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August 13, 2010

Metalhead Fashion: In Defense of Daily Outfit Posts

Kvlt Fashion

Like any good metal blogger, I scout around the metal blogosphere and read the latest news, views and interviews. Recently, it came to light that one of the more popular metal blog Illogical Contraption had discovered the strange and interesting world of hipster “metal” style blogging, through Pentagram singer Bobby Liebling’s wife Hal. Hal’s blog Halcoholic, together with Queen Michelle of Kingdom of Style, are probably the most popular style bloggers with more than a passing interest in heavy metal. There are others (Palpable Obscura, In Her Stilettos and me too, I suppose).

queen-michelle-iron-maiden-shirt

The seriously gorgeous and totally metal Queen Michelle

Reign in Blonde wrote a wonderful tongue-in-cheek response to the previous post. But it raises an interesting observation. How can blogging about fashion be metal when, from a metal (and not necessarily all-male) point of view, it seems really narcissitic and, well … silly.

So I thought I’d muse a little on the subject. Indulge me.

halcoholic-metal-fashion

Halcoholic

Daily Outfit posts are exactly that – a blogger posting pictures of an outfit she wears during the day – whether she’s going on an errand, attending lectures, off to a gig or shooting a porn film. These days, Daily Outfit posts comprise at least a portion of most fashion blogs – alongside random collections of “inspirational” pictures, profiles of up-and-coming designers, discussions about new collections, and styling tips. Some blogs, like Fashion Toast and Halcoholic, are pretty much all Daily Outfit posts.

From the onset, fashion blogging used to be all about runway shots and pictures of catwalk celebrities and scans of dramatic magazine shoots on mountaintops and in the middle of tiger enclousures (think of glam metal music videos and you kind of get the idea). In “the good old days”, if you wanted to be a fashion blogger or run a fashion website, you had to be in the industry.

Enter, the New Wave of Poor Fashion Bloggers. (Yes, I am calling them NWOPFB, and yes, this is to try and keep you metal boys from deleting me from your google reader).

The NWOPFB are young ladies, in college or high school or out in the world in their first underpaid jobs. They’re creative, and they love fashion. They’re passionate about fashion. They might also be writers, or fashion designers, or artists or metalsmiths. They want to start a fashion website and blog about fashion, but how can they do this when they can’t get backstage passes to a Louis Vuitton show or afford an original Birkin bag?

And besides, they’re tired of seeing wafer-thin models draped in designer threads, and celebrities sporting dresses they could never hope to own. What about fashion for all shapes, sizes and budgets? What about clothing on the street? Clothing worn by real people?

And so, a new genre of fashion blogging was born. The Daily Outfit post is the staple of the NWOPFB world – a girl will snap a few pictures of what she’s wearing, and write it up with online links so other girls can purchase the same items, and maybe add a few words about why she chose that top or wore those rings or how comfortable the shoes are. And all the NWOPFB start reading each other’s blogs, and taking inspiration from each other’s style. And before you know it you have a whole community of girls experimenting and seeing fashion as it really should be: an artistic expression of the inner self, rather than a media-driven covet fest.

Daily Outfit posts have helped a generation of girls feel better about their bodies – and that’s important and significant. They’ve also helped focus a lot of fashion media on trends that really matter – what people are wearing in the streets. They’ve also, and this is what enrages some people – brought a lot of interesting subcultures into the fashion spotlight, including heavy metal.

Some people think it’s shit that Queen Michelle wears a vintage iron maiden tee shirt (is it just me, or does the term “vintage metal shirt” sound too pretentious?) and suddenly all the 1980s Iron Maiden concert tees are snapped up from eBay. Not me – every metalhead knows a “vintage” concert tee is only worth something if you actually attended the concert, and who would sell their “vintage” concert tees on eBay, anyway? Surely not someone I’d call a friend. Nope, doesn’t bother me at all.

The truth is, we like metal underground and out of the limelight. And I can understand why. What happened last time metal was the “in” thing? Glam metal, that’s what happened. It’s understandable we all feel our asses clench at the very prospect that our lifestyle may suddenly become the next fad. And the first “Twilight” metal band hasn’t even been conceived yet. You just wait …

Cthulhu’s Closet posts

I first encountered Daily Outfit posts through Gala Darling, a fashion-lifestyle blogger I discovered through Haute Macabre, which I read because I liked the pretty pictures. Gala wore a lot of black and had some seriously loud accessories, and I thought she looked really unique. I wondered what such a unique person might say to the world, so I started reading her blog. Because she mixed her daily outfit posts with lifestyle advice and positivity, I found them engaging. When I brainstormed ideas for Steff Metal, I knew I wanted to include some kind of daily outfit post, too.

galadarling-fashion-blogger

Gala Darling

I freely admit that I don’t read many style blogs – I love Gala because she writes about lots of other subjects too, and as a writer and an ex-goth, her interests often cross with mine. I read Queen Michelle because I hope I look that awesome after I’m 30, and she writes the most engaging fashion prose I’ve ever read. She also has an awesome collection of metal shirts. I’ve had a couple of others on rotation on my google reader, but gave them the old clear out when I realised I was just scrolling through the pictures – without content that’s meaningful to my life, I become bored of pretty pictures. Hal’s blog is a great source of interesting jewelry artists, although I don’t think I’d wear them all at once like she does. My hands would fall off.

But What’s the POINT?

The point, poor, un-informed males, is that some girls like dressing up :) It’s fun, it’s creative in an outward way, and it’s a kind of bonding ritual between females. Have you ever noticed how, when a group of girls get together, they often fall into complimenting each other’s outfits and talking about the places where they found things? Woman is the “gatherer” in hunter-gatherer society, and now that she now longer has to roam far and wide for berries and tree roots, she’s after the shiny.

Daily Outfit posts give girls an opportunity to see the latest styles worn not by celebrities and stick models (like I’m one to talk) but by ordinary girls like them. Through daily outfit photos girls share styling tips and learn a lot about confidence and body language.

steffmetal-outfit-post

Steff Metal

What Makes a Good Outfit Post?

I think my two favourite fashion bloggers, Queen Michelle and Gala Darling, give perfect examples. They post some great pictures, taken outdoors with natural light and laid back, fun poses. They smile. They post links to where they found things – they explain details about the clothes and accessories that someone thinking of buying one might want to know. They not only show you how they style, but why they style. They tell stories. And they have fun. They don’t take the whole thing too seriously.

galadarling-fashion-blogger

Gala Darling

queen-michelle-metal-fashion

Queen Michelle

I try to do this in my Cthulhu Closet posts here. I’m not that great yet, but I’ve only been trying this fashion blogging thing for a little while.

But aren’t you just being narcissistic?

Looking at it, you’d probably thinks so, and I bet a few fashion bloggers simply do just love posting pictures of themselves and receiving the validation of comments like “you look rad!”. But for others, it’s simply a way to engage with fashion and the fashion community in a different way.

Here at Steff Metal, fashion is but one of many, MANY topics I write about, including the in-depth learning extravaganza of Metal History, the Aunt Betty with tattoos advice column Ask A Bogan, the travel tips in Grymm and Frostbitten Lands and the general life advice in tr00 Metal Life. I write to inform, inspire and entertain, and the Cthulhu’s Closet posts work towards that goal in exactly the same way these other articles do.

Also, if you call me narcissitic, I can call you a fucktard, but that wouldn’t be very ladylike of me :)

And just so you know, you will continue to see the odd fashion post here, mixed in with all the other metal mayhem, but Steff Metal will never become a fully fashion-oriented blog. I just have too many other, equally interesting things to write about. Just you all wait for the upcoming fortnight of Cthulhu-related articles. Yes, a whole two weeks. You have been warned.

Off to a mini-goth-golf-ball (photos tomorrow :)) so I need to tighten my corset laces.

9 Comments on “Metalhead Fashion: In Defense of Daily Outfit Posts

Kenzi
May 24, 2013 at 4:49 pm

I honestly have never heard of these bloggers (I’ll certainly check them out) but Tumblr is loaded with these people. The new thing seems to be “Pastel Goth” or “Soft Grunge” (two trends I’m more than excited to see die for some reason) so looking like you’re a metalhead is actually a thing now. My opinion is leaning toward the negative side for that, but I have many reasons and I’m not here to rant about that (right now).

It seems narcissistic and blatantly pointless to focus on fashion in the metal world, because it isn’t the point. But I must admit that there is so much potential in metal fashion. There is so many things you can do with it that looks kickass, and I’m not talking about wearing band shirts (of bands they probably don’t really listen to…) in the sluttiest way possible. I’m thinking “how can I make these new fashion and beauty trends work to MY sensibilities and tastes?” I’m thinking, “how can I make this look ME?” I’ve found myself looking through the Hollister lookbook, challenging my creativity to make a goth/metal/alternative (whatever adjective you deem fit) of their outfits. And there are ways. The world of metal fashion truly is a playground for creativity.

Alex
January 10, 2011 at 5:23 pm

Am a huge fan of Michelle’s and for all the same reasons as you! I read tons of fashion blogs and one of the best things about them, as you’ve said, is the democratisation of fashion. I love the fact that Rumi Neely made girls want to buy clothes in Forever 21 or that Queen Michelle wears metal t-shirts, or that Karla from Karla’s closet isn’t model thin but still wears teeny skirts and what’s more looks great in them.

Like you my blog isn’t dedicated solely to fashion; I cover fashion on Tuesdays and also write about music, film and literature amongst other things. Like you and Michelle, I would NEVER EVER sell any of my concert t-shirts! Am bookmarking your site, thanks to finding this post on Queen Michelle’s facebook page. This was a great post – thanks!

Lahna
January 3, 2011 at 2:43 am

Great little article and a lot of good points. I was wondering which post did Queen Michelle’s photo’s come from? I would be interested in seeing that one of hers.

queen michelle
December 3, 2010 at 7:14 am

Hey!
This post came up in among my stats and I found it really interesting, from one girl who’s into metal to another.
I do wear “vintage metal tees” a great deal, and call them such because they were gifts from a dear friend and are replacements for tees I had when I was young, because I’m old enough to recall the bands the first time round, but never had the presence of mind to keep my tees sadly. And if someone goes on eBay to try and buy a vintage 80’s Maiden tee then they shouldn’t expect to pay less that a few hundred dollars for the real deal, which mine are.
Your comments about daily outfit posts are so valid too. I try and limit mine to two posts a week, simply because I feel uncomfortable personally posting what I wear just for the sake of it. I feel I must be either showing something I am deeply excited about getting – such as the Maiden and Metallica t-shirts in the photo – or showing something I’ve made or altered, etc. I doubt very much people would care what I wear on a day to day basis anyway!
I am aware that my metal leanings can alienate lots of people, but truth be told I didn’t start the blog to please people anyway and my taste in music is intrinsic to who I am and my style.
If people are pissed that I’m wearing an 80’s Misfits tee and then go on eBay to get one and find they are all gone, which in itself is highly unlikely since a genuine Misfits tee will set you back, again, close to $200, then perhaps they should look at the reasons why they suddenly need one in their lives. I wear mine because I was into them, like most metal I listen to, since the early 80’s – so it’s not a fashion statement per se.
I’m knocking on 40 now and don’t plan to stop wearing them, or any other studs, spikes and scary things I deem necessary!
Thank you for a great wee article Steff and for contributing to KoS with your appreciation of the music I like too.

QM
x

obscura
August 19, 2010 at 6:56 am

Hey stef!
Just wanna say thanks for the mention!
I used to get a lotta shit from people for “outfit posts”.
I think my approach to outfit posts has changed from, initially, attempting to
incorporate “metal references” (band shirts etc.) into my sense of casual/daily style,
to now, just wearing whatever feels right.

I’ll still wear my uniform of band shirt/denim/leather to shows, but my blog is an outlet for exploration, experimentation and artistic output.

Thanks for giving us an opportunity to discuss this. You have made some very important and interesting observations!

E.Bleak
August 16, 2010 at 12:50 pm

Daily outfits in scenes help break down uniform barriers, too – the cliches of “dressing metal” have never been very kind to female fans. It used to be that you either dressed like a dude or wore itty-bitty groupie outfits. Seeing outfits like yours and Annie Spandex’s brings it to a fashionable change while still being scene and real and affordable, Palpable Obscure brings it back to high fashion! It’s so great to see that we don’t all have to dress exactly the same all the time. I’ve always had a bit of 70s-comfy-stoner vibe to my outfits while you’ve got a much more romantic thing going – it really showcases the diversity!

Queen Michelle is gorgeous, thanks for linking me her way!

I try to stay away from blogs that push dangerous fad diets like juice fasts and raw veganism, but I will admit that the daily outfit posts do draw me back into Gala’s site from time to time. :)

v
August 15, 2010 at 5:29 am

I completely agree with you. The main difference in how you blog(and the blogs you mentioned) is that you are coming from a far more humble perspective of ‘hey I am a metalhead chick, this is how I like to dress, maybe you like it too’ with only a fraction of your content devoted to fashion, whereas there is this sort of semi-gothic/metal cult of 100% fashion bloggers who are just totally full of themselves and the posts are entirely ‘hey omg look how hot I looked today arent the pics my awesome boyfriend/lesbian lover took of me great??’ (Their websites all look the same too which is a personal annoyance for me)
It all comes down to having a voice. If the posts are accompanied by insightful text, then they become more than eye candy. Never apologize for your point of view \m/

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