Friend Friday #3: Conspicuous Consumption

Conspicuous consumption is a term used to describe the lavish spending on goods and services acquired mainly for the purpose of displaying income or wealth.*

The idea that fashion bloggers are somehow glorifying lavish and unbridled spending on clothes and accessories and shoes and bags and beauty products and many many more things is something which concerns me every time I come across a blog that forever seems to be showcasing some new purchase or other. The pressure to keep up with other bloggers is undoubtedly great for many.

Indeed, there is a new trend emerging (which I saw in my Grazia mag the other week) of what are being called “shopping haul videos”. These are short films uploaded to YouTube whereby the (usually) young women “show” their recent shop purchases. I haven’t really looked into this too much but I can only begin to imagine the pressure between these vloggers to buy more or more desirable items. If you’d like to read a bit more about these, Disney Roller Girl wrote about them recently.

The idea that a fashion blog might sometimes look more like a shopping list or inventory is something that doesn’t sit too comfortably with some fashion bloggers. Style Eyes Fashion Blog dealt with this very subject in a post only last week, whilst Retro Chick recently posted: 5 Ways To Update Your Wardrobe For Next To Nothing.

1. Do you think fashion blogs are often just conspicuous consumption? Are some?

This is an interesting subject that has been discussed on other fashion blogs before, in particular I remember a post (or two) by Gala Darling – here. I think that some fashion bloggers probably feel a pressure to keep up with their contemporaries and to keep their outfit posts fresh with new pieces.

2. As bloggers do we have the obligation to explain our personal financial status, how we pay for the things we showcase, if we have debt, etc…

I do often find myself wondering how bloggers can afford the clothes they are showing on their blogs when I struggle each month to stay within a strict (ish!) budget. I certainly find it interesting when bloggers do explain how they afford what they are wearing. I remember one blogger explaining that her parents were generous with her allowance. Fair enough. We might envy her that but who are we to judge? And Gala Darling was honest about her spending getting out of control and now not having a credit card at all. I tend to only really read blogs of bloggers who probably have a similar budget to me – I find them more reassuring and more identifiable. 

3. Critics often say that fashion bloggers should use their money to support more worthwhile causes than clothing themselves in a different outfit daily. What’s your reaction to this?

I guess this could be said for those bloggers with a large enough bank account who could afford to do this; I think for the most part, we are young women (or men) who enjoy the clothes that we have in our wardrobes and mixing these to style interesting outfits along the way. I know that, personally, I work with the very same wardrobe I would have whether I was blogging or not. As for supporting charities myself, this is something that I do personally and have chosen the charities that I support based on very personal reasons, these include, Riders for Health.

4. Since you started blogging, do you spend more money on fashion and beauty products?

No. In fact, when I started blogging I had just imposed a six month shopping ban on myself. Since the end of the ban, I have tried to stick to a (vague) budget. Before I started blogging, I was already a complete shopaholic and as a student would rather live on beans on toast for a week to afford a new outfit, so not much has changed really.

5. Life is about more than what money can buy. What are the things that top your list of what life is all about?

I completely agree that life is more about money and what it can buy. I was brought up to believe that happiness was not something you bought but something that you made for yourself by doing something that made you happy. The things that make me happy are my friends, my family, travelling and discovering new places. And Italy. Anyone who reads this blog will know of my obsession with the country, the language, the food, the wine. Everything. What can I say?! I’ll be so happy when I’m there next week.

What do you think? I’d love to know your responses to these questions too. Is blogging just another form of conspicuous consumption?

Friend Friday is a way for bloggers to connect and to participate in conversation each week. To get involved or, simply, to see the other contributions to this week’s topic, go to Modly Chic.



About sugarandspicesg

fashion blogger
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2 Responses to Friend Friday #3: Conspicuous Consumption

  1. MJ says:

    Great answers!I couldn't get into the haul video thing either! I guess it felt a little too much like bragging maybe!And you're so right about happiness. Its all about what you do and not what you bought! 🙂

  2. Chandra says:

    I totally and very much agree with what you said on #5. I just want to be content, happy, and joyful. Things fade away, and at the end of the day I want to be happy with WHO I AM.

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