It's Not About the Clothes...

I am of the belief that fashion, like your relationship with food, is VERY personal. And I will not have this column be anything more than a humble guide for what I consider to be stylish—not fashionable. Fashions as we know, come and go, but true style- a reflection of your personality- never becomes obsolete. I suppose though, that your personality can change just as much, if not more than, the en vogue trends, however, it always has a consistent thread, you.

I also come from a feminist school of thought that encourages one to make the personal political.

From these two ideas, I’ve come to think that fashion can be political. Now, I'm not talking about the "2 Weeks" t-shirts recently made by GAP:or the Cafe Press's commentary on politics and politicians:

No, I'm referring to something a little more subtle, something like the way a pencil skirt and pearls emanates a different energy than a flannel shirt and combat boots...and how the two styles in the context of a discussion of sexuality may indicate a certain categorization of 'lesbian-ness', whether one identifies more strongly with either a butch or femme identity.

Now, before going further, I must ask you for
your forgiveness for my initial polarization of the butch/femme identity, I just wanted to make the point, and now I'll move on. Although, I think I'd also like to say that I am moderately aware of a new movement that criticizes the stereotyping of a woman as a butch or femme based solely on the clothes that she wears or how she chooses to style her hair. I would encourage this train of thought as it pertains to style and more specifically lesbian style.

In my limited research on "lesbian fashion", co
nducted through a Google search by exactly that name, I have come across many references to the L Word as a new resource for lesbians in terms of fashion, and especially hair styles. Upon further exploration, I've found that a writer from the New York Times has actually discussed in length the whole idea of "lesbian fashion" and makes one of the best statements I've heard in a long time in the article entitled "The secret power of Lesbian Style" (in fact, I love the title almost as much as the article itself!). Guy Trebay quotes Nina Garbuno, a fashion buyer, saying this: "...sexiness in clothes, for this gay woman at least, boils down to an innate confidence in sexuality."

Exhibit A: The lovely, and always sultry Angelina

Looking down at my t-shirt, jeans and pumas, I suppose I'm not screaming sexy. (I'm probably screaming something more like, "hey everyone! I haven't done laundry in 3 weeks!) However, I think that what Nina may be saying here, is that it's NOT about the clothes, but about YOU in the clothes. A
nd, I believe that Coco Chanel started this trend by saying, “Look for the woman in the dress. If there is no woman, there is no dress.” Oh, Coco, how I love you so. While I may not look like a bombshell this morning, I do feel very sexy because of the fact that not only did I just get a new job-- and negotiate with them during the process, have taken up Bikram yoga--and feel like an enlightened goddess, but I happen to be wearing my sexiest bra and panty (forgive the word panty) set under it. It's like the secret sass weapon, no one knows, but I do and I'm pretty sure you can see it in my eyes.

Exhibit B: Coco

As you may have already gathered, this piece is all about putting the "I" in Style, (It's phonetic, not literal... but hey, work with me!) Something that Chanel also spoke about, saying, "to be irreplaceable, one must always be different". In fact this quote, happens to be in the signature line of my emails.

Therefore, I'm not going to tell all of you lovely ladies wearing flannel to stop wearing flannel because it's not chic... if you want to rock flannel, and you feel sexy in flannel, then DO IT. Because if I were to suggest that in order to find some sort of style, you'd have to abandon something that made you feel hott, I'd be doing you a disservice. Again, let's reiterate that it's about the WOMAN in her clothes that makes things both stylish and sexy.

So go forth... wearing silk and chains, velvet and leather, or flannel and fishnets Throw your shoulders back and own it. Rock out to your beat and dance with those who can keep up.

love, Amy

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Anonymous said...

I completely agree. I used to initially feel bad when I would judge a butch (or any person in general) for wearing clothes she could farm in...but if she wore the same clothes, showered, and owned it, it would be a totally different story.
Like it or not, people judge you by the way you look, so regardless of what style it is, you should take care of it.

Beebo Brinker said...

right on! i feel exactly the same way.