Friday, February 15, 2013

More Than Magazines

Walk This Way: The Citizens of Rosebud Newest Curated Collection on the Catwalk
Witness my fantasy runway show, just in time for the tail end of New York Fashion Week. Consider yourself, dear reader, front row and center. Fashion is as much about fantasy as it is about apparel, and sometimes I wonder, as a fashion blogger,  just how much fantasy is part of what I do here. After all, those outfit posts are staged, and don't think for a moment, that I would post an unflattering pose! I unrepentantly re-touch + embellish: I'm over forty, so indulge me the occasional soft focus and air brush on those raccoon eyes, and a cropped edit so I can represent more hour glass than time's up.


I also wonder sometimes, about the reality of friendships; we blog, we comment on blogs, we say nice things. Well, at least I try to say nice things, and I've been lucky, very lucky, that mostly nice things are left in the comments here. Virtual friendships are forged; have you ever wondered how much reality these friendships possess? Is our community just as much a fantasy as the fashion images we ingest? 

Fashion Fantasy: Rosebud Magazine, The Last Word in Style

You may have your own astute opinion, and depending on your view of the proverbial glass, may surmise the half-filled glass to be half full, or all bull. It all depends, I suppose on your own experience, your personal proclivity towards cynicism, or temperament. As my boyfriend once put it, after I shared what felt like a triumphant night of schmoozing with the finer fashion folk: "That's great, babe, but don't forget that people are fake and full of shit." Especially in the fashion industry, this can be so painfully true.

Half Full, or Bull? This Image Has Been Photoshopped
I am perhaps, a cynical optimist. Or put more succinctly: I am a ROMANTIC.  And as such, my eyes are focused more on what CAN be, than on what actually is. Sometimes, I set myself up for disappointment.

There is indeed a certain whiff of fantasy, even on this blog. I've been blogging a handful of years now (where does the time go?) but I keep many details of my personal life, well, PERSONAL. There are a few reasons for this: first, I don't think my life is all that interesting, and as I writer, I strive to keep my content entertaining. On one hand, I believe in honesty, on another, I value privacy. So some details are left out, you know,  the names have been changed to protect the innocent.  

For example, and I share this now only as an example of the edits of fashion blogging, but you may or my not be aware that this is my day job. But I'm in no way a "full time blogger." I do a number of odd jobs to ensure I can pay the rent. To pay the bills, I do freelance, as well as don an apron and work in a kitchen, as I've done most of my adult life. Fashion blogger by day, pizza slinger by night. But I hardly think, aside from the occasional Instagrams shot in the confines of my night job, that any of you would find the wonderful world of pizza assembly very glamorous, or interesting. 

So we're back in the pocket of fantasy.


When it comes to fashion, and fashion blogging, it is indeed a medium of dreaming and illusion. Is it possible to separate the facts from the fictions? Do we really want to? 

Possibly, especially when it comes to the people are fake and full of shit pronouncements. While I've had my share of disappointments, when it's come to our blogging community,  I've been fortunate to have forged connections, and made real friendships. 

Zip it! It's All About Being Open About Being Private, for Reals

I've been lucky to meet some "bloggy friends" in real life, and haven't been disappointed yet. Most recent, was a magical "moment, " the meeting a very model-esque and talented Joni. Small world being what it is, I was introduced to her in a blog post by Reva, a dear, dear friend I've yet to meet, from Revas Rags to Roses. Turns out, Joni's from Seattle, my new home city. 

I felt giddy as a school girl, meeting this talented artist! Let me tell you that Joni is even lovelier and more enchanting in person, which is saying a lot, because she's pretty lovely on her blog Walking Colors.


In what felt like the tick of a minute, we ended up chatting FOR HOURS! I encountered a bright and wonderful soul that is creative, clever, and supportive- all traits I relish in a person. I felt selfish and greedy, and did not want to "chronicle the event." I preferred to put the camera + recorder aside for the sheer joy of sharing time with this woman. And I am so glad I did. Joni posted about our meet-up, among other things, and you can read her version of things HERE. But more important than checking out all the nice stuff Joni says about me, I'd rather you go discover for yourself an example of what TRUE STYLE is.

More than magazines, real life women who blog about style and fashion have a big influence on me, and on more things than the fluff and fantasy of fashion. They bear more influence in my shopping decisions and dress choices than an air-brushed fashion cover girl. The personal style bloggers I follow light up my head with examples of REAL style, which for me, is as much about inner substance, a dedication to beauty, and cultivating the costume of character, as it is about the thrall of a fashion fantasy.

 Who or what inspires your taste for style?



Connect with Bloggers Today!


45 comments:

Ulla-Marie Nilsson said...

The images - Personally photo clusters I about 90% of all pictures of myself .... because I can Friendship and friendship ... I don’t know, but since I am also 40 + and live in the middle of Sweden in a village of 5000 inhabitants. We are surrounded by forests and it’s 300 km to Stockholm, so I appreciate all the foreign 40 + bloggers' much. I have purchased second hand in about 1000 years, but I don’t share this interest with many (almost no one), so blogging friends are also needed in my life.

Pam @ over50feeling40 said...

You are so much fun with your photo manipulations!! I would love to make my own runway!! Have a great weekend, Bella!

Carina Rosenholm said...

I do live in the north of Sweden like Ulla - Marie (but a long way from eich other )so the bloggers out there are my inspiration , havent got many friends that share my passion for secondhand shopping. Cant really blog about my Job and have to wear uniform at work. Havent - yet - met any one of my blog mates but i do hope that i will someday.
Only once have i got a really stupid and dumb comment! But i just laughed - felt sad for the person who wrote it - not much to do if you get upset about my hair!

Patti said...

Fabulous images today (and every day) Bella - you really have a wonderful blog, didja know?

I think people *can* be fake and FOS, and shallow and petty, all those things. But I also have found such authentic, talented, kind people in this blogging world that make my introvert heart melt. I think you are one of them xoxoxoxo

thorne garnet said...

What? You don't share every second of your life with us? Neither do I. I've been reading your blog and a couple others for about 6 months before I thought it would be fun to try blogging. Being a quasi-hermit and not liking to talk about myself, I picked a fake name; sorry, my name isn't really Thorne Garnet(surprise!)It's funny to think that I have more in common with a wonderful women that I follow, and follow me than I do with the women I know face-to-face. The fact that I have followers still blows my mind! Even though it's unlikely that I'll meet my fellow bloggers, it makes me happy that I have them in my life. You better watch out or some evil fashion designer will steal your runway looks.

The Style Crone said...

I can always count on you for thoughtful posts that have me thinking throughout my day. Honest and challenging, in a mixed pattern sort of way.

My blogger meet-ups have been as magical as your time spent with the talented and beautiful Joni. It leads me to believe that this community is filled with empathetic, fun, engaging, warm and 'real' people who happen to enjoy style and self expression.

Love the photos of you, Joni and The Forest City Fashionista!

menopauselsupermodel said...

Awesome thought-provoking post, Bella!!
Love your photos and the magazinr cover!!

I am inspired by all of the blogs I follow and those eho follow and comment on mine, too. Here in cyber-space I've found my "tribe".

Lisa said...

Have I ever mentioned how much I love your "real-ness"? Have I ever mentioned that I love the way your words inspire me to just accept myself in all of my imperfect glory. Thank you for taking the time to write such beautiful, inspirational and loving words for all of us to read.
I think the pizza slinging is kind of cool.

Shybiker said...

Interesting post. Yes, there's some insincerity in part of the fashion-blogging world, but there's also some very sweet people who, because of shyness or geographical isolation, lack and hunger for connection. My experiences meeting almost a dozen such fellow-bloggers in person is that they are MORE beautiful, MORE nice and MORE fascinating than I expected from reading their blogs. An observation that's propelled me to continue making a serious effort at turning online acquaintances into real-life friends.

Great photos in the post.

Little-Hat said...

Your posts never disappoint, Bella! Food for thought.

I can't offer much insight, only that as an EXTREMELY part-time blogger, there are a lot of people I would love to have the pleasure of meeting in real life. I don't believe I personally have made many (or any?) deep friend connections yet through blogging, but I believe that the potential is definitely there, and I have no fear that if I continue delving into this world, I'll find real friendships with creative and wonderful people.

And fashion is, by its nature, a fantasy. (What do YOU WANT to wear/look like/be/do?)
I think any fantasy is harmless, and probably at least slightly beneficial, as long as it doesn't become more important than real life.
Those few who glean their self-worth and even personality from [designer] clothes and gushy comments (<--I'm a little guilty of that part) instead of from their character are harmful to themselves (and, often, to others).

Also: I'm jealous that you cook. :) I'd burn a salad if I tried!

xoxox
theefface.blogspot.com

Little-Hat said...

....wow, that was a novel. Sorry. :)

xoxox
theefface.blogspot.com

Joni said...

Bella, thank you for the wonderful description of our time together. You have such a wise and honest way with words and the way you live your life. That is what inspires me. Authenticity, honesty, with a dash o' funk thrown in!
You have obviously made a promise to yourself many years ago to stay true to yourself, to hold on to what makes you unique. This is just one of the reason why I just want to give you a hug right now!
Let's never grow up all the way, okay? I need someone like you in my life!

Krista Gassib said...

Really thought provoking post Bella. I think I prefer a lot of fantasy in my life so blogging is perfect. I get inspired by the real women I follow and not magazines either, although I had to laugh at the pattern mixing going on in the new Nordstrom catalog. I have yet to be disappointed in any of the women I have met or spoken with and you are in that mix. You are a pizza slinger by night and I'm an electronics whore by day...but I think our love of fashion and self expression is what keeps us happy and going.

I want to hang with you and Joni soon. I have a time share in Seattle that I'm gonna book this summer, LET"S PARTY!!!!!
XXOO

Bella Q said...

Krista! Hanging with you and Joni in Seattle would be a fantasy come true!!!

Vix said...

Bella, I read this earlier on today and came back to enjoy your writing when I had more time.
Other than my close real-life friends, until I started blogging I rarely met women I had much in common with, people I worked with/house-shared/met through mutual friends called me "intimidating" as I'm pretty blunt and if I don't agree with something I'd rather just say so.
I've always blogged as "me" and am amazed and delighted to have found kindred spirits out there in cyberspace. I've LOVED every single blogger I've met)or Skyped with) and sincerely hope I get to spend time with you in real life one day.
I'm delighted that Joni was as fabulous as she is on her blog! xxx

Highland Fashionista said...

Bella, a very eloquently-worded assessment of what it is we are all doing. Yes, there is a degree of fantasy. That fantasy bit is where the imagination can truly be free and safe, I suppose. But I certainly hope that these bloggy friendships are real.....I live in a pretty remote place, and the friendships I have made in the blogosphere help me to feel like I am still connected to not only my home country, but all the little bits and pieces that have made up my life thus far. Thank goodness for us 40 plus bloggers. I like the independent and creative slant that is out point of view, and would never trade it for all the skinny legs in the western hemisphere.

Bella Q said...

Vix: you are on my bucket list! You are truly the Queen of our community- and the heart of the organization- well at least a pretty awesome and outspoken posterchild, lol. I would LOVE to meet you- I'd be giddy beyond measure! Funny how you say you are blunt (I am too, and deal better with people who are straight forward then uh, diplomatic) yet you leave some of the nicest, most complimentary and flattering comments around the bloggersphere I've ever seen. For blunt you sure are kind!

Silhouette de Femme said...

Interesting post & I think your BF is right on the fashion world (being part of it since I was a teen model) but I find fashion blogging totally opposite. I have met through emails & comments some real diverse beautiful women that have a style of their own & rock it! Love your runway photos Bella!
Denise

PinkCheetahVintage said...

I was a 'lurker' forever before I decided to actually try blogging. When I started blogging I made a conscious decision to try and connect with others that seemed to share some of the same adventure in fashion I admire and values as to how they live their life. Usually, besides those deep instant connections that can happen, I think it takes a while to build a relationship/friendship-- even an online one.
I am new at this and struggle with the private/public aspect. It will be a learning process for me :)
Great pics! Going to check out the post from the blogger you mentioned!

Bella Q said...

Becky, you will ADORE Joni!

Anupriya DG said...

Oh Bella! I can keep on reading your wise words forever.... :)

Though I agree that a better part of Fashion, for us lesser mortals (compared to people working right up there in the midst of the fashion industry), is fantasy.......but, blogging about Fashion has given me quite a few "real" friends (whom I have bonded with at a close & personal level), who help me make this fantasy more interesting! And one of them, my dear, is YOU!!! Even though our friendship spans over the seven seas, I'm sure one day we'll get "REALLY" up, close & personal...and boy, won't we have fun! :D

Bella Q said...

Anupriya- I can not wait to meet you face to face! xo!

Monica P said...

You said it perfectly " The personal style bloggers I follow light up my head with examples of REAL style"

These are the people I follow too :-)

Monica
www.pear-shaped-gal.com

I love said...

You are radical, amazing, fantastic in every way, and a REAL LIFE friend. I love your MOXIE. Capital M, capitol O, capitol X... you get the idea. I love your fantasy fashion show. It's every designer's/artist's fantasy, I'm guessing, to clone one of her favorite muses for a runway show. Friends who answer the call to be their own best muse are standing up to help the rest of us see how important it is to love our own selves NOW. Keep dreaming, letting the pigs fly free on their pies in the sky... don't get off your magic carpet ride...you are DOING IT! We love you and salute you!! You know I'd rather have my bowl full of cherries be the organic kind with the pits still inside, not the weird processed kind that makes me glow in the dark after I eat them. Who really wants tigers de fanged and roses sans thorns...NO WAY!! Keep doing what you're doing, it is excellent.

Sara said...

I adore you Bella. I hope I will have the chance to MEET you one day!! <3

Val Sparkle said...

I love the way you cut through the bullshit all the time, and still have lots of positive things to say! I can't believe how much of a community this blogland is, but I felt it pretty quickly when I started reading. I hope to meet you and Joni next time I get up to Seattle!

I don't really like to use the word Fashion, though, because the blogs I like best are the ones with real people using ordinary clothes to be creative and express themselves. That is way more inspiring to me than seeing models or Polyvore collages. Although, like you, I only publish the ones that make me look good!

Sacramento Amate said...

You are unique, and definitely the leader of the over 40+ in the whole world.
You should write a book next.
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

spashionistareport said...

I'm not fake or full of shit, Bella. I'm honest to a fault - which is why I have very few friends LOL.
I've been a writer on and off all my life, and for years I've been silent because I felt the mistakes I'd made in real life nullified my voice. I was wrong. I'm human and I screw up - but, like you, I have something important to say. My little blog is more personal because I want to inspire by example.
But your posts are the "tada!" in my day. You can wear things I could never pull off because your personality is more vibrant than a clown car. Most importantly you are the bridge that brings so many of us together.
How's that for honesty? ;-)

Spashionista (Alicia)

Lakota [Faith Hope and Charity Shopping] said...

One of my favourite posts from you Bella, and something I've wondered about a lot, you've put it really well. I'm fully prepared to believe that all the bloggers I comment on, email (and the few I have met) really are as kind and cool as they seem though. I think you're great x

sylvia @ 40PlusStyle said...

so much to see and read in this blog post Bella. Lots to ponder about. just love all the photoshopping you did here! I love meeting fellow bloggers too. Let's hope that we get to meet each other some day. I will be in the US this summer but will not reach Seattle this time...

Veshoevius said...

Loved this post! "more hour glass than time's up" - you do crack me up!
But seriously this is a very frank, honest and intelligently written post about things that must cross every bloggers mind at some point or another. I've often wondered about the time I spend interacting online vs time interacting with people in my life in person and debating which is a wiser use of my time. I can't be alone in that. Social media can be a real black hole into which our face to face time with people in our lives is sucked away and for what? More likes and comments on our blogs/facebook pages/twitter accounts from people we may never actually ever meet? But even in our offline lives we have to interact with people every day who are insincere or fake or who we just agree to tolerate to keep the peace right? So blogging is just another version of that human interaction. I think you can generally tell who is and isn't sincere. I've "met" some incredible women online through the blog who have really inspired me and who I'd love the opportunity to meet in person one day.
On personal matters I'm like you - I'm personal up to a limit - personable but maintaining a certain level of privacy. And I never discuss work - what for?? I spend too many hours at the place to want to talk about it any more!
As for fantasy - we all put our best foot forward when we head out the door and I guess it is the same with our blogs. Is it really fantasy to forgoe showing the sink full of unwashed dishes in an outfit shot? Isn't it the equivalent of not inviting someone over until the house is tidy? Isn't there a certain level of staging in photography even if the photo wasn't for a blog? (Smile! Say cheese!). Uber staged blogs portraying what seems like perfect lives are out there a plenty but the fashion media has bombarded us for years with so many images of what the perfect life should look like in order to make our own feel inadequate. So why the hell not pull out the nice images in your own life as a riposte, that actually our lives aren't so bad after all. After looking at some of my own photos of places I've been and the city I live in, I've realised that despite the things I'm habitually not happy about I actually have much to be grateful for.
Now I'd better be off and go pay the poor neglected bf some attention...

Penny-Rose said...

Oh Bella, you have a way with words. I think you make some very interesting and pertinent observations about blogging and bloggers. Many of the commenters on this post (and myself) have mentioned that they are isolated in some way - whether it be geographically or socially or financially. Blogging brings us all together - as monpauselsupermodel said "our tribe". Yes, there is undoubtedly a degree of fakeness in some posts - the nom de plume, staging of the pic, the smile. I must admit I love my cats (names changed) appearing in my pics - their spontineity and unconditional love (well desire to be patted). Thank you for establishing the +40 blog roll and encouraging and nuturing this global community.

Tilda said...

I agree with Sacramento, Bella. You ought to think about putting together a book!
I'm kinda shy in the "outer" world and I don't do facebook or twitter. I started my blog not knowing what to expect---and I have been mostly delighted! Especially when I found this community of over 40s. We are constantly bombarded with images of teen and 20 somethings as the perfect ideal. If you are over 40, well, you are expected to fade into the background. When I realized, through the blogosphere, that so many older women were bucking that expectation I actually shed some tears of joy. And that, to me, is the value of our online connections, because we can support each other and just be aware that there are others out there who feel the same way. Thanks again, Bella, for encouraging this community!

seƱora Allnut said...

i always find your words very interesting, specially when you write about fantasy and privacy in our little blogosphere, and love to know that we can create real friendship even though cynical ideas are always around us!
And love that you're blooming madly on that fabulous catwalk of dream!, and love your magazine pics!
besos & amistad

Ofelia said...

Cool cameras tricks and even cooler results!
Ah, real life or blogger life?
That is the question!
There are somethings that I don't talk about in my blog because there include other people in my family, there are things about my employment that I don't talk about it and of course there are people that I had tried to form a blogging friendship but they showed no interest in dealing with me which was a bit disappointing.
And I do agree about the fashion people, very few of them are real or trust worthy.
The fact that you have a different job at night doesn't change my view of you as:stylish, creative,given and fun. I see it as a plus; I mean fashion, style and pizza=happiness!

teatimewithtrina said...

Bella, thank you for the front row and center seat to your fantasy runway show. Although, I must tell you, this is how I feel EVERY time I sit down to read your posts. You have an unique way of making us all feel special, a little bit more beautiful and a heck of a lot happier just by being part of your virtual friendship. You asked who or what inspires my taste for style, the answer is easy, REAL women who are living life to the fullest. Women who have learned to embrace the beauty from within and share that joy through many creative outlets. I would say YOU are a great example of this kind of woman. Hopefully one day I will have the opportunity have a REAL front row seat with you.

Forest City Fashionista said...

So sorry for the delay in commenting on this awesome post. First of all, imagine my "Squee" when I scrolled down and there was my flower-crowned head looking at me! You are such a supportive, inspiring dame; I really think I need to make a trip to Seattle to meet you and Joni.

This really is a thought provoking post, and it touches on some things that have been troubling me lately in terms of real-life friends vs. blogger friends. I do find that my blog can be pretty personal at times, but those are usually the posts that seem to resonate most with my readers. I have a small group of friends where I live, but for the most part, they are not "like" me, although they appreciate my quirky style. It's only been through blogging that I feel like I've really found my "tribe", and the ones that I've met in person are just as fabulous as I hoped they would be. Maybe it's because of our age, that we have less time to waste playing games and putting on personas that aren't our own?

Don't want to go on and on, but your posts always so supportive, creative, and thoughtful. You're one of the leaders of my tribe, so keep doing what you do, darling Bella!

FASHION TALES said...

One of my favourite posts by you! I've worked in the fashion industry most of my life so I totally understand and agree to a point with your dear bf. But, I am happy to say that to be honest, I love and appreciate the bloggers that I have met and get inspired by far more than reading fluffy pages of a glossy instantly. As for the privacy thing, I am entirely a private person, I learnt the hard way early on, and keep certain things off the blog, yet share who I am ... always even if it means geeking out with playing chess in my new shoes! So glam, eh? haha. Enjoy your week shining star! xo

kaffesoester said...

Bella, you and Joni are such gorgeous and lovely ladies - I'm looking forward to seeing photos of the two of you together. I can imagine how much fun you're having.

I think fantasy is necessary, that's where we get our creativity from. That's why I love blogs like Pink Champagne. I prefer blogs like that to any fashion magazine!

On the other hand, when I need advice on dressing issues there's again no better place than blogs.

When I feel old and tired, the best place to rejuvenate is also Blogland! There's a joie de vivre and visible self expression that is seldom seen where I live.

I have yet to be disapointed in any of my fellow bloggers, only pleasantly surprised!

Every time I read your blog is like opening a present. There's insight and questions to dwell on. And above all, there are your incredible pictures! I love all these photoshopped pictures, they're beautiful!

Thank you for putting such an effort into your blog, and not just post pretty pictures, though that would still have me following you!

pastcaring said...

I think the comment from Veshoevius has summed up most of what I wanted to say about these issues - and they are concerns which many of us share, I think, questions many of us ask...
Of course there is some fantasy involved in blogging, some editing, some privacy maintained. Of course there is a balance to be struck between revealing enough to engage others while not over-exposing ourselves and our families.
Relationships between bloggers can be powerfully real and true - or not. Just like "real life" relationships. We compromise, we are polite, we keep some of our opinions to ourselves, again we edit. But I do think there are wonderful connections to be made, as you found when you met Joni. I consider many women I have discovered through blogging, whether I have met them for real or not, to be friends.
The women whose blogs I love are definitely inspirational, not just in terms of their style, but in terms of their confidence, opinions, panache and humour!
xxxx

Lynne DeVenny said...

My glass is full, full, full. I've made at least a dozen virtual friendships through blogging, that we maintain outside of blog comments. I've been lucky enough to meet two of my blogging besties in person, and have plans to meet more.

Who influences my style? You know you guys do.

Miss Simmonds Says said...

I really love your fantasy catwalk shoot and your mock up magazine cover. So much rich colour and detail. You were extremely lucky to meet Joni, she's not only a stunner but a lovely generous lady too. Xx

Crystal Hammon, ABC, MLS said...

How in the world did you DO that photo? Photoshop?
Yes, I have wondered about the authenticity of online friendships, but I have decided it's a lot like my book club friends--we have more meaningful conversation in an hour than I do with many people I spend hours with every week. It's because of the profound connection of literature.

And I think fashion/style has that quality, too. And this is why I think we need to plan a convention of ourselves--not to promote ourselves, but to meet each other. Where shall we meet?

Susan Partlan said...

Bella, what a fascinating post!

I've thoroughly enjoyed meeting several style blogger friends in real life (IRL) and feel that my blogger friends *are* real friends, but that the nature of the friendship is different than IRL friendships. It's more like pen pals. Remember pen pals? I try to keep expectations low, to avoid disappointment, and am always delighted when people want to extend the friendship further, either through meeting in person or longer, more personal email exchanges.

"The personal style bloggers I follow light up my head with examples of REAL style, which for me, is as much about inner substance, a dedication to beauty, and cultivating the costume of character, as it is about the thrall of a fashion fantasy." This truly comes through in your blog, most definitely!

As for what inspires my taste for style? I'm not sure yet, but I'm enjoying the quest.

Jamillah said...

I have wonderful wonderful real life blogging friends. but it's totally true that some people are not the people they are online, and while at first this was really really very disappointing, now i kind of just shrug and say well, that's fine, lol.

I think I draw inspiration from a lot of different places, but lately it's been a lot of real life ladies on the street. I think my taste comes from a mix of my urban roots and my mama's and aunt's lofty bold style.

loving your photos lately! So super creative.

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