Well, it’s been a short 3 months since I’ve launched HSS blog. It’s really felt like I’ve had it for much longer than that!
I started this blog almost on a whim, though my dreams of having one was long anticipated. Aimee Song (@songofstyle) & Julie Sarinana (@sincerelyjules) were the first two fashion bloggers/style influencers I followed right from the start of Instagram, and it was then that I started to love the concept of a blog and how its become such a creative outlet for its users.
I figured I’d do a recap post (FYI, it’s gonna be a long one!). A post for those who are either curious about the blogging world, or just curious about how it’s been going for a beginner blogger like me.
It’s also a post that I hope to look back at in six, nine, or twelve months from now, or even a few years from now, as a way to see how much I’ve grown. I’m in no way an expert at this at all. But even now, I feel like I’ve really grown since my very first style post!
I’ve always loved fashion, and I truly believe you can fully express your personality through what you choose to wear. Growing up as more of a reserved person, my personal style is a way to fully express who I really am. It’s also a way to unveil how I’m feeling on any particular day.
Instagram is my main social media outlet, as it’s always been my favorite. I wasn’t using it much for personal photos, so I decided to use it for my blog, and changed my handle to @hersimplesole. I’m a very visual person, and I like to understand a person’s life through the thought behind a photo. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t usually fall for misleading glitz and glam, but I do appreciate the effort. I’ve also always had an interest in photography, though I’m still learning!
With all that said, I feel like during the past 3 months I’ve already learned so much about the blogging world. I’ve narrowed it down to 5 important points to always remember when you’re first starting off as a style blogger.
1. To stop comparing myself to other bloggers.
This has to be the most difficult thing to do!
As beginner style bloggers we can’t help but be absorbed in the social media numbers. The # of new followers, the # of likes, the # of posts per week. Your favourite bloggers will all have millions of followers, thousands of likes, and will basically make you think they wake up looking (almost) like Beyonce everyday. They’ll have the nicest clothes and shoes and handbags, showcased through daily blog posts. While your own collection sits in the corner and cries.
Don’t get caught up in the numbers. Most of these bloggers have been doing it for years. And for some, this is a part of their full time job!
Now if I land on someone’s page with thousands of followers, I tend to look at the number of posts they have up for comparison sake. For example, Julie Sarinana has more than 5000 Instagram posts. If you think about it, you’d have to post at least once a day for 13 years to have 5000 posts up! Mind you, a lot of the time she posts more than once a day, but it’s a quick and dirty calculation to consider.
The best thing to remember is to have fun with it. In the past I’d browse google images for style inspiration, now I use Instagram. I love looking at OOTD’s and WIWT’s. I do find a lot of style bloggers are still genuinely encouraging. I try to leave genuine comments when someone’s photo really provides a lasting impression.
I’ve learned that if I’m not getting as many Instagram likes on a picture as anticipated, and if my follower list grows by 10 in one day and drops by 20 the next, it’s really not the end of the world.
2. Blogging is a lot of work.
No sugar coating here. It really takes time & dedication to produce a proper blog. And for those already with a fulltime job, it’ll take up a lot of your free time outside of work.
How to get a domain, how to use WordPress, and what plug-ins do. Learning how to use a DSLR camera, how to best edit photos, how to pose in front of the camera (yes I’ve actually watched videos on this, lol), and how to create an Instagram theme. Putting together outfits, creating content… the list goes on!
Initially, I wanted HSS to be a Life and Style blog, focusing not only on outfits, but also on wellness aspects, like healthy recipes, travel, and other lifestyle habits that I value. But now I feel like it might be steering towards just being a style blog, as my interest and writing focus is 100% on that right now. I also find it’s a lot of work photographing for & writing up a recipe post! Or maybe it has to do with my lack of interest… I love cooking, but maybe not so much blogging about it!
I’ve realized a scheduler is necessary to help me better organize my days. I use excel to decide when and what to post on social media, and when to publish my blog posts. Though I’m not in it to monetize right now, I still want my blog to have a clean look, and showcase content that people will actually look at.
I’d love to have my own custom blog layout, to post more than once or twice a week, and to make my photos top-notch editorial. But I’ve also learned that what you see is all I can do right now, with the minimal time & resources I currently have.
3. Things may not go as planned, based on my set schedule.
There are times where I’ve planned an outfit, put it together, and either the weather doesn’t cooperate, or simply my vision of the outfit didn’t go as planned. So, that new blog post I wanted to put up tomorrow isn’t happening anymore.
But that doesn’t make me a crappier blogger (at least I don’t think it does). I’ve learned that consistency is key, but being reasonable is also important.
As many of you know, my boyfriend, Henry, takes my pictures. He also works a full time job, and has about a million other hobbies. So you can only imagine how difficult it can be for us to schedule a photo session or 2 in any given week. He’s not an experienced photographer, so it’s not like he’s jumping at the opportunity to take pictures of me.
But, he’s also proved to be the best boyfriend ever, for fully supporting this hobby of mine. And for that I’m truly thankful!
I also planned to do something cool with my Instagram feed, by showcasing the squares based on a color theme. If you scroll down my IG feed to when I first started my blog and slowly scroll up, you can kind of see the color transition from blue, to kind of a pink, to kind of a red… but I’ve found that it’s difficult to specifically color code my outfits and flatlays. I’ve kind of given up on it. I thought by doing this it would increase my creativity, but in reality it’s kind of suppressed it. Just not something for me. But, check out @basebodybabes for a cool “transitional color-themed” instagram feed—they do such a great job!
So, I’ve learned not to get too caught up if thing’s don’t go as planned. That’s the beautiful thing about life!
4. To stay true to my own style (and budget).
Trends come, trends go, very few stay. I bought an embroidery skirt a few months ago, since floral patches were so in season, and it would’ve gone so well with this shirt I had. But to be honest, I didn’t really like it, and at the time I didn’t have the time to return it.
I also tried being more “girly”, even though I’ve never really been that way. And I felt uncomfortable, and just not myself.
I came to the realization that it’s not worth it to spend on or obsess over items that don’t really speak to your own sense of style.
As a beginner blogger, it’s all about expressing your own style, rather than promoting items that are currently on-trend. I’ve also learned that at this very moment, I can’t quite pinpoint what my own true “style” is. It’s still evolving, and I’m totally OK with that.
Within the last few years I’ve focused on budget purchases. I don’t normally spend beyond my own means. And that could also mean that the pieces I choose lack the prestige and glamour offered by a more expensive brand, pieces that perhaps Chiara Ferragni would rather wear. But I sure as hell ain’t going broke from growing my closet! (Maybe one day when I make millions!… lol 🙂 )
Regardless, I choose to stick with brands and pieces that are versatile, affordable and of reasonable quality for the average person.
5. I really do love it.
I love dressing up & curating looks.
I love writing, “creating” a website and laying out my posts.
I love editing photos and having a platform to express how I feel about a certain clothing item.
I love looking up links and browsing the net for similar items.
I love finding inspiration all over the internet, and seeing other bloggers showcase their own style.
I love how it makes me care a little more about ME, in that I’m taking time out of my days to pamper myself every now and then, something I hadn’t done for years before starting this.
I love that I can be as creative as I want to be, for this blog.
This makes all the frustration that you could only imagine having, worth it. I’m continually learning, but I love HSS, and I plan to keep doing what I’m doing for quite some time. 🙂
Thank you all for reading and for following along. If you’ve made it this far, you’re a true champ! xx