Just wanted to say good luck with all that’s coming Jenni,stay safe and hopefully you will have many more years to comment on YLF.l could give a longer reply but I guess you are kinda busy at the moment so just wanted to let you know that I am thinking of you.

Jenni, I worked in health care for 35 plus years. I have many friends that are still working. One of my friends is a nurse in a very busy ICU. I have some idea of what it is like to be in that field and I have so much respect for you doing this work. I hope you are managing to keep safe.
I certainly don't comment or read every post. It is not because I am not interested but I just do not have enough time. I am so impressed with those that do. How do they do it? If someone doesn't comment on my post I don't think anything of it. It is all good.
I have always found your responses kind and caring. You seem like a warm sincere person. That certainly comes across in your writing.
I tend to give only positive feedback when I do give feedback. I find it difficult to tell what something really looks like from a photo. I can only do the big picture and not details. Some members are amazing at giving feedback. I like lots of different styles of fashion but I am not an expert.
I have had a very small wardrobe for many years. I like clothes but I buy very little and now I am buying nothing. I am not sure Canadians are all the same but we are a large country in terms of geography.

Thanks for all the lovely comments and the encouragement.
I have figured out what I will do if I don’t like something: if in a WIW I will either not comment or make a small positive comment on some part of it I do like, as Angie says. If in a K/R or an outfit lab then I will say what I don’t think works and for what reason, of course trying to do that very politely and kindly. The occasional person who has done that on my outfits has been much appreciated.
Thanks for support in my work as well.
I will leave the “cultural divide” question for now. Note I did say it was “becoming apparent” and that I was generalising and of course I don’t think all North Americans are the same! Or all Statesiders or all Canadians!
I can say I have never been more grateful to live in a small country with a good public health system and I appreciate that none of us can help what the system is in the country we live in.

What a thought provoking post, Jenni.

How grateful I am to have stumbled on to this forum a year ago.

Jenni - thank you for raising a topic of concern, and for doing it in such a way that many forum members can respond. I think the way you phrased it reflected the best spirit of YLF: caring, wiling to raise a potentially controversial topic, and open to responses.

I agree with many of the posters here that priorities have shifted. While I"m not in healthcare (and have IMMENSE gratitude to anyone on the frontlines) my workload has increased during this time. I still find browsing YLF and seeing others outfits as a good brain break so please keep the content coming!

Glad to see you're asking these questions @Jenni , since I have similar ones myself. This is why I try to remember to specify that 'honest opinions are welcome' whenever I ask for advice on OOTDs & so on - I may not always take the advice (especially when I have specific modesty guidelines to follow), but I'm open to people giving advice so that I may improve (or that they spot something I had not thought of).

Also don't worry about not having enough time to post - as someone on the same side of the world to you, I think the timezone issue seems to exacerbate the issue, since I'll suddenly get all these replies at 3AM but whenever I come to post it feels like the forum is dead haha. I tend to type out my replies with people's names so that I don't miss anyone out, but if many people are saying the same thing I think it's acceptable to generalise your response. I'm trying to also remind myself that I don't have to reply to everything other people say - hopefully they won't get mad at me for that! I always seem to write far too much in my comments, sorry - I blame my profession

Thank you for all that you do during your job - I know it must be difficult!

Jenni you must be under a huge strain not only treating patients but also running an essential business where you are responsible for others. Of course you cannot be expected to answer every post or any posts and I dare say no one expects you to. Answer whichever posts you want to - I do think that is what most people do most of the time anyway.
As for the cultural divide, I think it is more a professional divide. I am not in the medical field and I am, for the moment, out of work. I have plenty of spare time to play in my closet and I enjoying it. (I also have a husband, three teenagers, and three cats in my household that need me among quite a few others.)
I cannot thrift, which is my therapy, but I can give myself outfit challenges and post them for my amusement, and if other people enjoy them and give me positive feedback I am delighted and it helps me keep a positive attitude. I am not shopping for clothes, but would not hold it against someone who is, because many of us are home bound, without essential jobs, and it is not going to help to read the news all the time and get depressed.
Finally, I do try to answer as many post as possible in the morning. I enjoy giving others the same boost they give me. Of course, I do not have the same taste as many posters but can still appreciate them and their style. I always temper my response to the how well I "know" the poster, and focus on the positive, while offering constructive criticism occasionally if it is requested and I have some!
Best wishes for your challenging situation!

Jenni, I am late to this conversation and can't add much to the excellent responses you already received but I just want to say thanks to you, to Staysfit, and to our other members who are frontline health care workers. It's really demanding work at the best of times -- and this is not the best of times, to say the least!!

Re commenting on others' posts -- I am amazed that you can read and/or post at all at this time! As someone who is used to working from home, I am used to being on my computer for much of the day, but even so, the current demands to go online for everything (combined with other worries brought on by the pandemic) have left me exhausted and enervated and uninterested in online leisure activities of any kind. I really only check the blog on a daily basis right now. To preserve emotional health I need to step away from my machines for a good part of each day.

Thanks Suz I mainly mentioned that I was posting less to make sure no-one could tell if it might be their outfits that I wasn’t liking! Trying to make sure no-one felt singled out. I only spend a few minutes at a time on the forum ATM.

Jenni, I think most of my thoughts have been expressed already - the sum is, just be constructive and kind, which you are! When I post, I have no expectations about who or how many people respond, and I just respond to what I can and hope no one's offended. I think that's the best anyone can do?

A huge virtual clap and hug for you and all the other front line workers of this ghastly situation, or those with flw in their immediate family, who are putting themselves in harm's way for the rest of us. Lots of love to you!

My deepest respects <3

It's all good Jenny -and hope all docs and health care personel on this site are doing well (wondering about GDP, too!) God bless them for fighting on the barriers!

I consider online presence - and esp. commenting-(on the blog or forum)cannot be enforced. They can be thanked for, banned or rejected- but makes no sense to be taken too personal. Even if I really would be glad to know y'all IRL we are virtual connaissances only- which lacks a deeper cognition of each other's life and circumstances- so it's better to be aware of that, exactyl for not having to think possibly too much about these things-you posted.

I hope you all consider real life a major priority-(especially now!) and it is best to be so! I also hope one is here for entertaining and cammaraderie rather than intimidation or else... My strategy is trying to keep all positive and sparkled with a grain of humour-if that helps.

I had a thought - People’s reactions are going to vary based on how long they’ve been dealing with this, too. Hong Kong and other Asian areas have been dealing with restrictions for almost half a year now, with Europe next, then North America and then Australia/NZ most recently on lockdown, from what I understand. You can’t sustain a level of high vigilance constantly for weeks and weeks, and you genuinely start running out of stuff, too. I’m sure the people with kids in Hong Kong have had to buy clothes for growing kids by now, and other household items wear out.

I was not a fan of the panic buying here in the US a couple of weeks ago. I am still not buying anything right now, and don’t plan to change that soon. But from a US perspective, the president and lots of the media coverage have focused on the economic impact, and our local media covers all the small businesses that are struggling at the moment. So it’s understandable that people want to help and think of doing it by buying. Lots of low wage workers are forced to choose between working in a dangerous situation or going broke and not being able to get food and eventually get evicted, not to mention paying any health care bills. There’s not a robust safety net in this country, although one of the silver linings of this pandemic may be improving that.

Jenni - sending you and all members of this wonderful community supportive thoughts with an elbow bump thrown in for good measure. I am not on YLF much of late, going back over the past year or so as life was getting in the way even before the pandemic. I don’t comment much any more, much less post outfits. But I do still value the community and enjoy my occasional lurking, and plan to return more actively some day.

i think this was a great question and I have enjoyed the wisdom posted here by so many. Warmest wishes for health and comfort to all in these very difficult times.

I mostly lurk anyway, at least in terms of how much I post vs. how much I read, but have had to close my ylf window and self-edit a little more often lately due to not being able to “relate”. But in the end, this is a website and forum largely about shopping, and I’ve never had the budget or interest to keep up, while also vicariously enjoying those who can. So there’s a tension there for sure.
Question for you: as a Canadian I found myself feeling defensive at being characterized as ‘North American’ as though we behave as a whole, although I understood you meant no offence*, and my reaction itself is classically Canadian in wanting to differentiate from the US, while I realistically I must also acknowledge how culturally dominated we are by them. And I’m quite accustomed to seeing and using ‘North America’ as an entity, to describe lifestyle, culture etc, probably even more so in Canada than globally or in the US where they can confidently just say ‘American’ and quite reasonably just ignore Canada.
At the same time I do differentiate between NZ and Aus and perceive the cultures as close and related but different. And there’s no term that I know of which lumps your two countries together in the way ‘North America’ does. Or is there? Do people refer to/think of themselves in a similar way as a cultural/geographical block? I realize the geographical relationship is quite different, but culturally you might be closer as former colonies that didn’t have a revolution. Just musing.

*Had to look this up out of curiosity: apparently "offence" is the British spelling. In typical Canadian fashion I use an inconsistent mix of American and British spellings.

Jules, to your point about Canada getting lumped in with "America", I've actually started recently making a conscious effort to stop saying "America" in general to refer to the US (I say US or the States now), because it was pointed out to me that America is actually two entire continents with many different and distinct cultures.

It is hard, though, sometimes to find a synonym for "American" because it has become so ingrained into our vocabulary.

Which is all to say, I think it's largely a product of American hegemony, and I don't really know how to fix it. But being aware is the first step.

In terms of not liking people's outfits - sometimes I just don't comment, but other times I am able without much conscious effort to put myself in that poster's proverbial shoes and react based on whether I think *they* like that outfit. Does it fit their style (or perhaps allow them to stretch in the ways they want to), does it fit them well, reflect their values (re: anything from thrifting to body positivity), is it simply making them feel good *today*, etc? On the other side, are they someone who I have observed really appreciates constructive feedback or even just suggestions for next time? This requires some background knowledge on the posters and I think some experience... and Angie is an excellent model of this, IMHO. Not that I think she "doesn't like" outfits that she compliments, but that she "gets" posters and what they are looking to achieve with their style and participation here, in a much bigger picture way than just liking or not liking an outfit.

[Warning: heavy topics incoming in this rant lol, please skip my comment if you'd rather not read such things now]

@Laura Yes I'm in Hong Kong & have been forced to work from home for going on 6 months now due to the protests making it unsafe to go outside & now the virus. I've been unbelievably frustrated because I feel like none of my friends or family in the west can truly understand what that's like - verily I tried to warn my family about this impending virus situation back in January but they ignored all of my advice until it finally hit their country & region. It's been upsetting, to say the least.

Watching the way people are reacting on the forum (who are new to this situation) has definitely been eye-opening for me, but it's also been adding a lot of further guilt at a delicate time. I understand the concern people have for the economy but I hope people won't admonish me for going outside these days, since many of us in HK have been in a really dark place watching people literally being set alight & running away from teargas. I try not to talk about these things & keep an upbeat manner so as not to upset the mood here but I hope this helps others to judge less harshly when some of us have been looking forward to finally getting outside for some fresh air. I'm very sorry to cuss but I am so f*****g TIRED of living like this, especially since I just got out of the hospital before the protests started & have been living my life in absolute fear ever since. My students have been feeling it too - talking some of them down from suicide & a general feeling of hopelessness has been heartbreaking (for all of us). It can be very easy to judge those you don't know but I guess my point is to be kind, always. You don't know the struggles others are facing.

Which brings me to a different point - I notice a few people here getting hung up on the specifics of Jenni's point about the cultural divide, but not seeing the whole picture. Of course we know there are exceptions to every generalisation, but I don't think that was the point - rather I read it as just one example of how this pandemic is bringing cultural divides to the forefront. I usually hold my tongue but I feel it too - to link back to my point about going outside, HK has been dealing with the lockdown differently to the west. Instead of social distancing, the major focus was on wearing a mask (I have many thoughts regarding the effects of individualism & collectivism on mask wearing but that's an essay for another day - or comment, lol). But a huge reason for that is social distancing simply isn't possible in one of the most densely populated cities in the world! I understand people have different ideas on how best to handle this situation but the thing is none of us know for definite - we are all trying to figure this out as we go, since these are unprecedented times. But we did actually see a drop in cases in HK before the second wave of cases hit from repatriates.

To conclude my rant (since there was actually a point to all of this, I promise!) it's impossible to force others to your point of view. I know we're all scared right now & trying to sway others towards what we believe is right because we don't want to see them fall prey to this virus, but the thing is we are all human too. I think judging others too harshly for going outside or (not) wearing a mask or shopping online or stockpiling whatever can sometimes make us lose sight of that - everyone's fears & worries simply manifest themselves in different ways. And that's something to bear in mind for YLF etiquette in general, too.

"It can be very easy to judge those you don't know but I guess my point is to be kind, always. You don't know the struggles others are facing. ...

I think judging others too harshly for going outside or (not) wearing a mask or shopping online or stockpiling whatever can sometimes make us lose sight of that - everyone's fears & worries simply manifest themselves in different ways. And that's something to bear in mind for YLF etiquette in general, too."

Zaeobi - beautifully said! There's been a lot of judgement locally - often without context or information ("I saw someone out and they weren't with their own kids ..." Well how on earth do you know that just from seeing them down the road?) - we need to do the right things and encourage others to do the same, but we also have to remain humble - if the greatest scientific and policy minds in the world haven't quite figured this out, then I think I'm on solid ground saying none of us have either!

Zaeobi - thank you for writing this. It's been very eye-opening for me. I agree that everyone , everywhere is dealing with all of this differently; and responses to fear, insecurity and instability also manifest themselves differently. I know I have been pretty negative and worried and have posted about that - and I guess I'm just looking for validation from someone/anyone that my fears , experiences and worries aren't just mine.

Jules - as a fellow Canadian, I share all of your thoughts here, including a conflicted relationship with this forum. I've always felt a bit like a square peg trying to fit into a round hole here, and I look to it more for the fellowship which I obviously need and crave . But holy crap - I agree ......please don't anyone lump Canadians in with those who live in the US. Market influences aside - I think there are cultural differences that many don't appreciate.

Thanks for posting Zaeobi. To your point about cultural divides - absolutely. Locally I am seeing online arguments about who is doing social distancing worse - parents of young kids or dog owners (basically boiling down to, "keep your kid/dog away from me"). What a silly division at a time like this. At the same time I definitely know what "side" I fall on! I just keep my mouth shut because now is not the time for division. And it wasn't my intent to divide myself from Americans on the forum, so much as understand/discuss how NZers see themselves in the world, out of genuine curiousity.

Lisa, 100% on that sentiment ... just ask the executives at Target!

1. I have a Canadian sister-in-law, she lives in Saskatoon and has been married to my husband’s Kiwi brother for 30 years. So I do understand that Canadians get overshadowed by their “big brother” neighbour the USA and she made it clear to me decades ago not to assume that “Americans” means those from the USA only since there are Canadians and there are Central and South Americans. Bravo Diana for recognition of that.
However, from here I see the similarities, regarding wardrobes and shopping, much more than I see the differences, which is why I chose to place you together. I hope that the constant buy, buy, buy- for the sake of the environment- might be changed by this even when life goes more back to normal. But since the “world’s biggest economy”- and yes Canadians I know that’s not yours- seems to think shopping is the most important thing in the world, I unfortunately doubt that.
2. New Zealand is also a country in the shadow of a “big brother” neighbour, Australia. There is a huge rivalry as well as a great friendship between them. Jules, there is a word for them collectively, it is “Australasian”. And NZ is nowhere to be seen in that word! We also use a word that dates back to Gallipoli in WW1 in 1915, the word ANZAC which stands for Australia and NZ Army Corps. Internationally people think our cultures are the same. They are similar but do have subtle differences.
Zaeobi is absolutely right that I think the current world situation is making cultural divides more obvious.
For me this forum has not been about shopping because I am in the wrong part of the world for the brands featured ( mostly) and am not mad keen to ship stuff across the world just for me. Although much of our clothing is imported.
So shoot me!

Jenni, the Canada-US thing is very similar to the NZ-Australia thing in many ways - for my part, I am not offended at all by the grouping and am very used to it!

I am personally not a huge shopper either, so the forum is not about shopping to me either, although I'm very happy to hear about other people's purchases! I do understand that the focus on the 'economy' can be frustrating, but we can't de-tangle the economy from people either - after all, if businesses go under, lots of people are out of work; if we stop shopping at small businesses altogether, many of them will not survive. I think we all must strive to find the right balance between all the many concerns we have right now, knowing that my balance, your balance, and someone else'e balance might look very different.

Anyways, I hope for my part, I didn't come across as offended or argumentative; that's definitely not my intention - here or anywhere. xx

Stay safe Jenni! I worry about you, and everyone else directly in harms way.

I'm in North America, but with you in the mostly unshopping camp this year. It just hasn't been important to me. I don't want businesses to fail, but won't shop just for the sake of (my small bit of) propping up the economy.
And it's ok to not like every outfit everyone posts, and not feel like you have to comment on everything. If people post k/r or have doubts, I'll look closer, but if the outfit sparks joy for someone I don't want to make them feel bad about it.

I understand the forum is about many different things and then again different things to different people. I’m not a huge shopper myself. But I would make the argument that statistically, the majority of content, both in blog posts and the forum, is driven by an interest in perusing, acquiring and wearing new things - aka shopping. Thus for myself I have realized for quite a while that I can’t reasonably spend a lot of time here while also judging people for too much shopping or preoccupation with material things. So I consider my own part in the system, try to judge less and/or take a break when I just can’t stomach it.
I’ve heard the term ANZAC before - in reference to cookies I think?!? - but didn’t know the meaning or background so that’s interesting, thank you.
I guess I don’t know enough about NZ (or, separately, Australia) to have any perception of whether they have less shopping-oriented/materialistic cultures than what I know here or compared to my ideas/biases about elsewhere in the world, so that’s also an interesting perspective to me.

Jenni, your question isn’t an easy one. From my perspective as a long-time forum member presuming you’ll find commonality—even in something as simple as the etiquette for responding on the forum—can end up in a rude awakening.

Since few forum members have actually met in person, we base our “knowing” on our opinions about what a person has chosen tell us about her life, her past responses in the forum, the current question, and, occasionally, a picture or two. Offering “constructive” advice to a person I’ve put together in my imagination from these crumbs of information Is going out on a limb at the best of times.Throw into the mix social, economic, generational, and cultural diversity on forum open to all and you’ve got a perfect prescription for unintentional stereotyping and miscommunication whenever someone ventures to offer “helpful” feedback. The wonder is how often this weird situation actually works without engendering hurt feelings and angry backlash.

My own conclusion is that the forum functions despite these odds largely because Angie is constantly setting an example of how to respond—and ruthlessly (in a nice way, of course!) dealing with offenders. The YLF “etiquette” comes Angie, not a set of written rules, and is self-monitored by her philosophy of being accepting, considerate, and positive in our forum interactions.

Like most forum members, at times I’ve gritted my teeth, had my feelings injured, and stomped off in a huff for a few weeks because of an careless assumption or (to my mind) thoughtless/rude/aggressive comment. But, once my irritation subsided and damaged feelings were healed over, I returned. Again, it was Angie’s insistently holding to the thought that we can learn from each other as long as we move beyond our own perspectives—“horses for courses” as she puts it—and assume good will instead of nursIng our differences. Good strategy for an Internet forum—and maybe a few political entities as well?

ETA: I’m always bemused by the assumption that Canadians and Americans are similar since our histories, form of government, economies, and geographies are so dissimilar. Yes, we trade with each other because of a very long common border, but below that surface our cultural roots are probably more similar to other former British colonies, with a dash of French colonialism tossed into the mix.

I have several very close American friends, and the more we talk, the more we reveal our not-so-subtle divergent perspectives on almost every major issue.

Zaeobi, I wholeheartedly agree. I see a lot of judgement on social media, which is one reason I need to reduce my leisure screen time right now.

I think it's important to recognize that while we're all dealing with the pandemic, different countries and different regions within countries are facing somewhat different challenges, and it might make sense for governments and individuals within one area to respond differently than those in another area. Not to mention all the inequities related to social class, gender, racialization, and so on, which really add to the mix -- and again, look different depending on where we're living.

I like that Gaylene: ‘assume good will instead of nursing our differences.’

Because IRL, I’m snarky, and my motto has always been ‘never assume maliciousness for what stupidity can explain.’ That’s a much nicer, more YLF way of putting things(!)

Sidebar: It’s interesting... you can be mean honest or nice honest. But you really don’t have to be hard and challenging to be honest...

Nodding along to so much of the wisdom already posted from Staysfit, Zaeobi, Jenn, Laura and others. In general, I try to keep my comments fairly positive until I "know" a poster a bit better. For example, if someone routinely discusses a large wardrobe or having bought too much in the past, then I might be less positive about new items that seem like duplications, or aren't nearly as fabulous as something else they've posted. OTOH, if someone is clearly rebuilding a wardrobe, or has changed climates dramatically, then I might be more encouraging, even in the midst of all our other global concerns right now. YLF is only a small part of most of our lives, so I try to keep an open mind, and not generalize, since I know very little about other people's stresses, challenges and the other choices they've made for consumption.

OK- a somewhat funny, and strangely related story. Back in October 2003, just after the SARS epidemic, DH and I took a trip to China. DH speaks and reads Mandarin, so we hadn't planned to do a package trip (we've never done one before or since) but the prices were so good, that we signed up for one. On the Shanghai leg, we were placed with a larger Canadian group, but on the other parts, we were by ourselves (the rest of the Canadian tour was different.) We offered to be placed with any other English-speaking group, because it seemed a bit wasteful for us to have our own car and driver. And, we were turned down, because of "cultural differences." We still laugh about this. Despite the conversation in this thread, I guess we're at least grateful that they didn't think there were too many differences between the US and Canada, because we thoroughly enjoyed that group- many were similar to us, in having one part of a couple being a Mandarin speaker and the other not, and we were all in complete agreement that the tour company had a very stereotypical idea of what "all" people from Canada and the US eat.