Monday, April 09, 2012

What do you aspire to be?



This is not an aspirational blog. It is a tiny slice of my own reality. Instead of posing in front of yellow taxis on a busy street with tousled hair and stiletto heels, I take photos in front of the same wall of my house, doing the same poses, wearing the clothes I actually wore that day, because that is what I’m comfortable with. Instead of a photographer boyfriend with a fancy DSLR, I use the self-timer of a point-and-shoot digital camera, perched atop of a hand-me-down tripod.

Everything I’m wearing here is either hand-me-down or thrifted. The sweater is from an old roommate, and I cut up an old concert t-shirt (Of Montreal, they’re really good live) to sew on the back. The sunflower dress is thrifted and I bought the sneakers at Winners in high school and haven’t worn them since then. It’s scary that I’m now old enough to self-reference the styles of my youth.

We consume things because we want to be like them. It’s why we envy Jane Aldridge from Sea of Shoes for her seemingly endless designer footwear collection. It’s also why we purchase products that are targeted towards us without fail – because if we buy the product then perhaps we will transform into the model in the advertisement. It’s ridiculous how badly we want to escape our own lives to become someone else. If we can just stand our ground and tell our own stories with pride, we will be able to shake off this dusting of aspiration that has infiltrated the clothes we wear, the food we prepare and the pictures we post on Instagram. No one else is ever going to speak for you, so when you speak up, don’t do so using someone else’s voice.

43 comments:

edgeindustrialphotography said...

... and that is why I love you and your blog.

Daniel said...

cool sweater ! I like the patch / image on it's back!

Joana said...

Food for thought, no doubt. I so agree with a lot of what you said, although I'm to blame for falling for the same thing you mention here. I think it's human nature to want what others have. I believe the true talent lies in recognising the difference between fantasy and reality of what you may ever become.


I really like this post and you look really pretty and cool too.



xo Joana

Cassie said...

Too true. We get so caught up in who we want to be that we forget who we are.

in between thoughts said...

this is so great. I love your sense of self.

Sunshine said...

Yeggsactly

Istvan said...

Hi Isabel
You are beautiful whereever you are and always honest and natural which I like and appreciate very much.
I think people buy things because they want to belong to their imaginary class or group of people (the biggest game of all, the consuming habits of the middle class that you might observe later).
All the best and with best regards
Istvan

Anonymous said...

ive never commented before but posts like this are why i love your blog! your skirt here is adooorable and i know you didnt spend $256 on it/get it gifted for free (or if you did you would say so). i like that you are not pretentious. oh and as lily allen sings "i am a weapon of massive consumption, its not my fault its how im programmed to function" :) love the blog isabel xx

meagan said...

this is a wonderful post. it's my belief that people should only ever aspire to do the right thing. whatever that may mean.

Rebecca Jane said...

One of the things I have long loved about your blog is its authenticity. Aspirational blogs can be fun to look through now and then but I tend to engage with and enjoy people who are more realistic and relatable with what they portray.

My name is Giacobba said...

I love how real your blog is!

Stephanie Page said...

Posts like this are why you are my favorite.

Anonymous said...

Lovely post and words of wisdom!

xo Erin

sioux said...

dude! your blog is the best.
ps- totally had that skirt in highschool

Tori said...

Oh my goodness I love your point. I love how everything you write and post is so down to earth and I can relate to it.

Thank you.

Angie Bitchface said...

I don't find those DSLR blogs aspirational at all -- I mean they definitely are for other people, but I feel bad for the people who have these blogs because a lot of them seem to be divorced from reality. plus to be honest most of the time their outfits look like crap.

this may sound kind of weird but your blog actually influenced me a lot when I was 17! (for example I started realizing the awesomeness that is thrift/vintage, and I realized that just cuz I'm into grunge and hardcore doesn't mean I can't wear pretty girly things if I want to!) so I guess to me the stuff on your blog wasn't so much "something to aspire to to reach a conspicuous consumption norm" but rather something that encouraged me to expand my horizons and become more of my "true self." that's the difference between your blog and, like, Sea of Shoes. I only really read blogs anymore that are honest in that way.

Laura said...

I will forever be jealous of that sunflower dresss until i find my own one day!!!

that is exactly why I love your blog! being you! I love that you are just yourself, that you are interesting and intelligent and that your style is unique and totally your own! carry on like this forever!

my inspirations are eras from the past and quirky people who don't look like others just to fit in!

Laura said...

I also love second hand shopping/ thrifting/ opshopping, whatever you want to call it. it's a huge thrill when you find amazing things you haven't ever seen before! and you rarely if ever see anyone wearing the same thing!

Carla said...

This was an excellent post, thank you!

Olivia said...

solid post.

Magnet said...

Oh man, I so agree with everything you have stated in this post. I love this. No matter how desirable other people may seem sometimes, I always remember that attempting to be like someone else is boring... fake, not real, forced, It's better to focus on being you.

michelle said...

you're brilliant! well said.

kira said...

I'm in high school so this really hits home. Wearing, doing, and saying what you want is something that most people my age can't do in the slightest degree. I love your sweatshirt! I'd really like to see Of Montreal live.

kira said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MUKAI said...

nice!!!!
You look really pretty and cool, I wanna be pretty like you ^___^

thekittenswhiskers said...

I love this post, what you wrote and what you wore. Your blog is one of my favourite reads.

Laila x

Meagan said...

Well done. I feel kind of alienated from those people with the glossy blogs and the expensive things, that's the reason I read blogs like yours.

HorribleLauren said...

So true girl.

(I love your jumper)

SymbioticLife said...

Love the DIY element on the back of the shirt. You've got a great sense of self and express it well. I also think you've got great insight into the human psyche. It makes your site really fun to visit.

Anonymous said...

This is why I read your blog and I why I am a huge fan.

Anonymous said...

This is absolutely amazing. What a beautiful post.

Anonymous said...

First, I enjoy your blog but I can't help but feel that you come off as "I'm better than the girls who do ___ because I do ___" because of this post. I know it's not intentional since you're trying to make a point. But at the same time, especially from someone like you (encouraging ladies) it seems like you look down on them for not being "real" enough. Maybe I'm just crazy.

Low Couture said...

When I' m in "good place" with myself, I'm grateful for the fact that I don't have that much $$$ - at least compared to most fashion people. When you don't have endless money, things matter to you. And it nurtures a more intense creativity.

To me, the true glamour is being fabulous in an $ 80 outfit, posing in front of some random backdrop in the boonies.

love the post

x Peter @ http://low--couture.blogspot.com

Jenny said...

this was lovely to read.

your style inspires me to get even more into thrifted/vintage.

Zoe said...

Here, here! I try to keep that in mind and not compare my blog pics and wardrobe to others', esp. when they may be wearing freebie outfits from corporate sponsors.

Zoe @ zoe has her moments

hannah said...

Thank god for your blog - I was about to give up on trying to find one that was well-written and interesting and, even more importantly, devoid of everything Jeffrey Campbell.

Your take on style blogging has talked me down from the edge, so kudos

hannahandelise.blogspot.com

kenda said...

this is a beautiful blog post. i couldn't have said it better.

Emily, Ruby Slipper Journeys said...

I agree that we all have to walk our own path, but surely that includes the tousle-haired stiletto girls? I guess I'm uncomfortable with this because I do have a DSLR (and both my boyfriend and I are well into using it) and I don't see why that, and wanting to take nice, glossy pictures--in outfits that I really wore--makes me or my blog less intelligent. I don't think either DSLRs or money are necessary in the making of a good fashion blog, but I do l see why having the one (I wish I had the other) makes someone "fake."

Emily, Ruby Slipper Journeys said...

That's cool. I like your blog (I discovered it through the Toronto Standard piece about blogging, which I largely agreed with). And I do get a bit exhausted with all the bloggers trying to be like all the other bloggers (and fricking hate Instagram, but maybe I'm just jealous that my phone is ancient and doesn't take pictures) :D

Reva said...

Wonderful!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Reva

mymy said...

I love this outfit.

mymy said...

Looove the outfit.

le rockandrouge said...

I think this is the frst Toronto blog I´ve discovered and I´m loving it!

your revival grunge style is also so seewt and naïf!