ outfits are made up primarily of comped items because there are a LOT of fashion blogs out there, but I will say that is true of most of the BIG, super-popular fashion bloggers (ahem, models, ahem). On the surface, I don’t really have much of a problem with that, but when EVERY outfit is made up of free items, and they start to not really “go” with the bloggers original aesthetic, I question the integrity of the blogger. I get the appeal of getting so much free stuff, but I don’t get actually taking it. I turn down offers for free stuff all the time because I don’t already talk about the brand, or I would never buy it – how could I possibly recommend that YOU buy it if I wouldn’t?
I’m not trying to say that I have more integrity than other bloggers, or am “better” than them, or whatever – I don’t think that – I’m just different. Obviously 😉 Although technically, I guess I do get “free” stuff because a lot of what I’m able to buy, I get with credits on Gilt, Hautelook, Rue La La, or Refinery29 Reserve that I have earned through Grechen’s Closet, but I think that’s different than relying on comped items to create an outfit.
What do you think? Are you more or less inclined to buy something a blogger wears or recommends if they’ve received it from a brand? or if they’ve purchased it themselves? Can you tell if a blogger is wearing something that doesn’t really “go” just because they received it for free? What about the financial situation of the blogger? Does that come into play at all? (the trust fund issue…) Are you more or less interested in what a blogger wears if they buy it with income they haven’t earned themselves?
We discussed the topic of c/o items a bit in last week’s IFB chat on Twitter. I agree with you– if it doesn’t match the blogger’s style or type of blog (ex. budget blog that is gifted big ticket items), it feels out of place. But of course we’re all adults, and what appears fishy to me seems fine to someone else.
I, too, have turned down countless items such as cosmetic products, glasses, shoes, handbags, clothes, etc. It’s tempting to get a PR e-mail and say, “Yes! I’ll take it!” It’s always been my philosophy that if I don’t like it, love it, use it, or would buy it, then I don’t feature it. If I do feature a c/o item, rest assured it’s something that I genuinely want to share with my readers.
I would love to read other thoughts and perspectives on your post.
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Hahaha…I just clicked over and saw my quote! So maybe I should have said “unusually high incomes they may or may not have not earned themselves” and not just “Trust Fund.” And disclaimer I do read and enjoy blogs written by girls with “unusually high” incomes, but I always leave those sites discouraged and kind of depressed that I CAN’T afford all the things I want to buy, so it’s just so refreshing to read Grechen’s Closet and know that you manage to stock a pretty awesome wardrobe with the likes of Rachel Comey, Repetto, etc, on a realistic budget. And hey, if someone threw me a few million bucks and said, here you go, I wouldn’t deny it and I’d probably buy designer duds with some of it, and blog about said purchases but I know I wouldn’t go around acting like it was normal to own these things. And credits don’t count as ‘free’ by any means. Like you mentioned we earned those credits, we worked hard for them, and at least personally I’m actually clingier with my credits than with money! I am so careful with them and hate letting them go. Case in point my last full time gig payed me out in severance by letting me keep all our acquired sample sale credits. Now I’m just waiting for Hautelook or Gilt Groupe to start selling real estate, so maybe these credits can start ‘paying the rent.’ When it comes to beauty products I do appreciate reviews, and will review products myself I got for free, but, ugh it’s unnerving and so unauthentic when bloggers only write about free stuff. But to answer your question, yes, I’m more inclined to buy something recommended by a blogger if she bought it or earned it herself. Obviously 🙂
Tina´s last blog post ..Sample Sale Pick: 50% Off Hanky Panky
I don’t know that I really pay that much attention to whether or not a blogger has purchased the item herself. I mean, I have read the little line at the bottom of the blog that says, “blah blah blah item was donated for review” or vice versa, but it doesn’t really influence me all that much. I think the bloggers that truly affect me are the ones that I can relate to, such as you, Grechen, Sydney, Sharon, and a few others. But the only ones I read regularly, other than beauty blogs, are ones in which the blogger is REAL (i.e. NOT a supermodel), buys/reviews clothes and accessories that I can actually afford, and is has “my kind of style.” But if you suddenly started blogging only Balenciaga or Prada or Proenza Schouler, I’d have to break it off…sorry 😉
this is so true: “what appears fishy to me seems fine to someone else.” and i try not to judge – like i said, i don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with accepting items to review, and i believe bloggers CAN be objective and give an honest opinion, even if they didn’t purchase it themselves. the problem comes when nearly everything is “c/o’d” or the blogger usually wears h&m, zara, forever21 and all of the sudden starts wearing things completely out of “character” and out of her readers’ reach.
as a blogger you speak to a certain group of people based on your style and the brands you wear. that will evolve over time, but it shouldn’t suddenly COMPLETELY change with the attention of PR companies, and so that your readers can’t relate anymore…
I became a regular reader of your blog when I was debating the Isabel Marant Dicker boots vs. the Rachel Comey Mars (went with the former and love them). I continue to read your blog because you show readers like me, a woman with an average career who lives in a small town, how to have a more upscale and refined style without wasting money or being a label hound. Would I care if you were c/o’d most of your outfits? No, but I might stop reading if it seemed to me that you were advertising rather than writing about things you love. One of my all-time favorite blogs doesn’t accept advertising, but that’s a choice the writer has made. She also has a very distinct style and I’ve learned a lot from her, too.
haha!! i too, keep hoping that i can somehow transform credits into cash to pay vet bills, but at the same time i appreciate having the credits for the moments i don’t have any cash and “need” to buy stuff 😉
i hope i don’t come off completely against “free” – because i’m not, i just get discouraged when all a blogger talks about is what she got for free; there should be more of a balance. But then again, i try not to read those bloggers anyway….
thanks for your input val – i have often wondered how much readers actually care about what is gifted and what is purchased – if it really matters as much as we bloggers think it does. i kind of always thought that bloggers cared more than readers did, mostly because there’s an element of jealousy and a “keeping up with” mentality amongst bloggers that makes us look at things very critically & perhaps differently than readers would.
I think that @Alicia said it very well, “…I might stop reading if it seemed to me that you were advertising rather than writing about things you love.” I NEVER feel that way about you. But I do appreciate that your own personal integrity keeps you “an honest woman.”
I have to hope a trust fund doesn’t disqualify anyone.
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