DRESSING FOR OTHER WOMEN

As a girls girl through and through, the psychology behind the way women approach fashion has always been something I’ve gravitated towards. Why do we dress the way we do? It’s the main reason I started a blog of my own – I wanted to explore my own personal style, and look back at how I change throughout the years. I want to be able to pin point how I was feeling at a certain time, and hopefully identify how this affected the way I decided to dress myself. Whether it be a character in a series I was obsessed with emulating, or a particular part of my body that was causing me to cover up, or maybe even reveal myself in a certain way. Whenever I’ve spoken to my friends about the way women dress – one thing that always comes up is the lack of male input, the general consensus has always been that women dress for other women. That when women walk into a room, they tend to look at what other women are wearing before anything else…

As lover of fashion – I definitely find myself doing this. If I’m going to an event for example, I love seeing how other women have put together an outfit. Other women inspire me endlessly – I don’t think I have ever found myself dressing to please a boyfriend either. In fact, I’m pretty sure Sam doesn’t understand half the things in my wardrobe, but it’s never once bothered me if a man has made a comment about my oversized blouse or masculine boots. I first and foremost dress for myself, I dress to make myself feel good each day – anything positive that comes after that is merely a bonus.

Having said that, nothing pleases me more than a compliment from another women – it’s somehow a secret code that only we can understand, that little nod in the street, or smirk of appreciation on the tube when you spy another woman wearing practically the same outfit…

Over time, women’s fashion has adapted to become considerably more gender inclusive and less restrictive than ever before. That’s not to say that you can’t wear a tight dress and high heels every day of the week if you feel that way inclined, but having the freedom to dress however we feel is more of a privilege than any of us probably realise. It’s still not that way for a lot of people, and many women before us will have suffered sexist uniforms and suffocating corsets aplenty. Many still do. Whether it’s induced by a controlling partner, or perhaps a woman who doesn’t live in a free country where women are celebrated as individuals who are capable of their own life choices. It’s important to remember that so many women aren’t in control of their own bodies…

It’s definitely something I have come to really appreciate as I’ve reached my mid twenties and made a career for myself out of having the freedom to utilise my self expression in a (hopefully) positive way – sure there will always be odd glances from people on the street, and not everyone will enjoy everything you wear, but so what? Having the freedom to express ourselves is an immensely powerful privilege, and one that we should all own. 

Learning to tune out what others think about our outfits is a gift that only keeps on getting better – nowadays so many people dress in an eccentric manner and it’s celebrated from all different corners of the world. I hope this continues to grow and reach the people that need it most, I hope being individual is championed and young women no longer feel the pressure to fit a certain mould. I definitely don’t consider my style to be particularly unique or outlandish – I’m very much into ‘classic’ pieces that have been around for years, but wearing them in a way that makes them appear modern. I’ve always been massively inspired by mens fashion and tailoring – there’s just something about creating different silhouettes that fascinates me and makes me feel my most powerful. Maybe It’s the small satisfaction of taking something that was entirely owned by men for years, and making it part of my own uniform…

It’s that balance between old and new, combined with my love of what’s traditionally considered ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ that really makes me feel the most comfortable. A juxtaposition of ‘male’ and ‘female’ wardrobes that creates my happy-medium…

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always held the opinion of women very close to my heart – it makes me so happy when another woman compliments my outfit as I’m walking down the street. It puts me in such a good mood when you get talking to other women in the toilet queue and you ask about each others jewellery, or spark a discussion about what you bought in town earlier that day…

This is no disrespect to any men out there either – you are also wonderful creatures in your own right (but I’ll just always appreciate women that little bit more, plus, it’s international women’s day so I’m allowed). It’s just where my loyalties lie, and I have always gravitated towards the energy of girl groups. In my experience, a man is likely to make a sarcastic joke about something I’ve chosen to wear, whereas a women will be totally on board with it and support my ill fitting vintage jacket to the very end. Even if it’s not their particular taste or style – I find that women are generally supportive of other women dressing however they want…

Obviously there will always be some exceptions to this – as there will be plenty of men out there who encourage women to dress how they want. Men who don’t expect women to dress for their own idea of what sexy is, and see that a woman who is comfortable with her personal style, is a woman who will always look great no matter what…

I guess what I’m trying to say throughout this post is that you should dress for yourself – dressing to impress a man (not all men) will most likely limit your personal style. I definitely noticed this more in my college years when I started experimenting more and adding more pieces to my wardrobe that could be considered ‘man repelling’. Just like the oversized shirt and the blazer – women are now reclaiming what men’s fashion have owned for years, and making them look better than ever. It’s all about changing perceptions and breaking down social constructs that make all genders feel restricted in some way. A man should be able to wear a dress without being questioned on it, just the same as a woman should be able to sport a trouser suit and a shaved head without people making assumptions.

I will always continue to wear what I want and what makes me feel great – it’s one of the little things in life that really elevates the day ahead (no matter how dull it looks). I’ll continue to dress for women, and I hope it inspires them to dig out that piece in their wardrobe that they have been too afraid to wear. Wear what you want regardless of whether you think it will have a ‘man repelling’ effect or otherwise, you might just find that it repels all the right kind of people anyway…

 

Alice x


Photographs by Adriana

Jacket c/o | And Other Stories

Trousers c/o | And Other Stories

Sandals & bag c/o | Marais USA

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1 Comment

  1. Hello, Alice! First of all, happy women´s day! This is my first time here on your blog and I have already added it to my faves. I have been following you for a long time on Instagram, though. I agree with everything you said, except for a still sad behaviour of some women here in Brazil. They seem to be too much competitive and what they do first when coming across a woman is to look for her imperfections. I feel I inspire many women around me for having my own style and being confortable with whom I am, despite being out of the “perfect shape standard”. Wish you a lovely year and be sure I am following you here too from now on. Lots of love from Brazil * Roberta

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