Wednesday, October 1, 2014

EDITOR'S LETTER: October 2014

Well, I guess since the last time I posted it was Spring, heading into Summer, one could say I took a little “Blogging Summer Vacation". In my fashion, it was much needed because think about when your favorite singer or band is producing great work from their new album, and you favor them so much that even their old material seems just as fresh as their new single. You are on a hiatus, but as all good things come to an end, the band has to rest and recuperate from promoting the art you love so much. After coming down from your high of their insatiable music, you crave more, but there is such a void while they are away. You feel selfishly impatient as slight feelings of disdain for their absence leaves you feeling personally abandoned (kinda the way I feel about Rihanna right now if you get where I am coming from). But during their absence, we have to realize they too are only human and in order to continue bringing world shaking music to our lives, we must allow them to renew and soak in new experiences so as to translate them into new classics on our personal playlist. 

That is what I think of my break from #IMFblog. In my May Editor’s Letter, I mentioned how I have been building my sensibility as a stylist and have been conditioning myself to be a most effective and efficient stylist/style mentor with my ongoing theme The Secret of Stylist. In doing so I hope to answer the question how can we apply the experiences of successful stylists to improving our own style sensibility by examining the commonalities and differences between different stylists approaches to style. For me, this summer has been about taking what I have read and studied, and taking the time to practice what I learned instead of blogging about it for a while to gain a fresh and more mature perspective, especially as I was able to apply some of what I learned at Forever 21 as I styled the mannequins.  For instance, one trend I have been experimenting with is “women repelling”. When I think about it I have been women repelling for a while now for I enjoy women's clothes because having a thin frame I find a lot of their clothes (especially menswear inspired women's wear) fit and look more flattering on me. But lately I have been going as far as to  wear a string (or strings) wearing pearls with my button-ups going into work, knee highs on club nights, and delicate floral prints. I find it a fun challenge to find different ways to wear them on myself in combination with other masculine pieces as to suggest a masculine appeal in combination even though these pieces are traditionally feminine. Right before I went on my “Summer Vacation”, I picked up the Summer 2014 H&M magazine and was satisfyingly titillated to read the trend report “Beyond the Suit” by Lauren Sherman. Thanks to Leandra Medine, founder of the popular style blog “Man Repeller”, the term “Man Repelling” or wearing cool, quirky clothes that guys don’t really get has been the term for fashion forward women as of late. But as Sherman highlights it appears the concept is bleeding into the dressing sensibilities of this generation of men, and it's not just for the gays, in my fashion.

I think men are seeing clothes as simply clothes and that a gender association doesn't mean much in regards to ideals of masculinity when you consider our modern social climate. In my fashion, women repelling DOES NOT say I want to be a like woman. Instead it says, “Yeah, I am wearing a dress, AND I am still the top dog!” It’s almost a new proclamation of masculinity, one that adheres to feminist ideals of equality among the sexes, where the man is proclaiming how much he can look like a women, but still ooze masculine appeal. As I have observed, its almost like the sixties all over again with women and hemlines. The hems of men’s shirts seem to becoming acceptingly longer and longer among young consumers, and as Sherman’s article shows examples of men in women repelling looks, it appears we can take hemlines where ever we want. Taking after men like Kanye West and Jared Leto, men are not afraid to experiment with different accessories and more feminine hairstyles. With the right amount of cool machismo and creative combinations with other masculine pieces, a skirt on a man doesn't look as feminine as one might think, and this type of view on clothing is, in my fashion, our generation’s fashion revolution. 

At VA PrideFest 2014
I have written about this before on #IMFblog, case in point, Casey Legler, who is the first female ever signed to Ford Modeling Agency’s men board. In my post READing Your Style: Androgynous models who ignore the gender rules, I quoted Legler from an article in the UK Guardian, and she stated: "We have very strict ways in which we identify ourselves as men or women and I think that those can sometimes be limiting … Seeing me on the men's board … speaks to a notion of freedom, you know. There's something really bold about that … it's saying there is also this other way and it's really rad." Her statement is the basic reasoning for which I wore the look in this post with my zebra print caftan belted with a silky track jacket (both of the latter were from H&M coincidentally), black leggings, and Chelsea boots. I wore them at this year’s Richmond Gay Pride this past weekend, and felt this was the perfect time to break out this look during that time. Women Repelling really speaks to the notion that clothes are clothes and we should feel comfortable to express and celebrate both our masculine and feminine qualities that make us individually unique. I personally like playing with the idea that to be a man doesn't necessarily mean one has to wear a suit and tie day in and day out.We all have feminine and male qualities, and to embrace those qualities regardless of which sex we are is how we will attain self-actualization of who we are in this life. 

At VA PrideFest 2014
It was funny to me to read Sherman’s article where she writes: “Stephanie Trong, co-editor-in-chief of, would rather her guy look like Ryan Gosling than a street style head turner. ‘I’m more into guys who do the sportswear thing, and who don’t look like they spent more than ten minutes deciding what to wear,’ she says.” Unfortunately for Trong, it would seem that this breed of men is dying off as more men clamor over fashion like high school girls. As I mentioned in November of 2012, New York Magazine reported that “the luxury Men's fashion market is growing at 14% per year, twice as fast as the women's market which has shown a steady growth of 8% per year”. With this trend taking off the way it has, I can’t help but think about the chant we use to say to the opposite sex from our grade school days, “I can do anything better than you.” It’s as if men have decided, “If you can wear a dress, why can’t I?” and, in my fashion that is a very valid question to ask. As Tim Gunn has informed us, a lot of the popular fashions modernly associated with women, were most likely, in the past, begun by men. So it’s no wonder we are coming around full circle in fashion history, because after all, fashion doesn't repeat itself, but it sure does have a way of having the same rhythm as past time periods. 

Certified Women Repeller! This isn't too feminine is it? What do you think?
Speaking of time periods, now that the Spring/Summer 2015 shows are coming to close today, I can really assess what is to come of fashion's future, so it’s back to the grind, and I will keep you posted with my sartorial philosophies.

No comments:

Post a Comment