Melford Hall, Sudbury

Being a Fashion Influencer: What I've Learned*

If you're a blogger like me, sometimes defining exactly what your content niche is can be pretty difficult. I've been part of the blogging world for around three years now and I'm still trying to figure out precisely what it is that I do. When people ask me "what do you blog about?", I always struggle to put it into words. However, I am definitely starting to gravitate more towards the fashion and style side of things. But while my Instagram feed is now exclusively dedicated to my outfits, my blog still has the eclectic mix of posts you'd expect from a lifestyle blogger (featuring everything from theatre to food). Having this random assortment of topics featured in my online presence has actually been really healthy for me. I enjoy every post that I write and the variety keeps things fresh. Nevertheless, creating fashion content for both my Instagram and my blog has taught me a great deal. Today's post is dedicated to everything I've learned from curating my fashion feed and from following the style content put out there by others.

OOTD pics actually have a lot of positives

Instagram sucks, right? It's responsible for bad body image, poor mental health, and an inordinate amount of wasted time. I'm under no illusion about the realities of Instagram but honestly, I do still think there are some good things about the platform. The lovely Lauren hit the nail on the head for me the other day when she tweeted about how taking outfit photos for Instagram actually made her feel better about her appearance. Lauren talked about how shooting outfit pictures and being exposed to so many images of herself from all angles had made her embrace what she has, and that's something I can really relate to. Sure, there are things about my appearance that I don't like. The bags under my eyes and my bad posture are just two that immediately spring to mind, but seeing those flaws appear in photos from each shoot has actually normalised them in my head. Looking at the photos has helped me to realise some good things about my appearance too.

Abbey, wearing a butterfly print dress and yellow cardigan dropped off her shoulders, sits facing away from the camera amongst a row of daffodils, holding a dandelion

The pressure to wear new clothes every time can be intense

I'm sure it's not just me who feels bad when they see their fellow influencers constantly wearing new items on their blogs and Instagram feeds. It can make you feel like a bit of a failure and a phony fashion influencer if you haven't worn anything that your followers haven't already seen in months. However, as well as giving me serious shopping FOMO, keeping up to date with other style bloggers does have its advantages. As a student, I don't have the biggest budget in the world so shopping on a weekly basis just isn't realistic for me, but what I can do is to shop in my own wardrobe. Planning outfits to shoot from my existing closet has encouraged me to delve deeper into my wardrobe, pulling out things that I haven't worn in yonks. It has also led to me putting together items that I hadn't tried before, resulting in some "new" outfits that I now wear all the time! This creative spark is definitely one of the best new skills I've developed as a result of being a fashion-focused blogger.

The creative possibilities are endless in the fashion world

While we're on the subject of creativity, these days fashion blogs can morph into incredibly successful creative business ventures. We regularly see our favourite influencers turning their hand to writing books, producing makeup lines, making their own merch or even starting their own fashion label. I've been inspired by style bloggers big and small over the years. When I talk about fashion influencers with enviable success, I always mention Marzia (who some of you may remember from her now-abandoned YouTube channel). With her boyfriend Felix, best known as Pewdiepie, she launched a fashion label called Tsuki, an ethical, unisex clothing brand with the cutest, most inspired designs. Yes, their products are pricey and sadly I don't own anything from the range yet, but Marzia really does prove that anything is possible in the influencer industry. Even if your following isn't millions strong like Marzia's, you can still start your very own clothing website with help from fashion wholesale uk stockists - the world really is your oyster!

Abbey, wearing a butterfly print dress and yellow cardigan, smiles as she sits facing the camera with a dandelion tucked in her brown hair

I definitely have a uniform (and that's ok)

Can you really call yourself a fashion influencer when you wear the same outfit pretty much every day? I don't care if you think the answer is no, that's what I do regardless. Going through some photos from recent beauty events that I've attended has really made me chuckle lately. It hadn't even crossed my mind before attending that I was wearing a pretty much identical denim skirt and yellow stripe t-shirt combo each time. You'll see this for yourself in an upcoming round-up post! I don't think there's anything wrong with this at all - with many of us trying to be more environmentally friendly in our clothing choices, it's really positive to see people online wearing and re-wearing the same outfit. I don't think it's a bad thing in principle to have a favourite look either. As a kick-ass queen once said, "I'll show you versatility when Santino wins a sewing competition and Visage wears a turtleneck." If it's good enough for Bianca del Rio to slay the same silhouette on Drag Race runway every week, it's good enough for me.

Anyone can be a fashion influencer

The fashion industry isn't exactly known for being inclusive. The models that we see on our catwalks are by no means representative of the average woman. In recent years we have even seen major retailers such as Victoria's Secret deliberately choosing to cast models with unhealthy and unrealistic body types in their shows, favouring "a fantasy" over adequate representation. However, the amazing ladies in the fashion influencer world are fighting back. Through the incredible style blogging movement, we are starting to see much more diversity: more plus size queens scoring brand collabs and looking AMAZING whilst doing it, more women of colour killing it on their Instagram feeds, and more bloggers with disabilities working tirelessly to highlight the real, diverse people who are so poorly represented in the fashion world. From watching so many other diverse women (and men!) doing amazing things as style influencers and giving it a go myself, I've learned that with a little bit of confidence and a lot of determination, anyone can share their style with the world.

In the foreground, small white flowers and foliage, in the background Abbey stands just out of focus, wearing a dress and yellow cardigan

If you're a blogger / influencer like me, what have you learned as part of your online career? Let me know in the comments!

*This post is an advertisement feature with J5 Fashion.