Am I Too Broke To Be A Fashion Blogger?

November 9, 2011

Can You Afford To Be A full time fashion blogger?

In my life, fashion has always been an afterthought- while I love it, it never seemed like the smartest way to spend my limited cash.

To be honest, while I’ve always considered myself well provided for, there’s never been enough cash around to justify anything beyond the practical apparel necessities and a few frills.

I love fashion. Problem is, I suck at it. For pretty much all of my life, fashion has been a fascination but not a priority (or at times even feasible).

I have been blogging for the better part of year now and people kindly see me as a fashionable frugality blogger {thank you kind people!} and it’s made me wonder-

Can I really afford to be a real fashion blogger?

I mean, even today I get by, but in terms of dispensable income I’m flat broke. I’m still a frugal lady at heart and a finance blogger in practice, so I do contribute the “dispensable” portion of income to my Roth IRA, emergency fund and insurance- and granted, for a girl who makes little money, I dedicate as much as I can towards saving for the future (shoes are great, but not an investment).

Truth be told, it’s hard to be financially responsible and fashion obsessed simultaneously.  It’s seriously painful.  I liken it to the dilemna one faces when she is preparing for a triathalon but blogging about cupcakes.

I follow a few fabulous fashion blogs (see my sidebar) and I noticed many of them feature daily or semi-daily photos of their outfits, or sometimes they’ll post a picture of a gorgeous new pair of shoes, etc. etc.  I am not going to make judgments on any woman or how she funds her fashion finds to document on the blog but I’m wondering how some of them make it happen.  I know for me, as a single gal in graduate school who is trying to stay out of credit card debt, there would be no way I could be nearly as cool and pay for it in cash.

If I had a full time job, was out of school, had a boyfriend {cough cough, or a rich suitor?  I’m not talking Pretty Woman kind of solicitation, but a hey, it leaves a girl to wonder!} and a kick ass camera I’d totally be all over that.  I’m not sure how some of these women fund their gorgeous fashion blogs- I know some are flat out rich (since you’d have to be to do fashion shoots with Chanel and Prada shoes on), but others, you wonder if they spend ALL of their dispensable income on their fashion habit.

Fashion Blogging Photography

If I had dispensable income {you know, if I actually did} would I spend it all on clothes?

Oh lord, I have no idea.

So, if I can’t buy stuff and take cute pictures, could I really be a fashion blogger?

For now, I post ideas about frugal fashion, photo collages of pieces I like and other inspirational ideas about style on here without having to purchase items.  I’m fortunate enough to get some fabulous product

reviews to include- but other than that I can’t be cool and do style look books, fall fashion reviews or daily outfits.

Now, I’m not saying fashion has to be expensive, in fact- I’m an ardent fan of using Ebay, vintage/thrift stores, and affordable retailers like Target to make unique and high style looks for less, but only having a few bucks a month to spend is not that of a budget for a true  fashion blogger.  I think I’d run out of outfits in a week, you’d see the same damned concepts on repeat with classic, practical fashion standbys in my wardrobe  {perhaps I could photoshop my sweaters in new colors? ha.}


Average Fashion Blogger Closet

Do bloggers have to spend a lot of money to be considered experts in their niche, or do I have an unfair expectation that certain topics make one feel insufficiently consumerist?


I have to wonder if blogging about fashion and finance is even feasible, and I suppose that’s a question of practicality as well as priorities.  For now, meeting basic necessities, paying off student loans while building long term financial independence is my priority- but hot damn I’d love to have the money to do cute fashion shoots.


I’ll be finishing up school soon and hopefully landing something more than poverty level {concerned family and friends, I’m totally FINE so no need to worry, but I don’t have an income level worth bragging about!} but what will I be spending my money on once I have it?

I’m not sure where to go from here but perhaps that’s the consequence of being a blogger, you put a lot of time thinkingabout your life and choices {since it seems to make for excellent post fodder} and questioning your own image.

If I want to grow my blog to be more about fashion, how much money will I have to put into it to be taken seriously and have exciting new content for my fashionable readers?

Right now the only plan I’ve come up with is to be an official spokesperson for some awesome clothing store {hint hint clothing merchants, I am totally open to ad-whoring myself out for free clothing and shoes, email me!} or to work on making some more money to fund my habit.  So far, the rich suitor idea hasn’t panned out so I’m going to have to be realistic about my options.  





29 comments so far.

29 responses to “Am I Too Broke To Be A Fashion Blogger?”

  1. Jenny McD says:

    I don't think you have to have a lot of disposable income to be a fashion blogger! I have a close friend who does spend the majority of her disposable income on clothing and keeps a daily fashion blog ( She's one of the most fabulous people I know, and I'm contantly texting her for help when I'm out shopping. However, I don't think you have to actually purchase the clothes and model them in order to talk about fashion. So far I have loved the style boards that you've put together. Who's to say you can't just keep blogging about the looks that inspire you?

    As a girl who was not gifted with what I would call "great" personal style, I always need all the help I can get. And as a girl in an entry level position, I also don't have a lot of disposable income. I would absolutely love it if you were to expand your blogging to helping those of us who are "frugal fashion challenged" find great looks for a great price… And I think you'd be great at it!

    • Shannyn@FruBeautiful says:

      Ah thank Jenny! I will definitely work on that for both of us…some frugal fashion is always a plus for sure!

  2. Jennifer says:

    I can totally relate as I often find my frugality in conflict with my love of cosmetics and new tech gadgets. As a blogger I think you can still highlight fashion without necessarily spending a lot of money. Doing the collage layouts or discussing a fashion trend and what you would be investing in if you could are good ways to be involved without having to go into debt for it. And maybe you could highlight some ensembles on a less frequent basis so they stay fresh looking? Perhaps a seasonal shoot? Or taking a wardrobe basic and showing how you restyle it to get the best value?

    • Shannyn@FruBeautiful says:

      Amen Amen! It can be so difficult to pursue the things we love- the gadgets, goodies and fashion while still being financially responsible and putting enough money aside for the future! That's something I've totally struggled with- how to give style advice that doesn't break the bank and help readers have fun now while still saving for the future! Thanks for the comment!

  3. Michelle says:

    I know what you mean! I love clothes and fashion, but I have a finance blog.

  4. Anna says:

    I have to admit that I would personally like to find a fashion blogger to follow who does not spend an outrageous amount on their clothing. I'd like to get advice from someone who spends a bit more reasonably because, as has been mentioned already, fashion and frugality are often in conflict. To actually get advice on navigating that conundrum would be awesome. The few beauty/fashion bits that you have posted here are some that I've really liked. Your post about the teeth brighteners sticks out to me at the moment. You save me $20 by suggesting the Target brand, and they work fantastic.

  5. Kathryn says:

    I think having time to really hunt down bargains would be just as, if not more valuable than having loads of disposable income.

    When I'm broke and am shopping for only that one thing that I have to have I look at all the other pretty things and think that when I'm not broke I'll have no problems spending large sums on clothes. When I do have the money I scoff at the same price, declaring it way too expensive!

    • Shannyn@FruBeautiful says:

      It is so easy to get distracted but I love finding a good bargain especially when it is that coveted piece I've been searching for for a long time! I was so thrilled when I looked for the right pair of grey boots for 2 months and I finally found one on clearance at 80% off and it was THE pair I was looking for…I was thrilled!

  6. PKamp3 says:

    Or… just take pictures of yourself trying stuff on… one trip per week, 7 outfits, then hit the next store!

    Also, I know you were semi-joking at the end, but if you become more successful maybe your mailbox will be full of free clothing and shoes. Just a thought.

  7. I think you hit the nail on the head with your idea about Ebay and vintage/thrift stores, combined with pieces from Target, Forever 21, etc. "Fashion" doesn't need to mean "free spending," and sometimes you can be more creative when you work in the confines of a budget.

    • Shannyn@FruBeautiful says:

      So true…budgets make us think a wee bit harder to try and find versatile pieces. I went to Forever 21 and got some ideas to accessorize to add variety to staple pieces. Thanks!

  8. Viviana says:

    I think perhaps you should be a style as opposed to fashion blogger. True style is so much more interesting than just having the latest fashions. Putting together a look that suits you and your personality is so much more challenging.

    I buy my fashion items on eBay either used, vintage or as with jeans with slight defects. I stick to a strict colour palette and use accessories. Here is a post I wrote about it.… I think you might find it amusing.

    • Shannyn@FruBeautiful says:

      Ooh Ebay, that's a fabulous idea. As for style as opposed to fashion- I think that's a smart way to work around it. Fashion is so fast paced and subjective, style is more long term and sustainable. Great ideas!

  9. Tricia Adams says:

    I imagine there are some who borrow clothes or manage to get clothes sent to them for free in exchange for featuring them on the blog. Of course, that can't possibly encompass every fashion blogger so certainly there are some out there who really are spending all their money on clothes. Which, if that's what you're into and you aren't going into debt by doing it, more power to you. Me, while I like fashion, I can't stomach paying too much for any piece of clothing or accessories. I have a few exceptions for certain shoes and certain handbags, but even then it's VERY rare that I get to buy them.

    I kind of scoff when I stumbled across a fashion blog only to realize the outfits they're putting together would cost half my monthly salary. It might be nice to look at, but the reality of it is kind of sickening.

    I much prefer bloggers who get real about the clothes. They get them on clearance, they get them from thrift stores or they even make their own. That's what makes sense to me. Show me how I can walk into Target with $20 once in a while and come out with some pieces that will work with what I already have so I can put together an awesome outfit.

    Anyway, I got away from myself with my book of a comment. I honestly think that anyone with clothes in their closet can be a fashion blogger. As long as you know how to mix and match and accessorize, it can be a reality. Think of what you could do by showing how versatile one sweater can be – stuff like that.

  10. Robyn says:

    Oh my! This blog echoes my thoughts! I often wonder how these women manage to look great and not spend what would amount to probably more than my salary ( I live in the Midwest)!! As a single gal in her (almost) upper 30s, I find many looks are too "trendy" or "young" for my taste. Thanks for the great thoughts and your blog as well 🙂

  11. funancials says:

    This wasn't too difficult..

  12. Tram Tran says:

    It’s awesome to stumble across your blog;) I have the same goal to reach financial freedom young too, which I constantly talk about on my blog. I agree that being fashionable doesn’t have to be expensive. I often wear what I sell on my eBay store, and they are quite cheap;). With the right accessories and attitude, you can rock any outfit;). Come say hi on my blog sometimes 😉

  13. Lindy Mint says:

    I don't think there's anything wrong with your type of fashion blogging because it's realistic, and you're practicing what you preach. I think most of your readers are in the same boat (I am!) of wanting to be fashionable but not wanting to sacrifice other financial goals for it. If you can show a way to get the best of both worlds, live outfit shots or not, that's all that matters.

  14. Vivian says:

    OH . I fell in love with your thoughts! We share a lot of the same questions… I love fashion BUT never been great at managing what I can/can't afford. I've recently gotten some control but not much. I recently started a blog ( where I review different purchases I have made… Initially I wanted it to be a fashion blog- but how?! I just read your post and it answered some of my questions… I don't think you need a high-end camera, or to model top brand name clothing- just share what inspires you & you will inspire others. I am very excited to read more of your postings. Take care ♥

  15. andrea says:

    Great post my friend! I would not define myself as a fashion blogger but I do love fashion and I am in your same boat. I call my self a fashion reviewer.. is that the same?? Haha! I post what how I put together something if I got a piece to review or what I love that's "in" etc. but to post my daily outfit.. or my new goods.. that would be rare. Love your work, you're doing great!!!

  16. sarah says:

    I think you’re doing just fine from what I can tell on your blog. Don’t stress, you’re fashionable!

  17. Gemma says:

    Hey.. I absolutely love this post.. I’ve been blogging for about a year now and always feel like if I had more money to splash I’d have a much better blog. I work in a clothing store but this just about covers my necessary expenses, so shopping for fashion is kind of hard, and leaves me feeling kinda guilty. I try to DIY as much of the latest trends a I can. I buy off-cuts of fabric at reduced prices, and when I shop I stick to just the sale rails. I will rarely send over €5 on one item these days unless it is something I’ve saved for or a real investment piece or footwear. I try to restyle my pieces as differently as I can each time I wear them so that my outfit posts don’t look the same every time. As for taking photographs, I just use the same old digital camera I’ve had for 5 years, or my mobile phone. It is tough at times when you read other blog and see their designer pieces and all the latest purchases but I figure if you can be almost a good as them without all the money, then you must be doing something right 🙂
    By the way I love your blog. Only just found it but ill definitely be revisiting.


  18. tobi rasaq says:

    I totally identify with this post. It just makes me feel so much better that there are ladies out there who understand fashion frugality. I did a series of post on affordable fashion….

  19. Sashamonique says:

    I feel that being a beginning fashion blogger can put a lot of people into debt because they feel like the only way to be successful is to spend money that they don’t have on designer clothing. It is easier if you are being sponsored and given the clothing for free. I love fashion but I refuse to max out my credit for clothing that is only good for a short time and is literally discarded.

    Fashion is a great field but I agree with some of the others who commented, you can find ways to work in a fashion look here and there and concentrate on other areas of blogging such as; where to find the best clothing deals, how to create an outfit on a budget, these are subjects that people love, so they can learn how to spend less on clothing.

    • Shannyn says:

      Good on you Sasha! Yes, there are ways to do it- but the ways most fashion bloggers approach it, is that they make huge affiliate commissions from putting out new OOTD posts several times a week and get affiliate sales. It’s a lot of work and expense to keep up with for that type of fashion blogging!

  20. Winnie says:

    Great post. I can totally relate to this. The most annoying part is that most brands won’t work with you if they feel your blog does not depict a level of awesomeness that matches with their brand, If you are just stARTING OUT, IT IS SUCH A CHALLENGE TO ALWAYS PURCHASE NEW OUTFITS TO EVEN CREATE ATTRACTIVE CONTENT INITIALLY.

  21. Winifred says:

    i can totally relate with this post. So true how you felt. I hope you were able to eventually find a way to do what you love without feeling pressured and out of place.

  22. The blogs you produce are really of good quality. I love to read your writings and shall come again to check out the latest posts.


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