Fashion notes: Pretty please, let’s not lose our femininity

Dull, baggy and all-black garb worn in the name of gender equality is just ludicrous. What happened to pinks, frills, florals and pretty little things?

Pretty fashion is rare these days. Over the past few decades, there have been multiple waves of feminist protests, ­creating a consequential ­rebellion in the style scene and an increasing tendency to make womenswear more ­androgynous.

Enter shapeless silhouettes, manly shoes and oversized everything. Oxfords have replaced ballerina flats; Birkenstocks are the new sandals.

As it’s International Women’s Day on Sunday, I think it’s fitting to bring this up. In the equality war, we’ve gradually lost femininity, and it seems like the more progressive fashion grows, the more – dare I say it – ugly it gets. Now, I’m as big a fan of a nice pair of Nike kicks as the next girl, and I own my fair share of boyfriend blazers, but I draw the line at straight-up man-repelling (yes, that’s actually a term now, thanks to style blogger Leandra Medine).

Take Alexander Wang’s ­autumn/winter show at last month’s New York Fashion Week – his gothic combination of boxy leathers, rigid cuts and biker elements were intimidating; the models’ dishevelled looks were anything but flattering. Even Vera Wang, whom we associate with luxury bridal wear, took more than a pinch of inspiration from menswear for her autumn/winter collection; DKNY styled suits in ways that weren’t at all appealing.

Dull, baggy and all-black garb worn in the name of gender equality is just ludicrous. What happened to pinks, frills, florals and pretty little things? Granted, the girlie look may not be every woman’s cup of tea, but I’m a proponent of the idea that womanhood should be celebrated. Defined waistlines, hourglass contours, and figure-showing, if not ­figure-hugging, shapes. Men and women have different bodies, and should be dressed accordingly. Instead, fashion is slowly becoming genderless, with less and less focus on the feminine form.

Maybe our fixation with street style is partly to blame. After all, the sweet and dainty outfits aren’t the ones that get photographed and ­circulated; instead, the weirdly unique, bizarre and “un­womanly” ones are given the spotlight. The outfits that convey confidence and a never-before-seen manner embody characteristics of strength, power and an “I don’t care” ­attitude.

Hand-in-hand with this drift in style is the au naturel make-up look, which I have nothing against when it looks fresh and healthy. I’m even OK with bobs and pixie-cuts – my own hair has gone through that chin-length Rihanna phase. But a certain act we associate with being feminine (thanks to Marsha’s just-before-bed ritual in The Brady Bunch) seems to have lost its importance. I’m referring to the simple procedure of brushing the tangles out of your hair. The bedraggled bed-hair look is “in”, but there’s no reason to boycott your hairbrush, and it would also be nice to treat your tresses to a blow-dry once in a while.

Dressing in a pair of sagging, ripped jeans with a half untucked shirt (the lumberjack look, as I like to call it) is OK occasionally – sometimes we just have those kinds of days. It’s also fine for your wardrobe to include a few varsity jackets, snapbacks and baggy trenches. But don’t let the tortured ­tomboy guise define you and ­become your signature style. Pretty please.

weekend@thenational.ae

Published: March 5, 2015 04:00 AM

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