So let me just start off by saying the words 'real talk' coming from a blogger is a bit of a pet peeve of mine. Because really it should all be real talk (ie real opinions, the truth, etc.). There's just some real talk that's more frivolous than other topics (for example clothing reviews vs. other serious topics, which I rarely discuss on this blog because if you want to depress yourself go read the news. You come here for a brief respite from the news, amirite?) So this is the only time you will ever see the words 'real talk' on my blog because friends, it's all real here.
So let's then talk about sponsored posts. Earlier this summer I wrote this post asking if gifted items would constitute a sponsored post. I was seeing conflicting messages across blogs, with some bloggers saying a gifted item isn't a sponsored post. But that didn't quite feel right for me since 99% (well more like 95% now) of my reviews are unsponsored, where I purchased items with my own money or from earned credit. So to get an item completely free out of the blue, well those items have strings or expectations attached. And that's different from the items I don't get for free.
But I think I've figured it out guys: it all depends on the blogger (well, duh you might say). But really, I pride myself on my honesty and I try my very best to limit bias whenever I can (due to two years of studying Epidemiology where bias and confounding were our bread and butter of analysis). And for me, having a point person from a brand checking-up on me with expectations means I'm going to have bias in my reviews. I can see the good and bad in every garment I review, and TBH I'm probably accentuating the positive in sponsored reviews (I mean how can I not, for one I got it for $0 and two I have someone from the brand reading and 'checking' my writing). There might be other bloggers who can keep the bias out of their reviews and say that bad along with the good, but if I being honest with myself I have a hard time saying something bad about a gifted item.
So you've probably seen it but I've decided the best disclaimer to work for me is to say that a review on a gifted item is a type of sponsored post. That's the truth that feels the most honest to me.