It is here! FASHION Magazine’s online popularity contest, recruiting bloggers from across the country to post about the shopping and the style sighting in their towns.
With representation in every region, it is a wonderful opportunity to take a look at the state of fashion blogging in Canada. Also, a perfect chance to evaluate for ourselves what makes a stand out shopping post, and maybe raise the bar when it comes to that often overlooked art.
I have to say, I am very pleased with all the finalists. Many of them I have already met in fashion blogland.
Some are familiar favourites – Isabel from Belleville, Kim from Calgary, and Craig from Vancouver. It is a treat to see their faces and learn a bit more about them. Others are new to me – Lana and Meghan from Winnipeg, Terri from Vancouver, and Connie from Toronto. I always enjoy discovering new fashion bloggers. As you can tell I am very partial towards my colleagues.
Of the ones who don’t already blog, several are already professional fashion writers. Overall, a terrific selection which makes voting difficult. Of course Isabel and Kim get fave raves from me for being such lovely friends of Final Fashion. The rest I am judging on the merits of their posts.
So how are the posts? I myself am not a shopping blogger, and the few times I have attempted the craft were just enough to show me that it is far more difficult than it looks. Here are the major criteria:
- Title. It should give a sense of what is in the post, and bonus points if it is clever.
- Photo. A great photo can elevate even a mediocre post. A mediocre photo can sink even the most carefully written post. The photo should be at the very least, clear. If it is also well composed, it can stand on its own. If it is also clever, its a sure fire winner no matter what the text says. If it is pulled from a designer’s website, shot through a store window, or photographed by the model herself, it is a vote-killer. Bonus points for illustrations.
- First Sentence. The blank text box can stump even the most seasoned blogger. The first sentence should grab the reader by the collar and pull them into the post.
- The Post. How long? It should be just the right length. If you are writing about a dress, a paragraph or two will do. One sentence is probably not enough. A wall of text is impenetrable and unnecessary – the paragraphs should be no longer than a few sentences to keep my attention.
- The Tone. This is fashion writing, so you can get away with all sorts of alliteration, rhyming, and other cute conventions that wouldn’t fly in, say, Macleans. In fact, most of those who practice the art of fashion writing like to take it over the top with just enough irony to cut through the syrup. Just remember this is for FASHION Magazine, not the New York Times. Be positive, think of your words as little air kisses flying their way through the ether. Also, take it easy on the exclamation points. Bonus points for candour and personality – take a hint from Auntie Fashion.
- The Find. This is the whole point, the shopping post’s reason for being. If I have already heard of your discovery, why would I read about it? A great shopping post should be about unearthing an undiscovered gem, bringing attention to a recently-forgotten item, or at the very least provide a new insight on a familiar item.
Take a look at the posts on FASHION’s website, and tell me what you think. There were a few that were very good, and several that felt a bit self-conscious. There were also some fabulous examples of flowing filigrees of fashion flippancy which were so much fun, I just had to quote a few.
“A unique twist of yesterday combined into these fashion forward pieces is a result of a creative collision that will have everyone asking where you got your one and onlys.” Natasha from Saskatoon
“The band at the waist and darts at the hip create a form-lovin’ cut, while the exposed darts that drip from the neckline give this prim dress its dash of funky flair.” Nadine from Halifax
“The boutique emulates Paris in its music and decor, while retaining the friendly, relaxed atmosphere of Guelph’s culturally rich downtown.” Heather from Guelph
“Funny thing is, their indispensable presence in the fashion scene is still unknown to the grand public! What? Vintage shoes, drinks and snack still a secret? Spread the word ladies! Let the never-ending, exhausting search in thrift stores be over. After all, we feline creatures always need to be fabulously pawed-up!” Magali from Montreal!
Vote! You can do it once a day. Afterwards, come back and tell me who your favourites are.