On Blogging

After reading some of the comments on my last post, I’ve been thinking a lot about blogging and blogs. I really appreciate that so many of you reading this have been loyal readers through the years, I know that opening up a blog to read it is a commitment to time and brain power, something that is not always in large supply.

I follow blogs through a site called bloglovin’ and so I went to it to see how other blogs were doing. What I found was that there are dozens of formerly great blogs that haven’t been updated in months, or even years.

I can understand why someone would give blogging up. It takes a lot of time, energy, and thought. At the height of blogging popularity, I was trying to post every day. Now I ‘m lucky if I manage two posts a week. But that’s okay, because I blog, primarily, for me. I need a place to work out my thoughts on new things I see and acquire. And a big plus is that I also get the well-informed opinions of you readers. Without the comments, I’d be talking to myself, and might as well be just writing private documents.

Some of the bloggers I used to love to follow have now moved to Instagram. It’s a sign of the times, I suppose. But the fleeting nature of Instagram and other social media, while great for immediate engagement, does not lead to an easily accessible record of fashion research findings. To me, the fact that people interested in say, David Crystal, can google his name and find me, just like his great granddaughter did last week.

I’d like to think that what I’m doing is important, and I can definitely say that the few other active fashion history bloggers that I know of are doing important work. It’s worth your time to check them out.

Lynn at Americanagefashion writes about what the older woman in the 20th century wore. But it’s so much more than that. She looks into the advice older women were given and the images that were presented to women over fifty as appropriate.

Susan at Witness2fashion gives the best in depth look at fashion trends of the past that you can find on the WWW. Her experience as a costumer gives her the eye to analyze a 1920s dress as though it was hanging in her own closet.

Jonathan at Kickshawproductions brings a lifetime of fashion history experience to his writing.

For an in-depth look at fashion during WWI, read ClareRoseHistory.

Jen at Pintucks Vintage does not post very often, but when she does, it is always worth reading.

Liza at Better Dresses Vintage writes about fashion exhibitions and her own adventures wearing historical clothing.

And not strictly about fashion history, AllWays in Fashion is written by Michelle, who was a fashion insider during the 1960s through the 1990s, and who gives a great historical perspective to current trends.

Jackie Mallon  is another fashion insider, who brings her years of experience to her blog post that include exhibition reviews and historical references in current fashion shows.

Unfortunately, this is the extent of my list, though I also follow a few vintage travel and lifestyle blogs, and a few that focus on sewing and quilting. If I’m missing any good fashion history blogs, please add them in the comments.

It has also occurred to me that a person who wants a voice on the web today is likely to turn to podcasting rather than to blogging (which is SO 2012). In just the past few months some new fashion history podcasts have appeared.

If you haven’t discovered podcasts, it may be time for you to try them. I keep track of the ones I follow on my phone, where there are dozens of apps that store your favorites and then let you know when a new episode appears. Here’s my list, and again I’d appreciate a link to any I have missed.

Bande  à Part is a weekly conversation between fashion historians Rebecca Arnold and Beatrice Behlen. There is always good food for thought on a variety of fashion related topics.

Dress: Fancy is new, so new that there is only one episode, but I really enjoyed it and I look forward to more from Lucy Clayton and Benjamin Wild.

Dressed: The History of Fashion is from April Calahan and Cassidy Zachary. There is also a website with links and bibliographies.

The Museum at FIT Fashion Culture Podcast is, as promised, from FIT. It’s very new, and for now the podcast is just audio of previous conversations you can also find at youtube. I’m hoping this one will live up to its potential.

Unravel: A Fashion Podcast has been around for a while. The four FIT alums who produce it cover some fascinating topics. I have trouble following the conversation at times, as it feels like one is eavesdropping on a private conversation with references I don’t get. This may be a sign of the age gap between me and the podcasters.




Filed under Viewpoint

51 responses to “On Blogging

  1. I have been blogging on mostly knitting (and other creative endeavors) for eight years. I can certainly relate to what you says about the research and work. I have only a small following. At first, it was weekly. Now, if it’s twice monthly I’m doing well. But the small following and readership does not bother me. I like to inform and enlighten and get feedback. But in the end, I do it for me. It’s just amazing to look back at posts and see where my creative head was at. I’m not a bad writer if I may say so myself. I don’t follow many blogs but yours is my most recent favorite! I think podcasts are so 2012…the only one I listen to regularly is the New York Times Book Review, although I’m always sampling.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thank you for that encouragement; I, too have been thinking about the blogging process (and how much of my time it now occupies.) I do need to update my “blogs I read” list, because some fall by the wayside while others are born or discovered. I’ll try to add some recommendations here later!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Thank you, Lizzie, for blogging about blogs and the list you have put in here. Yes, everything appears to be so “fleeting” these days, here one day and gone the next. I appreciate your consistency and still love to find the bloggers who take the time and share their ideas and thoughts about vintage fashion. I always do appreciate the eye candy too but also care for the written word and thought behind it. I will check out the podcasts you added here too.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Diana Collins

    Lizzie, one of my clearest memories is sitting cross-legged in the floor looking at the pictures in the Charleston News & Courier, wondering what the strange words said. When I learned to read, I never looked back, and, having a hearing impairment, words have been my first love. Although photos are nice, I’ll always go back to my first love…the written/printed word. Thank you for your words.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Diane behmer

    Look forward to your every post.
    Keep up the good work!


  6. QueensGirl

    I’ve noticed that many bloggers I’ve followed for years have moved to Instagram for short posts, and link from Instagram to their blogs (“swipe up”) when something requires further details.


  7. MS

    THANK YOU for the effort you make. I treasure your blog and would miss it terribly if it were replaced with short IG posts. I am so grateful to have access to your perspective on the past and the amazingly interesting items you find to share with us. Thank you so much.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. MS

    And thanks for these links. I’ll be exploring those!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I find that Instagram is great for perusing and is more of a picture book. Plus, it takes a whole lot more time to write a blog then post a picture with a few hashtags. Social media is a fickle, fleeting thing, too. I have watched my daughter go between Insta and Snap and then say she was thinking about getting off of both. Blogs give us more depth and info which is why I have loved reading yours.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. jacq staubs

    PLEASE LIZZIE do NOT change ANYTHING! I agree with JULIIERIE. Most of the bloggers post information about themselves/ their own personal interests. After spending over 30 years in fashion/ creative merchandising I personally am not interested in the “unprofessional” view points . Not that they have no value – they certainly do on their level. YOU have a very specific and educationally slanted reference to your subject matter. Too bad you did not teach Vintage Fashion History.! My classes would have been so much more valuable. I choose not to attend FIT. I went for on the job training . I look for you every day for your post. You are a professional in every sense of the word.


  11. Ruth Beaty

    I agree with Jacq, above. Having read your blog for I don’t know how many years now it’s almost always interesting on one level or another. We seem to have the same fashion history (oh, those 60’s) and interests in research for pleasure. Academic blogs tend to be a little one sided at times and you have made me think about other parts I was never aware of. I’ve been using blogtrotter to follow some tumblers i like as then I can get them in my email. (Yes, I’m that lazy, I check email still instead of going to different sites.) I’m technically retired and love reading about all the things I really enjoy, fashion among them. I follow about 20 youtube channels now, mostly history as another fresh take on a subject that was somewhat dry in school. i’m glad you haven’t decided to switch to instagram as that seems to be more about “influencers” than being interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. seweverythingblog

    I thoroughly enjoy reading your thoughts about the history of everyday clothing. Please keep doing what you’re doing! twice a week? For me, it takes a lot of effort to write, edit, format and upload one post a week!
    Thank you for putting up such enjoyable content.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Love reading your so educational blog, Lizzie, and agree with so many above that blogging is so appropriate for informative, explanatory sorts of posts, Yours have real depth, and I have learnt tremendous amounts of useful information. THANK YOU!!! And do please keep at it as long as you can.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Incredibly honored to be counted among the notable company mentioned here, Lizzie. Thank you! I enjoy and learn from all the blogs you mention. Now, will heed your advice and figure out how to give those podcasts a listen.


  15. Pam

    I read your archives as often as I read your blog (which is every posting), so I am really, really being enriched by what you write. I have been doing so for some years and certainly do feel a bit guilty about taking advantage, but you’ll never know how much I appreciate it. Anyway, if you ever get tired of blogging, we would still be able to read your archives? Selfish, I am . . .

    Pam in Virginia

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Thanks for the mention, Lizzie. Like you I am interested in creating a source of information that lasts. For me that means blogging or writing in conventional books and journals. Then the information is there for all to find if they look. Instagram, which I enjoy, doesn’t have the same kind of staying power.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Yes, I’m someone who has effectively moved from blogging to Instagramming. I agree entirely about the inadequacies of that medium, and I would dearly love to be blogging again, but a series of unfortunate events has prevented me – not least the issue of several years of online/digital stalking which has made things very complicated for me indeed. I cannot go into details here, but (trust me) it’s tricky – and very, very unpleasant to be techno-bullied in this way.


  18. Thank you. I’m so honored to be included in your list. What you do is indeed important. Your blog posts are always so well-written and the material you include so carefully selected and perfectly curated. I can tell by the comments you get that you would leave an enormous gap if you decided to stop. You would be missed. I admit I have submitted to the allure of Instagram––all those pretty pictures! You’re right, it does require time to blog, something I’ve been drastically short of recently, and sometimes I just get so tired of producing words! I’ve been uploading my published articles on WordPress but not sticking around to engage. I’m going to turn that around soon. I miss you and a few others that I have drifted away from.


  19. KeLLy aNN

    I miss doing my blog. But they changed the format and for some reason it became very very time consuming after that. You were one of the first blogs I started following. You even helped with deciding if a fabric on some vintage chairs I bought were actual 40s print or more like and 80s version of a 40s print {we decided on the latter}. You are 1 of 3 blogs I still follow. Thanks for all your hard work.


  20. I too blog for my own edification. I like that I can easily refer back to a certain post. I get lost on Facebook and I don’t dare start Instagram. I also print my blog every January in book form to keep as a reference. And, my Mom enjoys reading it!


  21. Dear Lizzie, thank you for this post! When I found your blog, I read it from the beginning to the end, as I did with Witnes2fashion and Americanagefashion. I would miss the fun and the learning enormously, should either of you stop writing!!
    Thank you for the list of podcasts, too! I love Dressed, and I share your thoughts about Unraveled – but than, I am not a native speaker, which sometimes makes it difficult (and I am 43, maybe that’s too old already to get it all …). I will check out the other podcasts soon – nothing better while knitting!


  22. I love your blog. I love all the background you provide with each post and appreciate when you update information about a piece that you blogged about earlier.

    I have a personal blog that I use to document my sewing projects and the progress we are making with restoring and updating the old house where we now live. I went for years only posting every few months because I wasn’t sewing as many new things and being the mom to teenagers now, I find myself way busier than I was when they were little.

    I have a couple hundred or so blogs on my Feedly roll, but relatively few post regularly. I agree with the trend toward Instragram, Facebook, etc where there is quicker exposure, more income potential and more “likes” but little true interaction and information. I think we are losing out as a society.


    • Losing out? Yes, at some level I believe we are. I really resisted Instagram because I could see how images were replacing words on social media. But the immediate feedback is hard to beat, so I don’t see it going away at all.


  23. Here here! to all of the above. I was a little worried that your post would end with “and I’m ending my blog here” (NOOOOOOO). And thanks for new, active blogs to follow. I will admit I do care about ones that are new to me that might not be active at this point. It’s like watching a television show that’s been done for years and watching it a week at a time, to draw out the enjoyment I know has a definite end. I tend to save up your posts by the week, and catch up for an hour or two.

    I blog because I need to write, and journalism just doesn’t exist the way it used to. If I can’t get paid to review arts, I’ll review the stuff I sew. It’s also a handy idea storage unit (if I’m at work or on the road, I can access it from any handy internet connected unit).


  24. A fantastic list and I am going to add them to my list of blogs to read. As a blogger myself I do agree it’s hard to find the time to post anything on a somewhat regular basis and while I do enjoy Instagram for instant gratification I love a good blog post filled with all the juicy details I’m itching to find.

    I would love to look into doing some video posts for my blog but I’m not really great on that platform so I might have to look at getting a body double who can speak really well lol! We shall see.

    Keep up the good work, I love your blog!

    Liz-The Vintage Inn


  25. “Blog” came from “web log.” I blog because it’s a diary with an audience. Composing posts forces me to focus, to not only state my opinions but to edit/revise them for clarity. (The few times I kept a diary I felt so self-conscious: do I write to myself? To the unknown?) Mostly I record my quilting activity, but I also include travelogs and book reviews.


  26. I could not agree with this most more! I still have tons of people who still visit my blog for ancient posts because they are looking for information. You can’t do that with Instagram.

    I am so glad you are still here blogging and sharing your finds and knowledge with the world. Also thank you for sharing these links!



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