The Mainstream Predicament

Go commercial?

Or stay unapologetically me?


Remember when I talked about chronic self-exposure and that sea of clones which appears to be sweeping over every social media platform in sight?  Washing clear away, for the most part, what was once treasured and precious.  That crazy little thing called individuality?


At this point, I’ll just come clean and say confess something which most of us are more than likely already thinking.  ‘Fess up, now.

The Mainstream Predicament | Sheela WritesThe Mainstream Predicament | Sheela WritesThe Mainstream Predicament | Sheela Writes

That in as much as I profess a healthy dislike for how many are looking (ever so similar) on social media, I crave the numbers they’re pulling in.  I really, really do.  I envy them.  I want what they have in terms of their partnerships with brands.  The collaborations.  The fame.  Does that make me sound like a whiny bitch?

Well, yes, but hey, I’m honest 🙂

Within that same post, I also wrote about bloggers and their styles.  How I’m seeing the same palette.  Identical outfits even sometimes.  I can fully appreciate why brands prefer to partner with bloggers whose sense of style tends to be, for want of another word, mainstream.  And I certainly don’t begrudge them for choosing to lean that way.  Mainstream is commercial, it’s relatable, and it certainly sells.

The Mainstream Predicament | Sheela WritesThe Mainstream Predicament | Sheela Writes

So I’ve been asking myself this question – what is so wrong about me that brands don’t buy into?  Are the clothes I wear so different, so odd that nobody likes them?  Is my style so unorthodox that no one can relate to it, to me?

Am I such a wild card?


You know, I’m not ashamed to tell you that I’ve often felt disheartened about the way things are.  I’m different.  I know I am.  As I know that the way I dress and the way I style my outfits don’t fall into specific categories boxes.  I’m neither completely edgy nor am I fully eccentric.  Not enough to be cool.  I’m a little bit of both, and loads more.  I have my moments of femininity.  Of punk.  And the urge to play up my wanderlust gypsy side does surface on occasion.  As does the need to go goth.  I’m simply not conventional #sorrynotsorry #maybe

The only word that could probably be used to sum Sheela up is “unapologetic“.

Addendum: Charlie has dubbed me as being fabulously quirky.  I accept, I accept!!

The Mainstream Predicament | Sheela Writes

You see, I can’t quite be pegged.  And that scares off many.

There are numerous countless moments when I feel I ought to cave and do mainstream full-tilt.  After all, what’s a little soul-selling when you contemplate the potential success you stand to reap, correct?  But there’s the question of soul-searching.

Ironic.  Soul-selling and soul-searching, two sides of the one same coin.  And lately, I’ve been investing a fair amount of time into the latter, and what it’s telling me is that I’m an idiot if I feel the only way to get anywhere is to, well, cop out.  I don’t know about you but when my soul starts chastising me, I tend to listen.  Very carefully.

The Mainstream Predicament | Sheela Writes

I’ll repeat what I said before.  There has to be some middle ground between wearing what’s considered mainstream and commercially appealing, and what I personally prefer.  And still allows me to be me.  For the foreseeable now, I think I’m going to keep working on finding that sweet spot because, honestly?  I don’t think I can live with me if I chose to sell out.

What about you?  What would you do?

Love, Sheela

p/s this outfit is as mainstream as I get

pp/s photos by Sofia Touassa

I link up here.


27 Replies to “The Mainstream Predicament”

  1. You are so right. It’s a difficult, personal decision which threatens to change what you are deep down if you make it. And is there a price to do that? Obviously for a lot of people there is. I feel like I lost my impetus to blog for a reason along the same lines. Wouldn’t it be nice to be successful without changing and without becoming a slave to it? Nice, but impossible I am beginning to think. From what the blogging ‘industry’ (that’s what it is now) was like when I started to now has changed so much. It makes me sad when I seen blogs I loved changed because the women’s styles became more dictated by what they got than who they were. There is no advise to give. I’d like to say stay you, but what do they say – you can’t expect a different result if you keep doing the same thing. I suppose the most important soul-searching question is what do you want. It’s not an easy one to answer. I’ll say I love your style (coz I do) but I’m sorry that isn’t enough to pay the bills 😦


    1. Well I feel exactly the same way you do. I don’t “fit”. Anywhere. It doesn’t bother me too much until like you, I become angry and frustrated because my blog isn’t doing well enough (for all the loads of work I put into it) or I don’t get opportunities that other bloggers get because I don’t fit into a typical “almost 50 something” mould. No one is relating to me other than a handful of other bloggers.

      For me it is harder as well because I choose to thrift or buy vintage most of the time rather than new. That is impossible to promote.

      It is frustrating and I know that Melanie (Bag and a Beret) and I feel the same way about this. Truly creative people aren’t valued as much online because they are “different”.



      1. I didn’t see this response when I posted – but, yup. Outliers may be entertaining but sometimes I feel like the thin layer of icing on the cake when it’s the main body of the cake that people rely on to fill their appetite. I want to be the cake but I want to be the icing too!! If I try to be cake I know I would taste like brussel sprouts or turnips or liver.


      2. Yes, I can see how it’s even harder for you, Suzanne, unless, of course, you get to work with the major players within the vintage clothing industry. It’s true, the world doesn’t appreciate creative souls who can’t be pegged, labelled and safely filed away into the right folder. I liken it to the current academic situation here in Houston wherein the emphasis is only on Math and Science, there’s nothing on culture and sociology and humanity, with merely the surface scratched when it comes to art. ARRGGHH. Society can’t exist without these things. Just as a blogging world featuring only mainstream will utterly fall apart.


    2. I too have been seeing that happen quite a lot lately, women adapting their styles to fit what brands are looking for, and no matter how much I bemoan not being mainstream, I refuse to do that. I just couldn’t. Since writing this post, Charlie, I’ve reaffirmed my decision to stay very much me. And if that doesn’t pay the bills, well, at least I have a full-time job to help pick up the slack 🙂 xoxo


  2. Hello Sheela, thank you for your wonderful uniqueness. Your pictures are great, your style makes me smile and your writing tops it all off. Please don’t change. I started to follow you when I discovered you are petite like me, but so much braver in your style choices. Sometimes it may take more time to attract more followers and perhaps $, let’s hope it all happens soon.


  3. This is truly the dilemma in every profession, I think.
    I remember when practicing…the worry about making ends meet and do you recommend treatment that really could wait a couple years, or recommend it done now? Did you try to get more patients in that day, but you wouldn’t have the time to spend with them?
    In my head, it all comes down to your comfort and values.
    Part of the issues could be the supply & demand—who is on the internet looking at fashion blogs? The mainstreamers? Probably, because the “unapologetic” stylists are out creating art? (Really I have no idea—just pontificating!)
    I think most of my clients are afraid of standing out too much—many women want to blend in (and we certainly realize you don’t blend—and I’m so glad).
    But I do think we change even if companies and money isn’t involved.
    As a fix it girl—I’d tell you that you just need to find the brands that are willing to be unique!!
    But I’m glad your style is all your own—it makes me stretch and try new things!!


  4. Excellent piece, timely as well because I recently wore an outfit which was more mainstream than I usually go. How many times have I asked myself this same question? If I wanted to be One of Them I’d certainly have to ditch the humour – and there’s my answer: I can’t do it. Blogging is my fun thing. And I like to wear what I want when I want. Campaigners should be clamouring to sign you on, Sheelah, just as you are, as a non-clone. Clearly, I don’t understand the biz side.


      1. Me and you both, Mel, I love owning what I write. I love the humour. And I’ll be damned if someone tells me what I can or cannot wear 🙂 by the by, I’ve noticed you being signed on by a few uber cool brands these days. Good for you. Ever so well-deserved xoxo


  5. It’s definitely tough to strike out of the fashion box and do what you want creatively, but also hit the brands-wants-to-work-with category. The same-ness is everywhere, that’s for sure. I worry I’m not original enough sometimes.

    I say you do YOU. 🙂

    Great post; great read!



  6. You know what, Sheela, I’m sure there are many, many bloggers who can a hundred percent relate to this post. As wonderful as the successes of others are, I think you should always remember how you have your own set of fans coming to your blog constantly and loyally, and that’s something pretty special too, don’t you think? I can see that you have many admirers just from reading your comments in THIS post!

    By the way, from the tone of your recent posts, I think you probably have a list of “top” bloggers that baffle you in a way that you question why they’re “top” in the first place…? I wish I could hash out that conversation with you, it’ll be quite an interesting convo, I think! I’m quite curious to see who are on your list, to be honest. I follow a number of “top” bloggers but most of them are the ones who I think genuinely deserve the success they’ve gotten. It’s weird but I keep racking my brain trying to figure out which set of ‘same-palette’ bloggers you’re talking about. Maybe one day you’ll be able to share that info with me…? I say it’s weird because I’m genuinely curious!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Amen, sister. In many times/areas of my life, there has been the pull of wanting to be ACCEPTED but also wanting to be different/an individual, which has a way of making one less acceptable to the common masses. But in the end, you have to be YOU. And I GET the struggle as a blogger – there needs to be acceptance to find financial success. But I think the goal should be BEING ACCEPTED AS YOURSELF. It can be done. It’s been done. You can do this. YOU GOT THIS.


  8. I think blogging can be tricky because many of us start blogging as a hobby (and for many it is always a hobby and not more). So at the beginning it’s okay that the blog is about “you.” But when you start thinking of your blog as a business, I think things often change, especially when “you” are not “commercial.”

    I started my blog as a healthy living blog seven years ago and have always done my own thing and therefore never reached the success others have achieved who started around the same time I did (I’ve had a handful of loyal followers however from the very early days of my blog, and we still email and are in contact today in meaningful ways. And that’s honestly priceless to me.)

    One blogger from “the early days” stands out in particular. She completely switched the focus of her blog from healthy living and alternative living to mainstream baking and recipes. And she has been very, very successful. I guess while she shared a part of herself in the early years, it’s now simply a business (I’m sure she never eats anything she features on her blog and any personal voice is gone). But it was certainly a smart business decision on her part. I sometimes wonder if she is keeping a “secret blog” just for herself…

    When it comes to fashion, I think those who have a more mainstream style to start with have probably a much easier time to appeal to a wider range of readers and brands. But even then, I’m sure there is always an internal debate between featuring what “sells” versus what you truly like.

    I always love your posts and your fabulous outfits! Selfishly I don’t want you to ever change!

    Andrea’s Wellness Notes


  9. I know that my outfits are pretty boring and nothing special and probably fall into mainstream since I shop at mass retailers. I don’t have large followers or brands barraging me with opportunities and I have learn to accept it’s okay. I think at the end of the day, you have to decide what you want out of this blog.

    Of course, it’s human nature to compare ourselves to other bloggers and figure out their success but I think it’s more important to keep individuality.

    I may not dressed like you but I always adore your unique style and that’s what makes your blog more appealing!


    Hope to see you for TBT Fashion link up.


  10. I feel you Sheela! I do get asked by a particular brand to work with them but they stopped replying my email for sometime. The next moment, I saw somebody else (supposedly more “influential”) donning themselves with the brand’s apparels as their brand ambassadors. This feeling kinda sucks but you know what? Nothing is more precious than staying true to ourselves and continue to blog with our own unique style.

    Love, Aldora


  11. Dear Fabulously Quirky, don’t you dare stop being you! The world does not need another blog with Stan Smiths+boyfriend jeans+Breton tee+ red “colour pop” bag. Does not. What it does need is individuality. Like dating, I feel that if you are identikit, you find your match easily. If you have lots of twists and turns, you’ll take a little longer to find the right person. Your tribe is out there, both on the brands side and the followers side, it just may take a little longer to come together with the brands because you aren’t identikit. Make a list of brands you adore, and contact them. Your social media following and reader engagement level is great, so I’m sure there are brands who would LOVE to work with you. The big (mainstream) brands have big budgets to work with bloggers whereas the smaller cooler brands often don’t. I’m sure there is a happy medium and you’ll find it. xxx


  12. Sheela Sheela Sheela! I needed to read this so badly, I thank you for taking the leap for me! Seriously, I thank you so very much! I’ve been quietly writing about topic this for some time, rewriting, saving to a folder, rewriting, tempted to delete, then save again, but most of all, scared to post! I feel for you on this topic & have asked myself the very same questions more than once. I’ve spend way too much time thinking about blogging & posting on IG, FB, twitter & the like. I feel as if I’m getting left behind….. & why & who cares! This isn’t my life, my career, the job that puts food on the table, it certainly doesn’t completely define who I am as a person. I will now admit that I’ve cried much with my husband questioning why I do this. Do I want to feel accepted? Do I want people to truly like me? Why? I have notice my own envy & jealous feelings towards blogging since the beginning & it is sooooo scary to admit as I don’t want to be judged. It became a question of why don’t I get more likes, more comments, more popularity…. why was this person getting more likes than me, brands responding to them more positively? Like you, I wish for the numbers other bloggers pull in. I wanted people to like me & thought the “likes”, “comments” were a direct measurement if people did indeed like me. For the first time in my life, I was learning to love me & then “this world” was making me doubt myself again. Finally finding a little confidence & my unique style in my 40s was one method I’m used to learn who I am. I have found who I am!!! I will not let go of that for anyone or any brand. Same is lame, so being in the mainstream is lame. This leads me to my next thought …. how can they be stylebloggers, unique in their style, if they all look the same. It goes to show how scared people are to be different, to try something different. You are a trailblazer, you are not scared!!! Keep adding trail markers with each outfit & article you share!!! Ok, there I said it, it’s out & feel so grateful I was able to share thoughts in a safe forum. You are just cool & even more cool!


  13. If you remain YOU, you will fill in the spot which has not been taken yet. You will draw your own audience. And perhaps you won’t get many clothes sent, but if the numbers of readers are high enough, you can just sell advertising space. Which is again less soul selling than pushing sponsored products.
    I think you should always listen to your soul.


  14. Hiya Sheela,

    I’m going to quote you a few more times because I can so relate to this article:

    “I crave the numbers they’re pulling in. I really, really do. I envy them. I want what they have in terms of their partnerships with brands. The collaborations. The fame.” Ditto.

    For me, another ditto here: “You know, I’m not ashamed to tell you that I’ve often felt disheartened about the way things are.” I feel disheartened by my numbers each and every day, but you already know that….

    And here’s another one: “So I’ve been asking myself this question – what is so wrong about me that brands don’t buy into?” But for me I’m not even at the brand stage (although I’d like to be). Replace the word “brand” with “readers.” I just want to be read and followed. So, I ask myself, why don’t people like me? What am I doing wrong? How to I get readers and followers for Kremb de la Kremb.

    One more thing….ironically a month later, and you are there! Which I am thrilled to bits for you! You have brands reaching out and an amazing following. So now, you’re actually pretty mainstream to me. The following you have, the readership, that’s what I want too. I am not even at the brand stage.

    Anyhoo, your posts are so amazingly written (and the unapologetic style is quite fun too!). There’s always something to get me thinking–and obviously many others as well! Right on Sista!! Keep it up. ;D

    Love, Annie


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