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Beth is off this week, so here’s a temperature appropriate column from the archives.
Like others on dappered, I enjoy a night out, hanging with some friends and getting some drinks. Well, there’s been a pestering trend in women’s style that I can’t seem to get, and it’s women dressing trampy. I’ve probably become more aware of this due to the changing seasons, it’s 30 degrees out, and women are wearing things I’d expect to see in 90 degree weather. You wouldn’t expect to see men dressed in shorts and flip-flops in this weather (although I’m sure a few of us have), so where did the common sense of these people to dress appropriately go?
This makes me look back at the article on Women’s Style Wins. These are all great things I would like to keep seeing, but the trends have missed this, it’s going in the complete opposite direction. Of course I could just distance my association with these people and places or even ignore it, but from a women’s perspective, I’d like to know why some women dress this way?
This is a chicken or the egg type of question. Do women wear what is made available by clothing designers or do clothing designers make available what women are wearing? I have no earthly idea. How’s that for decisiveness?
Okay, actually I do have sort of a theory. Here it goes. Jean Paul Gaultier is having a bad day. Madonna is no longer interested in wearing his cone bras, and he can’t get any of those damn kids from the Twilight movies to sport one. The issue distracts him from his preparations for fashion week; amidst his torpedo-shaped support-wear stress he runs out of time to create a pair of pants for a particular look that is slated to come down the runway. Thus, one of his models goes out on the catwalk wearing a lace corset, no pants, and a cape.
Lady Gaga is in the crowd (she’s in town getting fitted for a dress made of jello and seaweed, naturally). She sees the model with the lace corset and missing pants and thinks it’s a stroke of genius. So she recreates her own version of the outfit, swapping out the lace corset for–what else?–a pleather leotard, but keeping the cape and the nonexistent pants, and wears it to tea at the Plaza Hotel. She’s making a statement about her artistry, or her celebrity, or she’s simply trying to grab headlines and magazine covers, and who can blame her, right? It takes more and more to shock and titillate, and with fame so fleeting, she has to do what she can to stay on top.
Gaga is photographed by every tabloid rag. Eventually the look filters down, to mainstream designers, to personal shoppers, to stylists, to people putting together lookbooks and catalogs…and more accessible versions begin appearing on the street, and yes, Alex, in YOUR neighborhood tavern. Then you turn to your friend and say, my God, isn’t that woman freezing? And I arrive late to a birthday celebration at a bar, and an acquaintance is already sitting down at the table, and I admire the beautiful teal hue of her sweater…until she stands up and I realize the sweater is the only thing she is wearing, and I’m literally face to crotch with her horrifying lack of pants, though no worries because she’s wearing particularly sturdy nylons.
Wait…where was I going with this? Okay, granted I got a little off track here, but what I’m saying is that women are heavily influenced by what they see in popular culture (same goes for men, I’m not claiming sole female ownership over this one). There is an enormous amount of pressure to be beautiful, to be desirable, to be a perfect specimen. Not new ideas here, I know, but I have to go over them to get where we’re going. For some women, they see Katy Perry wearing a bustier that barely covers her nipples, and the message that they receive is: this is beauty. This is taste. This is the aesthetic I need to cultivate in order to be considered worthy by others. Plus, come on, a Katy Perry-inspired outfit is going to garner more attention than a Catherine Middleton-inspired outfit will. The swiveling head of every man you walk by is some serious positive reinforcement.
This is not all women, though. The women whose thongs you’re seeing may be the women for whom style is merely a way to showcase their bodies. This is not intrinsically right or wrong, it’s just different from women who use style as a creative outlet, or because they simply love beautiful things.
I just re-read my response. Where in the hell did I take you people? Drinks are on me if you can follow the bouncing ball.
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