Life? or Theatre?

I’ve been thinking why I dress a certain why and why I am so in love with dressing up etc. lately, and coincidentally I’ve also been wondering why I have the tendency to take pictures of said dressing up. For the latter part I’ve basically come to a conclusion.

When I first started taking pictures of outfits, in the good old LJ days, I suppose it was firstly because I wanted to share new purchases and the coincidental excitement of it. But that’s the shallowest explanation; I think I also looked for some kind of acceptance, some kind of proof I was somehow cool and not the inherent outsider I always felt like. Teenage years, teenage insecurities! Later on that didn’t matter; I felt accepted with my friends and came to a point where I stopped caring what most people thought of me. But I continued with the outfit shots. I continued because of aforementioned excitement of new purchases and new looks; new coincidental identities I could hide behind, because I felt awful. I felt really, truly awful about myself. I felt awful about my body, I felt awful about my personality, I felt awful about every single little thing I ever did. And so I took pictures in flattering poses with flattering clothes, and somehow it made me feel temporarily better. I made sure I kept to the rules of dressing for my certain body shape (which is why I am so horribly opposed and nauseated by ‘dress for yr figure’ articles; because it hurt me so bad when I was younger). But flattering is boring, and safe and suddenly I realised that so I stopped needing (relatively) “good taste”. I started creating more elaborate characters in my head and wore matching outfits. More identities to hide behind. At the same time I also slowly discovered, (or re-discovered and found the proper word and the proper theoretic texts of) feminism. And for some reason I realised I’d been posing and hiding in these outfit pictures. I needed to do something about that, or I’d never feel better. Gradually I dared wearing actually supposedly “unflattering” clothes and realised said unflattering clothes don’t actually exist, because this is my body and it doesn’t need anything to make it “look better” because I live in this body, I feed it, I breathe with it, I walk with it, it takes me to exciting levels of life and pleasure. And so I am here, unconditionally content with my body and life and person and I don’t need outfit photos, nor do I need certain threads to make me feel better about myself. So I’m wondering, why do I keep up with it?

It’s habit.

If you do or have done the same (taking outfit/style pictures whateveryouwanttocallit) why do you do it, why have you done it? If you don’t, what’s your view on people doing that?

20 Comments

  • I enjoy your blog very much. I don’t do outfit snaps myself but I love other people that do it because it’s nice to see images of women dressing themselves and not just skinny women dressed by marketers, looking to make money. Please don’t stop! I need inspiration for my own little journey of self-acceptance and I really like your style!

  • Love the outfit – esp. the colours 🙂

    Taking outfit photos helped me get back into photography after a major burn out. I enjoy arranging shots that don’t need to have any deeper meaning, just me showing off my new skirt and pretending I am an imaginary person. I really enjoy the twist of being the model and photographer all rolled into one.

    I am still hung up about my look. Not so much my body but my face (how could I not be when the ratio of photos I don’t hate is approx. 1 in 100! LOL) Never mind, few women have true body confidence. Maybe now we get our style ideas from REAL girls rather than photographs of starved supermodels we can all releax about our bodies a little.

    Fashion photographs have been through hours of elaborate post production (and the lighting, let ‘s not even get started on the lighting) but with a thriving community of outfit bloggers style is not exclusive to bland stick figures anymore. It comes in all shapes and sizes. 🙂

    I love your style. Following your blog has sure given me extra confidence going for my more colourful outfits 🙂

    I love that you mention about “identities to hide behind”. I just talked about something similar over on my blog 😀
    For me it ‘s not so much hiding but there is an aspect of using what I wear as a shield. I am not me at all but a girl confident enough to wear this. Today I am elegant, tomorrow I am a tomboy. Secretly I just want to be a superhero 😉

  • I read personal style blogs, because they are personal. They are not some sugared up photoshopped thing in the magazine and they inspire me to dress up, try clothing combinations I hadn’t considered or dared to try before, because they are written by simple down to earth people and it is easy to relate to.

    I started a blog as sort of a therapy – I feel rather uncomfortable in my own skin and photos are a good way too see yourself from another perspective. I never felt confident, because I don’t feel pretty (as previous commenter also wrote – facewise) and it usually is in life, that it is not easy for people who are not pretty, so I always feel self concious. I hope that blogging will help me make peace with myself and also find my own style that would be in harmony with my personality.

  • Are you scouting for compliments? You do it surely because you have an eye for pulling together ensembles that transcend both the individual elements and the poverty of their sources. In sharing your discoveries you have the pride of the artist as alchemist practicing the transmutation of common metal into gold. No?

    • I’m kind of annoyed that you might think that I am merely scouting for compliments – do others think this also? – while I was just relating how this started out inherently egotistical; in wanting approval, and might end in equally inherent egotism; in not having any approval left to seek. In trying to start discussions about anything more I was just kidding myself; I am not anything special and the spark of want of discussion that briefly lighted in the fashion blogging world faded real damn fast from my point of view and now I am just annoyed and bored by the overall (but not all) constant, useless light-heartedness (that is if you ignore the beautiful (body-)acceptance movement – but what do I have to do with that latter bit as a white, thin straight girl? I just can’t see any point any more).

      But that is a nicely crafted comment.

      • well, you want it or not, there always will be this seeking of approval to a certain degree. Because if nobody reacts, then you cannot be sure if what you are doing is right and if you should do it at all.

        What started to bother me lately about this personal style blogging, is that under outfits there are only comments like – oh that’s pretty, love the shoes!, you look adorable as always bla bla bla. But no one actually provides any critisism, which IMHO is a way to evolve. Like, maybe this outfit could be improved by a belt, or I would rework this piece in this or that way. I haven’t given it too much thought, but I think this is what I would like to achieve eventually. That people would write their opinions, not just compliments.

        • re commenting

          I don’t think saccharine feedback is unique to fashion blog comments but an attribute of online community “critique” in general. Once upon a time I joined a photography group while working on a portrait project. The feedback was conventional, saccharine and mostly irrelevant. When it came to portrait photography it really bugged me that nobody looked further than smiles and general prettiness. Slightly disconcertin? Well, that must be bad. Happy happy joy joy. Gives me the Tyler Durden blues.

          I can’t find it now but I recall a spoof critique of some of the grand masters of photography with gems such as “they are not smiling. You should get them to smile” for Diane Arbus photographs and “You cut the top of the heads off, you should frame more generously” for Richard Avedon’s striking work. *sigh*

          I guess it is a sign of my light-hearted approach to fashion that on the contrary I actually ENJOY that aspect of the interwebs when it comes to blogging. Off hand remarks with no deeper meaning make me happy in the same way a passing smile offered by a stranger does. And I like giving that feeling back too, be it off or online. When I see something I like I’ll tell people so. Some things just don’t require deeper meaning in my eyes. But then the things that do differ for all of us so I do understand that what is a bit of light relief to me will illicit the dread I feel when faced with a bland portrait crit in someone else.

        • Yeah, but I don’t want any criticism on what I wear, whether it be “constructive” or not because I know what I wear is right just because I feel right in it. And that’s all that matters. Criticism on how somebody looks or what somebody wears without their explicit question for advice kinda just pisses me off? A nice compliment is always nice, but it’s just nice I don’t need or necessarily want it. So what am I doing with these outfit photos now that I feel so comfortable about what I wear, how I look, how I feel… etc.?

  • Hah! Finally have some time to catch up on my blogreading. What I like about your blog is how you dare to wear the kind of clothing most people don’t dare to wear. I feel you’ve always had a personal style that represents you and not what is ‘in’ at the moment.

    When I actually take pictures of my outfits I’m mostly bored, but I also do it to like myself a bit more. I hate the way I look most of the time and try to change something about it. To accept the way my body looks etc.
    At the moment I still have a long way to go.

  • I’m glad you posted about this; even though I haven’t taken any outfit photos in months, it’s been on my mind lately. Besides th usual reasons, I think I try to photographically document myself because I have a really poor memory, & photos help me to keep track of things which happened/what I wore/even sometimes th mood I was in.

    • Oh now that you mention it I have an extremely poor memory myself and when I forgot something about my day or even when I misplaced something it really helps to check my blog and see what I wore that day. For some reason I can always find the object/memory because of that. Am I too extremely focussed on what I wear? WEIRD.

  • well first off eline you are gorgeous! it’s words like yours that are such an encouragement to hear. i wish more people shared your sentiments … when i really think about it, i suppose i began taking pictures of my outfits because i was living in a cultural void, one where i never went anywhere or had few friends (this was my transition from California to Texas) i wanted someone to see what i thought up! as silly as that sounds, and also to keep the memory of the creation, because i really do see style as a form of art and self expression, and i almost never wear the same thing twice 🙂 <3

  • As far as blogging goes I’m not really sure why I do it. I just decided to one day and haven’t really stopped. I guess it becomes a habit,like you said. I don’t do it for the compliments or comments (and I don’t believe you do it for that reason either!) for anyone to suggest that is nonsense. But it IS nice to hear positive feedback on things when all you ever hear (in my case) is negatives morning noon and night. It’s also nice to interact with like-minded individuals who won’t make you feel like an idiot for blathering on about Joy Division and green eyeshadow. That wasn’t really a reason but w/e. ANYWHOOO, I really like this outfit, it’s the perfect mix of summer and fall! I wish it was still warm enough to wear crop tops over here T.T

  • I think I take outfit pictures because I love to associate clothing with certain memories, and having a photographic record of what I was wearing on a particular day really helps with this. Also, it provides me with a record of outfits that I have worn, and can be sort of a go-to type guide for when I’m not sure what to wear!

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