style bloggers comment back

blog friends,blogging,interviews — Danielle on October 14, 2011 at 1:49 pm

Meeting fellow fashion bloggers to talk shop is one of my favourite types of encounters, and not so long ago I had the opportunity to talk outfit blogging with some very erudite male style bloggers. The subject of reactions to outfit posts came up and I was interested to learn that in the male style blogging sphere, the nature of the commentary seems somewhat different than in the female style blogging sphere.

Curious about whether this impression was reflected in reality, I took a very unscientific poll of four of my favourite style bloggers, asking them about what type of comments they get and why they put their ensembles out there for review. Of course every style blog is different, so the answers are various. If you’re as interested as I am in the call-and-response nature of fashion, you’ll enjoy this.


Winston of Le Vrai Winston, “men like clothes too”.

Do you think that on male style blogs, the comments are mostly by males, and on female style blogs, the comments are mostly by females? If so, do you have any idea why that is? Do you think that gender plays any role in the nature of the community and the commentary?

I think that is the case and logically so. My blog attracts women as well as men, but far more of the latter than the former.

The chief ‘benefit’ for most visitors, if I am basing it on their feedback, is inspiration. That is why some women visit; they can look past the suits, ties and shoes at the colour and pattern use and obtain ideas or inspiration for their own looks. The men come to get ideas for purchasing and composition as well as colour and/or pattern use and quite often ask explicitly about one of the items in the ‘outfit.’

I would estimate that the vast majority of the anonymous negative comments have been made by males. I say this because of the particular style and point of attack; most of them are stag-like in nature, rather than ridiculing, and therefore have a competitive, male tone to them that precludes female construction.

I think that overall, females are far more pleasant on average than males although it does depend on the age group. Middle aged to older men tend to be more reasonable and appreciative, whereas younger men are more competitive and harbour jealousy and resentment. Some comments from an anonymous poster I thought to be a young man referred to my being a ‘faux aristocrat’ because I took photos on a ‘grand, Georgian London street’ to make people believe I lived there. The fact that I do live on that street is not material. What is interesting is how they construct their challenges. It is based on challenging someone on their class, which includes their name and their style.

Certain men, probably of certain political leanings, cannot stand my name and consider it pompous and pretentious and even ‘made up’ in much the same way that they dislike my apparent ‘lifestyle’ and aesthetic ideas. They spend time visiting and commenting on a blog owned by someone they probably wish to physically harm, devoting considerable thought to the challenges they choose to conjure. Their purpose in this regard is perplexing to many who choose to pursue a ‘live and let live’ existence.

What is the best comment or the best type of comment you enjoy receiving?

Believe it or not, the best type of comment I enjoy receiving is constructive criticism. It’s pleasant to read things like ‘Brilliant outfit!’ and ‘Wow. I really like this look’ but it’s better to receive someone elses ideas as I would usually consider them in future alongside my own. Some people write things like ‘Nice jacket but the trousers don’t really work as they distract from the palette’ and many recipients of such a comment might choose to ignore it but I think it is far more interesting to acknowledge it and think about it seriously.

Other comments I enjoy receiving? I think everyone enjoys comments praising physical attractiveness or comparisons with famous heartthrobs. These comments are very very few, but it’s nice when you get them.

What are your motivations for creating outfit posts that are open for comments – what do you enjoy about it?

My original motivation was borne of frustration. I was annoyed that people accused me of spending fortunes on ‘obviously expensive’ clothing when other people had to shop on the high street. I myself was a keen high street shopper and very rarely ventured into expensive boutiques or purchased designer clothing. My girlfriend told me I should set up a blog that shows where my clothing comes from, so that people can see what sort of looks are possible with high street shopping and that it’s not all about trendy fashion, that you can attain looks of longevity, style, maturity and elegance from the stores that used to be laughed at by the fashion elite.

Isabel of Hipster Musings, “THE REVOLUTION STARTS HERE AND NOW within each one of us”.

What is the best comment or the best type of comment you enjoy receiving?

My favourite comments are ones that include suggestion. For example, if I mention a movie I recently watched or a musician I’ve been listening too lately I love it when people ask me if I’ve heard of “so and so” because usually I look into their suggestion and find it quite pertinent!

What do you think the main motivations for making a comment on an outfit post – positive or negative – might be?

Comments are a marketplace for getting noticed, I think. If you can write something positive and funny, then the blog you are commenting on will hopefully leave a comment in return. Circle jerk validation, really.

Do you think that on female style blogs, the comments are mostly by females, and on male style blogs, the comments are mostly by males? If so, do you have any idea why that is? Do you think that gender plays any role in the nature of the community and the commentary?

Well I mostly read ladies fashion blogs because I am a lady and I get inspired by their outfits and see what I can try out with my own wardrobe. That said, I really like The Dandy Project because Izzy’s style is so creative and DIY and his spirit really comes through in his writing and projects. If a fashion blogger is interesting, it doesn’t matter what their gender is – I’ll read it.

What are your motivations for creating outfit posts open for comments – what do you enjoy about it?

I guess I just like being validated by comments. Obviously, the more positive comments I get the better I feel! It doesn’t necessarily make me feel better than wearing the outfit already made me feel, but I’m just glad to know that other people like what I’m wearing too! Not too many of my friends are into fashion, so it’s fun to connect with people who are.

Barima of Mode Parade, “sartorial and pop culture dissection column”.

Do you think that on male style blogs, the comments are mostly by males, and on female style blogs, the comments are mostly by females? If so, do you have any idea why that is? Do you think that gender plays any role in the nature of the community and the commentary?

I do think that to be the case; I still remember being surprised that women liked my content enough to comment on it, and the other men’s style blogs I frequent have a mostly male clientele, though on the more “charming middle aged man’s lifestyle” sites, I think the gender ratio is closer to 3:2 in favour of men. I am certain that the commentary on women’s style blogs is overwhelmingly female.

Frankly, I’ve long suspected a herd or in-crowd mentality to much of the feting that can go with outfit posts. I think that very few of us genuinely like each other’s looks or like to lead each other down the garden path, which is a terrible consequence of groupthink, as well as one of looking for a star to follow. And much of it can be so fickle in that if a post garners less commentary than normal, these seemingly regular commenters either missed it or lack the balls to say what turned them off on this occasion.

What is the best comment or the best type of comment you enjoy receiving?

For outfits, the kind that is either insightful about what makes the ensemble work for them or wants to know more about a particular piece. For the other content, either an appreciation of my writing or extra information about the subject at hand. I enjoy learning from my semi-regular readers, though I also appreciate the bonhomie of the more regular commenters.

What is the worst comment or worst type of comment you have to deal with?

This is more germane to the forums I appear on – the insecure neuroses of the Nitpick Doyens generate the worst stuff, really. Someone once described them as “cowboys who beleieve that they’ve a better idea of how the clothes fit than the person wearing them.” It’s arriviste expertise, really. I take on all constructive feedback, but there’s no chance that I’ll pay heed to someone calling me ugly or too youthful looking, or who has a cripplingly narrow frame of aesthetic reference or other things like that.

Do you have any advice for dealing with negative feedback?

Don’t take it personally. Discern whether it has any utility and then respond accordingly.

What are your motivations for creating outfit posts that are open for comments – what do you enjoy about it?

I’ve chosen not to centre Mode Parade around the outfit posts for various reasons, although I recognise that they do attract a little more notice than my “bubbling under” writing does. I freely admit that it’s a narcissistic endeavour, but I also thought that they might be a useful documentation of how my presentation changes over time. And as regards style, it allows me to demonstrate my personal tastes to leaven out the focus on my opinions.

Jentine of My Edit, “a life between peep toes and steel toes”.

Do you think that on female style blogs, the comments are mostly by females, and on male style blogs, the comments are mostly by males? If so, do you have any idea why that is? Do you think that gender plays any role in the nature of the community and the commentary?

I would guess that 99. 6% (yeah, I checked… or not) of the comments on my blog are from females. I actually don’t read any male fashion blogs so I have no idea of their commentors. I do write and post with a female audience in mind. I am sure there are some guys who read my blog but I imagine my blog readership is a giant girly slumber party with pillowfights and a cupcake buffet.

What is the best comment or the best type of comment you enjoy receiving?

I get pretty tickled pink when people tell me that I inspired them to get to a thrift store. Also, funny and random comments make my day. I’ve met some really cool ladies like Merl and Emily through rambly back and forth commenting. I really appreciate anyone who takes the time to comment on one of my posts but the whole ‘follow me and I’ll follow you?’ thing is tedious.

Do you have any advice for dealing with negative feedback?

I have incredibly thin skin and I have always had a hard time taking criticism (I know, not the best quality) so perhaps I am not the best to give advice on this. I would recommend wine though. In all seriousness now, I think when you put yourself on the internet, you have to be prepared for some negative feedback at times. I think it’s important to determine if the negative feedback is just useless trolling or if it’s meant as constructive criticism or if it’s just a difference in opinion. Sometimes anything negative gets labelled as ‘haters gonna hate’ but maybe people are just trying to tell you something and there is something to learn from the comments.

What are your motivations for creating outfit posts open for comments – what do you enjoy about it?

As much as we pretend that it’s just a nice bonus, there is a certain amount of validation that does come from the comments on an outfit post. Yes, it feels nice to get comments and I love getting a reaction to what I write. It is the easiest way to keep communication open with your readers. I have met some really top notch ladies through the comment section and it is the oddest and coolest thing that I now consider some of my online friends as some of my closest friends.

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    5 Comments »

    1. Interesting concept for a post…I realized while reading that I read all of 3 male blogs out of 150 or so I regularly follow, Jentine among them.

      Comment by Terri — October 15 2011 @ 1:59 am
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