Privilege Blog

Should Midlife Style Bloggers Do A Better Job?

Dries van Noten photoprint dress, Sofie d'Hoore ballet flats

The other day I got an email. To be precise, I should say “the other night,” as I happened to be awake somewhere around 2am. Stress, middle age, who knows. I’m going to post the missive’s content almost entirely, because it made me think.

A caveat. I am not, as you will see as you read, posting this to defend myself, or argue. I find it best to regard every piece of criticism as though it has something to teach. You can’t deconstruct anything you’ve already blown to bits.

Hi Lisa,

I enjoy your blog and have been reading it for some quite time now. You are so very witty and I really enjoy your take on life. Thank you so much. You are a great looking woman, fit,  stylish and demure. It fits my esthetic perfectly, but, I have to tell you, the photos you post of yourself are really not so good. They could be so much better. The physical location of the shot and the pose has so much to be desired, it hurts my feelings for you. Have you ever checked out “Atlantic-Pacific” blog? She posts daily. It is only fashion focused, but maybe her photos could inspire you. Yes, she is younger, and most likely has a professional shooting the pics, but I know you can do better. Even if you are doing it by yourself with a timer, on your patio, maybe think full length looking downward, then another shot, close up of the shoe, or collar, whatever you are highlighting. You’ll see what I mean when you visit her blog.

I am, I think, about the same age as you, and I would love you to make a better showing. For us.

Only good intentions,


Goldie, thank you very much for writing.

What do we think? Do we midlife style blogger sorts owe each other a better showing?

Let’s first all take a look at the referenced blog, Atlantic-Pacific. We see poses in various locales, in well-lit, well-composed photos. Let us now look at my most recent shot. Ouch. Goldie is right.

The location and lighting issues are fairly simple. I take pictures before I go to work in the morning. The locations involve concrete, the unglamorous outsides of dwellings. The lighting is what it is, on any given day, out any given door.

Poses are another issue altogether. I feel self-conscious about trying to look too pretty. There. I said it.

Dries van Noten toile

Those of you who also blog will have your parallel, or identical issue. It’s weird putting pictures of oneself, ostensibly stylish ones at that, out for all to see. When it’s not one’s job. When the photos are also linked to one’s personal approach to life.

And I think I’ve got an internal calculator, always balancing the ratio of pretty to dork, trying to keep it in the realm of real.

So, determined to learn from Goldie, yesterday morning I set off for work with the Lumix and tripod in a black Nike gym bag. I took photos on the streets of San Francisco, feeling like a performance artist. Like a museum installation, Middle-Aged Woman Takes Style Photos Of Self One Workday Morning In The City.

Imagine dashing into an alley, placing a tripod in the middle of the street, running to pose. Imagine laughing uproariously as cars arrive before the timer goes off, enforcing an Artist At Work Detour.

Eventually I figured out the sidewalk was safer. And eventually I gathered up courage to look away from the camera, if not down as Goldie had suggested.

When I first began showing outfit photos here, I tried to make them good ones. I bought lights, and a backdrop. I posed artistically. When I took my current job, I devolved to the backyard approach. I wound up looking straight at the camera because it helps me feel like I’m communicating appreciation for your time and engagement.

But that’s just me. The question is bigger.

There must be thousands of young style bloggers taking beautiful photos of themselves. How many of us midlife sorts do the same? I knew of two. Judy Aldridge, of Atlantis Home, and Janet, of The Gardener’s Cottage. Among Visible Monday participants you’ll find a few more. (Hint: scroll to the bottom of the page)

Why? Why is there such a small coterie of midlife style bloggers who show up, hair blowing, chestnut tree allées behind, perfectly lit profiles? And do we owe each other better? You are some of the smartest, most thoughtful, most articulate commenters in the blogosphere. What do you think?

And yes, that is my new Dries van Noten dress, part photoprint of the Tokyo night sky, part Belgian toile. Worn with Sofie d’Hoore flats and Claudia Kussano earrings. On the other hand, the black trench is generic Nordstrom, the scarf a New York street vendor special. Asked to represent the midlife woman, better, one does what one can.

In for a penny, in for a pound.

148 Responses

  1. Normally I would say something like, “Well, Goldie is talking about two different things, apples and oranges.” But it’s really more like discussing apples and, I don’t know, bicycles. Or if we’re staying within food groups, apples and steak. The two blogs are at opposite end of the spectrum when it comes to the mission and central point of each, at least IMO.

    I think you and Blair (the woman in the blog Goldie references) have completely different goals, approaches, and vastly differing audiences. One of Blair’s frequent suggestions for readers is that people must be authentic. That is the beauty of the ‘Privilege’ blog, more than anything, you are authentic.

    There is also an issue of vanity involved. It is absent in your photos, one reason I love seeing them. They are of-the-moment, with a purity lacking in those posted at many other blogs where the star is the blogger. While you are very much a star in my eyes, that is not your primary objective, your photos are ancillary, merely there to enhance or demonstrate a point or drive home the thematic gist of a post. They are supportive of content, they are not the point of the content.

    By and large “artistic” and “posed” photos strike me as contrived and artificial. They are perfect for those blogs where that is precisely the point of the blog, but I do not think that is what Privilege is about, not where you would like to see it go.

    We owe each only what we are comfortable sharing, nothing more. Goldie’s insight and criticism are well taken, and your response far more gracious than many of us would offer. (Like you, I believe all feedback is beneficial,an opportunity to learn and possibly grow.) I think you are right where you want to be and that is where we, your readers and friends, like seeing you.

    Sending you a smile,

    PS: That Dries dress? Killer on you, just gorgeous.

    1. I agree with all of this. Apples and steak, well put. While reading your posts I always feel that you are sharing something of yourself, which is far more interesting than well-lit and dubiously posed photos (to me.)

      The red shoes really are great. Love the flats on you with the dress, too.

    2. I completely agree with TPP! I appreciate how authentic you are. I don’t think Goldie was being mean- I can see where she likely only wants to help you. And I am sure I annoy folks with my blog pics as they are all takening using my…wait for it…blackberry…gasp! So while I think it’s great that you are learning new skills, please don’t think you need to do so for your long-time, loyal readers. I honestly only read blogs that I feel are down to earth and genuine. So if you just stick to your normal fabulous self, I think that’s all that matters. You look cute in the red shoes in front of the red car though!

    3. Preppy Princess is right on target. I can see where maybe new backgrounds are a nice addition. In fact the new backgrounds are fun. Maybe lightening up that photo at the top. It would be nice to have some detail photos, but…I really like you just way you are. You’re real, you’re not trying to be some model.

      I like what J. W said, it’s fun to mix it up a bit.

      I also like the way you listen to what your readers say and take what works for you and still remain yourself! You’ve got a very sturdy core!

    4. Yeah, what she said. I completely agree with the eloquent TPP. Keep doing it the way you’ve been. It works well.

    5. Preppy Princess…I could not agree more. Lisa, I think your photos are genuine and real, and I think they serve the purpose of your blog just fine. I feel like I’m in your living room with you instead of watching a fashion show. So many style blogs make you sort of feel somehow worse about yourself after looking at the pictures, because emulating the look is really an unattainable goal without professional assistance. I get the artistic factor and the pics are often beautiful, and this definitely has it’s place, but I don’t think it’s something you need to worry about striving for unless you want to. Your blog is so much more than that.

    6. Bingo! Ditto! Ding, ding, ding! Agree.

      One of many things I love about your style is that it looks effortless and approachable and your photos capture this essence. Although the photo in front of the red car is stunning from a color and contrast study I couldn’t tell you what you were wearing unless I peeked again but I do remember every outfit you modeled on your way to work surrounded by your environment. Isn’t that the point? xoxo

    7. I agree with everything The Preppy Princess said, and I couldn’t say it better myself.

    8. Thank you all so much for the thought and time you’ve put into these comments. You clarified my thinking a good deal. I thought I’d respond to everyone here, rather than writing an entirely new post. TPP, thank you for letting me camp on your particular words.

      First of all, I think this illustrates the truth of what I studied in Comparative Literature, that a text is just a text, and one can never know the author’s intent. That meaning is derived, not defined up front. This may be true even for the author, that they don’t know what they “mean” until the text is out there in the world. I experienced all the feelings voiced here – anger, annoyance, the urge to defend, as well as, interest, seeing Goldie’s point, and a general “hmmm.” But I’ve corresponded with Goldie, and I believe she had no overt intent to offend or hurt. Something to think about as we all send and receive missives in this day.

      Thank you so much for your support on my behalf. I really appreciate it.

      Second, I take away several ideas for my own blogging. It never gets old, hearing that you appreciate my thinking and my writing. Thanks. I know that I ask a lot of people, because I don’t inhabit a simple niche. Not quite fashion, not quite the meaning of life:). So I will keep the blog on this track because I like that difficult AND. Being this AND that. But I could take better photos. I actually had a really good time with my tripod on the street. It was a stretch, and I wondered if I could incorporate that method, here and there, into the posts. Street scenes, improving my photography, having adventures. All things I like and feel are close to my themes.

      So maybe I’ll do more adventurous photos. On the days when I can muster up the effort and organization.

      Finally, though, the question of midlife style bloggers doing true fashion blogging remains. I suppose we’re scarcer because we don’t fit the sweet spot of what the world wants to look at. I don’t really mind. We’ve also, as you all pointed out, realized we provide different value. We’ve got other stuff to do, and a lot to say.

      I have a daughter. I want this to be the best time ever to be a woman, of any age. We can make progress on all fronts, each in our own way. So thanks again guys, for reading, thinking, commenting. And I’ll bring the Dries dress back for a return engagement, with less complex goals.



    9. Well said, Preppy Princess…..Lisa; you look great in all your photos, but I have to admit, these you just posted are wonderful. You look great with your hair down. You don’t need to be ‘done up’ on all your photos, if you consider the whole ‘nature’ of this blog, it is not just a ‘fashion’ site !

  2. I love your style. And, your writer summed you up beautifully! Before I found your blog, I thought that I would try the same sort of “mid-life” fashion blog, approach. But, I, too, am very self-conscious. You have given me more confidence. I believe you have what it takes to be very stylishly, photogenically confident! Do it!!!

    With love and sincerity,

  3. oh! that dress is perfection and with the shoes, just too gorgeous!

    I applaud you for being able to do self photos at all. I tried to do some of myself trying on eyeglass frames and was completely undone.

    There is a world of difference, I think, in how something photographs and how it looks on you in real life. Maybe a more posed/styled photo brings that out? I don’t know…….

  4. I don’t agree with Goldie. Your blog isn’t a fashion blog, although sometimes you do show what you’re wearing/purchased/whatever. I like your photos. They’re natural, not contrived, show what you’re wearing, and I like it that you look at the camera and smile. Yes, engagement.
    Love your new Dries dress.

  5. Whatever you decide, don’t stop doing what you’ve been doing, altogether, just because you may not be doing it perfectly.

  6. Ah. The b*tchy comment disguised as kindness. “I love your blog but it could be soooooooooooo much better!” whine. We get this occasionally on our blog, too. “I love to read about your travels, but if you changed your life in this way, it would be sooooooooooo much better (for me)!”

    You’ve built an audience with what you are doing now. If you are motivated to change the way you take pictures, then do that for yourself. But otherwise keep in mind that most of us come back here day after day for your voice and your wisdom. Shiny photos are everywhere on the internet, but intelligent writing is rare.

    You are dissecting this criticism graciously, but really, it was rude.

    1. Louise is right, of course.

      I briefly looked at the Atlantic/Pacific blog. What I noticed right off the bat was the sunglasses. Immediately I felt distanced – disconnected – from the model/blogger, which is the complete opposite of how I feel here. Granted, I didn’t read the text, I just scrolled through the images – but nothing in those pictures spoke to me.

      My only comment on your photos (all of them are wonderful, BTW) is I love the smiling ones best.

  7. You are not alone about not knowing how to pose for the camera. Not sure if age has anything to do with it. I never have had a problem having my picture taken before I started photographing my outfits for my blog. Suddenly I feel incredibly awkward in front of it — like I’m pretending to be someone I’m not. Good for you for experimenting! I need to now be so brave.

  8. When I read the title of this post, my first thought was “Good heavens – she already does a *fantastic* job!” Then I read Goldie’s email and wanted to smack her. I agree with Louise – it is an example of passive-agressiveness at its finest. Who is she to tell you to emulate someone else to make yourself better? I mean, honestly.

    You are a physically lovely woman, Lisa, as well as being a lovely – to say nothing of gracious – person overall. I love your photos. Don’t change a thing unless YOU think you should.

  9. Well, first of all, Blair’s boyfriend is also a professional photographer, which is why all of her pictures are so wonderful. They’re done by a pro. And that’s great. Truly. I love Atlantic-Pacific for what it is.

    And I LOVE your blog for what it is. And your blog is NOT Atlantic-Pacific, nor should it be. I’m all for self-improvement, and it’s actually a goal of mine to invest in a camera and start taking better pictures, not just for my blog, but for life. Nothing wrong with wanting to improve your content. But content should be improved because it’s what you want within the context of what your blog is, not because it should be like someone else’s blog. Where’s the authenticity in that?

    And your blog is nothing is not authentic. Which is fabulous :)

  10. I like your blog for what it is. If you don’t like it, don’t read it. My favorite line from the e-mail: [ hurts my feelings for you]. What?? To me, that implies that YOU SHOULD feel bad that your pictures aren’t up to par of that particular reader.

    Anyway, you handled the criticism with grace, something I wouldn’t have done, but I love you for that.

  11. I love that first photo of you, in the middle of the street. Full of visual interest. Nicely framed. Not what I was expecting to find here.

    I love the shots of the two different fabrics in your dress, and the way the tale of what they are unfolds as the photographs progress. Dramatic.

    I love how the car in photo 4 echoes the colour of your shoes. (Or should that be vice versa? Whatever.)

    I love how you respond to a critique – taking the suggestion head-on, jumping in, and sharing what transpires. It’s almost like watching you grow.

    I love your blog, Lisa, whatever you’re sharing with us. Today, I love your gracious vulnerability. And your sass.

  12. I have to agree with what others said about Goldie – why is she telling you that your blog images should be akin to Atlantic-Pacific? I like your blog and for me, it’s so much more about the content, your words and thoughts. While I enjoying seeing images of you and the outfits you’re wearing (great dress and shoes in this post!), I enjoy what you have to say much more. Anyone can post pretty pictures, but it has to have something to back it up, at least for me to like it. I, too, am not always comfortable posting my image on my blog, which is why it’s rare you see me online. Guess we all have our insecurities.

  13. If it’s any consolation, I’m relatively young and I still feel like an idiot posing for outfit pictures.

    I’ve had to do it more this month than ever before because of this Style Me May challenge thing that I’m doing, and it’s thrown into sharp focus the complete awkwardness of it. It’s awkward if I take the picture myself in the bathroom, it’s awkward if I get my husband to take it, I can’t even *begin* to imagine how awkward it would be to self-time photos in the street.

    If you want to look more like Atlantic Pacific, you could always follow my tongue-in-cheek example and photo-shop a San Francisco street scene into the background of a badly lit, poorly-composed photo. Bam.

    As for the wider question, I don’t believe bloggers owe a duty to anyone other than themselves, beyond the duty to be transparent in matters of sponsorship and paid content. That said, there is certainly an endless supply of glossy, youthful, perfect blogging specimens. A beautiful picture of a stylish, midlife woman stands out a mile among all that froth, and I for one would be happy to see more of them.

  14. The preppy princess articulated it perfectly, imho. I love your blog and and your writing style? Please don’t change a thing! And please don’t let Goldies words pop into your head every time you go to take a photo. Think of all the others who love and appreciate your individuality and flare!

  15. Well, personally, I think that there is a real problem these days between what is “real” and what is manufactured. How there is so much focus on the manufacturing part of the process. How none of us are meant to look our ages. How it’s all about “style.” And of course, your blog has a huge style component to it, but it’s also VERY real. If you were to start gussying it up with semi-professional photographs (and the copious use of Photoshop, which is where I think that poster is heading whether she/he knows it or not), then your blog would not feel very real to me. We are the same age and the photos of you seem real. Which is SUCH A RELIEF. Because the standards for what is “real” have been obliterated by the likes of Technology and this insistence on youth culture to the exclusion of everything else. Because, frankly, I think what the subtext is regarding that post–and, I admit, I may be off=base here–is that you are exactly who you are and your photos show that. A woman in her fifties with lots of style but little pretention. I have lots of blogs where I can dip my toes into “pretension.” That works for me. I think that email is missing the point.

  16. Goldie´s email touched you in some way, because you wrote a post about it.
    Had I received one, I would have had a fit of anger. I don´t think that I could have simply ignored it either.
    Although you write in your introduction ” lets talk style..”, and although fashion and pictures of you wearing your new clothes are a part of your blog, there is much more to it.
    Keep your blog as it is. Consider the email comment closed.

  17. dear lisa,

    with all due respect, if goldie like atlantic pacific, maybe she should just read atlantic pacific. she is a professional model in her 20’s with a professional photographer and stylist. and also people throwing free clothing at her to wear. last time i checked you are none of these things. i would hate for you to start trying to emulate her. she is one-of-a-kind and so are you. celebrate that!

    i would just love to see goldie or any other critics (i have plenty too) to just try, just try one fashion shoot of their own. the work involved is much more than it seems. the fact that you risked life and limb in traffic cracks me up but i hope you just go back to you porch.

    i’ve been criticized for always taking my photos in my driveway. well, where in the heck do they want me to take them? i have a job, a life and i don’t get paid for this so how much time is a person supposed to devote to an outfit post? omg, i’m a little riled up right now, aren’t i?! i personally think my driveway is lovely and it does the trick.

    furthermore, goldie, who do you think you are telling people they should “do” better? lisa does an excellent job at what she does. until you have a blog of your own and see the amount of work that goes into it – i’d quit judging if i were you.

    that’s all. have a beautiful day lisa!


    1. I am a reader of both blogs and I can assure you I come to each for different reasons. I personally think that Jackie hit the nail on the head here. I don’t think Goldie meant to be nasty at all but I think the implications were insulting. If she thinks that mid life styling blog posts (because this blog isn’t just about outfits) need to be better – then she should try it herself. it is time consuming, difficult and many of the bloggers who post like that don’t even end up wearing their heavily accessorised and layered outfits out and about. Your blog is real life…I see Atlantic Pacific as a fantasy. Therein lies the difference.

  18. I think Goldie was coming from a loving place in her email. Personally, I would never attempt to compare your blog to Blair’s, or anyone else’s for that matter. You write about all sorts of topics, fashion is one, but this isn’t really a “fashion” blog. This is a lifestyle blog. A thinking blog.

    AND, it’s YOUR blog! If you feel silly trying to be too pretty, pose in ways your feel comfortable. But know, that you’re pretty no matter how to pose, and if you like her suggestions, use them. If you don’t feel comfortable, do what feels right. What’s the point if you feel silly?

    I do like when you discuss fashion, because not many midlife bloggers do. And why should one stop caring about fashion at any certain age? Or try to dress too young? I think it’s wonderful you share your looks and post pictures. Pose however you want, just don’t stop sharing! :)

  19. hahahaha, I have to say that although your Goldie is likely a fine person with no ill intent whatsoever, the comment from Louise rings true. Intended or not, the message comes across on the narcissitic and immature side. It’s human nature and we almost ALL do it sometimes, and in cases like this it’s more about the person giving the message than receiving it.

    You do what comes honestly and naturally, that’s why we all love you! Don’t the most authentic and lasting improvements come organically anyway? :)

    ps. I love the ensemble, you wear it well. FWIW, since you asked, I don’t particularly prefer this type of style photo to what you were already doing, although it’s interesting to see your efforts. As always, thanks for just sharing your world and wisdom with us!

  20. I like the idea of photoshopping dramatic scenes in behind yourself. A couple of brick walls and garage doors would do it.

    I wrote a blogger an email one time about an article of clothing she featured that I felt was not tasteful and she quoted me and used it to kick off a post. There were a gazillion comments skewering ME for telling her that I thought the leather harness she had wrapped around her chest and breasts was distasteful.

    At that point I decided if you can’t put it in the comments it doesn’t belong anywhere but in your own head.

    1. Me three!

      When I read your blog, I put on my thinking cap and often engage my hubby later that night about your post and some of the comments. I enjoy Blair’s blog but the content doesn’t enlighten me as yours does. Keep up the great work!

  21. A great post and v. interesting conversation — wish I had more time to join in. As someone else who is self-conscious about the What I Wore photos I post, I also think there’s something about not just the busy-ness at this time of life, but also about the perspective that brings. Fun as the dressing up and the sharing of “looks” we’ve achieved might be, it’s only a small part of what we do, no? I just couldn’t devote the time required to better photographs, not at the risk of giving up something else.

    btw, LOVE the idea of you and your timer out on the streets! also love the very artsy juxtaposition of your fab new reddish shoes and the red car — so urban chic!

  22. Hmmm, this is interesting. I am 45 years old, on a very limited budget and love finding new ways to style my clothing and look current. What I haven’t found is a blog that features gorgeous styled and photographed clothes on a woman in my age range. In my opinion, and I think in Goldie’s, you have the fashion and beauty potential to become even more of an inspirational fashion blogger. It’s a compliment not a criticism. Really!

    1. I think it’s all about pushing myself as far as possible, to do a good job, and explore, without subverting my real principles. Thank you.

  23. Though I do not comment, I read your blog on a regular basis. That said, no matter what one may think of Goldie and her motivations, to me your new photos are delightful. There is nothing wrong with change as long as the change is your choice. These are your own photos and, therefore, are genuinely ‘you.’ There is no reason your blog should remain static. It’s always good to explore new options…in my opinion.

  24. Lisa,

    First of all, I love your pictures. They have an accessible, un-pretentious quality and you always look great. There’s a slice-of-real-life aspect, rather than someone sipping a cup of tea in the middle of the street, or standing like a 4-year-old being scolded for throwing her toys.

    I’m not going to judge the intentions of the letter writer, but I do find it a bit irksome and puzzling if we’re now again, in our own sphere, being held to a standard that’s a bit unrealistic for our lives. We *don’t* have professional photographers and lighting. We *don’t* have hours a day to spend on this to get it just right. Yes, we want to show off our style and our selves to best advantage, but need to balance that with not wanting to participate in promoting images of women that are impossible for most of us to achieve.

    As always, I know you’ll do what feels right and best for you.

  25. I completely agree with the last comment – I think the new photos are just great and I haven’t the faintest idea who ‘Goldie” is…. but I do know that there is an art to photography and to me it is not vanity, its like putting on your lipstick… and why not look the absolute best you can as an inspiration to us all, after all we can all learn what makes a good photo – I just think what you write is so good so why not?… Pat

  26. I read your blog because I like what you write. I also like the photos. You are everywoman for most of us. Ignore this woman. What she wants are what magazines are for. I think I know where you are in the first photo. I like that. Listening to Allegro from Brandenburg Concert #5 -Bach. Try it…It will make your morning go better.

  27. I have enjoyed your casual–this is me in my new outfit—photos. It hasn’t bothered me that there you are–on the concrete–looking straight at the camera. We all know that you are beautiful–and erudite. We want to see your blouse, pants, dress–whatever–and hear what you have to say.

    I did enjoy seeing you in front of the red truck. That was amusing.

    The bottom line is that your usual stye of photo is fine with me.

  28. I have nothing more to add to the above discussion other than to say that last photo of you is stunning. Love the background, dress, shoes, your hair, the lighting, everything. Makes me want to buy that dress even though it would not work on me. Bravo to you and your lovely blog.

  29. I agree with Preppy Princess completely! What Goldie does NOT take into consideration is the goal of the fashion bloggers of a young age is that THEY GET PAID to do what they do. By various means. Either advertisers on their sites, free merchandise which they extoll, etc. PLEASE DO NOT CHANGE. You are Lisa C. & we love you. You’ve been there, done that.
    I love your insightfulness & wit. You are a breath of fresh air. I could also post photos of myself in some great outfit, but for what? I’m no longer interested in fashion for the sake of getting compliments or great praise. I actually have other interests. And, there is a reason the young fashion bloggers are ONLY read by other young women, it’s like girls night out. Love you….

  30. De-lurking to gently disagree with the e-mailer’s opinion. You don’t need to wonder the next time you take a picture if the honest picture in the clear California light is enough. It is. Nor do you want to end up in the hospital after being hit by a car while posing artistically in the street waiting for the timer to work. Even the best surgeon in the world couldn’t repair your Sturdy Gal credentials after that.

    1. To clarify. Did not mean to imply that anything was wrong with adventurous photography. Far from it. But only for your own adventure, as your blog is already complete without embellishment. As has been said.

    2. Hello! And welcome! And HA!. My Sturdy Gal license is up for review soon. I hope they renew…

  31. I’m on the younger side and started following you after your posts on APW. While Gloria’s thoughts never crossed my mind before, I have to say that I enjoyed the photos in this post! I think there’s something to be said for the photography aesthetic to match the quality of the words. I think it’s idea that gives equal weight to the beauty of the words and the pictures – thus making the art more complete.

  32. Oh crikey,
    We love you just the way you are. This is a thoughtful blog, not a Pro-fashionista blog.
    Thanks Goldie, but no thanks!

  33. “I would love you to make a better showing. For us.”

    Look at that. Wow.

    You do better [you do the work] so I can benefit [without having to do the work].

    This is the kinda stuff that sends a person off to therapy, we should all be glad we’re not married to her, or are a family member of hers, or have to work with her, have to reason with her, make decisions with her. Or have to open helpful/hateful emails from her sent in dead of night.

    Lisa, as you were….

    1. Good point, Flo. Maybe Goldie can start her own fashion blog, and hire a photographer to take artsy pictures of her. If she wants to see those images, she can create them herself!

      Goldie’s note also points to a lack of stylish images of mid-life women in general. In movies, TV, magazines, and yes, the internet. This is a larger issue, and while we would all benefit from seeing a wider range of beautiful women of all ages in our media, LPC herself doesn’t need to be responsible for correcting this social problem.

      1. That’s a really good parsing of the point. The task needs doing, I may not be the one to take it up at this point in my life and doings.

  34. hello, I am also delurking to add my input. I have followed yuor blog for a long time and always enjoy it and learn something, often about myself. I am about 10 years older than you and continue to love fashion, style and exploration. While Goldie’s comments may have many motives, what I appreciate is your open, honest exploratory response.
    I also absolutely celebrate that it pushed you to let go of your inhibitions and be fully, freely and joyously beautiful. Often people of our vintage feel we have to behave in a more sober way but we can still toss our hair
    (yours is gorgeous), flash our trim legs and say life is good.

  35. I haven’t read through all the comments (yet) but I read your blog because of its honesty, integrity, and unique viewpoint. Also your genuineness comes through without my getting the impression you’re trying too hard. Authentic, absolutely.

    Writing articulate, thoughtful articles is hard enough–add to that high-quality, highres, professional-like photography and suddenly your hobby becomes a full time job. You worry about time of day and the weather … when, quite frankly, you really just want to knock off something that’s been on your mind. Or maybe that’s just me. I find the photography part of blogging to be somewhat stressful.

    I do not feel robbed that your photos are not magazine-ready like Atlantic-Pacific. I get so much more from the words and the subsequent comments and interaction.

  36. Hi
    I like you the way you are, real! Have fun with your blog! I enjoy reading about a real women in her 50’s who is stylish but real! A breathe of fresh air among on the too perfect beauty that we see in print and other media.

  37. I like Atlantic-Pacific, but I do think Blair has totally different goals than you do. (I don’t think Goldie was being mean or passive-aggressive, either.)

    I think (and may be mistaken) that A-P is Blair’s full-time job now. I also think that she’s selling herself as a brand. Her photos are posed, but in a way that I think is more about the clothes and her overall brand and less about her. (There are other blogs where the blogger seems perfectly nice, but the photos are really all about getting comments about how pretty she is. I can’t read those blogs.)

    I think take up the backgrounds a notch if you can, but this is not your job. This is something you do in addition to your job. If that means taking pictures in the morning, so be it.

  38. BTW, you also write quite extensively on your blog. Most of the fashion bloggers do not, except to write stuff like, “I simply must stock up on cupcakes and champagne!” or “My fiance is the best!”

    I mean, seriously, these women focus only appearing perfect in every way. They would never blog about anything even slightly negative because it ruins the “brand.”

  39. Well, Lisa, I’m one of the contingent that doesn’t read you for the clothing. It’s not that I don’t admire your undoubted stylishness, it’s that I live a continent away among different shops and different brands, and am pretty much entrenched in my own fashion ways anyhow, resistant to change in my elderly manner. What I read you for is the elegant writing and curved-ball thinking, so I don’t much care what your photos of yourself look like, though it’s always good to see you: your presence adds a warmth to your words. You look very well indeed in today’s photos, and I applaud your early rising, but please don’t try too hard for our sake. What you were doing and whatever you will do is just fine.

  40. I like your blog and your style. You wear and put together outfits that any one of us ‘real’ people could wear. Atlantic Pacific does not. I can’t wear those outfits and if I did, I certainly would get plently of inquisitive looks as I am not tall and drop dead beautiful.
    In addition, I feel that our lives (meaning mine and yours) dictate where our blogs take us and not vice versa. Your blog has pictures to help tell a story about your life, much like mine. Atlantic Pacific is quite the opposite. It’s very styled and posed, very commercial (not the mention the very expensive photographic editing software they’re probably using to get those images to look that great).
    Most of my pictures are with an iphone. I guess I could do better and carry an actual camera. I’ve been meaning to do that.
    Anyways, I feel your two blogs are not apples-to-apples in any sense of the word.

  41. Lisa,just be yourself I enjoy your wit,your beauty, and honesty shine out from your photos.

    I enjoy ‘tuning’ in to your posts…no changes necessary. Ida

  42. Kudos to you for not pointing out her misuse of “esthetic.”

    I am less kind.

  43. I am in agreement with what your blogger friends say, stay true to yourself and your subject.
    You do not deserve to be compared to another. Your blog is unique.

  44. Late to comment here, but I think your pictures serve to illustrate the text. On other blogs, the photos are the text.

    Would I like to see more professionally styled and photographed women our age? Sure, but I don’t think that is your goal with this blog.

    Why are women so critical of each other?

  45. I look at both blogs. I enjoy the polish of the one you’re being compared to, but that young woman has modeling experience, a professional photographer & apparently devotes a great deal of time to those shots. That kind of production takes a level of commitment & time not suitable for all bloggers. I’m an older woman who appreciates the greater depth of life experience in your blog over the flawless magazine quality of the compared blog, though I enjoy both sites. Your age & experience brings a richness that goes beyond mere photos. [Your dress does, however, look more attractive in front of your car. Great color contrast! :)]

  46. I love these photos and what you’re wearing. In some ways, Goldie is correct, but I would venture to say that Blair is building a reputation on her blogging. So, while interesting backgrounds are better, I advocate for the real as well. I know that even in my most polished photos…I deliberately leave in something that is “off”. As always, I envy your beautiful hair.

  47. Adding my voice to the “e-lurkers”, I always enjoy your blog. Rarely to neer comment on any of the blogs I read because I find the author’s clique of friends/followers can be terrifying in response to a comment perceived as a critique or criticism. That said, I did not read Goldie’s email as presented in your post as a criticism necessarily. I felt she really does appreciate your blog and is just missing a stronger presence in the blogoshpere of a fashionable voice of her peers. LPC, your post handled this beautifully, graciously and I liked that you took up the challenge. Now if only your commenters could see that and stop shredding poor Goldie in their defense and loyalty to you! (Last thought… it is a compliment that so many of your commenters do defend you loyally! And you are desering as your blog is so well done!) Thank you for allowing my comment to be added to this discussion.

  48. Don’t change a thing! Just look at your loyal followers above, and what we all come her for – YOU!
    This post even brought our a number of lurkers, which is a very hard thing to accomplish – kudos!
    This should tell you we all love your blog for you. I particularly enjoy your writing style, eloquent vocabulary, and wit. I envy your gorgeous figure and how beautifully your clothes look on you! XO

  49. Wow, that dress is *sensational*. Wheee-wow.
    (OK, jaw is back in the region of my palate.)

    Goldie may be forgetting that you (and so many of us) offer this material *for free*. This is not Vogue, it’s immediate and casual, an avid amateur endeavor. I do not mean free equals shoddy, but to hold what is done for enjoyment and community to the standards of professionally-produced work is unreasonable.

    Unless, of course, one wishes to practice or ratchet up one’s perfectionism.

    From me, an open, heartfelt request to just go ahead and post any way you damn well please.

  50. “It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.”

    – Theodore Roosevelt

  51. I just found your blog very recently and I am enjoying it very much. I blog about sewing and therefore, I pose and it is quite uncomfortable at first. With practice, I have come to enjoy it more. In my most recent photo shoot I really let my inhibitions down. Now I think of it as one part of my blog that is a work-in-progress, just like the rest. I would hope that the writing improves over time, the sewing improves, etc.

    And again, I LOVE YOUR BLOG!! Keep up the great work :)

  52. So I just clicked on Atlantic Pacific because I’ve never heard of it. Went through several pages. Very pretty girl;gorgeous clothes; beautiful settings.


    Like looking at page after page of clothing ads.

    Your photos are real, authentic, and full of life. I can see style shoots in any magazine.

  53. I think I agree with many above. Your photos are authentic. In this era of PhotoShop and “fixing” things…..Lord knows we don’t see all that many “authentic” presentations. I appreciate yours. You are attractive and you present well in an “authentic” and refreshing manner. Keep up the good job.

  54. Some blogs are all about beautiful photography. Others are more about the writing. Many have some combination of the two, in varying proportions, depending on the day. Different objectives, different priorities. Nothing wrong with that — especially if your blog addresses other topics and interests beyond fashion, alone.

    I do respect how you use criticism to critically examine what you are doing. Striving to improve is always good. I know my photos are not my strong point (Goldie would have a field day with me!) Inspired by other blogs, I’ve made an effort to improve them, but I will only take it so far because that’s not my main priority — the writing is. Nothing wrong with that, either! I think people have every right to criticize; you have every right to decide whether or not that criticism should guide your own practice.

  55. I am so happy my fellow commenters have already done all the hard work for me, and I’m completely relieved that I am on the same page as most.

    Even though you are beautiful and have great style, my visceral reaction to that email was, “No! Lisa is too smart to be pretty and vain! I love her just the way she is.”

    To sum it up in one sentence: Please don’t change a single thing. xo

  56. *Regular reader and as Patricia said it so well, I’m “de-lurking” on this one*

    Absolutely LOVE your blog!

    I agree with TPP (I couldn’t/wouldn’t have said it better myself :) and most everyone else that posted.
    I hope you don’t change your blog style, love it exactly the way it is, REAL!

    Maybe Goldie was looking for a job?
    Just a thought :)

  57. Dear Lisa,

    You are a Lady of substance & style.
    You don’t need to please anyone here.
    Please keep being You.
    Don’t ever change.
    There is no other Lisa.
    You truly are one of a kind.
    We love You.

  58. I see my opinion puts me in the minority….

    Hand one: I’m shallow. The older I get, the worse it gets. And I like to look at beauty (as I define it) and “artful” things.

    I much prefer the photo of you by the red car to the street shot (red shoes/red car); and then, I much prefer the shot of you by the garage door to the shot of you by the red car (better lighting; silver door/silver highlights in clothes and hair).

    Of course my opinion is subjective, but you are getting a stronger emotional response from me with the more intriguing photo(s). Goldie, call me. ;)

    Hand 2: No doubt around it, getting from point A to point B takes time and is a PITA. I know whereof I type, and it’s why my style-related posts have some arty shots and lots of ones with crappier lighting, repetitive poses etc.

    [The fact that my laziness outweighs my preferences is so rage-making, ha!]

    Upshot: You can portray your content any way you want — and I certainly don’t think you have a duty to the 40+ crowd to have photos that look straight from a magazine spread, nor do I think you should make the effort to change if it seems a waste of time to you or makes you really uncomfortable!

    But a personal blog already involves a fair amount of (how shall I put it…editing? ego?) so if you WANT to experiment with more posed photos, why not?

    That would be letting your visuals tell a different type of story, sure, but it needn’t be a story that’s interpreted negatively. Seeking out more beauty, pushing your creative boundaries even if *you* are the subject is ok. [Really.]

  59. I think that the criticism your received was constructive, not passive aggressive.

    However, please don’t change what you do or how you photograph and post. It is your original product, and that is why we love and visit your blog.

    To quote J-Lo (yes, I am quoting Jennifer Lopez)regarding critics of her style,”If you don’t like it, don’t look at it!”

  60. It is very late and I am sorry that I have not commented…..
    you have a fabulous figure, great style and wonderful taste.

    Anyone who criticizes your look has something to answer for…
    I love your confidence, and you rock the blog world!

  61. I couldn’t believe Goldie’s email. Who would write such a thing? Unbelievable! I love your blog, it is one of my favourites because you are so elegant and thought provoking. When I first got into reading blogs through blog lovin I subscribed to many blogs like (and including) Atlantic Pacific, however over time I dropped all of these blogs from my list because they bored me! They seemed false and vain. Your photos are fine! Goldie please feel free to start our own style blog a la Atlantic pacific for the over 40s.

  62. I’ve struggled with the same photo posing issues, and your efforts are far superior to mine. I agree with the others — just keep doing your thing. You are a busy successful professional who doesn’t have time to traipse down alleys with pro photographer boyfriend and camera in tow. The way you do the photo shoots reflects who we are at this age.

  63. Lisa, we keep coming back for what you have to say, your charm and your open-ness to new thinking. If you have interest, time and energy to develop your photography we’ll still be here. If you don’t; we’ll still be here.
    Not many of us would have replied to Goldie so postively. You are a star!

  64. The nerve of some people! Who would be so bold to write such an unsolicited, scorching criticism — disguised as an “I’m here to help you” note. Tell her to buzz off; that you don’t need her help. You have plenty admirers of your blog as it is! Sorry for the rant but this is how I feel about it.

  65. I think Preppy Princess said it best as well as other subsequent commenters. Love your blog, Lisa you are a woman of substance. Love Atlantic and Pacific’s blog and read it daily as well. I do not think Goldie was coming from anywhere but a good place.

  66. I read your blog daily but rarely comment. I agree with some of the previous posters, I read your blog because of the intelligent writing, the discussion of lifestyle as well as fashion. For me the pictures are just a bonus. I wouldn’t worry about trying to find fancy backgrounds and lighting. The photo’s you’ve posted in the past seem to get the idea across quite well.


  67. I am not going to analyze the critique. I did not take it as offensive (of course, it was not directed at me). I thought the newer photos you took were attractive. I used to follow Atlantic Pacific but it is emblematic of a larger issue that pervades style photography from the blog to the glossy magazines–ridiculous, coy poses (knees turned in, finger in mouth or twisting one’s hair, etc.) and juvenile proportions to the clothes. 20 somethings are already too old for such styling, not to mention the 40+ crowd (I will be interested to see if the stunning mid-40’s Stacy London will still be going girlish when What Not to Wear starts anew in a week or so). Thank you for your sensibility–acessible, real and very attractive. Clarissa

  68. It’s your blog, do whatever the hell you want with it. This kind of “advice” to “improve” is really low-handed. You are beautiful and intelligent. My take on this is that Atlantic-Pacific should be studying up on your blog, not the other way around. Some day when she is our age, she may not want to be just eye candy.

  69. You ARE beautiful, Lisa, you really are beautiful, and women of any age are beautiful–see the Advanced Style blog for further proof of this fact. The fact that you take care of yourself and enjoy dressing yourself is all good, it’s good for you, it’s good for people around you.

    Gotta say I love the photo of you with the red auto, it’s a beautiful photo, plus I love your smile because it looks like you’re having fun being there doing that while maybe even “poking-fun”, like a real-woman-on-the-street who happened by the auto & said, “Oh, we HAVE to stop & get a picture of this!”, AND you look great in that entire outfit with your beautiful long, healthy hair swinging–this photo makes me feel good, and inspires me to look good, and inspires me to find fun in the day, too (and not care that I’ve probably created the longest run-on sentence in my life-HA!).


  70. For now, I am just going to say thank you all very much. Including thank you to you, Goldie. I’ll have more to say later. Happy to find myself amidst such thoughtful and supportive people.

  71. Lisa,
    First of all, I love your blog. If you never changed a thing that is fine with me, I will still come back for more.
    Second, the dress is stunning, wow! Love the pop of color with the shoes and your hair looks FANTASTIC these days.
    I enjoyed the new photos tremendously, however they are inspired and I love even more the grace with which you respond to criticism and challenge yourself. I am learning from you and I have a way to go.
    Third, I don’t think Goldie was passive-aggressive, but maybe she does not realize how much work it is to maintain a blog, let alone doing a photo-shoot, while living a not-necessarily-fashion-focused life. Speaking from my limited experience, it is nearly impossible.
    Middle age blogger with interesting things to say, balancing professional career, family, social life, travel and whatnot, having consistently beautiful photography and literary magazine worthy writing? This would be the Holy Grail of bloggosphere and even bigger fantasy than anything that is being sold to us by media and celebrities.
    Do what feels right.

  72. Oh Ms. LPC. I have enjoyed your blog for years now and hope to continue to read about your perspective and the lovely and interesting things in your life. I have to say that I agree with Goldie that there should be more perfect pictures of middle-aged women in the world. That said, it hurts my feelings for Goldie that she seems to believe the best way to make that happen would be to come here and ask you to serve it up for her. To me, it is like going to a great seafood restaurant known for it’s extraordinary Crustacean and happens to make pretty good garlic noodles as a side item and saying to the owner “Your garlic noodles could be so much better…” Goldie seems not to “get it.” The photos are a side. Too much focus on the noodles. Not enough focus on the main course. In any case, should you decide to do things (take photos) differently, I have no doubt you would do so very well. I would hate to see you answer to every Goldie, Jane, and Mary that comes along with advice to “improve.” It would be insane to try to be all things to all people and do it all well. That sort of pressure is what sometimes makes great bloggers drop their blogs altogether. Whatever you do please continue to strive for authenticity. That is what I appreciate. P.S. I do like the street shots; but, more arty photos for the occasional fashion post would not drastically affect my visits one way or another. HTH.

  73. Lisa…The majority of the comments here mirrored (ha) my thoughts to the T! I’m still quite baffled though that anyone would even think to compare your eloquent, intelligent, enlightening…and REAL blog, with one that is obviously pretty much unrealistic eye candy. I know Goldie was really just talking about the quality of the photos…but still, I’d rather know that you’re spending the bulk of your precious time ‘writing’, than trying to create the most perfect, fashionista picture…and *on your own* at that!
    Your individuality in images and content are what make your blog so special…the ‘job’ you already do, is brilliant…please know that, with all your heart!
    xo J~

  74. It’s your blog, and you should do what you want. If you have the time and inclination for more elaborate settings and lighting in your photos, then great. If not, then I don’t see why you’d have an obligation to do so. You appear to have a steady readership already.

  75. Carry on, dear girl!
    That woman is wearing shoes
    I can’t walk in, so I don’t relate!

    1. Ha! So at the very least I want to amp up the production values for women who want to be able to walk!

  76. I think you as a worker with a life outside of blogging makes a big difference in relation to the quality of the photos you take. You have somewhere to be. That is why I like your pre-work photos. Maybe Goldie had a point saying you should do a zoomed-in photo of a highlighted piece of your outfit or story… but otherwise I have always loved your authenticity, Twitter Mom!


  77. I must chime in!

    While many of us disagree with her, Goldie doesn’t seem to be coming from an intentionally malicious place and her criticism is not harsh. It’s good to look at things from all sides.

    Having said that, I’ve always enjoyed your personal style photos for the reasons she has not. I like the simple backgrounds and lack of distracting props. It’s about the outfit, the hang of the dress, the way you wear things. Your authenticity shines through always and you never appear trite or artificially posed as so many (all?) other “fashion” bloggers do.

    I have consciously thought to myself– “If I were to ever post photos of myself, I would do so as Lisa.” You’re never excessive or vain as others can be.

    To be honest, I don’t like the photos you posted above. Too much going on. It’s hard to make things look natural– but you are a natural person which makes your photos exquisite each time. Also, I don’t think age is a part of this equation. I would expect sincerity and authenticity from ANY style blogger, regardless of age.

    There is nothing wrong with criticism or analysis but my two cents is why should we try and fix something that is not broken?

    Keep on keeping on. I like what you do and I like the way you do it.


  78. Lisa, what a great post.
    It takes everything out of me to post my picture on my blog and not being model thin, like you, I dread my image in photos.

    But to the point of this comment, I have nothing but admiration for any mid-life blogger who has the courage (or craziness) to post their photos of themselves.

    It’s one thing when a photo is styled and shot by professionals. It’s another thing altogether to publish our own self styled and self shot images.

    One of the reasons that I am attracted to the blogosphere is that I am seeking authenticity, not Madison Avenue created information.

    Amid Privilege is one of the most well written and genuine blogs out there and I think that your photos are more than appropriate.

    Could we all publish better photos of ourselves, yes of course. But, it’s a little time consuming for those of us bloggers, like you and me, who have full time jobs.
    Keep up what you are doing.
    You look great, not fake.

    1. So well said. I’ve too have been trying to figure out what attracts me to blogs and Belle has said it best. “Authenticity, rather than Madison Ave.”
      Since I began reading blogs, I find I no longer buy fashion magazines, not a deliberate change, but something I’ve noticed.
      Great comment, Belle, and we’re LONG overdue for a lunch.

  79. Lisa, what strikes me as a true revelation here,is how great that dress + red shoes look on you. They make you look carefree, feminine, the coloring/print and style work beautifully with your hair, face and figure. Immediately I thought, the style you mostly favor, very minimal, slightly severe, is doing you a disservice. But this dress? LOVE IT!!

  80. The pressure! I thought that blogging was about self expression, and I think that’s what you do in a very elegant manner, with your writing and photos. Now that I have the energy, I’m interested in improving my blog, but for myself and for my pleasure. For learning and for growth.

    I found your post and the comments interesting and compelling. As usual!

  81. Lisa

    I like and admire your blog because it’s real. intelligent and of the moment. Your regular photos are ‘you being you’ and that is what I enjoy most when you cover fashion.

    It never crossed my mind to be concerned about poses and back drops.

    SSG xxx

  82. First off, thank you very much for calling us smart, thoughtful and articulate! If there’s anything we owe each other to be, it’s that, I think.

    The photo issue is complex, I agree. Sally McGraw not too long ago linked to another lifestyle blogger’s article who mused about her own ambivalence towards all the “carefully curated prettiness” going on in private or semi-commercial fashion blogging. That put my own vague misgivings into words. How ok is it to communicate with your audience by being an ever more perfect object, day after day? That styling yourself, posing and taking your own picture makes you subject of the process too is another interesting point.

    Atlantic Pacific does not speak to me but that does not mean to say the blog is inferior. I enjoy your view of the world and how it is expressed. I also enjoy your visual sensitivity, I like your non-fashion photos a lot, you have a very defined aesthetic. It speaks for you that you want your everyday appearance to come through in the fashion pictures instead of some high gloss version that would show up the discrepancy every time you are tired or less than immaculately styled. Maybe you can find a way to combine that naturalness with stronger composition. More close-up?

    Anyway, I feel that at our age it is important to go forth, enjoy and live the heck out of a meaningful life – f*** the poses.

  83. I have not looked at the other blog Goldie mentioned. I don’t have time. I read your blog not just for fashion, I read it because I like the way you write and the wonderful array of thoughtful topics that you discuss. I have always enjoyed all your photos. I have to be honest, when I thought about you traipsing to work with camera and tripod in tow, it made me feel kind of bad for you. You obviously REALLY like us, to do that experiment! And I thank you. But you are a busy woman and I daresay you don’t have the time to do that often. And for what? To look “more glitzy?” This isn’t a fashion magazine, it’s a blog and I like that you pose outside your own home and look into the camera, as if you are saying “Hi Everyone!” to us.
    By the way, your dress is so beautiful and you look wonderful in it. Thank you again for your newest photos, Lisa, but unless you are really enjoying ducking traffic with your tripod in the morning I am really happy to have things stay the same!

    1. Oh please don’t feel bad. I do like you very much, but I had my selfish motives. I like explorations, of all sorts. And this definitely counted.

  84. To be fair to Goldie, I think she referred to the A-P blog as an example for poses and backdrops. I don’t think she was suggesting that Lisa’s wardrobe should be anything like that, or that her blog should change into primarily a fashion blog.

    But as others have remarked, Lisa, I think your blog is appealing because of its simplicity and realness. And I happen to think the pictures of you looking straight at the camera are more flattering that the other poses. And your porch provides a nice, comforting, familiar background.

    Explore better photography if you’re interested in photography. Otherwise, just keep doing what you’re doing and the people who are interested will read along with you. :)

  85. (Oops, I didn’t intend my previous comment to be direct reply to the comments above it. I think I accidentally hit the “Reply” button instead of the “Post a Comment” button.) :p

  86. Surely your photos are a snapshot of your life – and therefore, a realistic reflection of how you live and what you look like. Besides I’m sure you have other more important stuff to do, like go to work! I totally agree with mademarian/Sally McGraw about the ‘carefully curated prettiness’ of semi-commercial fashion bloggers. I find it all very superficial, and I’m sure that the the majority of mid-lifers don’t have the time to fanny about on a photoshoot. The content of your blog is brilliant and you write beautifully. Just keep doing what you’re doing.

  87. How bizarre. I would never think of writing to a blogger to make supposedly helpful suggestions. It’s what I love about blogs — they’re undiluted, unedited, just the pure aesthetic of the writer.

    I mainly come here for your wise and thoughtful writings. The pictures are a bonus.

    Goldie should start her own blog (or share her link) if she’s such a bleedin’ authority. :)

  88. The photos in the Atlantic Pacific blog (or whatever the name was) are very generic, which among other things, makes that blog not very interesting to me, and not something to aspire to. Although I’ve not thought a lot about your photos previously, I decided to peruse them to take a closer look. In general, your photos are above average blog photos, even those you probably took before work on your back patio. Your travel photos, especially of India, are fabulous. I especially love the photo of your kids with the sun on their face up on Haleakala in Maui. Your post and photos of Naracamacie button down shirts inspired me to go to the store in San Francisco and buy 4 of them. And despite any efforts to the contrary, you did look very pretty in the photo in the grey dress at the wedding.

    Are all your photos perfect? No, but they don’t have to be. Most of the photos in Maui were great, although one or two were underexposed. The natural light you use in most of your photos looks just fine. The photo of you in the middle of the street wasn’t your finest (too far away and distracting background), but it’s not typical of your photos at all. Most of the photos are closer up and illustrate your writing well. Sure, you don’t have a pretty cottage garden or leafy street in the background, but if that’s not your life, what reasonable person would expect that?

    I suspect that Goldie’s comments might have bothered you a lot more than you let on. If so, please do not let her get you down. I’m probably not the only one who appreciates your blog and others like it because we are bored of the generic prettiness of many fashion magazines. There is nothing wrong with being pretty, you don’t have to hide it, but it’s far more interesting if you are pretty in your own way rather than someone else’s idea of what you should be. Uniqueness is better than bland perfection.

  89. I had so Many Thoughts about this letter that I took a day to think it over before commenting. Many Thoughts (yes, capital letters). Good on you for taking the high road per your usual and looking for the constructive criticism opportunity; I’m not sure I would have been sage enough to do the same.

    Also as usual, I’m with Susan – to compare your blog to Blair’s or any of those so-called “fashion blogs” is for the letter writer to entirely miss the issue, in my opinion. Apples and oranges and bicycles, oh my. Your blog cannot be confined to a “style blog” – not to this reader, at any rate.

    Like many, I too read “A-P”, mostly because I adore her aesthetic – it is, however, entirely fashion fantasy. I’d no sooner wear her sequins and stilettos in my everyday chasing toddlers life than I would propel myself to the moon via caffeine alone (though it could be argued on some days that I’m trying ;-). I look to her for pure eye candy, for fun new color confections, much as I flip through “Vogue” or similar.

    When you do write about style, however, what I enjoy most is the everyday life factor – here is a woman headed to work, wearing something chic, but not fussing too much about perfect lighting or what-have-you – she’s going to work, first and foremost. *That* is what is interesting to me, seeing those scenes from regular ol’ life. That I happen to value your aesthetic is one thing, but it’s the context of the photo that makes it compelling.

    In short – please keep on keepin’ on, however you (dang) well please.

    PS – DYING for the Dries with the red flats. Now that’s real – and really chic.

  90. I think I still don’t like the pigeon-toe-pose. But I do like the background with the trucks and buildings.
    I also like to see you in your backyard, as long as it’s you!

    And aren’t those sutter-backgrounds inflationary in the blogosphere?

  91. Late to the party as always. However: 1) thank you for acknowledging the feeling of being uneasy, or embarrassed, for looking pretty – it is not uncommon; 2) LOVE the Dries dress – so much more interesting and adventurous than my boring work clothes (self, step it up); 3) oh how I LOVE your beautiful long silver-streaked hair. Glam and sporty and funky all at once, and very well suited to your complexion, height and body shape. Thank you for not being like every other woman of the Age and having “sensible short” hair.

  92. Just found your blog via mai Tai.I’m also struggling with photography and posing and I have to say it’s an evolving process and one I don’t want to spend my time on.I sort of found a formula that fits in my day and I go on posting.

  93. I’m actually quite outraged by all of this. As if life is hard enough for women comparing ourselves and our endeavors with gorgeous models and flawless editorials, now some random person compares you to another blogger. Maybe Goldie had positive intentions, maybe she didn’t. Personally, I’m going with the latter. Let’s be real here, someone who says “it hurts my feelings for you” doesn’t care about you. That’s the most condescending comment I’ve ever read.

    “I am, I think, about the same age as you, and I would love you to make a better showing. For us.” For us?! I think not.

    I’m a 30 year old woman. I read your blog and love it, because it’s you. Don’t change unless you want to.

  94. I love the new photos, you look terrific. But you really always do, so don’t sweat the comments.

    Thank you for your blog.

  95. Hi Lisa!

    Apart from the personal esthetics argument, the point of lacking representation of women over 40 on fashion blogs is an excellent one. Just recently, I got enough courage to post some professional, posed outfit pictures on my blog. I’ve been writing a lot about fashion and feminism and beauty and age, but rarely posted outfit pics, and never posed ones. So I needed to see this post, thank you!

    Kathy aka Fishmonkey

  96. I’ve been traveling for a few weeks and came to this late, checking my overstuffed RSS feed. Apologies, because I would have wanted to be supportive right away. Your readers have done a wonderful job of that already — for which you get enormous credit, for setting the tone here that you do. But I would like to add a few thoughts.

    The first is that I am angered on your behalf, and in awe of your self-containment in the face of this passive-aggressive unkindness. I would not be so calm.

    The second and corollary is that you should do nothing in reaction to this criticism, unless it truly causes you to reflect on changes that you would want to make for yourself.

    The third is that the proffering of Atlantic-Pacific as a model for you to aspire to is ridiculous. As others have said, that blog is part of that blogger’s business, for which she works on the styling, collects or is lent clothing and accessories, and has professional photo and editing help. It has a completely different place in that blogger’s life than Privilege does in yours. The idea that you should be schlepping a photo set-up with you to stage shots, without help, on your way to your actual work is absurd.

    (Personal aside: Atlantic-Pacific has never kept my attention. The accessorizing is interesting, but to me, luxury-flaunting at this social moment isn’t aspirational, it’s 1%-y and tasteless.)

    The value of Privilege, for me, has always been your candid and graceful authenticity. Don’t allow yourself to feel pressured to change that.

  97. Oh my gosh, you had me laughing so hard!!! Thank you!! This is my first time visiting— via Imogen’s featuring you. I’m smitten by your good nature AND your style. I especially love how you look at critiques—fabulous! A mark of security to be so teachable. :)

    1. Oh thank you! And I place perhaps the highest value of all being just that, teachable, so it’s the highest compliment you might give me:).

  98. Am so late to this post. Your readers are so smart. Like you. Don’t stop doing what fills your heart. That will meet your readers’ needs. Thank you for your blog.

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