“Ah, Spring. When a young man’s fancy turns to thoughts of Love….”
Aflred Tennyson knew of what he spoke in that famous poem, and as Spring FINALLY begins to emerge in the Northeast, we have to wonder; is it Spring that turns our thoughts to Love, or shorter hemlines, bared limbs, and breezy fabrics? Moreover, when you get dressed (at this, or any time of the year), who do you dress for?
I’m a big proponent of KYB when choosing your style. Know Your Body–your shape, your assets, your limitations. This will guide you, and together with your personal fashion values, will most certainly result in a look that is comfortable and uniquely YOU. But most folks I know have more than one occasion or role in their lives to dress for. Clearly, some work environments dictate that we dress a certain way, as do formal events and the like – but do you completely abandon your style at work and change into another person entirely on the weekend? Does knowing your body AND your audience come into play?
Let’s face it, Fashion is subjective. What one person finds beautiful, another may find repulsive. Sadly, in our celebrity obsessed culture (along with photoshop and social media) this is less and less the case — originality is giving way to a universally accepted form of what’s beautiful. Some folks buck the trend, like Leandra Medine, whose blog Man Repeller showcases cutting edge fashion and designers that men would presumably be repelled by. This is based on the theory that men would not appreciate avant guarde (read: non-sexy, non-revealing) clothing. Clearly, Ms. Medine dresses for own pleasure. And book sales.
A fellow fashionista friend of mine and I will regularly text each other prior to major events to both avoid a “Bitch stole my look!” moment, and because we’re the only friends each of us has who cares about such things. The exchange goes something like this:
Me: “I’m going ‘rock & roll edgy’, fishnets & studded sha-booties.”
FFF: “Ok, I was going to do ‘cha cha cha’, I’ll re think.”
Me: “No, that’s good – we’ll be dancing, you have those shoes you got that work.”
FFF: “Yeah, plus I did ‘baby shower sweet’ last time. ”
One might assume we’re trying to impress or please, but really, and I mean really, we’re just fashion obsessed gals playing dress up for ourselves. I love some of the Man Repelleresque type fashions – androgynous, covered, etc. but they don’t work on my body. My FFF will wear such looks to a girls night out (GNO). Book club, she proffers, is the perfect place to abandon your femininity and get your ‘ugly chic’ on. (Hey, if it’s good enough for Miuccia Prada & Elsa Schiaparelli…..) I know legions of women who wear yoga pants to GNOs, relieved they don’t “have to” dress up. Part of the fun of getting together for them is NOT having to care how they appear.
This saddens me not because I feel like everyone SHOULD get dressed up all the time, but because I wish for women to feel happy about getting dressed, however they choose. To each, her own, I suppose.
Victorias Secret has created an entire business model on the theory that women dress for men. I highly doubt anyone purchases and later dons panties that read, “dare you” on the ass for their friends to read. Their clothing collection, too, is filled with eye-popping office wear that would make even a sexy librarian blush. Are these women owning their sexuality or perpetuating ‘women as pleasers of men’ stereotypes? My trendslation is that it is 1000% dependent on the wearers intention. If dressing provocatively makes YOU feel alive, have at it, knowing that it comes along with cat calls and male attention. If covering up is your personal style, your personality will shine brighter only if that is truly how you love to present yourself (versus covering to hide). Intention in fashion, like in life, is everything.