Not Dressed As Lamb: ridiculous? Yeah, maybe!
On Thursday I checked my blog stats and saw there'd been an enormous surge of hits in the space of one hour.
And, as you I'm sure you all do, I checked to see where the traffic had come from, and it was mostly all from one source. And boy, what I read really made me laugh, albeit in a rather self-masochistic way.
To summarise, a mum calling herself "1234ThumbWar" asked for style advice on a mums' web forum:
... in reply to which "MinnieBar" gave a recommendation with a link to my blog. Which was really nice of her, of course, and great for my stats. Now obviously this wasn't the bit that made me laugh. No, it was the resulting reactions to my outfits that were so entertaining. And believe me, they were not positive - far from it, in fact:
(If you want to read the actual forum yourself, here's the link:
I have been very lucky so far to escape any directly negative comments on my blog; I'm sure the day will come. But when I've been mentioned in forums outside of fashion blogging the response has not been so positive - and this was clearly no exception.
Once the comments had sunk in, and although I knew I wasn't bothered, it dawned on me that I was in fact annoyed. What got me - and I'm being truly honest here - was not the fact that they said I look ridiculous/had just pissed myself/really am dressed as lamb (I don't care, I've heard it all before from my mostly-joking elder brother).
No, it was the fact that someone took the time to respond and gave a link to my blog, thinking that 1234ThumbWar might get some inspiration... and she has effectively been told that her suggestion was ridiculous. I'd rather someone say I looked ridiculous than boring so it was a "whatever" from me, but poor MinnieBar, I wonder how the comments made her feel?
It is, in fact, just like being at school: The teacher asks the class for answers to a question to which there's no right or wrong answer. You have a think and reckon you've got a valid, intelligent answer. You raise your hand and give your answer. Before the teacher's had a chance to respond, several of your classmates - who are supposed to be your friends - turn round and laugh and point at you for coming up with such a stupid response. The teacher may well have liked your answer, but you already feel about this big... and you decide not to suggest anything again. Yep - it's playground mentality.
I didn't see any request from 1234ThumbWar for any critiques of suggested fashion blogs. She didn't give a list of blogs and ask for opinions; she merely asked for suggestions. If others didn't like the style of the bloggers listed, why was it necessary to give their own negative opinions on them when they weren't asked to do that? Surely she should have been allowed to make up her own mind as to whose style she liked, and whose she didn't.
Spots and stripes and Bowie... probably a bit ridiculous, but who cares? I liked it.
So if 1234ThumbWar thinks I looks stupid, fine - not everyone will love what I'm wearing, I get that (I wouldn't have started blogging if I were over-sensitive to people's opinions). But what if she's looked at one or two of my outfits and thought, I would never have put red and pink together, or mixed stripes and polkadots; perhaps I'll give that a try? I can't see her trying some of those styles now that she's read comments saying I'm ridiculous - which is a total shame.
What also gets me down is that the website is a forum for mums. Women raising children and instilling beliefs and values in them every day. So with their comments in mind, what kind of values do they teach their children? Are they as quick to criticise their children, their partners, other people, other women in real life - gosh, I do hope not. But I can't see how they would be the sort of mothers to instill a sense of tolerance and acceptance of other people, to accept what others do and like and believe in... and wear. My mother always taught me that if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all.
So although I won't be joining their discussion directly myself (I'm neither a parent nor an antagonist), in my quest to be constructive I thought I'd give a few examples of some of my favourite non 20-something bloggers who I think deserve a special mention for not dressing in the socially accepted "age-appropriate" [she rolls eyes] way. If those mums thought I looked ridiculous, I'm sure they wouldn't see these women for what they really are: creative, fearless and downright fabulous (I wish I were more like them - I feel quite dull by comparison)! So these lovely ladies are just for you, dear fashion bloggers.
Rita featured @ Advanced Style
Kasmira @ What I Wore 2Day
L-R: Desiree @ Pull Your Socks Up, Sacramento @ Mis Papelicos
And a special mention goes to Audrey Leighton (Be Frassy) - I love this girl's style because she wears fabulous, totally crazy outfits and pulls it off every time. And although she's only a 20-something, you just know she'll still be dressing this way in 40 years' time:
Audrey @ Be Frassy
Have you noticed what all these fabulous ladies have in common? I don't mean pattern mixing, or rule breaking, or bright colour palettes... it's that they all look so happy. Yep, if wearing crazy-ass outfits make you that happy, then who is anyone to criticize.
Just as a final note, I'd like to thank the very sweet "AgeingFop" who came to my defence on that forum (I also love her attitude to style):
The fact that she'd put them in their place about "going for it" made me laugh so much I nearly pissed myself.
Damn... I should have had the camera ready.