The online Stepford Wives

OOTD. You may not know what it means – and it's not to be confused with OCD, although I have often thought you might need a touch of the latter to carry the former to its glorious apotheosis. The acronym stands for Outfit Of The Day, and it can be found in the part of the blogosphere where women spend hours planning and perfecting the minutiae of their appearance, from well-groomed tip to perfectly polished to before presenting it to the world wide web.

In another suburb of this online realm, the detail directed towards sartorial elegance is switched towards culinary excellence. Day after day, the most tantalising breakfasts, lunches and dinners are photographed, posted and lovingly described to an audience of salivating acolytes. Who are these superwomen who transmogrify the most mundane aspects of daily life, and do they dwell in a town called Stepford?

It may be almost 40 years since Ira Levin's satirical novel was turned into a blockbuster movie (recently re-made with Nicole Kidman, exquisitely presented in the starring role), but today's women are putting a new spin on what became a cultural reference for a submissive housewife.

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This week, Head to Toe Heidi has had me transfixed to her blog, which she updates every few days with what she is wearing. Her style is chic, classic and enviable, and, as I write this, she is pictured in black cropped trousers, black ballet pumps, a heather grey tiered top, accessorised with pearls, a slate grey felt flower and almost black Sephora nail polish, her bag is black and lined with tan cotton. Just about the only thing we don't know is the colour of her underwear, but I'll wager it is a perfectly pressed matching set.

Her posts are as meticulous as her grooming: "On Monday, more navy in the form of a tissue turtleneck tee, which I love with jeans and the cami peeking out at the hem. This time I added the confetti necklace, which I really liked with the turtle. I am so glad I got that necklace. I believe those are the Chicos boyfriend jeans – way comfy for a day where I spent a good chunk of time at the computer."

I also enjoy taking a peep into the wardrobe of Ginger Snap . I've gleaned that she is 25, 5ft 1in, 100lb, with light red hair, hazel eyes. She has a husband, has just started a new job as a lawyer but is still finding time to post her OOTD, and so I can't help but wonder when Ginger Snap is going to, well, snap. Especially when you consider that Wednesday's outfit, which consisted of an Elie Tahari blouse, a Banana Republic suit, Guess shoes, a Gap belt, a Betsey Johnson bracelet and earrings from Kate Spade, was broken down into ten pictures and approximately 500 words of accompanying text.

The next day she writes: "Here are my lovely Cole Haan platform suede and patent leather loafers. I love these shoes (which also happen to have Nike Air technology – GENIUS!). I am also wearing the opaque black tights from Betsey Johnson. I am matching my shoes and my tights; I have been told that this helps elongate the leg and makes you look taller."

The world's fashion blogs are led by Scott Schuman in New York, Garance Dore in France, and in our own backyard of Britain we have taken Katie of What Katie Wore to our hearts

Quirky, fun and eccentric, this blog features Katie's OOTD, but, in a slightly Stepford Wives touch, leaves the actual writing to Joe, her "blogwriting boyfriend". In fact, the whole blog, which has become wildly popular, was his original idea, as he explains: "Katie had complained that I never wrote her any love letters. I thought that the blog and the effort entailed in writing the thing each day would be a good way to show her how much I liked her and her quirky, unique way of wearing clothes."

So, as a tribute to her unique fashion sensibility, Joe has photographed and recorded her outfit every single day since 1 January, 2009. On Guy Fawkes night, she wore a Temperley beaded top, a Tatty Devine telephone brooch, a yellow River Island dress and black-and-white American Apparel tights. But where does he find the time each day to pen his postmodern billet doux?

"It's sometimes a wee bit tricky to find time – we both work really long hours and are often travelling. But I guess we've just got into a habit now. I work for an online advertising agency and so I'm always near a computer. And I don't write about "fashion", so I don't need to have a thought-through opinion on the latest designers or trends. I just write about what we did yesterday. It generally involves drink."

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I often ponder the motivations of those who keep daily blogs. Are they seeking validation, staving off boredom, or was the logging of a day's minutiae, be it fashion or food, merely a female form of trainspotting? Perhaps we are seeing a new medium for the expression of both female and feminine traits, the nurturing, nesting side versus the creative aspect of the artifice of grooming.

In the case of Julie Powell, it was boredom and a love of cooking that inspired her to start a year-long blog in which she chronicled the cooking of every dish in Julia Child's famous book, The Art of French Cooking, a story that has since been turned into the movie Julie & Julia, with Meryl Streep and Amy Adams.

However, for Ellie, from Edinburgh – who, like many bloggers, prefers to keep her anonymity, the inspiration for her daily food blog, Inside I'm Still Dancing, was to provide a creative outlet for herself. Ellie, a 27-year-old, who was born in America and has spent time living in London, is a natural-born philosopher and records her musings on life, as well as posting tempting pictures of toppling towers of oatmeal pumpkin pancakes and sticky breakfast cookies.

"I originally started blogging as a creative outlet. I never intended to write about food, but I love writing and wanted a space where I could be open and honest about whatever I was thinking about or what was going on in my life.

"I read food blogs, but was always adamant that I would never become a "food blogger"… though food has always been a huge part of my life and in time it became clear that a large part of my blog was going to focus on food."

When asked how time-consuming it is to think about what you are going to eat, make it, photograph it and then write about it, she is quite candid. "I spend a lot of time thinking about my blog and how to keep it interesting. It's actually hard to balance with "real life" and has started to feel less and less like it is "my space" and is more about my readers. Because I write about a wide range of topics, it's inevitable that I draw blanks. I don't spend any more time than I would otherwise choosing what to eat, but I do take extra time to focus on presentation and often take five-ten photographs of one meal, playing around with lighting and angles. I see food as an art now."

She admits it can be stressful coming up with new things to eat, and so write about, each and every day.

"Absolutely. I know that nobody wants to read about the same sandwich every single day– but it's also opened my eyes to a whole range of foods and combinations I would never have thought of myself. Peanut butter in porridge? Greek yogurt, honey and pumpkin? Delicious, and now I can't imagine not eating these foods."

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The key question that remains unanswered is why do millions of women begin each day by checking out what is in the wardrobe and on the breakfast table of women they'll never meet, whose clothes they'll never wear and dishes they'll never taste? Perhaps it is the acceptable face of voyeurism, a chance to peer through the keyhole at other's lives and envy their Stepford perfection – or maybe its just fun. As Katie's typist, Joe, explains: "Of course it's superficial. But it's also fun and, for tens of thousands of people around the world, seeing the ridiculous outfits Katie puts together brightens up their day up a bit. So where's the harm?"

Knitting a web of relationships

Franca Eirich, 28, works as a social researcher in the Scottish Government, and writes the Oranges and Apples blog which is "about my love of colour: a record of my attempts at dressing like a fruit bowl".

I ORIGINALLY got into taking pictures of my outfits via the wardrobe remix group on Flickr, in which people post pictures of the outfits they've been wearing, with an emphasis on 'remixing' – combining your existing clothes into new combinations – rather than necessarily buying new things. It has a great sense of community, and people give each other positive comments. I've been a member since 2007. After seeing all the other amazing dressers, I felt like I wanted to contribute to the community.

I started the blog at the very end of 2008. I had originally meant for it to be knitting-focused, to promote my Etsy online shop, but the shop never really took off at the time and I quickly found that I enjoyed posting about a variety of things that I'm interested in as well as the knitting. I am constantly inspired by all the amazing things I find on the web and in the blogs I read, and the blogosphere community pushes me to develop my style and my ideas.

I only post about a couple of outfits most weeks, so I do put quite a lot of thought into the outfits I post. I make sure the outfits are interesting enough, and make sure I haven't worn that particular combination before.

I particularly enjoy putting together unusual colour combinations – something bright, maybe a bit unexpected and surprising to some people. I also like to promote sustainable clothing by wearing a lot of things that come from charity shops or vintage shops, and to show that you can look great without spending a lot of money.

I do wear a lot of outfits that are nice, but more classic and not particularly interesting (mainly for work), but I don't post these on the internet, because there are so many people wearing similar clothes everywhere that I don't really think they need to be documented.

In the blogs I visit, I prefer bloggers who have a strong sense of personal style and express themselves through interesting outfits, and I try to do the same for my blog. I tend to think about what I'll be wearing while I do other things though, it's not like I sit down and write down what I will wear the next week or anything.

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The positive comments are a big part of what keeps me going. I feel like I keep saying this over and over again, but the sense of community you get is really the thing that makes it all worthwhile.

I feel flattered that people like my style of course, and it's particularly nice coming from people who share my interest in sustainable/second-hand/thrifted clothing or slightly off-beat personal style. It's nice that my efforts at dressing interestingly and differently without spending a lot of money are appreciated.

The main thing I get from blogging is the inspiration from all the other bloggers and I've found out about some really interesting things I would never have otherwise. I've 'met' so many people from all around the world that I feel like I know, although I've never met them face to face. This interaction is the main thing.

Another thing is that blogging has allowed me to work out what I like and why I like it and to develop my personal style and aesthetic, not only in fashion, but also art and design, photography, and so on.

I enjoy learning new skills and growing a blog's readership is a great way of teaching yourself photography, Photoshop, writing, basic graphic design, HTML and many other things. It's a challenge to make my blog better and I've already developed a lot since I first started.

Blogging about fashion, craft and design is also a bit of a light-hearted antidote to my day job, which I really enjoy but can be quite serious. Blogging can be quite time-consuming, but no more so than following the football closely, or having an avid interest in art-house cinema, for example. It's my hobby and it never feels like work. If it did, I would stop.