Confession: I’ve more than once wanted to commemorate unfollowing someone – either a blog, or on Twitter, or Instagram, or whatever – with a liberated rant post, but I’ve always felt too bad to do it. I really, really, wanted to tell you about it once when I unfollowed a very popular blog. I wanted to rejoice having freed myself from her same outfits, and same pose, and SAME HAIR and SAME OPINIONS AS EVERY MAJOR FASHION SITE and SAME GEOGRAPHIC LOCATION AS HALF THE STYLE BLOGGER WORLD and how everything about her look is as if she chose it from the absolute top Pins of Pinterest… and I love you, Pinterest, but the top of the pins is the surest way to be absolutely not cutting edge. But I didn’t make that post. That same-y blog is a personal style blog, and even though she has way to many followers to ever notice me, I felt like criticizing someone’s personal style which is obviously enjoyed by others is a bit over a line for me.
But WhoWhatWear is not a personal style blog. So let me count the ways I am glad our relationship is over. But first…
Why did I follow this blog in the first place? I was having a bout of following every majorly influential style blog – that’s influential to the space, not necessarily to me personally. And you know what? Maybe there were some pretty pictures on there from time to time. And I liked the idea of following a blog that’s more of a “what’s going on” aggregator rather than the personal blogs I usually favor. And sometimes I click on shitty celebrity posts, ok.
Now, back to that counting of the ways I won’t miss WhoWhatWear: (in stream of consciousness order.)
- Click bait-y post titles. I know, it probably works. But I’m so tired of clicking to see this one thing and being really disappointed in this one thing. You promise me a new denim trend that’s going to be everywhere.. and when I get suckered into clicking it, its just mom jeans. Mom jeans aren’t new, its been a trend I’ve been ignoring for awhile and will continue to ignore.
2. Stacking onto the above: Somehow, they’ve set up all of their click bait trash articles so that you can’t view enough of the post in Bloglovin to tell if you care or not. So I have to leave the comfort of my Bloglovin app to give them page views for articles that are very often disappointing.
3. Treating fashion as if it is concrete and static. “Fashion girls always do this..” “The right way to do Chelsea boots…” and of course the last article I clicked before I clicked Unfollow: “New Yorkers would never wear these things…” A recent title was “The 3 Shoes to Ditch From Your Closet For Good”, as if these things are never, ever, ever coming back around, and have no place in not only society now, but society EVER to come. I get that to a certain extent you have to dispense with disclaimers that things change and report on what you think is right, right now but.. The appeal of following not-a-personal-style-style-blog is more varied perspectives. WhoWhatWear seems to think that there’s always a right and wrong, and its exactly X, and then they talk about it as if its Right and Wrong without acknowledging that six months from now they may well be telling you that “fashion girls would never” wear that same trend they hard-pimped at you today.
4. Also – vast generalizations/the treatment of vast groups of people (women) as singularly thinking cliques. “Fashion Girls” “French Girls” “Fashion People” “Cool Girls” “Parisians” “Italian Girls” “Aussie Girls” “French Women”… just pick one of those terms, and then talk about them as if everyone in the group agrees to a rigid set of opinions and ALWAYS wears this one thing that the headline won’t tell you what it is and would NEVER do that thing that shitty pedestrians like you probably do all the time. Also notice that three of the terms above attribute magical powers to the French. I’ve been to France, I’ve known French people, and there are some cool French people. But they aren’t all cool just precisely because they are effortlessly inherently more stylish than you, and yes, unattractive, dumpy French women exist, and just like any other cultural geographic group, there are some localized style tendencies (not all of them glamorous either) but they don’t all dress, look, or think alike. And I’m pretty tired of American fashion writers using French women as the measuring stick with which to beat American women. Also related: no, New Yorkers aren’t the American next-best-magical style unicorns that fart magical style.
5. Preoccupation with the same few (boring) trends. You know, that kind of writing where you want to describe chic city cool so you just drop a Chelsea boots. You want to signal adherence to trends that most people aren’t ready for, so you bring up a cropped flare. Yeah, I bet three years ago when you wanted to virtue-signal to “fashion girls like us” you still name-dropped a skinny jean. Most of these trends aren’t revolutionary (we already know about them) and a lot of them are.. not exciting. There’s a lot of focus on the “ugly” spectrum of trends (read: things that are exactly opposite of the last trends you mortals got comfortable with – so, mom jeans! Slip on mules!) with a healthy dose of the “clearly ok to like” such as white denim, crop tops, and, oh yeah – “French style”.
6. Clogging up my Bloglovin feed. Yeah, its nice to follow a blog that posts often. When you like most of the posts. But this is so all up in my feed that I’m missing posts from blogs whose content I more reliably like.
7. The off putting way they talk about the Who What Wear for Target line. I’ll admit – I own one of their shirts. And I like it. I like some of the pieces. But not all of them are great, and it really irks me when my Bloglovin feed is so clogged up that I click to see this one thing that I need to buy this season before it sells out because of all the Fashion Girls buying it and its just this website aggrandizing their own line. I get it. You like your line. I’m glad you like your line. But you called YOUR OWN PIECE “This Is the #1 Top to Wear With Jeans” in a headline – so I’ve clicked on the post before I get the disclaimer that its from your own line. And also, #RealTalk – that top has issues. Look at it on all the bloggers that I suspect you compelled to wear it – its shapeless but not drapey, and the peep holes on the sleeves are either oddly gaping or lost because there’s too much fabric around them. It looks like a first year fashion student just learning to translate their ideas to garment construction and almost but not quite hitting.
8. Most of all, I guess its just the way that all these things interact with each other, and the frequency of the posts really drives home the over-and-over use of the same tropes, and the tone becomes very reminiscent of the classic fashion magazine frenemy style of writing. You know, its that thing where the magazine promises to help you be desirable and glamorous and stylish but also subtlety points out to you that you are probably actually lumpy and wearing things that Cool Girls are all laughing at and really need to consult a magazine so you won’t keep making missteps but don’t worry this magazine is here to help you be alright. It creates the fear that creates the need for the cure that it sells itself. The problem is that there’s this appeal of WhoWhatWear and the new world of fashion – they present as part of the walls-torn-down new world of options.. but actually they are just part of a new establishment; just as elite and above you as the last one.
I’m still following WhoWhatWear UK. For now.
Posts I’m glad I didn’t miss with my less-dominated feed:
Neon Blush’s Tulum: What and Where
Accidental Icon’s Back to Basics
La Carmina’s A Guide to Yangon’s Modern Art Galleries
Blake Von D’s In the Zonal (She can even make a sponsor post that I’m glad I clicked on – no One Thing required..)