Thursday, December 13, 2012

behind the blog: Loop Looks

In this week's Behind the Blog we have Erin from Loop Looks. Erin works in a professional environment in Chicago, and documents her journey in navigating the hardships of dressing professionally without being boring.

Tell us what motivate you to start blogging. Were you following a lot of personal style/fashion blogs before you started blogging?

The first style/fashion blog I started following was J's Everyday Fashion because the layout was simple and easy to understand.  Her website wasn't overly crowded or full of complicated or expensive outfits.  However, I found that while I loved many of her looks they just weren't practical for me.  I started searching for other fashion or style bloggers who has similar blogs but geared towards women who had to dress professionally and lived in climates that experienced all four seasons.  A cute pencil skirt (even with tights) just won't cut it in Chicago when it's 20 degrees and windy outside!  
So, I decided to start my own blog that fills that hole.  Jeans only on Fridays, making the occasional suit look unique but still professional, and tackling how you dress for the office when it's literally freezing outside or the temps are hitting 100(F).  

Which blogs do you read every day?
I have a whole list of them in my Google Reader ranging from running and fitness blogs to fashion blogs and everything in between.  Some of mymust-reads, though, across all categories are:
Frills for Thrills (Love her Copycats Fridays link-ups)
An Alaskan Weredork
Laura Wears
Librarian for Life Style

When you do take outfit pictures, who takes your pictures? Have you ever been caught in the act of taking these?
I typically take my outfit pictures before work using a point-and-shoot camera and a tripod and upload them and write my posts before I start work for the day.  Occasionally, though, I have a guest photographer help me out and take them all on one day and then I can write all my posts at once.  When I started my blog I was taking my photos in my office at work during lunch but then began to branch out and take them outside.  I usually take them around my apartment building so, yes, people see me taking them all the time.  At first it was weird but now I don't care.  The benefits of living in a big city like Chicago is that people don't usually bat an eye at stuff like that.  Plus, if someone were to ask me about it I'd just hand them a business card!  

What programs do you use to edit your pictures?
I use to crop and edit my pictures.  I don't do much editing beyond occasionally adjusting the contrast or brightness.

Do people in real life know about your blog? What were their reactions when they found out about your blog?
Almost all of my friends and family know about my blog.  I shared it on Facebook and on my previous running blog as well.  Part of the reason I started the blog was because of the feedback I was getting when I would post outfit pictures on Facebook.  So, obviously, they like it!  Several of my friends and family have commented that they get great ideas from my blog.  In fact, I think the only people who don't know about it are my coworkers and that's a-okay with me.

When it comes to promotion of your blog, what methods do you use? Do you spend a lot of time commenting on other blogs, pinning your looks, doing link ups?
I try to comment on as many blogs as possible but I check my page view stats on a regular basis and see where the most incoming views are from.  Then I focus on those areas.  I do some link-ups but not as many as I know are out there!  And I have done some paid advertising on other style blogs ($9 a month for one month type stuff).  I do pin some of the photos from my blog but not all of them.  And, of course, I love doing interviews like this!  

Putting yourself on the internet comes with the expectation that not everyone will always love what you are wearing and writing. Have you encountered any of these criticisms, and if so, how do you handle it?
When I'm wearing something I know isn't quite "right" I will call attention to it myself first.  We all make sartorial missteps now and then and I think being honest about it is good.  That allows your readers to give you feedback and can help make an outfit even better (see this post:  I haven't gotten any negative feedback that I would consider out of line or unexpected, though.  

What has been the best thing to come out of blogging? 

In addition to feeling so much more put together at work and really learning what does and doesn't work for me style-wise, I've found so many good relationships via my blogs over the years (I've had a blog in one form or another since 2001).  Also, my day job isn't very fulfilling so getting feedback from readers that what I've written about has actually helped them makes me feel amazing!

What tips or suggestions do you have for your fellow bloggers?
Don't view other bloggers as competition.  View them as pushing you to make yourself even better.  View them as resources to talk to about ideas, bounce questions off of, or just as inspiration (but don't forget credit where credit is due).  Don't worry about "copying" an outfit.  Just because another blogger wore something similar doesn't mean you can't wear it and make it your own.  And, finally, don't worry so much about editing your photos or taking the perfect photo!  I want to see the outfitnot the lens flare or a perfectly blurred background.

Thank you again Erin! Next week we have Heidi from Literate & Stylish!