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Freshman year of high school I grew tired of wearing the same Aeoropostale or Billabong T-shirts and Old Navy flip flops that everyone else had. So I turned to my old friend, the internet. I specifically remember being bored one day and Googling “fashion websites.” It was as if I stumbled onto a treasure trove: pages and pages of interesting clothing, accessories, hairstyles, makeup and shoes — so many shoes. Seeing all the options for outfits and style made me realize just how creative I could be. Inspired, I began to build up the courage to experiment with clothes, wearing my mother and grandmother’s old jewelry and trying out the latest crazy trends. I suddenly didn’t look like everyone else — and I was proud of it.
So just what kind of sites are out there, to inspire and educate about the wild world of fashion? Part of the fusion of fashion and the internet is the virtual representation of what we do in the real world. Take online shopping for example. I personally have spent many hours pouring through the online catalog for Anthropologie or H&M, checking out all the options in every color and pattern they have. Zappos offers about a million options for shoes, letting you search by type, color, price, pattern, occasion, theme, material and accent. In other words, it is the perfect way to procrastinate on studying for a midterm or writing a paper. eBay and Etsy serve the same role as thrift stores, allowing you to find unique used pieces that you can be sure no one else will have.
Designer brand fashion is also represented all over the internet. Plenty of sites follow runway fashion, so those of us far away from New York, Paris and Milan can get closer to experiencing being at a fashion show in person by watching videos of models sashaying down the runway to carefully chosen music. One site, Rent the Runway, lets you get even closer by letting you order designer clothing and rent it for 4 to 8 days, allowing you to be the most stylish person at every party. Most magazines now have websites as well so the latest editorial photo shoots are readily available at the click of a mouse.
In addition to simply sharing these traditional aspects of fashion in a new way, the internet has created new opportunities for this art form to be created and expressed. Blogging has given individuals who aren’t a part of the fashion industry a platform to share their own ideas and creations with people around the world (even high school freshmen).
One example of this is the popularity of street-style blogs, created by photographers who search out stylish folks in various locations, take pictures of them and post pictures for the world to see. The Sartorialist, one of the most popular street-style blogs, shares on-the-street fashion in various cosmopolitan cities. Now people anywhere can see what people are wearing in New York, Stockholm, Tokyo and Paris. These outfits often demonstrate a personal sense of style that is more interesting and inspiring than simply going along with the latest fashion trends seen in magazines.
Personal style blogs are another way to share these inspirational fashion choices. Blogs allow us to observe the creativity and style of normal people whose career isn’t based on trying to sell clothing. Many of these blogs involve people sharing their unique daily outfit choices.
StyleBubble is a blog chronicling the fashion choices and opinions of a young woman in London. Often colorful, layered and eccentric, her outfits demonstrate a unique perspective on style. She often pairs high and low priced items together in order to achieve affordable perfection — a shirt from a thrift store with a skirt from H&M and a Marc Jacobs bag.
Another style blog, Vixen Vintage shows the stylings of a young woman in Portland who loves to recreate the looks of the past. She finds adorable vintage clothing and accessories at thrift stores, eBay, estate sales, etc. and pairs them together to look like she walked straight out of the 1940s.
Many blogs also offer tips and tricks about shopping, styling and even creating clothes. For example, I recently discovered a technique to tie a silk scarf into a 50′s housewife style head-scarf, and I’ve been integrating the look into my wardrobe ever since. One site, P.S. I Made This, is a blog that shows easy, fun DIY tutorials showing how to make accessories and clothing, often using everyday items.
Another wonderful resource is Rookie, a site aimed specifically toward teenagers and edited by Tavi Gevenson, a young blogger who started her own style blog at the age of 13. In addition to various tips, articles and interviews, Rookie features photo shoots with real, ordinary teenage girls wearing clothes from their own closets. These pictures show that you don’t have to be a super model to explore fashion and have genuine style.
The internet has allowed “normal” people like you and me to share and explore the style of more than just the elites in the fashion industry. Magazines still hold an important role — bringing together the best photographers, stylists and models with the latest designer clothes and best equipment in an interesting location. Blogs, however, have introduced a new side of fashion, giving a voice to many people all over the world who may never work as a photographer for Vogue or as a stylist for Katy Perry or as a model for Chanel, but who still want to share their love and talent for style.
The idea of “fashion” often seems intimidating. After all, it’s known as a pretentious industry that seems to revolve around creating incredibly expensive things to clothe unnaturally beautiful people. But you don’t have to have millions of dollars and be a size zero to enjoy clothing and style. Fashion is about expressing yourself through the medium of clothing — but now your style can go viral.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Karyssa Cox at Karyssa.email@example.com.