|Photo of Jane Aldridge by Matt Hawthorne|
I am gathering my thoughts on the 'tempest' that arose over the Texas Monthly's article "The World at Her Feet" by Jason Sheeler. It is a profile about popular shoe blogger Jane Aldridge and how she lives and breathes her very successful blog, Sea of Shoes. There are various online commentaries by other writers on how Aldridge is portrayed as a somewhat fanatical, materialistic, and spoiled rich kid. Some other comments declared her as "annoying" and "snobby". She lives in a fantasy world photographing herself and her enviable lux shoe collection- and making a whole lot of money from it.
I'll admit, I had never followed her blog. I took a look. The first post I saw was her rebuttal to said-mentioned profile stating it was "grossly exaggerated" and the rest of her posts were full of beautiful pictures of shoes and outfits. But I had read the Texas Monthly article before hand and I wasn't bothered at all the portrayal. Aldridge didn't need to refute anything. She may have to learn the hard way that she will always be judged by everyone on what she says and does. She is still so young and apparently has been brought up in a sheltered environment by wealthy parents. Can she honestly know anything different than a frivolous lifestyle? It's because of her lifestyle that her fans can live vicariously through her. It IS a fantasy others come to her site to enjoy. The article was candid- much more genuine than any of those celebrity interviews where there's constant ass- kissing about their beauty, style, etc and how they try so hard to be humble and deep-thinking individuals. There are plenty of other bonafide narcissists out there and it is quite harsh to condemn a 20 year old for not seeking to save the world. Maybe she will someday...
I totally enjoy the fact she does not have urge to attend the front row of the many fashion shows she's been invited to. There's a lot of crowding for that kind of limelight by the Hollywood starlets and wanna-be famous bloggers. And so what if she has no desire to leave her cocoon in Texas and move to New York of LA? She enjoys being a fashion star by Texan standards. The mockery of "all dressed up with nowhere to go" I can relate to. I wear Chanel to work and no one cares - it's my personal joy that no one understands. How else can I motivate myself to get up at 5:30 am every weekday?
Truthfully though, I envy that she will never know what it's like to save up months and months for that certain something or to work 15 hours of overtime every week to buy a handbag. Better for her yet- she may never have to experience the scorn from her husband every time she buys something little or be subjected to two days of silence for buying a pair of shoes. The (purchasing) power to her! The purpose of these personal style blogs is just to put yourself out there- each at their own risk. The real people in your lives know there's more going on than just shoes, clothes, and bags- hopefully! Whether one has two followers or two million, it's about logging self expression and sharing what you enjoy.
Keep on shopping, Jane!