From SWF to LNM
For those of you who don’t know my story, I’ve been style|fashion blogging for a long time. My first blog* was created in 2009 to show off Pittsburgh, specifically our city’s style, and to let people know there were great places to shop when they visited. There were some beautiful boutiques like Jupe, Pavement, Hip’tique, Pittsburgh Jeans Co., Eons, Jack & Jules and Highway Robbery Vintage spotting a few neighborhoods in the city back then. It was really fun to get to know local business owners who were interested in fashion.
When I realized how few people were talking about the Pittsburgh style scene, I decided I needed to do it myself. I learned about style blogs in other cities which sent me into a webspiral. And when I emerged from the rabbit hole an entire weekend later, I looked at my husband and said, “I think I’m starting a blog.” We talked about the what and the why and he was like, “Yeah. I get it.” And off I went.
Blogging connected me with incredible creatives like Jace Lumley and Leanne Ford, who were digging their fingers into the city to make their mark. We were all just hacking away the vines trying to figure out which way to go next. It was such a thrill.
I created some partnerships that sometimes compensated me with store credit, which was absolutely a dream come true. It gave me an even better opportunity to show off what these businesses were doing right here in our city. I was so proud of what we had and I was so disappointed that people thought of Pittsburgh as a sloppy mess.
I had a strong point of view on style back then. Experimenting with color and pattern mixing and vintage. Some ensembles were great. Some failed so completely. But that was what made it fun. The poking around.
After some time though, I started to realize I was uncomfortable. Like I was never getting it right for myself. I wasn’t wearing the best clothes for who I wanted to be. I felt like my style was a reflection of my mind - it was all over the place. It was loud and a bit obnoxious to cover up for my reticence.
(It should be noted that I started realizing how I was feeling shortly after I had Stella, which is obviously an enormous life change. I think that experience exposed a lot of what was going on inside.)
I was, however, very comfortable with the steady stream of clothes coming in. I got complacent. I would get stuff just to have something new, but it always felt fussy. I found myself wanting to wear all black more and more. Like I was mourning whoever I was before I felt like this. I got a new job and as part of my employment, I was asked to quit my blog. It was time. I had outgrown it. I wanted to focus my energy elsewhere.
Like on being a mom, a wife and my career.
My new job was very conservative, which forced me to dress the part. I welcomed the pendulum shift. I started choosing pieces that were classic. I had a toddler and had become a manager with a staff so I didn’t want to think about anything extra. The idea of reaching into my closet and being able to combine almost everything was a welcome respite to the daily, self-imposed pressure to wear something completely different that would be photographed and put out onto the world wide web. I have to say, my job definitely pushed my style in a new direction. And honestly, it was more of who I really am. Clearly, I’m not super conservative. But going through a buttoned-up period had me reevaluate how I really wanted to present myself to the world.
I never stopped loving fashion blogging. I have a journal of my life from 2009-2013, including while I was pregnant. I’m so happy I’ve been able to reconnect to the community with a refreshed perspective and that I have been so welcomed. When I look back on the woman I was during my first go, I see a ton of insecurity. I didn’t believe in myself as much as I should have. I missed out on real opportunities that were mine for the taking because I felt like an impostor. But I’m thankful to have learned from that sad truth. I will never doubt myself like that again. And I hope to share what I’ve learned with anyone interested in hearing about it.
I’m proud of the work I did on that old blog. It was truly the wild west! We were all trying something that hadn’t been done before and that was exciting. I think of people like Andrea, Ashley, Julie, Kendi, Kim, Morgan and Yen often when I’m writing here. They and many others inspired me then. They continue to inspire me today in so many ways.
To be sure, my style will continue to evolve, which is exactly how I want it. To be complacent is to petrify. There will be plenty of time for that later. Right now, I’m all in on transformation.
If you’d like to take a trip down the SWF memory lane, check out the photo carousel below. Click on the far image to move the carousal along. Nearly every photo was taken by me with a tripod and a remote (or a self-timer) so please excuse the quality. The first shot was part of a very cold day in Lawrenceville with my talented friend, Beth.
Current photos | Sarah
*As part of my transition away from blogging in 2013, I started making my original posts private. I thought I needed to hide my blog, but I refused to get rid of all the work I had done completely. It was a tedious process that I quit after a short time. So my original posts still exist but they are no longer public. I’ve considered going back to make them public but I’m not sure to what end. So they remain private for now.