We just survived a decade where we decried those who like simple pleasures in life to be “basic bitches.” Street style took over where looks were graded less on fashion and more on uniqueness. We one-upped one another with how much of a quirky unique special snowflake we were at cocktail parties and tried to outdo our friends with photo holiday cards and vacations in Facebook albums. Being ordinary became one of the worst criticisms you could receive.
During this decade, what was unique and quirky in less than a year became overdone and passé. It was a constant revolution of bomber jackets and Beachbody, Airstreams and all-white McMansions, chevrons and Supreme, joggers and jeggings, rosé and Rockstuds, Baby Shark and the Harlem Shake, Golden Goose sneakers and Gucci belts, anything Mid-Century to anything from the ‘90s. It even became trendy to buck all current trends, as long as you made sure to tell everyone about it on the Internet.
This past decade was THE decade of the influencer. While blogs and social media existed before the 2010s, it didn’t really become a thing, and definitely didn’t become a common career until the past few years. Overnight new bloggers and social media stars came on the scene with fresh ideas, a fresh look, and fresh skills in technology, social media, and SEO. Instead of reading House Beautiful or Architectural Digest, we were scrolling through Instagram; instead of Bon Appetit or Cooking Light, it was perusing Pinterest for recipes. Those of us who had children growing up this decade, we saw how YouTube videos of toy unboxings replaced Saturday morning cartoons. To stand out in the crowd influencers were always looking for a way to have a “thing” – a catchphrase, a hashtag, an aesthetic, a way to be remembered and, fingers crossed, go viral.
The 2010s was when online shopping was perfected. It seemed every retailer had an app you could download to your phone and in an instant order a new dress, a new kitchen appliance, a new makeup palette, a new throw for your couch. Social media was an extension of customer service and many companies had DMs, comments, and replies open for engaging with customers. Everyone from Refinery29 to the New York Times employed affiliate links on their websites, making a commission from each click. Instagram gave accounts with at least 10,000 followers the ability to use a swipe-up function in their Instagram Stories, so you didn’t even have to leave the app to buy what she’s wearing or using. Brands like SHEIN, Romwe, and Fashion Nova came on the scene offering ridiculously cheap fashion that was so cute and delivered so quickly no one allowed themselves the moment to wonder how in the world they made those clothes so cheap. Amazon was king, and Walmart was hiring every influencer in America to earn back that throne. By the end of 2019 if shipping wasn’t free and in less than a week it seemed archaic. If Prime next-day shipping wasn’t fast enough for you, many retailers let you order online and pick it up two hours later at a store in your neighborhood.
This was also the decade of How-To. The 2010s started with learning how to make quirky earrings and embellish a sweatshirt. It then moved on to how to dress with capsule wardrobes, styling challenges, and YouTube makeup tutorials. Thanks to our massive consumption over the decade, the trend became tips on how to get rid of stuff – how to spark joy and become a minimalist. As a website owner, I knew the best way to bring traffic to my site was to have a blog post that was titled with something like, “Five ways to style a sweater” or “How to get the look for less” or “The six things every woman needs in her closet.” Thanks to the convenience of the internet, we stopped thinking for ourselves and found gurus across the world to teach us how to live.
By the end of the decade, we started having a conscience. When our family chose to cut out paper towels, sponges, and paper napkins in 2008 we had friends who laughed, rolled their eyes, and questioned the cleanliness of our home. Come the end of the decade, half those friends had also found ways to cut down their disposable consumption. In 2013 after more than 1,100 people were killed when Rana Plaza in Bangladesh collapsed, many began questioning where and how their clothes were made. While the term “greenwashing” has been a term since the 1960s, it became a household word in the 2010’s thanks to brands attempting to look ethical and environmentally conscious to wizened customers. Thing is, consumption didn’t stop, it just was greenwashed. Ads on Instagram for reusable water bottles and straws and Q-tips and tote bags and makeup wipes and produce bags. If you were looking to be more environmentally conscious or choose ethical brands, there were courses on how to become a minimalist, books to buy to tell you how to throw out everything and spark joy, and ethical clothing influencers encouraging you to buy more, not less. And if there was one trend that sustained the entire decade, it was a graphic t-shirt proclaiming your beliefs, especially if a portion of the sales went to a charity or initiative.
Related Post: How do Blogs and Influencers Make Money?
But the thing that was a constant throughout the entire decade was that if you bought X you would achieve Y. There was always a purchase that would make you thinner, make you healthier, make you prettier, make you cooler. There was always a course or a gadget that would make you richer, more organized, more efficient, more successful. You could buy a program or membership or another gadget to finally have you stick to a resolution, achieve that goal, shred or detox or heal your gut to greatness. I often scrolled through Instagram and Facebook and wondered how 200 years later we were again being swindled by snake oil salesmen.
And I was one of them.
While I have been blogging since 2005, I didn’t consider it a business until 2010. I had a baby the previous year, was promoted at work, and struggling to maintain two blogs (back then I had one blog for outfits and one for fashion advice). A friend suggested I merge the two blogs into one, and I decided that if I was going to continue to blog and take time away from my family, it had to be financially worth it. I had to make at least as much as I would as a barista at the Starbucks down the street. This paid off; by 2014 I was making as much from my blog as I was from my day job. In 2016 I exceeded my salary from Corporate America and at the end of 2017, I made the decision to quit my day job to focus on the blog full-time.
I make money from this blog in a variety of ways, but the top three are sponsored posts (a brand pays me to talk about them), ads (you’ll see them between paragraphs, in the footer, and sidebar), and affiliate links (click on a link on my blog or swipe up on my Instagram Stories and make any purchase and I’ll earn a commission. Read this post for more details on how blogs and influencers make money). I make money because you come to my site to read my thoughts or see my outfits, I make money because you like what you see and click to buy or learn more about a product, and I make money because brands see you come to my site and they want you to learn about them. And each year of this decade, my top moneymaker has been affiliate sales. I make money because you spend money.
This both makes me proud and gives me insomnia. As blogs are shuttering around me it’s thrilling that my blog continues to grow in regard to traffic, subscribers, and followers on social media. As consumers become more aware of the virtual snake oil salespeople who will shill anything for a dime, it’s an honor that I have earned your trust and you will purchase what I recommend. As more articles are published about brands not seeing a return on investment by partnering with influencers, it’s exciting that brands continue to want to partner with me and pay my rates. But am I part of the problem?
Each year with my blog I make a resolution, a goal, and a focus. In 2018 I refused to work with any new brands that didn’t go up to a size 16. In 2019 I started with the goal to offer more affordable brands; that didn’t work out and I share why here. I switched to focusing on longevity. How to style and re-style and re-style again the same item. Which beauty products I continue to buy again and again. The 2010s was a decade of fast fashion, get the look for less, and follow these five steps for instant success. I wondered, could I focus on buying slower and smarter and still be financially successful?
The answer is yes. The only dip in the whole year was the two months this summer when I took a vacation from sponsored content and sale picks. But not only yes, I was able to control the narrative. Other than a couple the first half of the year when I was still focused on working with affordable fashion brands, I partnered with brands I use and truly love. I wrote content I enjoyed writing, not content that would appeal to the SEO gods just to get ad revenue. I curated my sale alerts to brands I feel good promoting and fit with the brand I have built. And those sale alerts, I didn’t just share great deals but great items that either I own and know are good or look to be worthy purchases that will provide more than one season of style. I proved you can be a conscious consumer and still have a successful business.
And so my goal for 2020 is to continue on this path. This is not the blog where you will get the look for less, and you won’t be told the five must-have trends for the season. This is a blog where you will always receive honest and detailed reviews so you can make an informed purchase. Where the items reviewed are ones that aren’t a flash in a pan, but something that you can buy now and wear for years looking stylish every single time. Where it’s not only okay, but chic to rewear things over and over, whether it’s to the office or to a wedding or gala and I’ll help you find those things that are enjoyable and chic to wear multiple times. Where you will learn how to have more style with a smaller wardrobe, and where you will get advice not to dress exactly like me or a celebrity, but to find your own personal style and gain confidence with fashion and with making smart purchases. I will continue to focus on brands that have a good range of sizing. I will continue to link in widgets to items at a variety of price points. I will continue my capsule wardrobes, sale alerts, and discussing trends to help you see how you can do with less and make informed purchases. I will continue to share when a brand gives back, has an eco-friendly business practice, But I will do it all with a goal for all of us to buy less.
I want to thank you all for being here. There are literally millions of blogs and influencers, you have your pick of the bunch and I don’t take it for granted that you choose to read Wardrobe Oxygen. I am constantly looking for ways to make this blog better for you, so please continue to provide me with feedback through comments, emails, and DMs. If you like what you read, share it! The best gift you can give to any business owner is a word of mouth referral (which we saw in this past decade to also include shares on social media and in emails and texts). I look forward to engaging with you in this new year and together we will spend less and look more stylish while doing it. Happy new year and new decade!