French designer and queen of cool, tomboy chic Isabel Marant, was recently featured on Vogue UK’s website, and shared a simple yet insightful thought. She stated: “It’s so ugly when I see beautiful girls wearing these dresses because they have to. Sometimes they would look much better wearing a well-cut trouser and a t-shirt. Much more chic than a cake dress.”
Women’s fashion has progressed exponentially from the days of corsets and ultra-feminine clothing, but it’s still refreshing to see such a renowned figure in the world of high fashion acknowledge that dressing a certain way out of compulsion is silly. Sure, dress shopping and preparing for a fancy night out can be fun, but it’s also annoying and quite stressful to feel as though you need to look a certain way for a particular occasion –– especially when that need is based on old-school gender roles! Fashion should be an enjoyable means of self-expression, not a force that dictates what you should or shouldn’t wear!
Countless other designers have been incorporating more rule-breaking and less traditional looks into their collections –– Hedi Slimane’s recent “highbrow grunge” line for Saint Laurent, for example –– while style blogs such as the infamous Man Repeller have moved to the top of the ranks in popularity. It’s also interesting to consider that some of the most recent and desired clothing lines and pieces for both women and men have been inspired by trends in street wear. Fashionable sneakers along with novelty sweatshirts and snapback hats were once geared to urban men almost exclusively, but now it is totally common to see them worn by all (and also on the runway a la Jeremy Scott!).
Gender specificity seems to be losing its tyrannical ruling over the fashion world more and more, at least when it comes to more traditionally “male” styles becoming available and marketed to women in the mainstream. As Marant pointed out, a nice pair of pants and a t-shirt can look just as, if not more, polished than a dress. So whether you feel most comfortable in stilettos and a LBD or a pair of jeans and a v-neck t-shirt, keep in mind that you don’t have to dress a certain way to look elegant or “feminine.” Wear what you love and what makes you feel good! That’s what fashion should be all about.
Written by Nicole Woszczyna