Have you read The Cut, New York Magazine’s fashion blog? I might be revealing my ignorance when I confess I only discovered it in September upon hearing editor Amy Odell speak at a conference. The Cut’s frequent entries are quick and punchy, ruthlessly up-to-date (Amy refreshes her feed every twenty minutes to stay on top of things), and cheeky in the extreme. If you are a thinking fashion follower who wants a fresh angle on over-reported fashion “news” The Cut is for you.
While perusing The Cut today I discovered the most relevant fashion blog I’ve encountered in a long time: The Man Repeller by New York’s Leandra Medine. Dedicated to such “sartorial contraceptives” as harem pants, turbans and jewellry that doubles as weaponry, the blog takes a light-hearted look at an issue recently covered quite seriously by a male writer in U.S. Vogue:
For whom do women dress: men or themselves?
The Vogue writer was baffled by women’s style choices, shocked that we would wear garments designed for anything other than attracting a man. Perhaps because almost everything straight men do is designed to impress women (my personal theory which has lots of backup including Ari Onassis’ statement: “all the money in the world is meaningless without women”), he couldn’t get his head around the idea that maybe women don’t dress for men.
Straight men tend to respond to anything that accentuates the female silhouette, that being classic body-conscious (but not necessarily revealing) garb. What they do not respond to is anything that covers up “the goods”, including harem pants that obscure where your crotch begins, and epaulets that render your shoulders wider than his. Leandra got the idea for her blog during an outing to Top Shop with a friend:
“We were laughing at how everything was so man-repelling: acid-washed harem pants and enormous shoulder pads.”
In today’s post, Leandra asks the model pictured in a drop-crotch onesie: “Where did you hide your lady bits?”
Indeed there is a fashion movement dedicated to modesty in dress which has nothing to do with culture or religion but bases itself on a personal choice to resist the urge to attract men through clothing. It’s a way to indulge one’s interest in fashion while keeping the focus on what’s inside, one’s personal development. Rachel Dahl, editor at A La Modeste is a leader in this movement and tags her blog “creative cover-up couture”.
Once again fashion reflects societal mores as it did in the 80s when power dressing reflected women’s increasing representation in the work force. Covering up could be seen as another way we use fashion to reflect our ideals.
So, who do you dress for: men or yourself?