Saturday, February 26, 2011

Outfit Post: Is women's fashion man-repelling or merely absurd?

What is the point of fashion? Self-expression? Creativity? Individuality? According to one blogger, fashion is about repelling men. Oh. Okay. Darn.

The blogger in question is named Leandra Medine. Here is her fashion "thing", as described by the New York Times:
Since April 2010, Ms. Medine, 21, has been publishing photos of herself on her blog, the Man Repeller, as well as shots of similarly challenging recent runway looks: fashions that, though promoted by designers and adored by women, most likely confuse - or worse, repulse - the average straight man. These include turbans, harem pants, jewelry that looks like a torture instrument, jumpsuits, ponchos, furry garments resembling large unidentified animals, boyfriend jeans, clogs and formal sweatpants.
Medine's blog is a tongue-in-cheek chronicle of her adventures in these bewildering articles of clothing. A quick examination shows her in suspenders, argyle socks with pony hair sandals, and drop-crotch pants, posing for photographers with other slovenly-chic high-profile fashion bloggers. She argues that now, more than ever, designers are producing clothes which push the boundaries of fashion so far that they turn off (and repel) the average man.

The fashion world has taken notice.
Medine's blog won top honors in last month's Bloglovin' Awards. And fans have begun to use her blog name as a verb, as in, “I am totally man-repelling today.” (Warning: This might have to become part of my vernacular from now on. I think I'll start today. My belt is totes man-repelling. Uh, yeah.)

On first glance, The Man Repeller seems very similar to other blogs I read: a young, coltish woman mixes thrift, discount and runway pieces in a haphazard way that somehow looks chic in the end (while these pieces would transform me into a schizophrenic hobo.)
However, I truly believe that this girl doesn't understand men. On average, men do not care what you wear. If you're that concerned about repelling men with your outfit, ask yourself these questions first:

1. Have you showered in the last 24 hours?
2. Do you have a vagina?
3. Are you single?

If you can answer yes to any or all 3 of these questions you will fail to repel men.
An outfit composed of six types of material might confuse them, sure. Bizarre as they might be, most of the clothes Medine wears only underscores that she is slim and elegant, albeit in a quirky, offbeat sort of way. Even in a homemade dress constructed from office supply paper and a body stocking, Medine looks charming and sort of cute.

Furthermore, I don't believe women's fashion is about attracting men. As far as I'm concerned, fashion is about
self-expression. There's freedom in being creatively attired and wearing pieces that communicate your individual sense of style. Shopping for the perfect heels, the sharpest tailored blazer, and the ultimate red lipstick is a uniquely individual, personally rewarding experience. Choosing an outfit is even more so. When I get dressed in the morning, it's always from the perspective of what I want to wear, what I find comfortable and appealing, and what message I want to send to the world. I really could care less about what men think.

Despite its name and the running joke Medine has about not getting action because of the ridiculous things she wears, The Man Repeller isn't really about men. It's about the absurdity of 'high' fashion - stuff that is just plain ugly and confusing. Medine is funny, and her advice regarding how to be featured on fashion blogs like The Sartorialist was totally accurate and literally made me chortle out loud. Hint: wear as many different types of fabric as possible in multiple clashing pieces. Add heinous lipstick, an affected snarl, sky-high clogs, and you're in.

According to my husband, I am not man-repelling in this outfit today at all. Actually, he described it as "hot". So I suppose I need to work on my skills a little bit more. Maybe if I added a turban, leg warmers and suspenders I'd make the cut.

Thrifted Gap sweater; thrifted Loft skirt; Target belt; We Love Colors tights; Kate Spade boots; thrifted vintage crocodile bag; Fossil earrings

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