Fashion Magazine

Thank You… GOMI???

By Wardrobeoxygen @wardrobe_oxygen

I found Get Off My Internets (GOMI) randomly in a Google search when researching a blog post featuring fellow bloggers. It was 2011, the fashion blogosophere was changing, and I didn’t like it. The community I loved and contributed to for so many years in the blink of an eye had grown exponentially and was filled by money-grubbing sparkly pink girls who didn’t know the difference between there, their, and they’re. I loved how blogging was a place to find women who didn’t look or dress like a catalog or fashion magazine, and now every new blogger looked like a catalog or fashion model, decked out in the same exact brands with the same exact poses. It went from blogging for fun, to trying to stay relevant in a sea of people blogging for money and fame. I would tell people I was a blogger and their response was no longer curiosity, but an eye roll because they assumed I was like one of them. Finding GOMI, I found a community of blog readers and writers as frustrated as I.

Spending time on GOMI I learned what blog readers REALLY wanted. I never wanted to blog for the brands, but for the readers, and GOMI was like getting a degree in Blog Reader Behavior. Thanks to GOMI, I gained the confidence to write here about my issues with the current direction of fashion blogging and the confidence to not do a lot of the popular fashion blog trends for posts and promotion. I wasn’t ashamed of liking GOMI; I used my real name when commenting, donated to support the site, and followed  Alice (the founder) on Twitter. I regularly told fellow bloggers about GOMI, and how it renewed my faith in fashion blogging. A proud moment as a blogger was a GOMI thread titled, “Three Cheers for Wardrobe Oxygen.”

GOMI started getting popular thanks to big bloggers ranting on their sites about being mentioned, and news sources writing about it. Visiting GOMI, I found myself having to weed through pages and pages of comments to find anything constructive or even written by someone who read the blog or cared about the state of blogging. Comments were often downright evil and some went past snarking about the blogger to snarking about her family. I saw what started happening to bloggers featured on GOMI – nasty comments on their blogs, nasty comments on sites where they worked or guest posted, cruel submissions to contact forms; even some had family, jobs, and brands partners contacted. GOMI went from a place where people could share their frustrations with the change in the blogosphere to what “butthurt” bloggers had been saying all along. I decided not to visit any more.

Until I ended up back on it.

This time I wasn’t receiving props for my Halloween costume. A couple days before my 39th birthday, a new thread was created. First it discussed how judgmental I was, and for that I was like…

snooki-eating-cracker-gif
pity-party2

…but then it hit a little too close to the bone and right when I was dealing with some personal issues that already made me feel vulnerable. To maintain my sanity, I blocked any links from GOMI on my statcounter and decided that when life finally calmed down, I would go read what they wrote, knowing that between the snark would be some nuggets of wisdom to help me improve as a blogger.

And then I broke my arm, was stuck at home on disability, and only thing I was good at was lying on the couch and surfing the web on my phone with my left hand. Soon GOMI became the first thing I looked at each morning and the last thing I saw each night. I was a big filthy pity party already thanks to my arm, and GOMI was the bottle of tequila keeping that rager going past dawn. My husband, sister, and best friends were SICK TO DEATH of me talking about GOMI but I couldn’t stop.

I was given the clear to return to work, but felt even worse. My staff had done just fine without me for five weeks, which made me feel useless. I was a burden to my husband and worried how my injury and subsequent deep funk was affecting Emerson. I had gained weight, nothing fit, I feared my arm would never work right again; I felt like a stranger in my body. And the blog, oh the blog. My love, my home, it became something I dreaded. I wasn’t writing for my readers, but for my critics and I hated myself and the blog because of it.

With time, I finally got back into the swing of things at work. I saw my staff being fine without me as a GOOD thing. I was proud of them, and thanks to it I saw opportunities for me to grow in other directions and took them. My arm was working, so I could help around the house and be more active. I cut snark and negativity from my life; I stopped checking GOMI and my blog statcounter as a whole. I stopped visiting my personal Facebook account, deleted over 100 accounts on Twitter and reduced my time on there as well.

Then my arm broke again.

I’m not a religious person but I do believe things happen for a reason. And to have my arm re-break, well life was giving me a big honking lesson and I had to figure it out and learn from it. I decided it was a second chance, and have been trying to use it as such.

A month after my second surgery, finally feeling good and optimistic again, I went back to GOMI to see what they had to say. And within the shit there was some amazing constructive criticism. Plenty of the stuff that made GOMI great in the beginning, the kind of comments that I wish all the sparkly pink bloggers would take to heart instead of thinking GOMI is just jelus looser cat ladys eating ham and drinking Franzia in there parent’s base ment.

What I learned from GOMI:

  • I need to walk the talk. I talk a good game about the importance of tailoring and fit, but I’m a terrible example. As one GOMI commenter said, it’s hard to do when your weight is constantly changing, and I don’t have the funds for a full wardrobe in three different dress sizes. But I’m a blogger spewing fashion advice, I need to practice what I preach. So I took three pairs of jeans, two pairs of pants, and two blazers to the tailor. I then took all the items that were a smidge too small and boxed them up; if they fit within the year I’ll keep them, if I stay this size I’ll sell them. I think sometimes things do fit well but look weird because I take my photos in a rush without a mirror or checking the camera, but most of the time it was that I gained weight, things didn’t fit the same, and I didn’t want to accept it/felt the need to HAVE outfit posts.
  • This is a fashion blog, not a Mommy blog. While posts with Emerson in them get at least twice the comments and traffic, it seems really wrong to make money off of my child. She may still be mentioned in non-fashion posts and posts relating to style and motherhood, but will no longer be in outfit posts. As for my Instagram, I’ve never had that account very Wardrobe Oxygen-y. I don’t monetize it, I don’t carefully arrange my sunglasses and Starbucks with a magazine and 99% of the photos are taken with my iPhone and posted almost immediately. It’s documenting my life outside the blog, and that life includes Emerson.  And for the commenter who mentioned Emerson in the bathtub, there are pictures of her like that back when she was younger, but I was always careful with how the images were cropped.  Now that she is older, I get her stamp of approval before posting any photos of her.
  • Too much Gwynnie Bee. I’m one of the first bloggers who partnered with Gwynnie Bee (thanks Emily for the reference!), and this company holds a special place in my heart. In the past couple of years, Gwynnie Bee has become a bigger and very successful company, but to me it’s still a some super sweet people who truly want to improve fashion for plus sized women. While some of you have been reading for years and already know about Gwynnie Bee, and maybe you read dozens of blogs and see it mentioned all over the place, there’s still women who haven’t heard of it. Every time I feature a garment from Gwynnie Bee, I have at least one comment or email from a new reader thanking me for introducing them to the company. We don’t all live in urban or suburban areas where there’s decent shopping within an hour of our home, and not everyone reads blogs on a regular basis. Gwynnie Bee introduces women to new brands, new silhouettes, and the beauty of online shopping. However, I won’t do an outfit post with Gwynnie Bee or any other brand if I don’t love what I’m wearing. This means fewer outfit posts, but I’m always stressing quality not quantity anyway, right?
  • Lose the white background. I first did the white background for outfit posts because the weather and time of year made it impossible to take outfit photos and get to work on time. Then I did them because I got such anxiety and being inside meant I could listen to music, take breaks to relax, and not feel watched. I then decided to continue as a way to differentiate my blog from the sparkly pink bloggers. I had a lot of readers say they like it, but looking back I think it’s a bit too catalog. I still may do it from time to time because I can then do photos before the sun rises or when it rains, but I’ll likely restrict them to sponsored posts and the dead of winter.  And what was I standing on?  The paper, we don’t have any white walls in our home.  Karl has rolls of background paper for his job; we roll it down and hold it in place with dining chairs.
  • My “waterlogged feet.” Oh gawd, ya’ll don’t like my feet do you? I think my feet adorable but it took until after college to get to that point. My parents did all they could to stop me from walking on my toes as a kid. We visited tons of orthopedists, bought ugly shoes to fit corrective insoles, even considered surgery (when I found out I would be spending a summer in a wheelchair I vetoed it). Imagine how 30+ years of toewalking can affect a body. The ball of my foot is really fat and padded up, causing my foot to be wide only in that one location. My pinky toes don’t have normal toenails, they grow straight up not out. Due to lack of use, my heels are very narrow and bony, making flat shoes painful after an hour or so. My ankles, shins, and calves are built up so much that most ankle straps won’t close around them and you all know my search for wide calf boots (that will also fit over my wide ankles). Wide shoes are too wide for the back half of my feet and if the vamp is too low, my pinky toe usually slips out because it’s so short.  Because my Achilles tendon is so muscular, there’s no curve back there to hold up slingbacks and elastic-back flats tear me up.  I wrote a long explanation for why I wear the shoes I do and how they truly aren’t painful and others are and deleted it because… well who cares? I have weird feet and shoes look weird on them. I’ve learned to deal with it; if you can’t that’s okay, there’s a shit ton of bloggers to choose from and I bet they all have nicer looking feet for you to admire!
  • If you’re miserable, they WILL know. First time I read the comments about me being miserable, I laughed because GOMI was a big reason for my misery. But regular readers could tell I was miserable months before I showed up on GOMI. Thing was, I was sort of hating everything. I was hating my job, hating the weather, hating my body, hating my age, hating where I lived, really hating the blogosophere, and well, I’m always hating my hair. It took breaking my arm two times to realize the problem was me and the only way things would get better was if I made them better. I took a break from the blog after the second surgery because trying to keep up appearances the first go-round was stressful, exhausting, and clearly a failure. When I heard I had to have surgery again, I decided to shutter the blog. Delete the whole thing, and all my corresponding social media accounts. After I calmed down and talked with some very caring and logical people, I decided to put it on pause to give myself time to decide what I truly wanted to do. A pause to disconnect from brands and contracts and money and the crazy self-imposed competition of blogging so I could see clearly, and if I wished to keep blogging, start anew.

And so here I am, blogging anew. And I have GOMI to thank. Who the hell wouldathunkit?

Quick shoutout to Alice Roosevelt. I don’t know you, but your comments were exactly what makes GOMI great. I could tell you read my blog, and your feedback wasn’t of the White Knight variety, but the slap in the face you can do better variety. So thank you.

Note: To the conspiracy theorist on GOMI and the rest of you, when I switched over to WordPress to try to prevent having all of my permalinks changed, I used a plugin to try to maintain the Blogger setup for links (which is a really stupid setup but there’s nine years of links that could be broken) and this plugin does redirects to what seems similar. For example, when trying to “Preview” this post after already scheduling it, I end up seeing a post I wrote about Goodwill. No posts on this blog were deleted or redirected on purpose, the tinfoil hats can now be removed.


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