Fashion blogging has been up and coming in recent years. This past December, English and Theater double major Sam Doolittle ’14, launched a blog of her own called Style Queery, a site that draws attention to both fashion and the queer femme identity. Every Friday, Doolittle features other Mount Holyoke students who identify with the femme community to showcase their interpretations of the word “femme” as well as their personal style.
Eliza Ali: What inspired you to start Style Queery?
Sam Doolittle: I’ve been blogging intermittently since high school. Mostly poetry, creative non-fiction, things like that. It wasn’t until I came to college that I started toying with the idea of creating a style blog. I received a lot of encouragement from friends and family to take the risk, so I finally jumped the gun this past December. I knew from the beginning that I wanted to use my blog as an opportunity to draw attention to femme identity and to help fight femme invisibility by planting a metaphorical flag in the blogosphere. My identity as a femme is something that developed over a considerable period of time. My time at Mount Holyoke has helped me become more comfortable with who I am. I chose the title “Style Queery” with the hope that it would reflect both my individual identity and the greater purpose of my blog.
EA: What are some aspects of fashion blogging that you enjoy?
SD: Definitely taking photos in zero degree weather without a coat! Just kidding. Collaboration is probably my favorite part. The style blogging community is impressively huge. Since fashion is such a common interest, it allows you to interact with individuals all over the world. It’s inspiring to see how different people use clothing to express themselves. Some style blogs stick with more classic aesthetics, some style blogs are crazy weird, but they’re all fabulous because they’re these character portraits, these visualizations of personality.
EA: Describe your style.
SD: I have always loved color. I was sporting obscene color-blocking combinations as soon as I was old enough to dress myself. It’s funny, because I’ve never really thought twice about it, but then I studied abroad in Scotland, where everyone generally sticks to a palette of dark neutrals. I, of course, packed the rainbow! Color allows me to communicate joy and optimism; I like to think it’s a reflection of my personality. Beyond color, I generally prefer clean silhouettes and classic pieces – oxfords, blazers, crewneck sweaters, high-waisted skirts. But I also like to experiment with patterns, textures, layers. I try to push myself beyond my comfort zone every now and then.
EA: Please explain “Femme Fridays.”
SD: Femme Fridays is actually my favorite part of Style Queery! I knew when I first launched my blog that I wanted to feature other individuals who identify as femmes. Every person’s interpretation of “femme” is different, and my goal is to feature as many of these perspectives as possible. What has been really exciting is all of the dialogue and conversation that Femme Fridays has encouraged. I love speaking with other femmes about their identity. What does “femme” mean to them? When did they first begin identifying as a femme? The answers are as diverse as the individuals who provide them.
EA: Are there any tips you can give to aspiring bloggers?
SD: It’s actually a lot more work than I thought it would be! It took a while to build the website and get it to look the way I wanted it to. I had to teach myself CSS so that I could edit the website’s coding – and I’m very right-brain oriented, so you can imagine how much of a learning curve that was! But despite the work, it’s a lot of fun! I like that it keeps me busy, and I find it to be a really nice distraction from my day-to-day responsibilities. If I were to offer any advice, I suppose it would be to blog about what you love. Blogging will quickly lose its appeal if you’re not writing about things you care about. Also, don’t be afraid to use your own voice! There’s absolutely no need to change your personal writing style to “appeal” to wider audiences. And networking. Definitely a lot of networking.
EA: How do you plan your photo ops for the blog?
SD: I wish I could say that I have a consistent schedule, but I totally don’t. It very often happens on a whim. I don’t plan my outfits ahead of time, so it really depends on how inspired I’m feeling when I get dressed in the morning. Sometimes I go all out, and other times I pull on a pair of jeans and a sweater and call it a day. I try to capture those days when I do feel inspired. And, of course, there’s the matter of finagling my friends into helping me take the photographs. My Femme Friday shoots are more organized. Individuals sign up to be featured a specific week, and then I contact them to determine a date to meet, take photographs and film the interview. The only thing I tell them is to wear something that makes them feel “femme-y.”