Man of the Hour

I wouldn’t say it is my favorite show but out of sheer curiosity and boredom I decided to watch America’s Next Top Model. If you like high fashion drama this is the show for you. What struck me about the show, however, was one of the featured judges, noted fashion photographer Nigel Barker. For some unknown reason, whether as an amusing joke or otherwise, my mother has been receiving a Parenting magazine. In one of the issues an article was featured on Nigel Barker on what it meant to be beautiful. Even though Mr. Barker works with the glitz and glamorous everyday, this is not what he deems beautiful. So who does he think the most gorgeous women in the world is? No, not Angelina Jolie. Megan Fox? Try again! His wife Cristen. Why? “How wonderfully nurturing she is. If asked ‘Who is the most beautiful woman you know?’ most people will name someone who truly cares about them.” Though magazines present impossible beauty in front of our eyes everyday there is one thing we girls need to know about these “flawless” photos. According to Nigel Barker “All of those photos are heavily retouched—you don’t get a sense of who the model is, let alone what she really looks like.” In his new book Beauty Equation he redefines what it means to be beautiful when he states “Everyone is beautiful if they have passion, charm, and sincerity.” His new book was inspired by his own five-year-old son Jack who asked “What is Beauty?”. As Nigel began compiling a list of traits he believed to embody the spirit of beauty he came to realize that beauty had nothing to do with outward appearance. What should other women be admired for? “Admire another woman’s talent and spontaneity, rather than her face, hair or body. Princess Diana was gorgeous, down-to-earth, and completely lovable. Let personality and authentic qualities be what inspires you.” Well said Mr. Barker. Nigel Barker has become one of my personal male heroes. I only hope to find a man like him in the future.

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Don’t Question Me

I have often wondered how my fellow fashion bloggers afford to pay for their designer clothes. I also questioned from time to time how Carrie Bradshaw didn’t declare bankruptcy due to her outlandish shoe addiction. A professional model is actually paid to model clothes but a freelance blogger models clothes at their own expense. Where is the money coming from? How can a freelance blogger with no real profession afford a life of luxury? One spectator asked blogger Susie Bubble this very question [220 here, 220 there…how much money do you actually spend on clothes? and im not bung the story…oh they are an investment, like some sort of fashion archive … how do you make money to afford to buy things like this and travel like you do?] and this was her response:

“I’m not accountable to you and where my money come from is ACTUALLY none of your business…If you had asked in a slightly more polite tone, I would have GLADLY answered anyway so I’m doing so here perfunctorily…I used to have a full time job at Dazed and now I work freelance doing projects for brands that involve writing, commissioning and also styling as well… I also blog for other people too and ads also come into it once in a while… (depending on where you are in the world you may not see the ads?) I’m also incredibly lucky to be in a situation where I can get things on the cheap and I don’t shop as often as I did actually so in effect, I’m spending less money these days… I’m not someone to shirk away from talking about money but I do believe there’s a more TACTFUL way of going about it and at the end of the day, my bank account is my business…”

“Bloggers aren’t making the millions that people purport them to be via their blogs directly (i.e. selling adspace or advertorials…) but in fashion blogging, rather their skillsets or ‘trademark’ as a blogger are being used in projects that are external to the blog…like Garance Dore shooting campaign for Moschino etc…”

You got that right. Fashion bloggers don’t make millions, especially those of us who are just starting out such as myself. It seems that besides receiving endorsements from designers, many fashion bloggers are financially well off to begin with. Jane Aldridge from Sea of Shoes, for example, is being financed by her dad to continue a career in blogging. Those of us who do not have these advantages have to pay for outfits out of our own pocket. Is it wrong for viewers to ask where bloggers get the money to support their freelance career? To state exactly how much money you have is inappropriate information to share in any case but if a blogger is to remain relatable to the reader, I do not see the harm in being honest. Those who are defensive and refuse to dispense certain information (that is appropriate to share among the public) usually have something to hide. Questioning someone’s spending habits should not make one go into an angry frenzy. I question who can afford a $220 dollar dress in this economy besides celebrities. I will say I don’t have the funds to buy a $220 dollar dress and I won’t pretend to be something I’m not. I will have a budget and there will be times when I will not be able to buy clothes. I would rather display mass designer brands and affordable fashion then go into debt to wear a label. The label does not define me. I define my style.

P.S. I am not bashing any fashion bloggers who can afford expensive clothes. I admire you for delivering stunning looks and helping the rest of us gain fashion inspiration and insight. As for me, I am the cheap and chic version of these bloggers.

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