An Outfit That Feels Like Me

November 17, 2015
plaid + peplum + crossbody saddle bag

plaid + peplum + crossbody saddle bag

plaid + peplum + crossbody saddle bag

plaid + peplum + crossbody saddle bag

plaid + peplum + crossbody saddle bag

plaid + peplum + crossbody saddle bag

A weird thing happens when you take outfit photos.

You start feeling like you need to buy new things because haven’t you already worn those jeans in the last four posts? Yes. You definitely have.

The other thing is that the real money in fashion blogging is from affiliate links (meaning when you buy something that a blogger links to, they get a kickback. I’ll tell you what, the kickback for clothing is about twenty times as much as the kickback for books).

So it’s in their best interest to be wearing new things that are still available for sale so you can click through and buy them.

I have nothing against affiliate marketing because I appreciate as much as anyone someone with great taste saying, “Here’s a pair of shoes that are ridiculously awesome” or telling me what style of purse is hot this season or notifying me about something on a killer sale. If they make some money on helping me out that way, I am not the slightest bit opposed. No one’s forcing me to spend money and when I do want to buy something, I have a better idea about what to purchase.

I also am happy to collect the fifteen cents I make (no exaggeration – it really is that small) when someone buys a book through a link on my blog. If you’d like to buy seven books, I’ll happily go treat myself to something on the dollar menu. And if something I own is still available for sale, I’ll certainly use an affiliate link.

When Brooke of Silver Lining Photography and I met up to take some photos a few weeks ago, I had this strong urge to go to the store and buy something new just so it’d be something different and so it’d be something I could link to.

But frankly, that’s not me. I’m not a huge clothes shopper and I’d never pretend that I have some great eye for style. Ever since I stopped pursuing free clothing for my blog two years ago, I’ve felt like I could really focus on getting things I loved and not worrying about posting them unless I felt like it. No making an outfit work around an item that actually didn’t fit that well or that was poorly made.

So instead of dragging my three children on a likely-fruitless tour of the local mall, I forced myself to look in my own closet instead and figure out an outfit from what I already owned.

And I ended up with a top I bought on mega sale at Loft at the end of the summer, my favorite pair of jeans (again! always!), shoes I bought at Ross a few years ago, a purse Merrick gave me for my birthday, a scarf I made myself and jewelry from my Rocksbox subscription (you can get a free month with the code “everydayreadingxoxo”).

No trip to the mall required.

And an outfit that really felt like me. If only there was something from ThredUp in this outfit, it would be the perfect representation.

TOPJEANS • SCARF (made by me – tutorial here or for sale here) • SIMILAR BOOTIES

plaid + peplum + crossbody saddle bag

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  • Reply Tina's Blog November 17, 2015 at 2:17 pm

    And so, not that I ever wear anything super cool or attractive, but just supposing I did – and that I had a picture of it to post on my blog – how do affiliate links work? I don't even know how that works for books. Someday I might want to make money for blogging. 🙂

    • Reply Janssen November 17, 2015 at 10:17 pm

      There are a bunch of different options, but the most popular (as far as I know) for clothing/home goods are RewardStyle and ShopStyle. You apply for an account and then once you have an account, you can get a custom link to any item from a retailer that is through there (Amazon, Target, Old Navy, Gap, Nordstrom, Shopbop, H&M, etc, etc).

      You can also be an Amazon Affiliate and sign up for an account here ( and then you can link to any Amazon product.

      In both cases, you have a personalized link to the item and if someone clicks through that link and buys something within the set time period (anywhere from 24 hours to 30 days), you get a percentage of their total purchase, even if what they bought isn't at all related to what you linked to. So if I link to a $7 book, you click through and then that night buy a $3000 camera, I get 4-7% of that $3000. Likewise, if you buy a 99 cent bauble, I only get the 4-7% of that.

      Let me know if you have other questions – I'm no expert, but I'm happy to share what I do know.

    • Reply Hema November 18, 2015 at 1:04 am

      This is great info! Thank you so much!

  • Reply Amy November 17, 2015 at 4:22 pm

    I love this post! Good for you – being you! Hey, how did you tie your scarf? I can't see what if going on under the two ends (a knot first?). Mind sharing?

    • Reply Janssen November 17, 2015 at 10:31 pm

      It's a little hard to describe, so if this doesn't make sense, let me know and I'll make you a (very poor quality) video and email it to you.

      I put it around my neck with one side longer than the other and then wrapped that longer end around my neck to make a loop in front. When I brought it back around, I tucked it under the loop and then just kind of bunched it up in the middle so that the tail didn't stick out.

      (You have no idea how many hand motions I had to do to write that previous paragraph).

  • Reply Kayla FrecklesinApril November 17, 2015 at 4:28 pm

    Two things:

    1. I have pictures in literally that exact same spot from our anniversary shoot.

    2. I brought my buffalo check scarf you made me on our trip this weekend and it was my BFF on the freezing plane.

  • Reply kristi November 17, 2015 at 7:19 pm


  • Reply Katie November 17, 2015 at 9:15 pm

    It seems more than a little disingenuous to act like you aren't using affiliate links and are just sharing an outfit you love rather than linking to all of the items when you have in fact included a number of affiliate links in this post. I agree with much of what you said in your post – I have no problem with affiliate links, and I'm happy to click them when I find something interesting through a blogger. If the blogger brought the item to my attention, that is value added, and they should be compensated for that! What I have a huge issue with is when affiliate links aren't disclosed (as is legally required!). Writing a whole post about how you didn't want to just use a bunch of affiliate links and then using a bunch of affiliate links – especially when put through a link shortening service so that it isn't immediately apparent you are using rstyle links – is beyond shady, IMO.

    • Reply Janssen November 17, 2015 at 9:42 pm

      Oh my heavens, Katie, I am so sorry that you felt like this was dishonest! I absolutely didn't mean to hide the fact that there affiliate links in this post in any way. (As far as the link shortening service, RewardStyle automatically shortens them to links – I'm not even sure how I would find the non-shortened link for items).

      My point with this post was that I wasn't going out and buying things just so I could link to them, but instead wearing things that I already owned and bought because I like them and was willing to pay money for them, regardless of whether or not they were high-commission affiliate items. Since some of the items are still available, I absolutely am going to link to them with an affiliate link since that's one of the ways I make money on my blog. There's no way I could justify the amount of time and effort I spend on my blog if I didn't make money on it.

      (Also, I have a page on my blog (under the Sponsor tab at the top) that talks about my affiliate links and I also have a little blurb in the sidebar regarding my affiliate accounts and why I use them).

      Again, I am so sorry you felt like this was dishonest. I try to be as transparent as possible on my blog about sponsorship – I always clearly mark my sponsored posts as such at the beginning, rather than the end, and my social media posts are also always listed as sponsored when appropriate. I'm never ever trying to trick any reader into buying something.

    • Reply Katie November 17, 2015 at 10:20 pm

      Right, I've noticed that you are typically pretty good about disclosing when something is sponsored/affiliate-linked (although the disclosure on the sidebar wasn't there a couple hours ago, right?). I guess it just seems like despite the disclosure on the Sponsor tab this post implied that you weren't using affiliate links on this particular post when you actually were, down to a scarf that is different from the homemade one you are wearing and "similar" booties. Anyway, I appreciate your response.

    • Reply Janssen November 17, 2015 at 10:28 pm

      In the past, I've had the disclosure in the footer of my blog, but after your comment, I put it in the sidebar.

  • Reply Laura November 17, 2015 at 9:27 pm

    Are those boots suede? If so they make a suede cleaning kit at Target for a few bucks that makes them look like new

    • Reply Janssen November 17, 2015 at 9:42 pm

      Since I bought them at Ross for about $10, I'm guessing they aren't real suede. Do you think it would work of faux suede?

    • Reply Laura November 18, 2015 at 4:14 am

      I don't think it would hurt! It's this bar-like thing you rub on and then buff with an included nail brush. I've used it on suede boots and suede purse handles.

  • Reply Feisty Harriet November 18, 2015 at 12:05 am

    Fun fact: as soon as the first image popped up I thought "Is that the scarf she made a while back? I love that scarf!" Lo, and behold, I was correct. Way to make an accessory last!

    Also, I really appreciate the "realness" of this post and the one you linked to from 2014 (I just went and re-read it). I quickly tire of the glittery, shiny blog world. Give me reality, please. So, thank you for that. (And for your response to Katie, above. Yet another proof that you are Real Good People (and Real, Good People).)


  • Reply Paige Flamm November 18, 2015 at 7:00 am

    I loved this outfit and just remembered that I want to make that scarf that you showed last year! It's so fun for winter!


  • Reply Rachel November 20, 2015 at 5:12 pm

    I just got my first box from ThredUp and I love it. Thanks so much for recommending it.

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