We are all familiar with social networking sites. What started with Hi5 and MySpace has now expanded to an array of websites like Facebook, Twitter and so much more. While some are general and are based on mutual interests, others concentrate on specific fields such as deviantART, an art community, and Flickr, a photography sharing network. What are still relatively new, though, are fashion-networking sites.

Since the majority of us already have extensive knowledge about the inner workings of Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, et al, we decided to give you the scoop on fashion-networking sites.

On a social networking site, you chat with or “wall” your friends, play web games and join various groups. On a fashion-networking site, you upload pictures of yourself at your fashionable best for the benefit of comments and discussions from fashionistas all over the world.

These are platforms not only to show off your impeccable (or sometimes not-so impeccable) taste and amazing/outlandish/eclectic/fill-in-adjective sense of style, but also to connect with other people who enjoy fashion just as much as you do. So it goes without saying, we fashionistas spend a major part of our day on these websites scanning through the best fashion and style trends. Which begs the question, are fashion-networking sites really that productive? Or are they just a fun way for us to waste time?

I may be biased in my opinion, but I have to say no. Sites like Chictopia, Lookbook.nu and Weardrobe provide us with a visual diary of stylish everyday looks from individuals across the globe. You may ask why anyone would want to know what a stranger in Russia is wearing, but I know that I am always looking for different ways to wear my new blazer or new dress. These websites often give me style-inspiration that doesn’t necessarily depend upon a pair of $1000 Miu Miu clogs or a £600 Gucci handbag à la big time magazines like Vogue or Elle.

These sites prove that affordable and wearable clothes ARE stylish and you don’t need to have the bank balance of Jane Aldridge (from Sea of Shoes) to dress well and look fabulous. They have also been the stepping-stones to success for various fashion bloggers, who went from taking pictures of their thrifted outfits and posting them online for fun, to covering Paris Fashion Week and shooting look books for the likes of Lane Crawford. Not too shabby, right?

Marc Jacobs and Karl Lagerfeld may design fabulous clothes but it is ultimately how people like you and me wear them that define everyday fashion. Fashion network sites are a style sorority like no other, with a vibrant exchange of ideas, inspiration and cheats to great dressing. For people obsessed with everything ‘glam,’ these sites are a natural extension of ones time and lifestyle.

With that said, there is so much more to joining these sites than the potential stardom. Fashion enthusiasts are frequently looked at as dim-witted people who failed scholastically. These sites are the platform where people interested in fashion can talk, discuss and dissect everything from the latest Vogue editorial to the new Proenza Schouler ad campaign without feeling like complete outcasts who have too much spare time on their hands.

– Alexis J.

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