ALLIE’S FASHION ALLEY

AFA’s Guide to Starting Your Own Fashion Blog

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I often have friends and readers ask me how I started my blog, how I make money, etc. I was inspired by a fellow blogger’s How to Start a Fashion Blog guide, so I decided to make my own. I started blogging a few years ago and I have learned a lot from trial and error, googling tutorials, and reading articles. I am no expert, but I have some helpful tips to offer. In recent years, professional fashion blogging has become a coveted and lucrative career. Top blogger, Chiara Ferragni, is set to make $8 million this year. The amount of money I currently make from blogging is negligible, but there are other perks, like collaborating with brands and inspiring readers. Plus, having my blog on my resume is impressive to employers and a great talking point during interviews. Anyone with a computer can make a fashion blog, but it takes time and commitment to make your blog stand out. Here are some how-to’s and tips to get you started:

1. Choose a Platform
I use Blogger. There are a few other popular choices including Wordpress, Typepad, and OnSugar. Do a little research to figure out which one you like best. 

2. Name Your Blog
Coming up with an awesome blog name can be tricky. This generator might be helpful, but don’t worry because you can always change this later. Once you’ve finalized the name of your blog, consider purchasing your own domain (i.e. alliesfashionalley.blogspot.com turns into alliesfashionalley.com). This is an easy way to make your blog seem more legitimate and only costs about 12 bucks per year. 

3. Customize the Layout/Design
I started out with a template from Blogger, then coded and customized everything myself. XOmisse is a great site for easy tutorials using CSS and HTML. If you want to save time, you can pay someone else to customize parts of your blog or buy a pre-made template. When it comes to layout, I say simple is better. You want your pictures and content to take center stage. A busy background can be distracting. 

4. Invest in a DSLR
Great pictures are the most important part of your blog. All professional bloggers have photos with their outfit in focus and the background blurred. You need a DSLR camera to achieve this. If you have a photographer friend with a nice camera, you may not need your own. I use the Canon EOS Rebel SL1, which happens to be on sale at Target right now for an amazing price! This camera is easy to use, and is also the world’s smallest and lightest digital SLR camera. Grab a friend, roommate, or family member to take your pictures.

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5. Find Your Voice
Every blogger has their own writing style. I tend to write just a few sentences to accompany my outfit posts. It’s all about what works for you. Make sure to spell check before posting. In addition, always preview your posts before publishing. Sometimes there might be formatting issues that aren’t obvious in your draft.

6. Connect with Other Bloggers
Find bloggers with similar interests, then subscribe to their blogs and consistently comment on their new posts (leave your link in the comments). Most bloggers will visit your blog in return. This is a good way to build a loyal follower base.

7. Share Your Posts
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Tumblr are great tools for promoting your content and getting more readers. Avoid overwhelming yourself by focusing on just one or two of these platforms at a time. Once you’ve gathered a substantial following, then add a couple more.

8. Monetize $$$ 
You don’t need to think about this right away, but why not be rewarded for your hard work as soon as possible? There are a ton of different platforms you can use to monetize your content. I use ShopSense because I think it’s the most straight forward. This allows you to link to products in your posts and earn a few cents per click. Other affiliate networks like RewardStyle pay you only when your readers make a purchase. This isn’t very lucrative until you have a ton of followers. Also, if you’re using Blogger, Google Adsense is built in. All you have to do is turn it on in the settings. Be careful not to over monetize; it becomes obvious if all you’re trying to do is get readers to click on products.

9. Collaborate with Brands
After you’ve gathered a following of loyal readers, companies may want you to sample their products in exchange for your review. Here’s a list of some sponsorship programs. Most of the brands I’ve worked with have contacted me, not the other way around. It’s important to have your email easily accessible. I have mine under the contact tab at the top of my blog. 

Other Helpful Resources:
  • Independent Fashion Bloggers is an amazing site that has articles on every fashion-blogging-related subject imaginable. It’s also a great place to connect with other bloggers. 
  • Every blogger should join Influenster. You get to test new products for free and review them on your blog. This is a great way to voice your opinion. 
  • Following some of the most prominent fashion blogs will give you inspiration for your layout and posts. My favorites include The Blonde SaladPeace Love Shea, Sea of Shoes, and Ring My Bell
Feel free to comment on this post or email me with any specific questions. 
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Keurig 2.0 #HelloKeurig

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A few weeks ago I received a Keurig 2.0, compliments of Influenster. This is by far my favorite blogger gift that has arrived in the mail. 

The new Keurig 2.0 can brew a single cup or a carafe (which is perfect to share with my roommates). My favorite feature is that there are 10 different brew sizes from 4 oz. to 30 oz. I received the K550 model which also has a hot water on demand feature and an impressive 80 oz. water reservoir. There are also adjustable strength and auto-brew settings. The touch screen display allows you to pick a wallpaper and reservoir light color, which is pretty cool. 

All of the customizable settings allow me to brew my perfect cup of coffee or tea. The only complaint I have is that the 2.0 will not accept old Keurig k-cups. It only accepts the new k-cups that have a white rim, but no big deal. In addition to the k-cups and k-carafes that came with the machine, I ordered Cinnabon coffee and vanilla chai tea. They are both subtly sweet and delicious. 

If you’d like an invite to Influenster so you too can review amazing new products, comment on this post with your email.
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eShakti Jacket in the City

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eShakti jacket | Gap t-shirt | Levi’s shorts (on sale!) | Milly backpack | RACHEL Rachel Roy boots | TOMS sunglasses

These pictures were taken by my talented roomie, Stephanie, on top of a parking garage near my school in Chicago. The view of the city from up there is breathtaking. Today was the perfect day to wear my new jacket, sent to me courtesy of eShakti. My cool, new jacket was customized by my height and size so that it fits me just right. It protected me from the wind today and I can’t wait to wear it with sweaters and jeans in the coming months. 
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Wetsuit Skirt

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TOPSHOP skirt and top | NIKE shoes | MCM bag | PRADA glasses

I’ve just completed my first week of classes for the fall quarter at DePaul University in Chicago. The location for these photos was at a high school in California and I’m happy to say that my high school days are long over. The pink Topshop skirt I’m wearing feels like it’s made of neoprene, wetsuit material. It’s a really fun piece and hopefully the weather will get a little warmer here in Chicago so I can wear it again. I love pairing skirts with my Nike Frees, which I’ve been wearing all summer long. I find them incredibly comfortable.  

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Last Look of Summer

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I’m headed back to Chicago early tomorrow AM. Summer is out and school is in. I’ll be getting as much use as possible out of my rose gold Topshop Birkenstocks for the next few weeks until fall weather hits. 
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Here Comes Fall Wish List

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September is significant for a few reasons. It means the end of summer break, the beginning of a new semester, and often the first tease of fall weather. With September, comes an overload of both homework and fall fashion. While I can’t help out with your schoolwork, I have narrowed down this season’s new arrivals to a wish list of my five most-wanted items to transition your wardrobe from summer to fall.



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UNiDAYS Guest Post


I am currently featured as a guest blogger for UNiDAYS. UNiDAYS is the official source for student discounts, with over 3.5 million students already saving. For shopping details and back-to-school savings, check out my dorm room inspiration guide on UNiDAYS’ blog, The Edit.  If you’re a college student, sign up for free with UNiDAYS to access exclusive student discounts for sites like ModCloth, Asos, All Saints, Apple, and more!
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Trend - Matching Separates

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The matchy-matchy look is worth investing in because once the trend dies, the pieces can still be worn separately… it’s like three outfits in one! Washed out stripes pair perfectly with chocolate bar eyeshadow by Too Faced that looks good enough to eat. 

A special thank you to my grandma who took me shopping last weekend and made this outfit possible! xoxo

And thanks again to Jerrod and Jeremy for the amazing makeup!!!
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Chambray + Too Faced

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I bought my shorts on sale at Urban Outfitters for only $10 and I can’t stop wearing them! These denim shorts fit just right, not too short or tight. My favorite way to wear distressed denim is paired with girly accessories (i.e. sandals with giant jewels on them). 

Also, thank you to Jerrod and Jeremy for the Too Faced makeup which adds a pretty finishing touch to my look!

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Yoga Faves

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Cute workout gear is a major motivator for me to hit the gym.  For yoga, I like 3/4 length leggings and tops with fun strap detailing. Lululemon and Adidas by Stella McCartney are two of favorite brands, but Target also has a great selection of more affordable options. 


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Beacon Collection by Warby Parker

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Designer sunglasses are one of my favorite splurge items. Warby Parker is one of few designers that make their glasses in-house. This results in higher-quality eyewear for a fraction of the typical price. And, for every pair of glasses sold, they distribute a pair to someone in need. (One million pairs have already been distributed!) 

Warby Parker’s limited edition Beacon collection frames were designed to accompany “late night dates, rooftop sunrises, and everything in between.” Photographer Petra Collins shot the amazing imagery for the collection in downtown Manhattan. The glasses are representative of effortless, candid, cool style. I’m loving the oversized Nancy frame in lemon (pictured above). The yellow is a fresh pop of color, but still muted enough to be worn as a neutral. Starting today, the collection is available online at Warby Parker.
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Jelly Shoes

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Jelly sandals are another trendy footwear option this summer.  Stuart Weitzman makes a pair, but the ones I’m wearing cost only $20 at Urban Outfitters!  As I mentioned in my previous post, Birkenstocks are tricky to wear.  Jellies, on the other hand, can be paired with just about anything. 

Peasant Blouse: Billabong, Shorts: BCBGeneration, Jelly Sandals: Cooperative


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