Ridiculous, Moi? (An Open Letter to the Haters)

Musing: Ridiculous, Moi?

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.

RELATED  Why It's Okay to Be Happy in Times of Crisis

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.



  1. Anonymous
    26 January 2013 / 6:38 pm

    I have a confession to make: I have a memory, from when I was about 17 or 18, of being appalled to see two young thin women probably in their early-mid twenties wearing jeans. To me at that time, jeans were something unsuitable for such old creatures as they to wear. I honestly had the "mutton dressed as lamb" thought. I remember thinking how inappropriate it was for them to be wearing jeans at their age.

    I have no idea why I had that idea but I did.

    I wonder whether perhaps some of those negative comments might be more about those mums feeling unable to dress creatively like you do, because they are wrestling with baby weight and also perhaps are too exhausted (from having babies and young children to look after) to think about clothes, let alone style? I know when I had babies and young children it was difficult enough to find anything clean enough to wear that fit my grotesque new body, and it took me for ever to lose the dratted baby weight, even with daily exercise. (How do celebs do it?!). I can imagine that I might well have felt threatened by your beauty and style at that time in my life. I felt so terribly fat and ugly (and at that time I did indeed weigh getting on for 1.5x my pre-pregnancy/normal weight). Not sure that I would have written my scathing thoughts down on a public forum but who knows?

    So hey, they might learn in time, as I have.


  2. Anonymous
    24 September 2012 / 1:28 pm

    i think you look fabulous, just found your blog! love your sense of style – you put clothes together beautifully ๐Ÿ™‚ x

  3. 2 March 2012 / 3:39 pm

    Only just found your blog … its great by the way. I trulybelieve wear what you want whatever your age and like you have said if it suits you then just go for it. Why do we all want to be like clones!

    • 3 March 2012 / 6:41 pm

      Bomb you're so right – it would be so dull if we all wore the same styles!! Thanks for the lovely compliments, and nice to meet you! Catherine x

  4. 1 March 2012 / 1:17 am

    I adore you. You're a beautiful woman who dresses in a manner that suits her and makes her happy. I'd much rather look at your outfits every day than the frumpy unflattering clothes of many middle-aged women (or worse – the too short, too tight clothes of middle-aged women pretending they're decades younger!). And I completely agree with your comment on the cattiness that arose about your style on a blog for motherhood – maybe they should be more focused on their parenting skills and less on how other women choose to live their lives.

    • 1 March 2012 / 3:25 pm

      Thanks for such lovely compliments, Limepunch! You may or may not have seen today's post on Advanced Style – a wonderful lady is quoted as saying "Don't try and look younger, just look as wonderful as you can". I think that's the best advice ever!! C xx

  5. 29 February 2012 / 3:42 pm

    Catherine, I had a style blog a few years back and was so hurt by a detractor (my own sister, who felt I was foolish and vain)that I unplugged the whole project. I wish I hadn't done that at the time.

    Ignore your meaner critics and love your fans, you do a wonderful thing for your readers. And you are right; great style bloggers ARE HAPPY PEOPLE. Some just cannot abide others' joy, unfortunately.

    I love this blog, I love your style and I will always read. Karen

    • 29 February 2012 / 9:21 pm

      Karen I'm sorry to hear that you pulled the plug on a blog, especially for that reason… but the fact that you appreciate others and participate I hope (no, am sure) gives you a lot of pleasure! Thank you so much for commenting, xoxo

  6. 29 February 2012 / 2:31 pm

    Hello, MinnieBar here. I just wanted to assure you that there's absolutely no need to worry about my feelings. I'm fine, and the reactions won't stop me from posting *my* opinions in future.
    I think however you have to realise that people do comment very differently on the internet to they do in real life. That's just the way it is. And it's up to everyone to read between the lines and form their own opinions as a result.
    [waves to Catherine from 1990]

    • 29 February 2012 / 9:51 pm

      Minniebar I'm so glad you saw this post…! I am all too aware that people do talk differently online to real life – and that's what I think is such a shame and so sad. You say it's just the way it is – that may be true but it doesn't mean I have to like it! I'm glad you'll continue to express your opinions (though I'm sure you will be more constructive than some :)))

      And talking of reading between the lines… do we know each other – 'waving to me from 1990'?? You'd be someone I'd know from the end of school/beginning of college…? If so, email me, let me know who you are! Catherine xx

  7. 29 February 2012 / 11:26 am

    this is often the case: ridiculous/weird etc. = too much for "normal" people = awesome! such things can be difficult to handle, but once you realize they're actually giving you a big compliment, all you can do is smile. wear your "ridiculousness" like a badge of honor!

    • 29 February 2012 / 9:02 pm

      I like your thinking, D… actually now I think about it, I do get a bit of a kick out of being 'so ridiculous' that they have to comment!! Thanks hun, xx

  8. 29 February 2012 / 8:20 am

    Sorry, I hadnยดt seen it, ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, and I am sooooooooo honoured to be in such a good company.
    Mil besos, guapa.

  9. 29 February 2012 / 1:33 am

    I love your outlook on this – I have had similar experiences – surges in traffic, go to a forum to find one person linked me as a positive example & then dozens of comments after attacking her and me, finding my style bad in one way or another. I too have always felt for that original poster, angry about the attack on her more than the attack on myself.

    I love your style because it is unique and fun and fresh, it may not be everyone's cup of tea but that is why I love it (I'm also a big Kasmira fan for the same reason). I am sick of cookie cutters across the blogosphere, it's so refreshing to find blogs like yours where one enjoys fashion and knows her self. Keep rocking it!

    • 29 February 2012 / 8:44 pm

      I'm sorry to hear you've had the same experience, Allie – it's funny how you feel for the original poster more than feeling sorry for yourself, isn't it…? Thank you so much for your comments! C xoxo

  10. 29 February 2012 / 1:00 am

    I think your style is genius and inspirational. Also, totally "you". The fact that the original blogger describes herself as addicted to magazines, probably explains why her followers are likewise brainwashed to appreciate fashion conformity. I love Advanced Style and those ladies say that life is not a dress rehearsal, and why would you want to look like everybody else?? p.s. I'm 51 and in the process of discarding the conventional in favour of the colourful.

    • 29 February 2012 / 8:40 pm

      Thank you so much for your support, Kate: I love that you're going for colourful – it's never too late!!! C x

  11. 28 February 2012 / 11:18 pm

    AgeingFop is my hero for saving the day!!! I love her "name" – she sounds like my kinda woman as are YOU gorgeous woman!!!!!!!!!!!! I honestly have no time for haters … if I think I look like I'm having a ball, I feel stupendously happy!! What the hell are rules for? Women going through changes in body shape and hormonal issues as a result of having children can be the biggest bitches! Trust me, I've had four kids but I've never disrespected another woman's choice to dress her dreams and inspirations. I understand why they say what they do … but I'm the one that's laughing at their intolerance. I'm 44 and when many women realise they don't look 21, boobs are sagging after having a kid or five and wrinkles are showing, they completely flip out and refuse to go with the flow and see it as an opportunity to find their own way. Thank you so much for adding me to your list of lovely ladies:). BTW I LOVE the Bowie shirt with spots and stripes… if I saw you in the street I would have to invite you for coffee and a lovely natter!! xoxoxoxoox

    • 29 February 2012 / 12:03 am

      Desiree you're a total inspiration, which is why I featured you…!!! And when I'm next in Australia (half my family live there) I'll be sure to take you up on that offer of a coffee! Thanks so much my lovely xxx

  12. 28 February 2012 / 2:41 pm

    I don't really know how I find you but I just love your style. Rarely do I need to look "at the archives" of anything but I spent an afternoon delighted at all the colors and patterns you put together.

    As to negative comments — women are curiously hard on one another (and ourselves). I think the best response is a fabulous outfit.

    • 28 February 2012 / 9:56 pm

      Thanks for your wonderful comments, J… welcome to my blog, so glad you liked my outfits!! And wise words about the way to respond too ๐Ÿ˜‰ Catherine x

  13. 27 February 2012 / 9:00 pm

    My mum always told me that females like that were just jealous! When I became a mum (all those years ago!) and I had lost my confidence, I wish somebody had given me inspiration like you do to many. I hope the parochial attitudes of 'those few', have not made MinnieBar too apprehensive about suggesting other wonderful fashion blogs in the future. We love you Catherine x

    • 27 February 2012 / 9:17 pm

      Ahhh… I'm going to let the cat out of the bag here: yes she did say that didn't (doesn't) she – I know coz she's my mum too!!

      Don't forget that you were MY inspiration fashion-wise when I was growing up – I was so envious of you being ten years older and wearing eyeliner, heels and having (gasp) highlighted hair!! I'll always have my two gorgeous older sisters to look up to (and a brother who makes fun of all three of us – it's his job. Though I think I give him more laughs than you two with my dress sense).

      You know we could have said all this on the phone earlier, don't you…? Hee hee :)))

      Thank you and love you too lovely sis xoxoxo

  14. The Jones
    27 February 2012 / 6:06 pm

    I'm totally in agreement…how petty and hypercritical do you have to be to jump all over a blogger (or someone who admires a blogger) just because it's not "your thing". There is a certain level of narrowness to that kind of thinking that's really unfair–just because I don't care for Bach doesn't mean I can't appreciate the excellence of his music. Just because my hubby doesn't enjoy white champagne doesn't mean he can't recognize that it's a delightful drink. Whether somebody "loves" another person's style blog or not, there's no need to write them off for such personal reasons…I don't expect people to enjoy my style every day, but it would be nice to know that effort, creativity, and enjoyment are recognized as good qualities to pursue. I know I love your blog, dear…keep up the fun and fashionable work!<3 Cambriajupefashion.blogspot.com

    • 27 February 2012 / 8:56 pm

      You're absolutely right, Cambria – and I love your appreciation of Bach/champagne analogies :)) I really appreciate your comments and your support my lovely! xoxo

  15. 27 February 2012 / 5:36 pm

    It seems to be a rule among many women that in order to feel good themselves they have to put others down. Often by gossip or by negative and hurting comments. Being a mother I know how important it is to set an example. Instead of critisizing others I try to teach my daughter always to look for at least five things that she admire in any person she meets in the hope that this positive approach will make her less sensitive to these hatefull comments or even becoming one of these narrow minded and insecure women herself.

    • 27 February 2012 / 8:52 pm

      What a lovely attitude you're teaching your daughter, your "looking for five things" idea is brilliant!! In fact I'm going to tell my husband to do it as well right now…


      I'm back, I told him (he was upstairs) – he totally agreed it's a lovely, lovely thing we're going to do. I'm sure your lass will grow up to be a very fine lady indeed! Thank you for your comments sweetie x

  16. 27 February 2012 / 3:41 pm

    It always amazes me that people have enough time on their hands to go out of their way to criticize someone! I think your style is fabulous!

    • 27 February 2012 / 8:41 pm

      I agree: isn't there better things to do with your time and effort than being mean and thoughtless? Their loss, I suppose… Thanks for your support, Kristin! xoxo

  17. 27 February 2012 / 6:00 am

    I think your attitude towards all of this just sums up how much of a fun personality you have, and that shows through your outfits, which is a fantastic thing!!! I'm glad you're not letting it get to you, too. Kudos!


    • 27 February 2012 / 8:39 pm

      That's such a nice way to put it, what a lovely comment! With such wonderful fellow bloggers there's no way it's even slightly getting to me personally, but writing about it does get my annoyance in others' thoughtlessness off my chest…! Thanks so much sweetie, C xx

  18. Terri
    27 February 2012 / 4:34 am

    I think your analysis of the forum behavior is spot on. I have noticed this in class discussions as well…and then a sort of group-think sets in. Continue to enjoy the colorful styles of women & men of all ages and simply let the others stew in their own juices.

    • 27 February 2012 / 8:34 pm

      It's such a shame that they don't experience the positivity we experience, isn't it Terri – what a fun part of life to miss out on (being nice to people I mean)!! I appreciate you commenting, thank you so much xx

  19. 27 February 2012 / 2:38 am

    I really love your commentary on this and your attitude towards the negativity. Getting dressed should bring joy to your life and it certainly seems to for you and the women that you featured. Sadly I don't think it does for many people. I hope you always have fun with your style – I absolutely adore reading your blog and get so much inspiration from the outfits you put together. Much love to you! – Lizz

    • 27 February 2012 / 8:31 pm

      You're spot on about dressing up bringing joy to our lives, Lizz (we all loved it as little girls, why not continue as we get older??!!) Thank you for your lovely comments, I love the fact that I inspire you sweetie xoxo

  20. 27 February 2012 / 2:11 am

    I like most of your outfits, and I always see creativity and logic in them. Many of your outfits are very daring, but some people are not comfortable with "Daring!" Keep up the good work!

    • 27 February 2012 / 8:29 pm

      Aww thank you so much Mary – yet I wish I were even more daring!! It's a shame how unaccepting people can be isn't it…? C xx

  21. 27 February 2012 / 1:20 am

    Wow, that's really something. Well, you know I think your style is awesome. I rarely post a photo of someone other than me on my blog (I'm not in it for the competition :-), but I think your pattern mixing and your sartorial joie de vivre are delightful.

    • 27 February 2012 / 8:27 pm

      Thank you Kristin – and boy do I appreciate the love I receive on my blog! You guys quite overwhelm me at times!! x

  22. 27 February 2012 / 12:30 am

    Oh my god, i felt angry and defensive for you reading that. Some people are so closed minded, its so sad. And normally those close minded people "attack" people who are going out there and doing something different. The complete disregard for your feelings is what really annoyed me, she obviously has absolutely no clue as to how to be happy in her self so she feels the need to berate others. plus she obviously wouldn't know good style if it came up and slapped her in the face. Catherine I truly love your style and you are a complete inspiration to me, I can only assure you that not all mums are as closed minded as that. I could rant on and on but I won't fill this box anymore,lol. However, I hope you won't let those small minded comments get you down, and come back tomorrow with the most fun, colourful fantastic outfit I've ever seen lol! Put two fingers up to them I say!!
    Much love
    Rachel x x

    • 27 February 2012 / 8:22 pm

      Gosh I wouldn't want to get on the wrong side of you Rachel, hee hee ;)))) Thank you so much sweetie, I really appreciate what you've said! C x

      P.S. I don't think they had any idea I would ever see it, they don't stop to think that we can maybe track traffic sources. It's good that I can "reply" (hopefully more constructively) in my own forum ๐Ÿ˜‰

  23. 27 February 2012 / 12:22 am

    I love that striped jacket. Wonderful.

  24. 27 February 2012 / 12:06 am

    Great writing! Anyone who criticizes another persons creativity has no creativity within themselves.
    I was just watching a documentary on the French Post Impressionist painter Henri Rousseau. He was ridiculed by all the "over-educated" artists around him. Now, his work may not be liked by some but he knew who he was and lived a very satisfied life because of it. And with a legacy like his, his critics should feel ashamed of themselves. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • 27 February 2012 / 8:11 pm

      Thanks Joni – that's a great thing you wrote about creativity, must remember that…! Must find out more about Rousseau, sounds very interesting indeed. I appreciate your comments xx

  25. 26 February 2012 / 11:40 pm

    Thanks for the mention! Like you (I think), I dress to make myself happy…and it shows! Hate always come from a place of insecurity. I have to remind myself that the forum trolls are unhappy people who do not constructively deal with their negative feelings. Like you, I worry for the generation they are raising.

    • 27 February 2012 / 8:07 pm

      Very well put Kasmira, I couldn't agree more. And I LOVE the expression forum trolls…! Thanks so much for commenting (and you are most welcome for the mention, I absolutely loved the happy photo I chose ๐Ÿ™‚ C xx

  26. 26 February 2012 / 11:20 pm

    I used to work with a guy who said he didn't care if someone said something bad about him because at least they were talking about him. There are a lot of us who do like you for your dashing style. And ASOS thinks you're cool, so who cares what the critical person had to say.

    • 27 February 2012 / 8:05 pm

      Oh Debbi I so appreciate the love I receive from all you gorgeous bloggers, which is why the comments didn't affect me personally! (And I forgot about ASOS liking me!!) Thank you so much sweetie xx

  27. 26 February 2012 / 11:18 pm

    I don't understand why some people get so uncomfortable and downright nasty when a person doesn't conform to their standards. It's their hobby, I guess?

    The Suburb Experiment

    • 27 February 2012 / 8:03 pm

      I don't understand it either… I think you've hit the nail on the head about them reacting to being uncomfortable, though! Thanks Jenn x

  28. Gray Skies
    26 February 2012 / 11:14 pm

    I've noticed that people are a lot meaner in what they say online than they are in real life – perhaps because they feel there's some sort of anonymity on the internet? And sometimes I notice that people go out of their way to be mean in comments – they can't just say "I don't like this," they have to get creatively snarky and say unnecessarily cruel things.

    I think you responded well, though, by not responding at all in the forum ๐Ÿ™‚ And thank you for the Frassy recommendation! Can't wait to look through all her back posts.

    • 27 February 2012 / 7:50 pm

      You're right about people being meaner online than in real life… it's easy for them to "hide" behind a computer, isn't it? Thanks for your comment, lovely Stacey! x

  29. 26 February 2012 / 10:43 pm

    Ah you have arrived! People are sniping at you from far-way forums! As you wrote, never take these comments to heart, and keep dressing to your own muse. You are gorgeous, creative and talented. A woman who never gets a criticism has never dared anything new.

    • 26 February 2012 / 11:14 pm

      What a lovely way to put it, Patti… and I love you saying that I've "arrived"! (I like to say it's better to be talked about than not at all ;)) Thank you sweetie, wise words indeed! Catherine x

  30. tammy Silverstyle
    26 February 2012 / 10:42 pm

    You tell them! I love your outfits and wish I were bolder like you! Some people are just unhappy. And that's all I have to say about that!

    • 26 February 2012 / 11:11 pm

      Thank you Tammy, and I totally agree with you (if you're a happy person why would you criticize others for no reason?) You're a star!! Catherine x

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