The Skirt: Why Can’t A Women’s Fashion Blog Just Get It Together?

"The Skirt" is an ongoing series in which Four Pins' resident lady friend, Rachel Seville, becomes the most important woman in your life.

When I get on the internet as an intelligent woman who loves fashion, there isn’t much for me to do. I look at the candy-coated Instagram feed the Man Repeller has savvily embedded on her site, and check in on Stop It Right Now or Sea of Shoes for visual inspiration. I always go in for Jenna Sauers’s quirky snark on Jezebel, and once in a while I’ll plunge into the weird erogenous rabbit hole that is the new features section on The Cut. But a lot of the fashion news there—and much of the content that’s on Racked, Fashionista, and Refinery29, for that matter—is either stuff I’ve already read about in Women’s Wear Daily, or an eight million-image slideshow of all the pastel peacoats I can choose from this winter.

Frankly, when I get online to read a blog about fashion that’s consistently engaging and funny, smart and authoritative without being condescending, and doesn’t make me neurotic about a waning interest in reading, I usually end up here. I read wishing there were posts on how a Rachel Comey oversized blazer-esque coat will make you look like A Little Princess who has gone super luxe with Mr. Carrisford, but can’t forget her humble roots, instead of on a Concepts x Canada Goose Lodge Hoody; and a hysterical, but insightful exploration on how to actually use a blog to propel yourself into the fashion industry in place of calls for menswear young guns to slow their roll. Or at least a slideshow of Oscar de la Renta’s red latex pieces from SS ’13 Photoshopped onto different hot dogs.

I’m not the only woman who feels this way. Whenever Four Pins comes up in conversation with fellow gals, a near universal lament is, “I wish there were a site like that for women.” And, as mentioned recently on Twitter, this site gets a lot of its traffic from people googling “Four Pins for women.”

It’s not that there’s a lack of sites for us to visit. Jezebel, Racked, Fashionista, Refinery29, FabSugar, and, as it increasingly expands its subject matter, The Man Repeller, are just the tip of the iceberg. But it’s an iceberg that lacks depth, because these sites just don’t seem to be giving us what we want. The tendency to create packed slideshows of products organized around one (often seemingly random) trend favors lazy consumption over informed and tasteful shopping. The extent to which they talk about evils of Photoshop frequently just comes off as a way of twisting the perpetual obsession with women’s bodies into something that seems more palatable. A fifty word summation of a news story with a link to the source is fine, but isn’t reading (and, I bet, writing) a hilarious musing on a news story, like potential plot lines for Style Girlfriend’s upcoming film, much more fun?

In other words, women’s blogs need to become tastemakers rather than scrambling to reflect our perceived interests and taste.

Other sites just seem too willing to meet everyone at a low common denominator, rather than entertain and steer them towards something more interesting, more intelligent. They seem resigned to the reality that I’m here because I don’t want to finish making a spreadsheet right now. They don’t seem terribly interested in attempting to push me to go back to the spreadsheet in 20 minutes with a newly refined and witty opinion on why online dating is making us all awkward beer-chugging zombies whose idea of an opener is “Sooooo....”, which I could easily bust out on my next date as a weird sort-of-meta-ice breaker.

Even though these sites feel and look progressive on the face of it, they still seem tied to the adage that the only things women want are to have better sex and a thinner body (or at least better nail art).

But I think women want more. We don’t want to just gaze slack-jawed at pictures. Of course images are necessary for any blog, and slideshows are a boon for advertising. But there’s no reason why these can’t be a way to read people to good writing, or at least more carefully curated and accompanied by commentary that’s as funny as the slideshow format is lucrative. We want to read. It feels absurd to have to assert that women want to read, and they want to read things that are funny, thoughtful, and yes, lengthy, but unfortunately I feel this needs to be said. Last week, Leandra Medine introduced a guest columnist who penned a discourse on filling an online shopping cart with unattainable merch and then abandoning it. It seemed very much the sort of thing that might appear on a women’s version of this site—commenters went crazy for the writer’s wit.

What’s more, there needs to be more refined focus on why a piece of clothing or trend or whatever it is that we’re being shown is cool or interesting. It’s not enough to just say, “It’s a trend!!!” or, “but it’s in a bunch of stores!!!!” or, perhaps worse, “but these are all photos of celebrities!!!!”

In other words, women’s blogs need to become tastemakers rather than scrambling to reflect our perceived interests and taste. The era of seeking to be authoritative and painfully servile at once needs to end.

So, women of the internet, who wants to help me start Four Boobs?

Rachel Seville is a writer living in Brooklyn who believes in miracles. Read her blog, Pizza Rulez, here and follow her on Twitter here.

  • http://www.fashstash.net Tarandip

    I completely agree with you, Rachel. I feel that women’s blogs should stop with the overload of images and actually focus on writing. I do believe that there are readers out there who’re looking for witty and thoughtful commentary.

    I struggled with that for all and felt that my readers are going to drop if I start with my lengthy posts but have slowly decided that yes, I am going to continue to include words, lengthy words into my posts.

    After all, I enjoy a good read and my blog is a reflection of myself.

    And yes, Four Boobs would be great (literally and in the online site kind of way).

  • Lauren

    I was LITERALLY saying this exact thing yesterday while reading Schlossman’s post on his family’s best rejected pitches.

  • Rachael

    Agreed! I always just end up reading mens style blogs instead i find them alot more intereting as they seem to have much more detail and focus x

  • trybecca

    I couldn’t agree more…. and have been pondering how and why this is the case – add to this mix that I am a woman of a “certain age” with a daughter who is a contemporary of Leandra, et al – it’s a cold, cold world out there! If you want to be scared, google “fashion blogs for women over 40″…. let’s chat

  • http://southbystyle.com Lauren

    This is really great. I’m a newish fashion blogger and am sick of uninspired polyvore sets and humorless writing rife with “lols” and “kisses.” I love the Man Repeller and have really loved her recent content. I’m going to put this article’s advice into practice for my own site.

  • hmaldon

    I agree too but I think though that there are different kinds of blogs and the blog that she’s describing is just one kind of blog. I know that when I go on a blog, product reviews are not even on my radar. That sounds too masculine almost. I sometimes don’t even need the wit. Who decided that things needed to be witty to be well written anyway? Hell who needs words on a blog (jk don’t hate me). Sometimes I like to mindlessly browse through blogs and take in the visuals and maybe even live vicariously through the bloggers and that doesn’t make me less intelligent. But I do think that this is a blog niche that women bloggers should explore. And also theres this concept of menswear as opposed to mens fashion and this makes me wonder– is there such a thing as womens-wear as opposed to women’s fashion?

  • http://sigtweedandcorduroy.tumblr.com/ Sigtweed & Corduroy

    Really nice piece. As someone who blogs menswear but works in womenswear and sees both sides regularly, it’s a pretty stark contrast. Your quote about reflection vs tastemaking is really spot on. I think partially, many tastemakers have been elevated to other jobs/positions/statuses via there previous blogging/tastemaking backgrounds and have left a void. Additionally, I think the landscape (sorry, I refuse to say “blogosphere”) continues to skew much younger, which can be a double edged sword. Interestingly, I think a lot of this is increasingly true about the men’s landscape as well, albeit to a lesser extent. In short, stay real Four Pins.

  • http://twitter.com/eyefiivestyle Angelo

    What about Rookie though? Even though it’s target is teens, it’s better than any other women’s site and I know a lot of 20+ women who read it.

    • Rachel

      Great point! But doesn’t it show how dire the situation is that we’re reading a site for teenagers because we can’t find what we want?

  • http://www.twitter.com/j__mechu Jaime

    Reminds me of Oscar Wilde’s vision as the editor of a women’s magazine: ‘The magazine, Wilde wrote, “should be made the recognised organ for the expression of women’s opinions on all subjects of literature, art, and modern life, and yet it should be a magazine that men could read with pleasure, and consider it a privilege to contribute to.’ It is ironic how the reverse is happening, that women seek “intellectual” refuge in men’s fashion publications.

    (http://lareviewofbooks.org/article.php?id=835&fulltext=1)

  • AMY

    Might it be that the #menswear movement is relatively new and exciting as opposed to the vast caverns that is womenswear?? Not only are you covered by such above mentioned blogs, but even online retailers are telling me the same thing….Jcrew, Barneys, Saks-Urban Outfitters.
    Menswear bloggers and statesmen like Mr Wooster have bridged the gap and made it ok for guys to look good without being labeled “emo” or “homo” (not that there’s anything wrong with either). For me, watching my guy friends who came from jeans and a skate tee suddenly feel ok to rock nice shoes or selvage denim without looking like they’re bankers is rad.
    Womenswear-its saturated, vague and diluted. Hence, boring blogs.

    • Untitled

      **Slow Clap***

    • Tara

      But doesn’t your point (which I agree with) make the need for a good women’s fashion blog all the clearer? Where are those women’s lines that push the envelope, or at least capture that certain aesthetic? A better women’s fashion blog could bring these brands, looks, and styles to the reader. I would really like to see it happen and would happily pitch in. (My only qualifications: experience as a professional magazine editor; a vagina.)

  • Stephanie

    P R EA C H this is my first time on four pins and i’m glad this the first article i stumbled upon its like i been mindfuc. this is exactly how i feel but i’m so lost bc i’m not a fan of either menswear or womenswear for those very gender-specific connotations so i resorted to more genderless style inspirations. but after reading this i realized there is indeed a lack of a stronger women’s fashion/style presence on the internet bc as an independent (black) woman who don’t need no man my curves need to be celebrated and then i wouldn’t despise womenswear so much if people were providing tasteful, entertaining, and intelligent insights to women’s fashion, starting with quality 1st

  • http://www.mrmag.bandcamp.com MaG

    stand up and go for yours ladies! i stay deleting Refinery emails because they’re boring. they’re pretty to look at though. i think though as long as Rachael and other ladies who smirk when some douche bag pushes the bill in a dude’s direction, stand up and ask for some more in-depth topics like how to get rid of lint balls from ya panty drawz, the world will indeed be a better place..for women, men, and washing machines. word.

    P.S. i hate Cosmopolitan. they steering ya’ll wrong. none of that “how to please ya man” sh*t works. ever.

  • C.bear

    This is so true I say this every time I’m going to a men’s wear blog… I need more then pictures and links to other sites! Lets do it!!!!

  • http://www.ncwong.com Ncwong

    Extremely well written. I’ve been trying to hunt for a womens blog that is relatable but end up reading menswear blog. Another thing that I realize that is lacking is blog that show readers what the real fashion world is about. There are plenty of women who are interested in menswear but do not know where to start.

  • http://RestlessHeartedChild.tumblr.com Dayna

    Everything you write is incredibly on point. There seems to be a lack of critical thinking and blogs undermining themselves? Instead of playing the roll of tastemaker they aim to appeal.

  • http://clairedallas.tumblr.com Blair

    I’m so in. Four Boobs! Let’s do this.

  • http://www.bvira.com/home.php?cat=4412 Womens Clothing

    I too agree it Great idea.

  • Imola

    just recently I’ve discovered Fiona Duncan’s writings at Bullett Media and she became my new favorite fashion writer instantly. her pieces are intelligent and very very funny.

  • Sathya Murthy

    Very nice blog… If you need any trendy and Stylish Clothes just visit Kulali Exports

  • lalit kumar

    Great post and you can find more stylish wear is here..

    see : http://just4evesboutique.in/

  • jessey

    I’m in. Four Boobs. Let’s do this
    Cheers!
    Jessey | http://optueor.com